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Administrivia / About Images and Copyright

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The wiki takes copyright seriously. People copyright things because they want to make their living from the creative process that made the thing. We are all about creativity.

In order to talk about creativity we sometimes want to show a part of the thing created. That is cool. It is called Fair Use. In order to make the use fair, we have to follow some rules. The big one that makes the rest of the little ones easy to remember is: You can only show an excerpt, not the whole thing.


Note: This policy is about copyright in general. For information about TV Tropes' obligations under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, click 'DMCA Notice' in the site footer.

Copyright symbols

  • If there is a copyright symbol © but no name on the part of work shown, it needs to be made clear that there is more of the work, or it looks like we're claiming the copyright, which would be bad.
  • If there is a copyright symbol © with or without a name, on the work shown, and there isn't any more to that work — a single-panel comic, for example — we can't use it at all. It is not an excerpt. It is the whole thing.
  • If there is a copyright symbol © with or without a name on the work, we can't simply remove it. That wouldn't be honest, or fair. We can show a part of the work that doesn't have the copyright symbol, though, and it is preferable to do so. Just clipping off and showing the part of an image that doesn't have the symbol is not an excerpt.


A watermark is any printing or image deliberately overlaid across the image in order to interfere with seeing it completely clearly. It's an anti-theft measure. We can't use it. Period. The artist might provide us with an un-watermarked version, but it's on us to ask for it, and if we don't get it then we need to look somewhere else. Making a copy of the image and then Photoshopping out the watermark is not kosher.

This is a watermarked image: note


TV channels use bugs mostly for marketing purposes rather than as an anti-theft measure. A single screencap from a show is Fair Use, and an image with a bug in the corner is acceptable, although one without it is preferable, because it's prettier. This image has a bug (circled):

That's It.

We will honor all take down requests based on copyright. That is really the entirety of the wiki's obligation. We are not obligated to seek out permissions for excerpt use or to investigate to discover what a creator's copyright policy might be.

Hopefully that clears up questions about how and when we can show parts of works. If you have further questions, post the question in this thread. If you see a page image that you think violates these guidelines, make a thread for it in the Image Pickin' forum. Just click the 'workshops' button at the top of the page, then select the IP thread you want.


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