Commons Archive:Project scope

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Wikimedia Commons, operated by the Wikimedia Foundation, is an invaluable repository of freely-licensed and public domain works that can be reused for both commercial and noncommercial purposes. However, for technical and philosophical reasons, they only permit the upload of a small subset of possible file formats.

Unfortunately this means that certain source materials used to produce these files are lost, which could prove invaluable if the file needs to be modified or creatively reused. For example, an Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator file may be used to render a PNG, losing layer and vector graphic information, or a high-fidelity multitrack lossless audio recording may have to be converted to Ogg Vorbis. Source materials may include, but are not limited to:

  • Camera raw files and originally recorded video files
  • Adobe Photoshop/Gimp files
  • Illustrator/Inkscape files
  • Adobe Flash source files
  • Multitrack/multichannel audio formats
  • 3D model formats like Blender/3dMax
  • Source code used to render a file
  • Document files such as ODT or Word

Commons Archive is an unofficial project created in April 2012, owned and operated by Wikimedia Commons administrator User:Dcoetzee, to house such source materials. To this end, there are three simple restrictions on uploads:

  1. All uploads must be source materials for one or more works on Wikimedia Commons.
    • Exceptions may be made at administrator discretion for files that show a clear educational purpose or a direct tie to a Wikimedia Foundation project.
  2. No files are permitted which could be directly uploaded to Wikimedia Commons, or which add nothing that is not already present in files on Commons.
    • In particular, it is not permitted to convert a Wikimedia Commons file to another format and upload it here with no other changes.
    • If software changes permit new files to be uploaded at Wikimedia Commons, any affected files will be migrated from here to there. This is a simple process because Commons Archive uses the same software and templates as Wikimedia Commons.
  3. All files must be in the public domain or released under a Wikimedia Commons compatible free license. This means commercial use and derivative works must be permitted. Typical licenses include:

Commons Archive is also useful for assisting users who made not be technically savvy enough to convert files into a format acceptable by Wikimedia Commons. Source files can be uploaded here, then converted by another user and uploaded to Wikimedia Commons. However, any file that does not include a link to a file on Wikimedia Commons within 7 days of upload, and has not been approved by an administrator, may be deleted.

For license of logo see: File:Commons Archive icon.svg