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Our image use policy, in conjunction with our manual of style, governs the upload, use and deletion of images on our wiki.

Administration of this policy

Please be aware that we have around 20,000 images on our site — more if one includes all that have been deleted but are still admin-accessible. While the administrative staff makes every effort to fairly and uniformly apply the rules herein, it's not humanly possible for any one admin to have seen all this site's images.

Some images which violate these rules are going to have slipped through the cracks.

Be aware, therefore, that it is not a positive defence to say something like, "That picture over there violated the same rule as mine, but you didn't delete it." The fact that another picture survives when yours was deleted means only that this is a big wiki and a few pictures have slipped our notice. It does not mean that we were wrong to have deleted your file.

Rules checklist

Here's a quick checklist of rules for use of images. After the list, a more detailed discussion explains the reasoning behind them. If you'd prefer to see this in a briefer, chart form with links to the original community discussions or rules underlying the policies, please go to T:ICC.

  • Keep copyrights in mind when uploading images.
  • Always tag your image with one of the image copyright tags. This can be done when uploading an image by using the licensing selector (located below the 'Summary' box), a full detailed list can be seen here. For an example of how to do this, pleas see our tutorial for uploading screenshots with the correct licensing tag.
  • Use the file's page to describe an image and to give its copyright situation. A "file's page" is that which you find when you click on a picture, or when you go directly to an image via the search bar. If you click on The Abbot of Mai' Sung.jpg, for instance, you will go to a "file page". To add a description, click on the "edit" button at the top of the page.
  • Remember that your image is most often going to be viewed at a size no greater than 420px in width. Therefore, it is a waste of bandwidth to upload a picture which is more than 3 times that width. Likewise, files which are bigger than 100kb can cause people with slow internet connections to have slower page loads. Consequently, you should try to keep your images to no more than about 800px wide and 100kb in size. There may be occasional exceptions to this guideline, as with collages made of multiple pictures. You must balance the need for a clear image against the need for a fast-loading image.
  • Do use common-sense English words to title your picture. Do not use alphanumeric strings that make more sense to a computer than a person. Note that if any image with the same title has already been uploaded, it will be replaced with your new one.
  • Crop images to show just the relevant subject. Again, remember that your image is going to be displayed at no more than about 420px. The more tightly it is cropped on the subject, the better it will display.
  • Do not upload another version of a file that is materially the same as the one which previously existed. The rule of thumb for uploading a new version of an existing file is, "Does this file look distinctly better than the original image at 420px?" Whether it looks better at full size is not to a factor in deciding whether to upload a new version of an image. Images used on maintenance templates are exempt from this ruling.
  • Don't put photo credits in articles or on the images themselves; put them on the image description page.
  • Crop your photos so that network logos, if present on the original screenshot, do not appear.
  • Use JPG format for photographic images, like screenshots. Use the SVG format where possible for icons, logos, drawings, maps, flags, and such. PNG format is also acceptable as an alternative to SVGs, and can be especially convenient when you require an image to have a transparent background.
  • GIF and BMP formats are strongly discouraged.
  • Add a good alternative text for images.
  • Sexual imagery should be strictly limited to that which actually occurs within the narratives of the DWU. There is no restriction on images taken from a DWU narrative.


The following sections provide amplification for the points given in the rules of thumb. You are encouraged to read the full rationale for the various generalisations made above.


The term 'screenshot' is generally used to describe an image from a television show, movie, video game, web broadcast or DVD feature, these images should be captured using the "print screen"/"screen capture" method via a computer. Please do not take photos of TV or computer screens with a camera as what you see and what a camera sees are two very different things and as such when images are uploaded they are relatively unusable due a number of factors such as low-resolution, scan lines, opacity of screen and other issues that are created when taking a photo of a TV or computer screen.

Other copyrighted images

Please note: the following is not the official copyright policy - it is merely a reminder and also gives some additional tips.

When you upload an image that is not a screenshot, a publicly-released cover image, or a promotional image, make sure

  • you own the image
  • that it is in the public domain
  • that the copyright holder has agreed to license it under a Creative Commons license compatible with the CC-BY-SA 3.0.

Always note the image's copyright status on the image description page, using one of the image licenses, and giving additional information about the origin of the image. If you created the image, don't write image created by me, write image created by John Doe on Jan 1st, 2000 (where you of course replace John Doe with your name, and Jan 1st, 2000 with the date of the image creation).

In other words, images which aren't covers or screenshots from DWU stories need to have not just a copyright license, but also a very clear declaration of copyright status added by you, the uploader.

Under United States copyright law, all images that were published before January 1, 1923 in the United States are now in the public domain, but this does not apply to images that were created prior to 1923 and published in 1923 or later. The year 1923 has special significance and this date will not roll forward before 2019. However, the interaction of Wikis, the GFDL, and international law is still under discussion.

If you strongly suspect that an image is a copyright infringement (for example, if there is no information on copyright status on its image description page and you have seen it elsewhere under a copyright notice), then you should list it for deletion by placing {{delete}} on the page, along with your deletion rationale, like so:
{{delete|This image is copyrighted and its usage on this site isn't actually fair use.}}

To sum up: Unless the work is yours, you must be able to provide a working link to the original source of the material or you can't upload it. It's as simple as that.

Fair dealing and Fair use considerations

The fair dealing doctrine used in the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia, and the fair use doctrine used in the United States (but not in many other jurisdictions) are frequently abused. Try to limit your use of this tag to screen captures, promotional photos from presskits and other publicity items issued by the BBC, album covers, book covers, DVD/video covers, movie posters, corporate logos and wallpapers. If you have questions about whether an image is fair use, ask at Wikipedia:Fair use.

A critical thing to remember -- our use of such images relies on a portion of the doctrine that says we can use a low-resolution public-but-copyrighted image (like an album cover, book cover, or movie poster) for the purpose of illustrating an article. A high-resolution image, suitable for purposes other than illustration/education (such as, say, printing bootleg CD covers), would not be considered fair use and may be deleted.

Equally important is the case of the living or recently deceased individual. While a great many people can be illustrated from their appearances on Doctor Who Confidential or BBC documentaries — and thus be covered by the general BBC {{screenshot}} license — some actors and crew members are occasionally illustrated by means of professional headshots or amateur photos snapped at public appearances. In all cases, these sorts of illustrations should be rigorously sourced. In addition to one of our copyright templates, the uploader must provide a link to the original location of the image. They must additionally confirm that the image is either released into the public domain (or CC-BY-SA 3.0) by the author, or that it is definitively promotional in nature, or they must secure and display permission from the author on the file's page.

It is largely because of these considerations that we routinely delete, without warning:

  • Images with a filesize greater than 1mb
  • Images with widths greater than about 1000 px (preferring those between 300px and 800px)
  • Screenshots in the .png or .svg formats (preferring .jpg)
  • Pictures of real world people where the image license does not specify the genuine origin of the picture

Use of images from the Doctor Who Image Archive

The Doctor Who Image Archive contains a wealth of images from and related to Doctor Who and was, in the first year of this wiki's operation, the preferred source for images used on this site. The reason for this original stance was that the owner of the DWIA gave permission for use of images from the archive "for the promotion of Doctor Who in all its forms, and its fandom," provided it is not done for profit or on an adult site.

However, he doesn't really have legal standing to grant that permission, since he himself doesn't actually own the imagery.

Moreover, most DWIA images are not in the correct aspect ratio. Often they are portrait-orientated. Since we prefer widescreen imagery, most of the DWIA's images are actually in violation of our house rules.

Therefore, it is the current policy of the Tardis wiki that DWIA shall be avoided. Some DWIA-sourced pictures will still be found lingering on our servers, but, in general, it's best to just get the images directly from the source. If we're going to take images in "fair use", we might as well take from the original source, rather than someone else's collection of images.

On 31 May 2012, we completed an aggressive purge of the remaining DWIA images. Please do not add any further DWIA images to our database.

Use of images from newsgroups, message boards, rumour sites and the like

Use of images posted to various internet discussion communities is probably not wise, as one cannot be sure of their copyright status. Most such Doctor Who-related images are promotional in nature, and would seem to be covered by fair dealing and fair use doctrines. However, images are sometimes taken from the personal, copyrighted websites of Doctor Who actors, writers, production crew members, fans, and other persons without their permission. Others are images for which the BBC or other persons or entities initially gave permission for distribution but, for reasons of their own, have since rescinded that permission. Consider carefully before using images from these types of sources.

Beware of images you have found on a fan-run website — except under the incredibly rare circumstance that you have obtained their permission or they have already granted such permission on their site, and they have the legal standing to grant such permission.

Wikipedia images

Wikipedia has a large resource of public domain images which may be used on this site to illustrate things that are out-of-universe. Images from NASA are likewise free-to-use (though not actually public domain), and may also be used to illustrate out-of-universe concepts. Such images are particularly good for on things like templates. Be sure to note on the image description page that you obtained the image from Wikipedia, provide a link to the original Wikipedia image page, and include a GFDL tag.

Do not use such images on in-universe pages, however. For example, it would contradict our Manual of Style to use NASA imagery to illustrate articles relating to planets, galaxies, and other astronomical phenomena which are mentioned in the Doctor Who universe. Pictures of the planet Mars, for example, should come from The Waters of Mars — or other Mars-based stories — not NASA. Equally, pictures of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, for example, should not be drawn from the public domain but from in-universe sources, like *Sub Zero.

File size

Whatever your picture is, the chances are that it will likely be viewed at no more than 420px width -- and typically at no more than about 250px. You must crop your picture closely to the subject in order for it to be clearly visible at that small size. You must also consider the size of the base picture, and balance the need to have it show up clearly when someone clicks on it, against the need to have it load quickly. A good rule of thumb is for your picture width to be no less than 500px, no more than about 800px, and for its size to be no more than 100kb.

You will occasionally find exceptions to these dimensions on this site. However, these exceptions do not obviate this rule. These guidelines should be violated only with exceptionally good cause.

Note that pictures which violate this guideline — especially those well over the mark — may be summarily deleted without warning.

The rationale for this policy largely comes from the possibility that any picture could become the infobox picture at any time. Thus, the rules for pictures in general arise from T:IBOX PICS.

Unused images

Images that are uploaded, but do not have any pages linked to them may be deleted after assessment. However, the fact that a picture is unused cannot be cause, in itself, to compel a picture's deletion, as was made clear in a forum discussion. Generally, there should be another reason beyond a picture's "orphaned" status used to justify deletion.

For example, if a picture is unused because it's blurry, the real reason for deletion is its blurriness. If it's unused because it's very similar to another one of better quality, it's deleted because it's a near duplicate. If it's unused because it's too small, it's deleted because of its inadequate size.

As was argued in the forum discussion referenced above, there is a utility in keeping on pictures that are unused, but are otherwise without defect, because they might be used in the future, and they're already uploaded and properly licensed.

Unused images can be found on Unused files page.

Duplicate images

Duplicate images are surprisingly common. In general, the dupe with the fewest links should be deleted. If you want to help in the process of deleting duplicates, please go to duplicate images and put the following on the image that needs to be deleted:
{{delete|duplicate image}}

Uploading new versions of files

One of the features that the MediaWiki software allows is the ability to upload a new version of a picture into the same file name. Imagine the file, E-Space Trilogy VHS US cover.jpg. That's got a nice, clear name to it, as advised in earlier sections. But let's imagine that the file was blurry, and I wanted to improve it. The best way of doing this is to simply upload a new version to the same file name. That way I don't have to edit the pages on which the picture appears. I just change it once, and it gets changed everywhere it's in current use. In general, such improvement is encouraged, because it reduces the total number of files on the wiki and provides a record of the various different images that have occupied that file name.

However, caution must be used, as overuse of this feature can make the wiki move more slowly. Every time a new version of a picture is uploaded, the software makes a note to change that picture wherever it exists on the wiki. Sometimes, the number of items on that "to do" list can be very long, meaning that the system "lags" in adapting to the new picture.

Thus, you need to make your new versions count. Don't just change a picture because your version is marginally better than the one which already exists. Your new image should be obviously better at 420px than the one which already exists. Also avoid uploading another image which is significantly bigger than the one which already exists. In other words, the file size rules described above apply to new versions of pictures, too.

Because excessive use of the "upload new version" feature can significantly slow the wiki, frivolous version-hopping may be grounds for user blocking — particularly once the offending user has been acquainted with the rule.

Note, however, that maintenance images, such as those used on templates, may take quite a bit of "fiddling" to get the dimensions precisely correct. Therefore, "multiple-versioning" of such images is exempt from this regulation. Nevertheless, it is better to make a test template called on just one sandbox page while figuring out picture dimensions for templates, if possible.

Unlicensed images

Images that are not licensed (or "tagged") are subject to immediate deletion. Though effort is sometimes made to identify the source of images, and "fix" unlicensed photos, admins reserve the right to delete pictures simply on the basis that they have no copyright tag. Admins further reserve the right to automate the deletion process of unsourced, unlicensed pictures. If you've taken the time to find, crop and upload a picture, please add a copyright tag to it so that it does not get summarily deleted.

It goes without saying, but we shall nevertheless make explicit, that the copyright tag should be the correct one. Deliberately putting a false license on a picture, just so that you can upload it, is worse than putting none at all. Users found to be carelessly applying the wrong license shall be given one warning, then summarily blocked from further editing. Copyright licenses are a Big Damn Deal. It is your responsibility as an editor to try to accurately represent the copyright status of every picture you upload. If you're not even going to try, you're not even going to edit.

Image "appropriateness"

As was pointed out in a forum discussion, the basis for detrmining image "appropriateness" is primarily, "Did this image occur within the DWU?" If the answer to that question is yes, then it is an appropriate image. It doesn't matter whether the image shows full-frontal nudity or a person being blown up — if it's actually in a narrative, it's fair game.

Images of people related to Doctor Who, who are later seen in photos that feature partial nudity, are more questionable, and these should be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. One of the main concerns for these photos is not puritanical "appropriateness", but whether any sort of fair use argument can actually be constructed for them. They would almost certainly have to accompany an article or section about the photoshoot in order for them to be even a borderline fair use case. It would probably be safer to provide a non-pictorial link to the photoshoot, if it exists online, rather than to actually upload images from it.

Sexual or especially violent imagery having nothing to do with the DWU or the people who've worked in the DWU are expressly, and without exception, forbidden. Uploading simple, ordinary pornography shall be met with an immediate, infinite block of the offending user.

Those wishing to explore this issue even further should read What the Tardis Data Core is not#Not safe for work.

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