Currently, due to request by a Commons admin, the iOS app doesn't use nonfree images outside the article itself. However, users reading english Wikipedia with the app in the US are currently restricted from seeing non-free images in (for example) recommendations and news article previews, even though those images are shown in the web's "Main page" or wikis with Page Previews deployed, under the doctrine of "fair use" and the global exemption policy. That Commons policy was recently amended for the page previews feature, to allow use of these images outside articles for "page previews", and it should be clarified whether other uses (such as in the feed) in the app should fall under a similar rationale or are even subject to that policy as "cross-wiki" projects.
|Open||None||T87268 Copyright license and attribution issues (tracking)|
|Open||None||T149179 Attribution and copyright tasks for the iOS app (tracking)|
|Resolved||CKoerner_WMF||T168482 Help with discussion of image use exemptions for navigation uses in the apps|
|Open||JMinor||T162474 Revisit the app restriction on non-free images in non-article contexts|
Hi @JMinor. I'm the one who originally suggested enabling non-free images for PagePreviews, and I organized the community endorsement for it. However it doesn't look like non-free images will work in the two cases you described.
Non-free images are allowed in article previews as a partial view of the actual article, directly tied to significant and related educational text. That usage fits within a conservatively-construed educational purpose, reading and understanding the subject.
I am not really familiar with the app. Assuming the app is pulling In_the_news from EnWiki's Main Page, this case is moot. Non-free images are explicitly prohibited there.
It looks like the feed is essentially a list of links to articles with a wikidata_description/article_short_description. I certainly understand why images are nice to have there, however images that are "nice to have" is exactly where we exclude non-free content. Using images to illustrate links to articles is often described as a "merely decorative purpose", with the phrase "merely decorative" being construed rather broadly. Images in the feed are not tied to educational article text, and the feed would work perfectly well if it had no images at all. The images are non-essential there, and non-free images are excluded.
Use of non-free content is deliberately more restricted that fair use would allow, and this is not merely a community position. The Board of Trustees resolution on non-free content requires exemptions for such use to be minimal, and explicitly says it may not be circumvented, eroded, or ignored by Wikimedia Foundation officers or staff nor local policies of any Wikimedia project. Non-free images are a complex and much discussed issue. The narrow limitations are themselves a compromise vs excluding non-free images entirely. In part, the sometimes painful limitations on non-free images serve to encourage the upload of free alternatives.