Wikimedia Foundation Trademark Policy
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This policy is approved by the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees.
It may not be circumvented, eroded, or ignored by Wikimedia Foundation officers or staff nor local policies of any Wikimedia project.
May I use the Wikimedia marks?
This summary of the Trademark policy below is not a legal document.
You have the right to use marks to:
· Truthfully describe a Wikimedia site;
· Accurately report news;
· Create artistic, literary, and political works; or
· Link to Wikimedia sites.
This policy also allows you to use marks:
2. Outside the Wikimedia sites when you:
· Organize a Wikimedia community-focused event;
· Do outreach and recruit new editors; or
· Place marks on t-shirts, cakes, and other things without selling them.
Please always comply with the Visual Identity Guidelines.
YES, but first...
please sign a Quick License
for Wikimedia photo contests, and GLAM.
· for events and conferences,
· publications, movies, and TV shows,
· for things that you want to sell, and
· other uses.
Not for linking to non-Wikimedia sites, or
creating mimicking websites, or
otherwise misleading others.
The Wikimedia marks represent free educational content developed through an open and collaborative process. Trademark protection reinforces the connection between the Wikimedia marks and the projects they represent. The protection serves to ensure that the marks are only used for activities that promote our mission.
When readers see the puzzle globe mark in the top left corner of a website that looks like Wikipedia, they should be confident that they are looking at neutral, notable, and high-quality content that is the result of the rigorous and transparent editing process on Wikipedia. Likewise, people should be able to rely on their impression of Wikimedia involvement when they see the Foundation mark or one of the Wikimedia logos on websites or products.
The goodwill supporting the Wikimedia marks has been generated by a prolific and passionate volunteer community. The Wikimedia community has developed the leading online source of free educational content. To preserve the goodwill they have created, we have prepared this policy according to the community's direction. The resulting policy ensures that all uses of the marks are consistent with our mission and promote the Wikimedia movement.
Our mission of sharing knowledge relies on and encourages free speech. To make it really easy to share knowledge, this trademark policy embraces all free-speech protections built into trademark law to the broadest extent possible. The trademark policy also seeks to minimize the hurdles of trademark licensing. We are particularly liberal in approving uses by the Wikimedia community that are closely aligned with our mission.
To further make it easier for community members to use the marks, this policy introduces some creative trademark solutions. It allows community members to use the Wikimedia marks without a trademark license for Wikimedia community-focused events and outreach work. The policy further introduces a "Quick License" for other common uses that community members can quickly fill out and email to us. It's really wikiwiki!
1 What does this policy apply to?
1.1 The "Wikimedia marks"
This policy applies to all trademarks of the Wikimedia Foundation. The trademarks are both registered and unregistered trademarks, including non-stylized wordmarks and the trade dress of each Wikimedia site. See also a non-exhaustive list of our trademarks. In this policy, we refer to them as the "Wikimedia marks" or just "marks."
1.2 "Use" of the Wikimedia marks
This Policy applies whenever you want to use the Wikimedia marks. Section 2 of this policy applies to all uses of the marks. Other sections apply only to uses that do not require separate permission, uses that require a trademark license, or uses under agreements held by chapters, thematic organizations, and user groups that are recognized by the Wikimedia Foundation. If some term in your trademark license is inconsistent with this policy, you should follow the license terms.
1.3 "We" or the "Wikimedia Foundation"
This Policy regulates the use of marks held by the Wikimedia Foundation. Sometimes, this policy simply refers to the Wikimedia Foundation as "we."
This Policy applies to "you" if you want to use the Wikimedia marks and explains how you may use them. You may be a Wikimedia community member, chapter, thematic organization, or user group. You may also be an unrelated individual or organization.
1.4.1 Community members
The Wikimedia community includes everyone who contributes to a Wikimedia site in furtherance of our mission. It also includes members and staff of chapters, thematic organizations, user groups, and the Wikimedia Foundation.
The members of the Wikimedia community share a common mission of creating and distributing free educational content. They are the core of the Wikimedia movement. Accordingly, community members may freely use the Wikimedia Community logo. They are also free to use all Wikimedia marks on the Wikimedia sites and for Wikimedia community-focused events, as well as outreach work without obtaining a trademark license. Community members can also easily fill out a Quick License for certain other community uses, such as Wikimedia photo events. We generally give priority to community requests for uses that require an ordinary trademark license.
1.4.2 Chapters, user groups, and thematic organizations
Chapters, user groups, and thematic organizations recognized by Wikimedia Foundation are called "movement organizations". They are independent from the Wikimedia Foundation and support and promote the Wikimedia sites. These groups enter into agreements with the Wikimedia Foundation, which allow them to use certain Wikimedia marks. Any use should primarily further Wikimedia's mission. To use the marks beyond the specified scope of its agreement, an organization can ask for a separate trademark license or simply comply with this policy when the use does not require a license. An organization can, of course, always select its own names, logos, and domain names. It does not have to use our marks.
1.4.3 Other organizations or individuals
Wikimedia sites are so well-known that authors and script writers frequently want to portray them in books and movies. Similarly, other companies may want to reuse content from Wikimedia sites in web or mobile applications. In doing so, these individuals and companies may want to display our marks in movies, books, apps, or other media.
As long as users are not confused about the source of those works, this type of use can promote the Wikimedia sites and mission by expanding the reach of free knowledge and potentially recruiting new Wikimedia community members. But it is important that the Wikimedia marks are not misleadingly used to market others' products because that will confuse Wikimedia users. We therefore have to be careful when licensing the marks for these purposes. For example, when licensing the marks to an organization that has its own logo, we need to make sure that it does not display any Wikimedia mark more prominently than its own logo or name. It's helpful to always have a proper separation between the organization's name and logo and any Wikimedia mark. Users should clearly see that the organization's products or services are provided by that other organization rather than the Wikimedia Foundation. Such use is never allowed without a trademark license.
The Wikimedia marks should be used only for activities that promote our mission, which is to "empower and engage people around the world to collect and develop educational content under a free license or in the public domain, and to disseminate it effectively and globally."
2 How to use the Wikimedia marks
Please follow the Visual Identity Guidelines whenever you use the marks whether with or without a trademark license. Whenever you use the Wikimedia marks, please note the following:
2.1 Proper form
You may use the wordmarks as a proper name (e.g., "Wikidata is great") or as an adjective (e.g., "the Wikimedia sites are awesome"). This includes any of the official translations and transliterations of the Wikimedia marks.
On the Wikimedia sites, you may use the marks in any form. You may create remixes of the wordmarks and logos, abbreviate them, and add to them.
Outside the Wikimedia sites, you may only use Wikimedia wordmarks in their full form and properly capitalized (e.g., "Wikibooks"). The logos should not be modified without separate permission from the Wikimedia Foundation. We need to make sure that the logos remain distinctive from other marks.
2.2 Notice or trademark symbol
When reasonable, please include this notice when you use a mark outside the Wikimedia sites:
"[Wikimedia Wordmark / name of logo as listed here] is a trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation and is used with the permission of the Wikimedia Foundation. We are not endorsed by or affiliated with the Wikimedia Foundation."
The notice should appear near the first use of a Wikimedia mark. One notice is enough if you display multiple marks, provided the notice refers to all of them. You do not need to display this notice if you are using the Community logo under Section 3.4.
If the mark will primarily appear on a mobile screen or another medium with limited visual space, you may instead use a trademark symbol (™) with the mark to show that it is a Wikimedia trademark. For size and location of the trademark symbol, please see the Visual Identity Guidelines. When you use a symbol due to limited space and there are additional pages to your material, please include the notice in the text of a prominent page (e.g., most mobile apps have an "about us" section and may display terms during installation).
Regardless of whether you use a notice or a trademark symbol to identify your use of Wikimedia marks, please make sure that your use does not suggest endorsement by or affiliation with the Wikimedia Foundation.
3 When you may use the Wikimedia marks without asking us
3.1 Use of trademarks on the Wikimedia sites
3.2 Community-focused events
You may use the trademarks for events that promote our mission and are intended to be predominantly attended by Wikimedia community members. These are events like hackathons, editor meetups, photographer excursions, and WikiCons.
For example, you can put the Wikipedia puzzle globe logo on banners and posters at an edit-a-thon you have organized.
GLAM initiatives and photo contests require a Quick License under Section 4.1.
This provision does not allow you to use the marks for fundraising.
3.3 Outreach and recruiting new contributors
You may use the marks consistent with our mission to educate people about the Wikimedia sites and to recruit new contributors, as long as you make it clear that you do not work for the Wikimedia Foundation. You can create educational material or banners to decorate a public fair stand or to publicize an edit-a-thon.
This provision does not allow you to use the marks for fundraising.
3.4 Community logo use
The Wikimedia Community logo can be used freely. But you may not file trademark applications incorporating the logo. The Wikimedia community wants to ensure that the logo remains available for all to use.
3.5 Discussing something other than Wikimedia sites (fair use)
Wordmarks can sometimes have a primary meaning, in addition to representing a brand (like the words "apple" or "facebook"). Our wordmarks were not real words before our projects were created. But we will interpret fair use broadly to include the use of our wordmarks when you clearly mean to talk about something other than the Wikimedia sites.
3.6 Refer to Wikimedia sites (nominative use)
You can use the non-stylized wordmarks (e.g., "Wikipedia") to describe:
- A Wikimedia site or another aspect of the Wikimedia movement in a text (e.g., "I love reading about coal balls on Wikipedia").
- A derivative work of Wikimedia content in a way that is not misleading (e.g., "the encyclopedic content on this site is derived from Wikipedia").
You may use all Wikimedia marks on your own website as a hyperlink to the Wikimedia sites. The use of logos in hyperlinks should follow the Visual Identity Guidelines (e.g., the marks may be resized, but not modified in any other way).
Here are some other specific cases of nominative use:
3.6.1 News reporting
You may use the Wikimedia marks to make truthful statements about the Wikimedia sites in news reports and commentary.
You may use the Wikimedia marks to make or illustrate truthful statements about the Wikimedia sites in personal blogs and social media. But please do not do it to imply endorsement by or affiliation with the Wikimedia Foundation. To avoid confusion, do not use the Wikimedia logos in the background, as your profile image, or in the header of your blog, in the name of your blog, or in your social media username. This section is not meant to restrict your use of the Community logo under Section 3.4.
3.6.3 Artistic, scientific, literary, political, and other non-commercial uses
You can use the Wikimedia marks to discuss the Wikimedia sites in artistic, scientific, literary, and political works.
But please send us a request if you want to place a Wikimedia mark on the cover of your book, display a Wikimedia mark in a movie, or organize an event or presentation that could be interpreted to be endorsed by the Wikimedia Foundation. For more information, please see Section 4.
You may use the marks in satire or jokes. To avoid confusing users that your work is affiliated with the Wikimedia sites, it may be helpful to mark your work as "satire" or "parody."
3.7 Make your own branded stuff
You may create things with the marks for your own use. These can be t-shirts, caps, desktop wallpapers, lanyards and even cakes! But please do not sell them, and make sure that your design follows the Visual Identity Guidelines. If you want to sell your branded stuff, you may request a license under Section 4.6.
4 Special uses that require permission
All uses that are not allowed under Section 3 or prohibited by Section 5 of this policy require a trademark license. This section discusses only the most common uses that require a license.
When you use our marks under a trademark license, you need to comply with its terms as well as with this trademark policy. If some term in your license is inconsistent with this policy, you should follow that license term. Movement organizations will only need a separate license when the use is not already authorized by their organizational agreements with the Wikimedia Foundation or this policy.
4.1 Quick License for special community uses
A Quick License is a simple trademark license for common community uses, like Wiki Loves Monuments and GLAM-Wiki initiatives. It is available on Meta-Wiki. You can start using the marks as stated in the Quick License as soon as you email a filled-in Quick License to [email protected]. There is no need to wait for approval.
4.1.1 Photo contests
Photo contests allow people to submit freely licensed original photographs to Wikimedia Commons to compete for the best image. You can obtain a Quick License for flyers, posters, slide presentations, websites, and social media for a photo contest. If you are a movement organization, you may already have an agreement that covers photo contests.
4.1.2 GLAM-Wiki initiatives
You may use the marks in a collaboration with someone outside of the Wikimedia movement with a Quick License. This license applies to collaborations with parks, museums, libraries, and other cultural institutions to share their information with the world through the Wikimedia sites. If you are a movement organization, you may already have an agreement that covers GLAM-Wiki initiatives.
Some GLAM initiatives include Wikipedians in Residence – Wikipedia contributors who work with a specific GLAM to develop the organization's relationship with Wikipedia. Please use a Quick License to represent yourself as a Wikipedian in Residence on online professional profiles, your personal blog, and social media, as long as your work is consistent with the mission.
4.2 Domain names
You need permission to register or use a domain name that contains a Wikimedia mark in it. Do not register a domain that looks or sounds similar to a Wikimedia mark or includes a misspelled Wikimedia mark, because that can confuse Wikimedia users.
4.3 Events and conferences
You need a trademark license if you plan to host a public event or a conference that uses a Wikimedia mark.
You should include the following information when requesting a license to use our marks in an event.
When you obtain a trademark license, it will apply only to the specific event in your request. You will need to apply for a new license if you want to host another event.
You need a trademark license if you want to use a Wikimedia mark in a publication, unless your use qualifies as fair or nominative use under U.S. trademark law or other applicable foreign laws.
You should include the following information when requesting a license to use our marks in a publication.
When you obtain a trademark license, it will only apply to the specific publication in your request. You will need to apply for a new license if you want to make another publication.
4.5 Movies & TV shows
You need a trademark license to use the Wikipedia logo in a movie, TV show episode, or online production.
You should include the following information when requesting a license to use our marks in a movie or TV show episode.
When you obtain a trademark license, it will only apply to the specific film, TV show episode, or online production in your request. You will need to apply for a new license if you want to shoot another film or TV show episode.
4.6 Commercial merchandise
You may make merchandise with the Wikimedia trademarks for commercial use, if:
- You obtain a trademark license from the Wikimedia Foundation;
- You follow our Visual Identity Guidelines; and
- You truthfully advertise to customers how much of the selling price, if any, will be donated to Wikimedia sites.
5 Prohibited uses
5.1. Misleading mirrors and mimicking sites
Please do not create a website that mimics the "look and feel" of a Wikimedia site. This especially applies to imitated Wikipedia articles. If you have a good reason to create a mimicking site, please contact us at [email protected].
You do not need to contact us if you just want to use the MediaWiki software to create a wiki or if your mimicking site is clearly a parody.
If you create a mirror, make sure to comply with the relevant licenses for the content. Avoid copying links to Wikimedia policies and contact details. Please do not use the Wikimedia marks in a mirror of a Wikimedia site.
5.2 Linking to non-Wikimedia sites
You may use Wikimedia marks to link to Wikimedia sites only. Please refer to Links to Wikimedia sites if you want to link to a Wikimedia site from your website.
When you use a Wikimedia mark under this policy, please use it to represent only the project for which it stands. Please do not create the impression that your use is in any way endorsed, sponsored by, or is part of the Wikimedia Foundation. This section also applies when you are granted a license to use a mark that doesn't permit you to suggest such an endorsement.
6 Trademark Misuse
6.1 Reporting misuse
Fighting trademark misuse is very important. We put a lot of effort into going after cases of trademark infringement because we want to protect the valuable trademark rights the community has created. If you see a mark being used in any way that could be infringing, please tell us! Just send an email to
[email protected] or report it here. We really appreciate your help!
6.2 Revoking permission for misuses
We may revoke the right to use the Wikimedia marks under this policy at any time by providing notice in any manner if we determine that a trademark use is inconsistent with our mission or could harm community members, movement organizations, or the Wikimedia Foundation.
7 Revision and Translation of the trademark policy
7.1 This trademark policy can be revised as follows:
- We will propose major changes to the community in three languages selected by us. We will give notice of the proposed revision on the Wikimedia sites and in an email to WikimediaAnnounce-L or a similar mailing list. The community can then comment for at least 30 days.
- For minor changes or changes required by law, when possible we will provide three days' notice to WikimediaAnnounce-L or a similar mailing list. Minor changes include language fixes, administrative changes, or corrections of inaccurate statements.
- This section does not apply to the user-friendly summary, the FAQs, the purpose statement for the trademark policy, the trademark request form, and the violation reporting form. They are not part of this trademark policy and can always be revised without notice.
7.2 Translation of the trademark policy
If there are any differences in meaning between the original English version of this trademark policy and a translation, you should follow the original English version.
Please do not hesitate to contact us at [email protected] if you are not sure whether your use is in compliance with this policy or local trademark laws.
The purpose of our trademark policy
This statement isn’t a part of the trademark policy. It’s not even a legal document.
It simply explains the background for our new trademark policy.
The Wikimedia marks represent the goodwill created by the many volunteers that make up the Wikimedia community. That is why internet users can trust that sites bearing Wikimedia marks contain free and neutral educational content developed by committed Wikimedians through good faith collaboration. Ensuring that the Wikimedia marks are only used consistently with our mission helps protect the community’s hard work and the reputation of the Wikimedia sites.
1. The trademark policy balances two community interests.
The decentralized nature of the Wikimedia sites allows passionate contributors all over the globe to serve the mission of free knowledge. The first interest is therefore to ensure that contributors can easily use the Wikimedia marks in their work. The second interest is to protect the reputation of the Wikimedia marks. The marks signify educational content generated through an open and collaborative process. The reputation of the marks is particularly important given that the content that they represent is delivered digitally over the internet and could easily be misrepresented to the unwary user.
In order to serve the Wikimedia community interests, we need to apply trademark law creatively. The principles of trademark law were not developed with our unique organizational model in mind. But our goal is to make trademark protection work smoothly for our community. The trademark policy therefore respects the demands of trademark law while facilitating the use of the marks by the Wikimedia community.
2. Why use trademarks?
Trademarks allow a user to trust her or his intuition that a mark she or he recognizes will in fact lead her or him to the work that she or he is seeking. Trademark protection is not an intellectual property right that can be established or sold separately from the work that it represents. It is nowhere near as restrictive as copyright or patent protection. Those doctrines have demanded that we adopt open license approaches—such as Creative Commons and GNU GPL—to make the law better serve our mission. There is no equivalent open trademark license that we can adopt. Yet the unique contours of trademark law allow us to creatively make it work in our favor. It allows liberal re-use of Wikimedia content, while preserving the integrity of the Wikimedia sites. Because of our distinct trademarks, readers will instantly know which educational material has been created in the wiki way by our community.
- 2.1 How trademark rights protect against misuse.
- Trademark rights help safeguard the marks that represent the Wikimedia movement from misuse. People may use the marks misleadingly because of the popularity of the Wikimedia sites. Some try to make their own websites or services more appealing by using our marks. Others misappropriate the marks or the general appearance of the Wikimedia sites to attract attention. But that attention is misguided because the marks are used to pass off work that is not genuine Wikimedia content. If we were to permit this, users may mistakenly believe that this inferior content was produced by the Wikimedia community and their opinion of the Wikimedia sites would dwindle.
- For example, nobody likes to see sham Wikipedia articles created solely to promote companies in a way that is inconsistent with our mission. Similarly, cybersquatters often try to register common misspellings and variations of the Wikimedia marks in domain names. They do so to redirect users looking for the Wikimedia sites to advertising and other unrelated content. They can, for example, lead users to sites designed to spread malware by encouraging them to click on a pop-up ad stating, "Congratulations! You are the millionth visitor!" They can also expose users to phishing scams by asking them to enter their password on a page that looks like a Wikimedia site. These are all examples of misuses that we can fight using trademark rights. We need to retain the right to pursue these kind of misuses to protect the hard work of the Wikimedia community.
- 2.2 The importance of free speech in the trademark doctrine ensures that the Wikimedia trademarks do not interfere with free knowledge.
- Our mission of sharing knowledge relies on and encourages free speech. Trademark protection can exist in this ecosystem, as the doctrine leaves a lot of room for speech-related activities. For instance, the unique fair use doctrine under trademark law allows any use of a wordmark in a non-trademark sense (i.e. when the word could mean something other than the trademark). Trademark law also has a "nominative use" doctrine. This doctrine allows free uses of a mark to refer to the item branded with that name. Finally, trademark law also embraces use of marks in art and political speech. This spectrum of free uses of a trademark distinguishes this body of law from intellectual property rights like copyright and patent.
- By employing trademark protection over the Wikimedia marks, we do not impede these types of uses by anyone. Our liberal approval of trademark requests will further ensure that community members can easily use the Wikimedia marks to promote the mission, even for non-fair use purposes.
3. How we maintain our trademark rights.
To preserve the Wikimedia trademarks for the movement, we need to monitor for misuses and carefully license the marks. Misleading uses can weaken the connection between a mark and the goodwill that it represents, potentially resulting in loss of trademark rights. It could cause us to lose our ability to protect against other misleading or abusive uses. This is why it is important to keep track of the uses of the Wikimedia marks and to take action against misleading uses.
Similarly, trademark law requires trademark holders to monitor the quality of the work that is allowed to carry the trademarks under a license. Failure to control the quality through a license and monitoring can result in "naked licensing," causing a trademark holder to lose its rights. It is therefore important to require a level of quality that reflects a quality of the Wikimedia sites and reputation.
4. Facilitating trademark uses that promote the Wikimedia mission.
While we have certain legal obligations, we don’t want trademark requirements to be an obstacle for the work of the Wikimedia community. The trademark policy seeks to facilitate the ease of licensing Wikimedia marks. Many uses are also specifically permitted by the trademark policy and don’t require separate permission. Other uses fall under the many fair use categories, which we also outline for users in the policy.
We are also thinking creatively about how we can make it easier for community members to use the marks to further the Wikimedia mission. To that end, we have introduced a liberal solution in the trademark policy for particular uses of Wikimedia marks called the "Quick License." It is a Quick License because instead of requesting a license and waiting for it to be prepared, community members just need to fill it out and email it to [email protected]. While the Quick License makes trademark use easier for common community uses, it includes some measures to maintain trademark protection of the Wikimedia marks. The license includes a quality control requirement and a reservation of a right to terminate the license if a mark is used in a way that is inconsistent with the Wikimedia mission.
5. What else is new?
Other than introducing a number of liberal solutions to assist community members in their work, the new trademark policy has very few substantive changes. We have focused on clarifying our trademark policy and practice as much as possible to make the use of the marks easier. Community members provided a lot of comments about trademark provisions that were previously ambiguous. We have worked to clarify those and other provisions in the new trademark policy and FAQs. We want the policy to be easily navigated and understood. We have therefore introduced a user-friendly summary at the beginning of the trademark policy that links to relevant provisions of the policy. We have also significantly expanded the FAQs and interlinked them with relevant provisions in the policy. The language of the policy and the FAQs was further tested under various readability indices to make sure that we wrote them in a straightforward way. Finally, we have introduced forms for requesting trademark licenses and reporting misuses that we hope will make those two processes smoother.
Trademark policy frequently asked questions
These FAQs are not part of the trademark policy. They are not even a legal document. But we hope that you find them helpful. :)
0 Trademark policy Introduction
0.1 What is "trademark protection"?
Trademark law protects the association between a mark and the work, such as goods or services, that it represents. It's intended to protect users from confusion as to the source of certain work. Also, users who see a trademark rely on that association and will have expectations about the reputation and level of quality and level of service comparable to what they have come to expect from the other work provided under the marks. Therefore, trademarks are very powerful and valuable tools that embody the Wikimedia Foundation and its community members' reputation and serve as a "shorthand" way for users to recognize a work, product, or service.
0.2 What are the "Wikimedia sites"?
The Wikimedia Foundation runs several free software and free content sites, some of which are listed here: Our projects.
1 What does this policy apply to?
1.1 What is a "wordmark"?
It's a trademark that is a text-only word (like "Wikipedia" or "Wikimedia") that is used in connection with the work that it represents to identify the source. In addition, a wordmark includes all official translated and transliterated marks (e.g. "Vikipedi").
1.2 What is a "non-stylized wordmark"?
Non-stylized wordmarks are simply words like "Wikimedia" and the project names, like "Wikipedia," "Wiktionary," and so on. In comparison, the stylized wordmarks are these names in their special formats, such as with certain fonts. For example, the special format for the "Wikipedia" wordmark looks like this: . Both stylized and non-stylized wordmarks are trademarks of the Wikimedia Foundation.
1.3 What is "trade dress"?
For our purposes, trade dress is the design of a website or article that identifies the source of the website or online material. Think of it as the "look and feel" of a site. One example is the specific design and appearance of a Wikipedia article, or the Wikipedia main page. The trade dress of any Wikimedia site is also a trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation. Trademark laws also protect trade dress.
1.4 Who is a "community member"?
Everyone who contributes to a Wikimedia site. It also includes staff and members of chapters, thematic organizations, user groups, and the Wikimedia Foundation.
1.5 Why can't a movement organization just freely use the trademarks?
As the legal holder of the trademarks, we need to control their use to preserve the trademark protections for the community. You can read more about that here.
1.6 What is the relationship between this trademark policy and a chapter, user group, or thematic organization agreement?
Chapters, user groups, and thematic organizations must comply both with this trademark policy and their respective agreement with the Wikimedia Foundation. If there are inconsistencies between this trademark policy and a chapter, user group, or a thematic organization agreement, the organization should follow their agreement.
2 How to use the Wikimedia marks
2.1 Can my logo, name, or company name be smaller than the Wikimedia mark if it is really obvious that my products and services are not offered by the Wikimedia Foundation?
No. We need to make sure it is extremely clear that the Wikimedia Foundation is not providing your products or services. This is a simple, consistent way of doing that.
2.2 What if I clearly state that the products or services are provided by me?
Sorry, your logo, name, or company name must still be bigger than any Wikimedia marks and reasonably separated from Wikimedia's marks. People do not always read the fine print (shocking, I know!). So, we need to make it as clear as possible that your products or services are not provided by the Wikimedia Foundation.
2.3 What do you mean by "outside the Wikimedia sites"?
Uses of the trademarks that are not on the Wikimedia sites, such as Wikipedia, Wikimedia Commons, Wiktionary, Wikidata, Wikiquote, Wikibooks, Wikisource, Wikispecies, Wikinews, Wikiversity, Wikivoyage, or Wikimedia Meta-Wiki. For the purposes of this trademark policy, the use of trademarks on Wikimedia Cloud Services will be considered a Wikimedia site. Accordingly, you use the marks outside the sites when you place them on flyers for an edit-a-thon.
2.4 Can I still create terms that combine Wikimedia trademarks with other words like "Wikipedian in Residence"?
Yes. This provision is not meant to stop community members from creatively combining the marks with other words to create new terms for the Wikimedia movement as long as they do it on the Wikimedia sites.
2.5 Can I translate the text in the marks?
You may translate the text in the marks on the Wikimedia sites.
2.6 Can I add graphic elements to, for example, celebrate a special event?
You can create remixes for special on-site purposes, but please don't change the logos outside our sites. These and many, many other questions are answered in the Visual Identity Guidelines.
2.7 What types of remixes of Wikimedia logos may be used outside of Wikimedia sites?
Certain remixes of Wikimedia logos may be used outside of Wikimedia sites as long as the remix does not look too similar to any of the Wikimedia marks. Please make sure that the remix will not be confused with the original Wikimedia logo.
2.8 May I use high-resolution versions of the logos?
Yes! Here you go.
2.9 Where do I place a trademark notice?
Just treat the notice as a footnote. A person reading your document, looking at your website, or watching your film should be able to easily find the notice. Good examples are: at the end of the (same) page of a document, in the imprint of a book, at the bottom of a webpage, and in the credits of a video.
2.10 What if I do not have enough space to include a notice?
Don't worry! If the mark is going to be seen on a mobile or other medium with little space, you can simply use the trademark symbol (™) for any Wikimedia trademark you use.
2.11 How should I refer to the trademark in the notice?
Wordmarks can be referenced verbatim (i.e. "Wikimedia Commons"). Logos should be described according to the Visual Identity Guidelines. Examples include the "Wikipedia Puzzle Globe" and the "'W' icon."
2.12 What if I use more than one trademark?
Make sure to describe all the trademarks in the notice, like this:
"The Wikidata wordmark and logo are the trademarks of the Wikimedia Foundation."
2.13 When do I have to use the trademark symbol?
You only need to use the trademark symbol when you do not have enough space to write the entire notice, like when you are using a trademark on a mobile screen.
2.14 Can you give some examples of how to use the trademark symbol?
Here is an example:
"Wikimedia Commons™ is one of the wonderful Wikimedia projects our community has developed to make media files, such as images, sounds, and video clips, publicly available to everyone!"
2.15 What size does the symbol have to be?
When you use a wordmark (like "Wikipedia"), you should use the same font size for the trademark symbol as the wordmark itself. In this context, superscript formatting is encouraged for the symbol. When the mark is an image (like the puzzle globe), you should select a font size for the symbol that matches the size of the image and place the symbol so that it is clearly visible and close enough to the upper right corner of the image without touching it.
2.16 But I want my website to look really pretty! Can I make the symbol smaller or put it somewhere else?
Unfortunately, no. Remember, you only need to put the symbol next to the first or most prominent use of the mark.
2.17 What does "no endorsement by or affiliation with the Wikimedia Foundation" mean?
You need to make sure that people do not mistakenly think that you may speak on behalf of the Wikimedia Foundation or one of its sites. For instance, you need to make sure that no one thinks you work for the Wikimedia Foundation.
2.18 Do I have to put in a copyright notice when I use the Wikimedia Marks?
Yes! Most of the Wikimedia Marks are licensed under a creative commons license, just like Wikimedia content. Please check the copyright status of the marks on this page and be sure to credit the authors.
3 Using the Wikimedia Marks without asking permission
3.1 Can you give me some examples of when I can use the marks on the Wikimedia sites?
3.2 What events are not "community-focused"?
An event that includes mostly people who are not community members is not a community-focused event. (Please see the FAQ on events in general.) This does not mean that you cannot have guests at your meetup!
3.3 Can you give me some examples of community-focused events?
Community-focused events are those events that are primarily open to community members and promote the mission. They tend to be related to improving the overall quality of the Wikimedia sites. Examples include conferences and monthly meetups hosted by community members, as well as other specific events like the "London Wikipedians regular's table," Wiki-Conference in Russia, and Wikipedia Workshop Köln (DE).
3.4 If my event is community-focused, which marks can I use?
First, all Wikimedia community-focused events can bear a trademarked name. You may also use the Wikimedia logos to decorate your venue, but only to the extent they are relevant. For example, you cannot use the Wikisource logo for a Wikimedia Commons-only event. However, keep in mind that the 'Wikimania' name and logo are reserved for the yearly Wikimania conference.
3.5 Can you give me some examples of outreach work?
You can put up a stand at a street fair. Here are some examples of that. You may want to present the Wikimedia sites in your club or reach out to seniors. You can also give a talk in a school or create a university course.
3.6 What are educational materials?
Educational materials help people to understand the Wikimedia sites. They can be leaflets, videos, cheat sheets, and other guides.
3.7 What about representing the community in an institution?
You need to sign and email us a Quick License if your institution wants to call you "Wikipedian in Residence" as part of a GLAM project, or something similar.
3.8 There is a Wikimedia Community logo?
Yes! It was officially adopted as the logo for Meta-Wiki in 2008.
3.9 What does fair use mean?
In U.S. trademark law, the concept of fair use allows you to use any trademark as long as your usage fulfills certain conditions. This policy cannot restrict your fair use rights. We added Sections 3.5 and 3.6 to make your rights easier to understand.
For jurisdictions that do not recognize fair and nominative use as set out under U.S. law, these sections provide permission to do this.
3.10 Can you give me more examples of fair use?
This category of fair use is tricky in our case because our wordmarks were not real words before our projects were created, unlike "apple" or "facebook." But we would consider it fair use if you were to write a book in the Wiki software and refer to it as a "wiki book," even though Wikibooks is a distinctive trademark. If you are using the wordmarks to describe our projects, that is also a type of fair use (nominative use). You can read more about nominative use here.
3.11 Can you give me some examples of uses that are not fair use?
- Using a Wikimedia mark to advertise your book.
- Selling t-shirts with the Wikimedia Foundation logo.
- Creating your own encyclopedia and labeling it with a Wikipedia Puzzle Globe.
- Using the Wikimedia Foundation logo to fundraise for unrelated projects.
- Claiming that content is "derived from Wikipedia" when in fact it's not.
Back to Discussing something other then Wikimedia sites (fair use).
3.12 Can you give me examples of nominative use?
Here are some examples:
- Describing a Wikimedia site:
- In a presentation that describes how Wikipedia works, using the wordmarks in slides in your bullet points would be a nominative use. The same also applies for a blog post that describes Wikidata. If you want to "illustrate" your slides or your blog post with any of the image marks, please refer to artistic, literary, and other non-commercial uses.
- However, you cannot use a trademark as a generic term. For example, you cannot set up a wiki on motorcycles and refer to it as "a wikipedia for motorcycles."
- Making true factual statements:
- "Wikipedia is the world's largest online encyclopedia. But Wikipedia is only one of the many sites created by the thousands of volunteers that make up the Wikimedia movement."
- "I have been a Wikipedia editor since 2009" (on your personal website).
- Describing derivative work:
- "Source: Wikipedia"
- "This artwork was created using images from Wikimedia Commons."
- "The encyclopedic content on this site is derived from Wikipedia."
- "From Wikipedia" or "to the Wikipedia article" (as used by a QR code project)
- More specific examples:
- Refer to the sections on news reporting; personal blogs and social media; artistic, literary, and other non-commercial uses; and links to Wikimedia sites.
3.13 Can I use a logo or a screenshot in my news or magazine article or news on TV?
Yes, as long as the image illustrates the discussion in the article. Do not use our trademark just to attract attention to your work. That will confuse your readers or viewers, and ours!
3.14 Can I include a logo or a screenshot in a blog post or a status update?
Yes, as long as the image illustrates the discussion in your post. Do not use trademarked images just to attract attention to your page. Viewers of your blog or your user page should not be confused and think that your page is endorsed by the Wikimedia Foundation or any of its sites.
3.15 Can I use a trademark in my username, avatar, or icon?
Unfortunately, no. We appreciate that you feel a connection to the Wikimedia sites. The Wikimedia community is very welcoming! However, we don't want people to think you can speak on behalf of the Wikimedia Foundation. You can still use the Community logo in your username, avatar, or icon.
3.16 Can you give me some examples of artistic, literary, and other non-commercial uses?
- Using the trademarks to discuss a scientific thesis in an academic paper.
- Illustrating a point in the slides for an educational presentation with a screenshot of a Wikimedia site.
- Using the marks in an art project.
- Creating a parody for the purposes of conveying a political message.
- Writing a book in which a character reads a Wikipedia article.
3.17 Can you give me examples of linking to Wikimedia sites?
Yes, you can find sample link templates here.
3.18 Can I use the marks to link to Wikimedia sites using QR codes?
No. This permission to use the logos to link without a license applies to online links. To use QR codes you need to use the non-stylized Wikipedia wordmark. You can read more about that in the FAQs for nominative use.
3.19 What kind of stuff can I make?
You can make shirts, hats, bags, mugs, pins, pens, stickers, posters, desktop wallpapers, and even cakes. Pretty much anything as long as you don't sell it.
3.20 Can I sell merchandise as long as I don't make any profit?
No, you cannot sell merchandise without a license. For more information on this see the section on commercial merchandise.
3.21 Can I make stuff for others?
Yes, as long as you give it away for free.
3.22 What about commercial merchandise?
First, you can buy merchandise from the Wikimedia shop. Proceeds from this merchandise are used towards the Wikimedia sites. If you want permission to sell your own merchandise, see the section on commercial merchandise.
3.23 Can I ask commercial vendors to create custom items for me that use Wikimedia marks?
Of course! You may ask vendors like bakers and t-shirt sellers to create items with Wikimedia marks especially for you or your friends. This is okay because it is for your own personal use and no one is creating a business surrounding the sale of items with Wikimedia trademarks. And don't worry, vendors will not be required to strictly follow the Visual Identity Guidelines when it's not possible on items like cakes. For example, all these cakes are fine.
3.24 Is it okay to commission someone else to create lots of items with the Wikimedia marks for meet-ups and similar events?
Yes! As long as the items are not sold to participants, it's okay to ask a vendor to create multiple items with the Wikimedia marks for community-focused parties and gatherings like edit-a-thons under Section 3.2 of the policy.
3.25 Can I use high-resolution logos on commercial merchandise?
Yes! While our previous trademark policy did not permit the use of high-resolution logos, we have removed that restriction from the new policy.
4 Special uses that require permission
4.1 If I need permission, will I have to pay for a license?
Usually, there is no license fee. However, we want to keep track of how our trademarks are used. Also, we want to make sure every use complies with our mission and standards. This is why we require a formal license in certain cases.
4.2 Do I need permission for every photo contest?
You only need to get a license if you advertise the photo contest outside a Wikimedia site. This includes posters, social media, and blogs. You can freely use the marks for community-focused events. Community-focused events are those that are intended to be predominantly attended by Wikimedia community members. They do not include events open to the general public.
4.3 Can I print out t-shirts with the Wikimedia logo to give out as prizes for the photo contest?
Yes. You can always make t-shirts with the Wikimedia logos and give them away as long as you are not selling them.
4.4 How can I use the marks as a Wikipedian in Residence?
The marks may be used in any way that identifies you as a Wikipedian in Residence. Please avoid confusion about official endorsement. You should clarify that you are not a representative of the Wikimedia Foundation.
4.5 Can you give an example of cybersquatting?
In the past, someone registered the domain wikkipedia.org to attract traffic to their own site. This is called cybersquatting or typosquatting that infringes our trademark. We strictly enforce our policy against confusing domain names. Please tell us if you see an infringing domain name.
4.6 Can I use a Wikimedia mark as part of my domain?
Unfortunately, no. If you do, there is a risk that you will confuse readers that are looking for Wikimedia content or other material related to Wikimedia. Movement organizations may be permitted to use the Wikimedia mark as part of their domain, but only after receiving special permission.
4.7 Can I use a Wikimedia mark if I use a different top-level domain?
You cannot register a Wikimedia mark as a domain, no matter the top-level domain, including country code top-level domains. For example, you may not register "wikipedia.jobs" even though it uses ".jobs", a different top-level domain, because "wikipedia" is a Wikimedia mark.
4.8 But I want to set up a special domain myself!
If you have a legitimate reason to set up a domain, please email [email protected].
4.9 What does "public event" mean?
A public event is an event that is not predominantly attended by community members. An event is also public when it is announced to the public with signs or advertisements or in an event schedule. Hence, this rule does not apply to community-focused meetups and conferences.
4.10 What event uses require permission?
Using a trademark for an event includes naming the event or using a Wikimedia logo on advertisements, leaflets, signage or a website.
4.11 Are there any exceptions to when events require permission?
If the name of the event uses a mark just to describe its content, that might fall under nominative use. An example for this would be announcing a course called 'Editing Wikipedia for Beginners' or 'Using Wikimedia Commons as an Amateur Photographer'. However, always include a notice that explains that your use is with permission from the Wikimedia Foundation and that you are not affiliated with the Foundation. Also, events hosted by a local Wikimedia chapter, thematic organization, or user group can use the marks subject to their respective agreement with the Wikimedia Foundation.
4.12 What is a "publication"?
Publications include books, other print media, and web pages. They also mean audiovisual media like music, and other recordings, film and online video. See Outreach and recruiting new editors for materials that provide education about a Wikimedia site. See Section 4.5 for trademark uses in films.
4.13 Can I write a book about Wikipedia?
Of course you can, and we would be happy to hear about it! But you shouldn't display the Wikimedia Marks on the cover of your book or on your product packaging without asking for permission. This is because it could look like endorsement from Wikimedia Foundation and mislead users. You are of course free to use the non-stylized Wikimedia wordmarks in a book title but remember to ask for permission.
4.14 Does this also apply to handbooks, like "A beginner's guide to Wikipedia", aimed at community members?
Yes. But, please send us a request and we will give prompt permission when appropriate. We love Wikipedia guides!
4.15 Does it make a difference if the book is being published by an educational publisher?
No, you will need permission as well, because even educational publishers are commercial entities.
4.16 Do I need permission to show the Wikipedia marks in a film I am making for my school project?
If you are showing your film to the public, or at your school or workplace, you need permission. But we will make sure to make the permission process as easy and fast as possible.
4.17 Will I have to donate a portion of the retail price for commercial merchandise?
No. But you will have to tell your customers if you don't donate your profits.
4.18 What do I have to say if I am donating a portion of my proceeds to the Wikimedia Foundation?
Just clearly state what portion of your proceeds will be given to the Wikimedia Foundation. You can, for example, say: "X% of your purchase will be donated to the Wikimedia Foundation."
4.19 Where should I state how much of my proceeds will be donated?
We recommend placing the notice right next to the purchase price, where it will be clearly visible to all buyers.
4.20 Do I need to mention donations to the Wikimedia Foundation if I don't donate anything at all?
Yes. You should state that 0% of your profits will go to the Wikimedia Foundation. Otherwise, users may mistakenly believe that you're doing fundraising for the Foundation.
5 Prohibited uses
5.1 Can I make a fake Wikipedia article if it is intended as a joke?
There are exceptions where this is permissible, but they are very limited. You will likely not fall under such an exception if your mimicking site has any commercial background. Please refer to the section on Parodies. Most importantly, you must make sure that no one (really no one!) could confuse your site with any part of a Wikimedia site.
5.2 How do I distinguish between a prohibited mimicking site and a parody site?
Here is an example of a mimicking site: Contrary to the Wikipedia guidelines, you create an article on Wikipedia about yourself or your organization. For unknown reasons, "your" article is deleted. This makes you mad. You register the domain "businesspedia.org" and design a website that looks just like the Wikipedia article that just got deleted, including a link to your own website. You are happy to attract more traffic to it by confusing internet users. Booo!
An example of parody site: Imagine you have a great friend called Rory and his birthday is coming up. You register the domain "rorypedia.org" and design a website that looks just like a humorous Wikipedia biography on your friend Rory. Since you don't want anyone to confuse "Rorypedia" and Wikipedia, you put a bright colored bar on the top of your site saying, "This page is a present for Rory from his awesome friends and not affiliated with Wikipedia. Happy birthday, Rory!" And you take down the site once the birthday party is over. Yaaay!
5.3 How do I avoid mimicking Wikimedia sites when I use the Mediawiki software?
All wikis using Mediawiki do in fact share certain graphic elements under the default theme, but the Wikimedia sites have certain visual features that distinguish them. Do not imitate these distinguishing features. For example, you should not use logos that are confusingly similar to the Wikimedia marks or name your site something that sounds like a Wikimedia site. But you can use the "Powered by MediaWiki" button as that button simply describes that the wiki is powered by MediaWiki.
5.4 Can I use the marks to link to a mirror of a Wikimedia site?
No. The Wikimedia marks can only be used for linking to a real Wikimedia site. By that, we mean those sites that are run by the Wikimedia community.
Also, if you want to set up a mirror of a Wikimedia site, please refer to the section on mirrors.
5.5 Can you give me some examples of misrepresentation with respect to the marks?
A misrepresentative use can be something that represents yourself. That includes using a Wikimedia logo in your logo, letterhead, or the name of your organization. Online examples are your social media avatar, favicon, and website domain.
If you operate a business that offers services related to Wikimedia projects or products, such as Wikipedia content monitoring or creation, then it is particularly important to avoid misrepresentation through misuse of the Wikimedia trademarks. Even if you think that you are making nominative use of the Wikimedia marks, you may wind up misleading potential customers by making them think that your business is endorsed by the Wikimedia Foundation or any of our sites. The same confusion can occur if you adopt a name or logo that is similar to one of the Wikimedia marks.
6 Reporting Trademark Misuse
6.1 How do you fight trademark infringement?
Each year, we receive over 100 reports of trademark violations from community members. We also employ outside contractors and legal counsel to help protect our trademark portfolio globally. Within our resource constraints, our legal team pursues misuses of our marks to ensure that the Wikimedia logos remain distinctively associated with the Wikimedia community. After careful and sensitive evaluation, we send out cease-and-desist letters, which are usually effective. In the few instances that cannot be resolved by other means, we consider litigation to protect the marks.
6.2 Who is responsible for enforcing Wikimedia’s trademarks?
Trademark enforcement is currently handled by the WMF legal team to ensure consistency and compliance with trademark law. But we rely on the Wikimedia community to help us identify potential trademark infringements.
6.3 What happens when you receive a report of a potential trademark infringement?
When we receive a complaint that our trademarks are being misused, we first send a confirmation to the person submitting the complaint. Potential infringements are then logged into our system. The legal team then combs through each of those complaints to investigate the alleged infringement. We visit the site personally to make sure the complaint has merit. Then we apply US trademark law in assessing whether there is actual “misuse” and it is a valid infringement of the trademark. In general, the standard of “misuse” in US law is whether the use of the trademark is “confusingly similar” to WMF’s use of the trademark. In other words, will the potential infringers use of the trademark confuse users into thinking their site is sponsored by or hosted by WMF? We always contact the potential infringer first to see if they will voluntarily stop using our marks or work with us to make their use less confusing. If we are unable to work things out informally, and they refuse to comply with a cease and desist letter, we decide whether to move forward with litigation to stop the infringement.
6.4 Can I send a cease and desist letter on behalf of the Wikimedia Foundation when I find misuse?
Please don't. We really appreciate your help with trademark enforcement, but please report any misuses to us so that we can determine what action is appropriate.
7 Revision of the trademark policy
7.1 Why can you just change the FAQ section?
The FAQs are not part of the trademark policy. We created them to help you understand the policy. We want to to add new questions from the community in the future and to clarify any answers users may find confusing. That is why we want to be able to update the FAQs easily.
7.2 What if I do not agree with the changes to the policy?
We encourage you to share your comments and concerns with us during the community feedback period following any announced changes. We will take all comments under careful advisement and ensure that any changes to our policy are consistent with our mission.
8 Other questions
8.1 What is "naked licensing"?
Failure to exercise quality control in trademark licensing is referred to as "naked licensing," and can sometimes result in loss of trademark rights.
8.2 What are the Visual Identity Guidelines?
They are a set of guidelines you should follow when using any of the Wikimedia marks. These guidelines ensure that the marks always look their best and are not distorted in any way.
8.3 How do the Visual Identity Guidelines relate to the trademark policy?
The Visual Identity Guidelines are a separate document from the trademark policy and can be revised without notice. These guidelines help to make sure the Wikimedia marks are always used consistently with the same level of quality. Consistent use is important in order for us to maintain protection over the Wikimedia marks. It helps avoid confusion among users that may view marks similar to the Wikimedia marks. If Wikimedia marks are displayed consistently, users can be sure when they are viewing actual Wikimedia content instead of an imposter site.
8.4 What if I have more questions?
If you have any other questions that are not addressed here, please post them on the discussion page. We will try to expand and improve our FAQs over time.