Wikipedia:Guide to image deletion

Images may be deleted on Wikipedia if they do not conform to our image use policy or if they are no longer needed. The purpose of this page is to provide a brief overview of the procedures in place for deleting images or bringing them up for evaluation for inclusion. If you have specific questions, you should go to the most specific policy page related to your question for a prompt and accurate response. The primary avenues for image deletion or evaluation are speedy deletion, proposed deletion, and discussion on image usage (deletion or review).

While images may be deleted for many reasons, a frequent cause of concern is our legal right to display them. If you believe an image should be deleted for reasons related to copyright, licensing, or compliance with non-free content guidelines, please see the "Copyright concerns" section below. Problems not related to copyright or licensing are addressed under "Other concerns".

This page describes the process for deleting images hosted on the English Wikipedia – for deletion of images hosted at Wikimedia Commons, see Commons:Deletion policy. If an image is available on both projects, and it is deleted here, it's a good idea to also bring it up for deletion on Commons.

Images and photographs, like written works, are subject to copyright. Any work created in the United States since 1978 is automatically copyrighted unless it has been explicitly placed in the public domain, and this also applies to most other nations in the world today. Many older works are copyrighted as well. Most images found on the Internet need to be licensed directly from the copyright holder or someone able to license on their behalf. In some cases, fair use guidelines may allow an image to be used irrespective of any copyright claims. Image description pages must be tagged with a special tag to indicate the legal status of the images, as described at Wikipedia:Image copyright tags. Untagged or incorrectly-tagged images will be deleted.

If you are uncertain of the copyright status of an image that you would like to use or have concerns about an existing image that are insufficient to prompt action as set forth below, you may seek feedback at media copyright questions.

If you encounter an image that is indisputably non-free, and it can comply with our non-free content policy, be bold and retag it as a non-free image with an appropriate tag. Otherwise:

Be sure to check the template that will appear on the image after tagging to see if additional steps, such as notifying the contributor, are necessary.

There are several circumstances unrelated to copyright which may result in an image being speedily deleted. These include, but are not limited to:

For other concerns that may require deletion of an image, including if the image is unneeded, Wikipedia:Files for discussion should be used. Please follow the instructions there for listing the image for review. Images that have been listed there for more than 7 days are eligible for deletion if either a consensus to do so has been reached or no objections to deletion have been raised.

Users may feel attacked or demoralized when a large number of their uploads are nominated for deletion all at once. They may feel that the result is fait accompli because they are unable to thoughtfully respond to so many nominations in a short period. In situations where a larger number of images uploaded in good faith by a single user, or multiple images from the same group of articles, need to be tagged for deletion, nominators should consider ways of softening the impact on the editors affected. This may include:

Generally, an image should not be deleted merely because it's unused, because if it is has been previously used in an article, that article's history becomes harder to understand since old versions of the article can no longer display the now-disused image. Exception: A fair-use image which, for seven days, remains unused will have to be deleted – see Wikipedia:Non-free_content#7.

Non-controversial undeletions may be requested at Wikipedia:Requests for undeletion. This includes images which were being deleted for licensing reasons, when a user is prepared to provide correct licensing information, or when there is a need for a file which was previously deleted as orphaned and non-free.

For undeletions that are not non-controversial, a suggested first step in requesting undeletion is to approach the deleting administrator. The administrator should be courteously invited to take a second look at the issue. If the matter cannot be resolved through conversation with the deleting administrator, undeletion requests should be brought to deletion review.