Wikipedia:Copyright problems

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This page is for listing and discussing possible copyright problems involving text on Wikipedia, including pages which are suspected to be copyright violations. Listings typically remain for at least five days before review and closure by a copyright problems clerk or administrator. During this time, interested contributors are invited to offer feedback about the problem at the relevant talk page, to propose revisions to the material, or to request copyright permission. After the listing period, a copyright problems board clerk or administrator will review the listing and take what further action may be necessary.

Pages listed for copyright review appear in the bottom section of the page. The top includes information for people who have copyright concerns about pages or images, for those whose pages have been tagged for concerns, for community volunteers who'd like to help resolve concerns and for the clerks and administrators who volunteer here.

If you believe a Wikipedia page has infringed on your copyright, please see special note below.
If a page you created has been marked as a copyright problem and you own copyright in the original publication (or have permission from the owner), please see this section.


Handling previously published text on Wikipedia

For more details on this topic, see Wikipedia:Copy-paste.

Under the United States law that governs Wikipedia, copyright is automatically assumed as soon as any content (text or other media) is created in a physical form. An author does not need to apply for or even claim copyright, for a copyright to exist.

Only one of the following allows works to be reused in Wikimedia projects:

A) Explicit Statement. An explicit statement (by the author, or by the holder of the rights to the work) that the material is either:

B) Public Domain. If the work is inherently in the public domain, due to its age, source or lack of originality (such as Copyright-free logos); or

C) Fair Use. United States law allows for fair use of copyrighted content, and (within limits) Wikipedia does as well. Under guidelines for non-free content, brief selections of copyrighted text may be used, but only if clearly marked and with full attribution.

Even if a source is public domain or compatibly licensed, material should be properly attributed in accordance with Wikipedia:Plagiarism. This is not only a matter of respecting local custom. When content is under a license that is compatible with Wikipedia's license, proper attribution may be required. If the terms of the compatible license are not met, use of the content can constitute a violation of copyright even if the license is compatible.

Repeated copyright violations

Contributors who repeatedly post copyrighted material (text or images) may be subject to contributor copyright investigations, to help ensure the removal from the project of all copyrighted material posted in contravention of policy. Contributors who repeatedly post copyrighted material after appropriate warnings will be blocked from editing, to protect the project; see 17 United States Code § 512.

Backwards copying: when Wikipedia had (or may have had) it first

In some instances, it is clear that two pieces of text (one on Wikipedia, and one elsewhere) are copies of each other, but not clear which piece is the original and which is the copy. "Compliant" sites that copy Wikipedia text note that they have done so, but not all of our re-users are compliant.

If you've found such a case, you might first check the discussion page to see if a note has been added to the top of the talk page allay people's concerns. If not, you can look for clues. Do other pages in the other website copy other Wikipedia articles? Did the content show up on Wikipedia all in once piece, placed by a single editor? If you don't see good evidence that Wikipedia had it first, it's a good idea to bring it up for investigation. You might follow the Instructions for listing below or tag the article {{copy-paste|url=possible source}} so that others can evaluate. If you confirm definitely that the content was on Wikipedia first, please consider adding {{backwardscopy}} to the article's talk page with an explanation of how you know.

If you see an article somewhere else which was copied from Wikipedia without attribution, you might visit the CC-BY-SA compliance page or Wikipedia:Mirrors and forks.

Instructions for listing text-based copyright concerns

Copyright owners: If you believe Wikipedia is infringing your copyright, you may request immediate removal of the copyright violation. Alternatively, you may contact Wikipedia's designated agent under the terms of the Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act. You are also welcome to follow the procedures here. See the copyright policy for more information.

Blatant infringement

Pages exhibiting blatant copyright infringements may be speedily deleted if:

  • Content was copied from a source which does not have a license compatible with Wikipedia, and the content was copied from that source to Wikipedia and not the other way around (Wikipedia has numerous mirrors);
  • The page can neither be restored to a previous revision without infringing content, nor would the page be viable if the infringing content were removed.
  • There is no credible assertion of public domain, fair use, or a free license.

To nominate an article for speedy deletion for copyright concerns, add one of these to the page:

Both of these templates will generate a notice that you should give the contributor of the content. This is important to help ensure that they do not continue to add copyrighted content to Wikipedia. An administrator will examine the article and decide whether to delete it or not. You should not blank the page in this instance.

Suspected or complicated infringement

If infringement is not blatant or the speedy deletion criteria do not apply:

  • Remove the infringing text or revert the page to a non-copyrighted version if you can.
    The infringing text will remain in the page history for archival reasons unless the copyright holder asks the Wikimedia Foundation to remove it (unless it is tagged for {{copyvio-revdel}}. Please note the reason for removal in the edit summary and at the article's talk page (you may wish to use {{subst:cclean}}). When possible, please identify and alert the contributor of the material to the problem. The template {{Uw-copyright}} may be used for this purpose.
  • However, if all revisions have copyright problems, the removal of the copyright problem is contested, or reversion/removal is otherwise complicated:
  • Replace the text with one of the following:

    {{subst:copyvio|url=insert URL here}}

    {{subst:copyvio|identify non-web source here}}

  • Go to today's section and add

    * {{subst:article-cv|PageName}} from [insert URL or identify non-web source here] ~~~~

    to the bottom of the list. Put the page's name in place of "PageName". If you do not have a URL, enter a description of the source. (This text can be copied from the top of the template after substituting it and the page name and url will be filled for you.) If there is not already a page for the day, as yours would be the first listing, please add {{subst:cppage}} to the top.
  • Advise the contributor of the material at their talk page. The template on the now blanked page supplies a notice you may use for that purpose.

Instructions for special cases

  • Probable copyvios without a known source: If you suspect that a page contains a copyright violation, but you cannot find a source for the violation (so you can't be sure that it's a violation), do not list it here. Instead, place {{cv-unsure|~~~|2=FULL_URL}} on the page's talk page, but replace FULL_URL with the full URL of the page version that you believe contains a violation. (To determine the URL, click on "Permanent link" in the toolbox area, and copy the URL.)
  • Instances where one contributor has verifiably introduced copyright problems into multiple pages or files and assistance is needed in further review: See Wikipedia:Contributor copyright investigations.

Instructions for handling image copyright concerns

For more details on this topic, see Wikipedia:Guide to image deletion.

Image copyright concerns are not handled on this board. For images that are clear copyright violations, follow the procedure for speedy deletion; list images that are suspected to be copyright violations at possibly unfree images and images with disputed fair use rationales at Non-free content review. To request assistance with contributors who have infringed copyright in multiple articles or files, see Wikipedia:Contributor copyright investigations.

Responding to articles listed for copyright investigation

Copyright owners and people editing on their behalf or with their permission, please see below.

Any contributor is welcome to help investigate articles listed for copyright concerns, although only administrators, copyright problems board clerks, and OTRS team members should remove {{copyvio}} tags and mark listings resolved.

Assistance might include supplying evidence of non-infringement (or, conversely, of infringement) or obtaining and verifying permission of license. You might also help by rewriting problematic articles.

Supplying evidence of non-infringement

Articles are listed for copyright investigation because contributors have reason to suspect they constitute a copyright concern, but not every article listed here is actually a copyright problem. Sometimes, the content was on Wikipedia first. Sometimes, the article is public domain or compatibly licensed. Sometimes, the person who placed it here is the copyright owner and this simply needs to be verified.

If you can provide information to prove license or public domain status of the article, please do. It doesn't matter if you do it under the listing for the article on the copyright problems board or on the talk page of the article; a link or a clear explanation can be very helpful when a clerk or administrator evaluates the matter. (As listings are not immediately addressed on the board, it may take a few days after you make your note before response is provided.)

If the article is tagged for {{copyvio}}, you should allow an administrator or copyright problems clerk to remove the tag. If the article is tagged for {{copy-paste}} or {{close paraphrasing}}, you may remove the tag from the article when the problem is addressed (or disproven), but please do not close the listing on the copyright problems board itself.

Obtaining/verifying permission

Sometimes material was placed on Wikipedia with the permission of the copyright owner. Sometimes copyright owners are willing to give permission (and proper license!) even if it was not.

Any contributor can write to the owner of copyright and check whether they gave or will give permission (or maybe they in fact posted it here!). See Wikipedia:Example requests for permission. In either case, unless a statement authorizing the material under compatible license is placed online at the point of original publication, permission will need to be confirmed through e-mail to the Wikimedia Foundation. See Wikipedia:Confirmation of permission. If a compatible license is placed online at the point of original publication, please provide a link to that under the listing for the article on the copyright problems board or on the talk page of the article.

Please note that it may take a few days for letters to clear once they are sent. Do not worry if the content is deleted prematurely; it can be restored at any point usable permission is logged.

Rewriting content

Any contributor may rewrite articles that are or seem to be copyight problems to exclude duplicated or closely paraphrased text. When articles or sections of articles are blanked as copyright problems, this is done on a temporary page at Draft:PAGENAME so that the new material can be copied over the old. (The template blanking the article will link to the specific temporary page.)

Please do not copy over the version of the article that is a copyright problem as your base. All copied content, or material derived from it, should be removed first. Other content from the article can be used, if there is no reason to believe that it may be a copyright issue as well. It is often a good idea - and essential when the content is copied from an inaccessible source such as a book - to locate the point where the material entered the article and eliminate all text added by that contributor. This will help avoid inadvertently continuing the copyright issues in your rewrite. If you use any text at all from the earlier version of the article, please leave a note at the talk page of the article to alert the administrator or clerk who addresses the listing. The history of the old article will then have to be retained. (If the original turns out to be non-infringing, the two versions of the article can be merged.)

Rewrites can be done directly in articles that have been tagged for {{close paraphrasing}} and {{copy-paste}}, with those tags removed after the rewrite is complete.

Please review Wikipedia:Copy-paste and the linked guidelines and policies within it if necessary to review Wikipedia's practices for handling non-free text. Reviewing Wikipedia:Plagiarism is also helpful, particularly where content is compatibly licensed or public domain. Repairing these issues can sometimes be as simple as supplying proper attribution.

Copyright owners who submitted their own work to Wikipedia (or people editing on their behalf)

Policy shortcut:

If you submitted work to Wikipedia which you had previously published and your submission was marked as a potential infringement of copyright, then stating on the article's talk page that you are the copyright holder of the work (or acting as his or her agent), while not likely to prevent deletion, helps. To completely resolve copyright concerns, it is sufficient to either:

See also Wikipedia:Donating copyrighted materials.

Please note that it may take a bit of time for letters and e-mails to clear once they are sent. Do not worry if the content is deleted prematurely; it can be restored at any point usable permission is logged. Your e-mail will receive a response whether the permission is usable or not. If you have not received a response to your letter within two weeks, it is a good idea to follow up.

One other factor you should consider, however, is that content that has been previously published elsewhere may not meet Wikipedia's specific guidelines and policies. If you are not familiar with these policies and guidelines, please review especially the core policies that govern the project. This may help prepare you to deal with any other issues with the text that may arise.

Should you choose to rewrite the content rather than release it under the requisite license, please see above.

Information about the people who process copyright problems listed on the board

Copyright problems board clerks

For a more complete description of clerks and their duties, as well as a list of active clerks, please see Wikipedia:Copyright problems/Clerks.

Copyright problems board clerks are experienced editors on Wikipedia who have demonstrated familiarity with Wikipedia's approach to non-free text and its processes for dealing with them. They are trusted to evaluate and close listings, although their closures may sometimes require completion by administrators, when use of administrative tools is required. Clerks are periodically reviewed by the administrators who work in copyright areas on Wikipedia.

Copyright problems board administrators

For a more complete description of administrators on Wikipedia, please see Wikipedia:Administrators.

Any administrator may work the copyright problems board. Working the copyright problems board may involve evaluating listings personally or using tools as necessary to complete closures by clerks. Clerks have been evaluated in their work, and their recommendations may be implemented without double-checking, although any administrator is welcome to review recommendations and discuss them with the clerks in question.

Closing listings

Pages should stay listed for a minimum of 5 days before they are checked and processed by copyright problems board clerks, 7 days before they are checked or processed by administrators, who close the daily listings. OTRS agents who verify images may close listings at any time.

For advice for resolving listings, see:

The templates collected at Template:CPC may be useful for administrators, clerks and OTRS agents noting resolution.

Listings of possible copyright problems

Very old issues

Older than 7 days

Below are articles that have been listed here for longer than 7 days. At this point, they may be processed by any administrator (see WP:CPAA). When every ticket on a day is clear, the day may be removed.

18 October 2014

Copyright investigations (manual article tagging)
  • Pictogram voting wait red.svg Article cleaned, still needs a history purge to remove original copyvio. --—Mikemoral♪♫ 07:02, 18 October 2014 (UTC)
  • I went ahead and removed all the copyrighted material from the article. See [1]. The copyrighted material added by Vyvy223 (talk · contribs) still remains in the article history. —Mikemoral♪♫ 07:02, 18 October 2014 (UTC)
  • Pictogram voting support.svg Purged. Copyright problem removed from history. --Moonriddengirl (talk) 22:00, 11 November 2014 (UTC)
  • I've cleaned this one but won't have time to do a contribution scan today. So I'm not marking this one done. :/ --Moonriddengirl (talk) 14:10, 14 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Pictogram voting keep.svg Article cleaned by investigator or others. No remaining infringement. Installed rewrite; cleaned some spam. --Moonriddengirl (talk) 14:22, 14 November 2014 (UTC)

20 October 2014

Copyright investigations (manual article tagging)

28 October 2014

Copyright investigations (manual article tagging)

Josip Plemelj has an extremely long quote from a 1992 source given in the sources section. The quote begins at the start of paragraph 3 of the section "A geometrical construction from his school days", and runs all the way to the end of the article. Copyvio? (talk) 17:38, 28 October 2014 (UTC)

  • Well, if they're his own words, as the article says, he has to have said them before 1967, as that's the year he died. The author of a 1992 book is not likely to own copyright to them. The question is where and when they were published originally, and according to [2], I'm guessing that's 1951. Presuming this is published in Slovenia. According to Wikipedia:Non-U.S. copyrights, copyright persists for 70 years PMA in Slovenia, so the book should be copyrighted until 2037. Which means, yes, that's too much. I'll ask User:Jheald if he can help, since he's done cleanup on the article before. If not, that section will need to be marked. There's no way I could paraphrase it. :/ --Moonriddengirl (talk) 11:42, 20 November 2014 (UTC)
@Moonriddengirl:. Looking at the edit history, I fear I dumped it at the end because I didn't want to touch it. I have no recollection now as to why I was interested in this article, or translated a chunk of it from French. It does seem a shame to cut it, with the attractive illustrations, but I'm not at all sure it's notable. Also I'm suffering from a miserable cold at the moment, and have rather a lot on my to-do list. Would it be terrible of me to pass the buck? Maybe you could ask at WT:MATH for views about what to do with the section? Jheald (talk) 11:53, 20 November 2014 (UTC)
Jheald, of course not! I really appreciate your looking into it and your suggestion. I'll ask at WP:MATH. Sorry to hear about your cold, and I hope you feel better. :) --Moonriddengirl (talk) 11:55, 20 November 2014 (UTC)
I worked on fixing this article yesterday (I did not write any of the content) and when reviewing all of the external links/references I didn't immediately see anything that looked like copyright infringement. I took some time to further read the Newsweek article alleged of being violated and comparing it to the article text and I couldn't see anything obviously copied. Are we sure this article is in violation? When I first read it, I thought the article did a good job of not looking copy-pasted. Maybe someone is seeing something I don't? Buddy23Lee (talk) 18:12, 29 October 2014 (UTC)
  • Pictogram voting keep.svg Article cleaned by investigator or others. No remaining infringement. Revdelete request added for admin attention. Justlettersandnumbers (talk) 18:50, 6 November 2014 (UTC)

5 November 2014

Copyright investigations (manual article tagging)
  • Pictogram voting keep.svg Article cleaned by investigator or others. No remaining infringement. --Moonriddengirl (talk) 12:04, 20 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Pictogram voting keep.svg Article cleaned by investigator or others. No remaining infringement. --Moonriddengirl (talk) 12:04, 20 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Indonesia, Bangladesh and Thailand are cleaned; not sure about Philippines because there may be some backwards copying; the *stans, Japan, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar and Vietnam are all OK; Arab states needs to be cleaned. MER-C 10:36, 23 November 2014 (UTC)
  • You are right, Justlettersandnumbers. In such cases, what I do is look at the first change after the suspected infringement and search for original content. If we find it, we know that a backwardscopyvio could have occurred only in whatever window exists between the edit and the change. In this case, I find [3]. There was a three day window in 2006 when that could have been copied from Wikipedia. If we are unable to prove that they copied the content then, we must presume that we copied from them - and with a serial copyright infringer, this is far more likely. This article is of high importance to the project, so I'll alert them before processing it. Maybe somebody can rewrite it. In terms of a CCI, I'm going to have to leave that open as well until more time. :/ --Moonriddengirl (talk) 12:13, 20 November 2014 (UTC)

9 November 2014

Copyright investigations (manual article tagging)
  • Pictogram voting keep.svg Article cleaned by investigator or others. No remaining infringement. Revdelete request added for admin attention. The AfC is also a copyvio, tagged for speedy deletion as G12/G13. Justlettersandnumbers (talk) 15:35, 18 November 2014 (UTC)

11 November 2014

Copyright investigations (manual article tagging)

12 November 2014

Copyright investigations (manual article tagging)

13 November 2014

Copyright investigations (manual article tagging)
I looked at other contributions of Wallner, some of which were definitely not good - so obviously so that most were soon removed. I don't think there's now any cause for concern. Justlettersandnumbers (talk) 21:51, 13 November 2014 (UTC)

14 November 2014

Copyright investigations (manual article tagging)

Bisi Ezerioha (history · last edit · rewrite) from [4] I'm not sure which way it goes. The page creator claims this other website took it from Wikipedia, a previous version of the article. Oiyarbepsy (talk) 05:16, 14 November 2014 (UTC)

Yes they took it, the date on that web site is way after the Wikipedia page, I restored history so that you can see it. I also remvoe the tag as there is not a problem here. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 11:51, 15 November 2014 (UTC)

15 November 2014

Copyright investigations (manual article tagging)

16 November 2014

Copyright investigations (manual article tagging)

17 November 2014

Copyright investigations (manual article tagging)
Seems like there are so many false positives in the report that it is nearly useless, e.g. people's names (5), names of locations (7), events (5), that rewriting would change the meaning to a degree that would make them incorrect. It seems like for this to be useful the number of false positives would have to be greatly decreased. Running the report with a more conservative 3 word/21 charcater setting still yeilds 6 out of 10 false positives. Are articles usually blanked prior to a human verifying false positives like this, or after? When I think about the effect of having a page blanked and an automated message like this has on a new, well meaning contributor, It makes me seriously question if this is the best process. jaredzimmerman (talk) 08:01, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
Pages are not blanked by automation, jaredzimmerman. They are tagged for review by human beings; this one was blanked by a human being upon that review and will be reviewed again after at least seven days are provided for analysis and community input. That said, a review of the duplication detector report shows more than simply people's names, names of locations and events:
Source Article
She attended Vassar College and upon graduation she returned to the Bay Area, where she studied for a year (1923-1924) with Ralph Stackpole at the California School of Fine Arts (now the San Francisco Art Institute). She studied at Vassar College from 1919–1923 and upon graduation she returned to the San Francisco Bay Area, where she studied for a year (1923-1924) with Ralph Stackpole at the California School of Fine Arts (now the San Francisco Art Institute).
Citations omitted; bolding added to show areas or precise duplication. This is, I'm afraid, closer paraphrasing than the English Wikipedia permits. While information is not copyrighted under the U.S. law that governs us, creative elements of presentation - including language and structure - are. Wikipedia:Close paraphrasing has more information. I have not checked to see how extensive the issue is, but the concern is warranted. Either I or another administrator or a copyright clerk will close out after at least seven days, during which the content may be defended or rewritten, as described on the template now blanking the page. --Moonriddengirl (talk) 14:24, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
Thanks, MRG! Jaredzimmerman (WMF), on the overall scale of things I don't think the problem here is a very serious one, but do think that it needs to be evaluated. This was the first article created by Jooojay that I looked at after listing Robert Boardman Howard yesterday, and I was disturbed to find similar problems here, even if not very extensive. As you can see, the content was pasted into the initial version of the page as a headless sentence, without any other alteration from the (presumed) source. I could have fixed it in moments, but chose instead to list it here for wider scrutiny – which it is now getting! Justlettersandnumbers (talk) 15:35, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
I am sorry, I was a newer user and I made a mistake. I had never heard to the term Wikipedia:Close paraphrasing prior to two days ago when Justlettersandnumbers placed the copyright violation template on my talk page. Instead of talking to me about it or attempting to communicate to me to make changes and explain the issues at hand, I get an unfriendly and threatening template telling me I am being investigated. This has definitely made me realize how hostile and how unwanted I am in this online community. Once again I never meant harm, I am sorry about my error and I will not be editing Wikipedia anymore. Jooojay (talk) 17:08, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
That, on the other hand, I do see as a serious problem. Jooojay, I hope that you will reconsider. Justlettersandnumbers (talk) 17:22, 17 November 2014 (UTC)

18 November 2014

Copyright investigations (manual article tagging)
Bir Narayan Chaudhary Possibly not a Copyvio, as the source claims to have gotten it from Wikipedia. Mathglot (talk) 00:48, 18 November 2014 (UTC)
Then again, it appears to copy-paste from other, non-wiki references cited in the article, namely these:
Not sure if this should be retagged with Template:Copypaste, or if it should remain a copyvio, how to tag more than one url in the Template. Mathglot (talk) 01:04, 18 November 2014 (UTC)
The user is apparently an adolescent whose native language is not English, so please tread gently. I edited the text generated from the subst'd Nothanks-web on his talk page to add some intro text with a few encouraging words, and tried to summarize what the boilerplate was all about. Hopefully he won't feel bitten. Mathglot (talk) 01:26, 18 November 2014 (UTC)
The editor posted a note about copyright on Talk:Marina Tchebourkina, then removed the copyvio template. Maybe an English comprehension issue, hard to tell. Basie (talk) 19:37, 18 November 2014 (UTC)
  • A Fairly Honourable Defeat (history · last edit · rewrite) from an article from Magill's Masterplots published in 1987. A Google Books search of sentences in the text led to the book: However, because Google Books only provides snippet view, you can't find the material by searching at the book's page itself. I was interested enough to obtain through my library a copy of the article from Masterplots, in order to verify. (Volume 1 pp 483-487) The material had been added in three big chunks by an IP contributor in June 2010. Probably the material was copy/pasted from the online version, Ebsco's Magill on Literature Plus. The copyvio material was interspersed with other previously existing text so I just edited the article to take the Magill stuff out. I didn't put the copyvio template on the article. HazelAB (talk) 01:59, 18 November 2014 (UTC)
BTW, I'm planning to revise this article in the next couple of days, adding references to reliable sources. HazelAB (talk) 13:23, 18 November 2014 (UTC)

New listings

Notice:If the links below in this section are broken, it's because there are too many unresolved copyright problems, If enough issues are closed, they'll work again. (So help!)
(Above notice per MER-C.)
WARNING! It also means that some reported problems are not on this page!!!

New listings are not added directly to this page but are instead on daily reports. To add a new listing, please go to today's section. Instructions for adding new listings can be found at Instructions for listing text-based copyright concerns. Entries may not be reviewed and are not closed for at least 7 days to give the original authors of the article time to deal with the problem.

Older than 5 days

Below are articles that have been listed here for longer than 5 days. At this point, they may be processed by a copyright problems board clerk. After 7 days, they may be closed by an administrator.

19 November 2014

Copyright investigations (manual article tagging)

20 November 2014

Copyright investigations (manual article tagging)

Recent listings

Below are articles that have been listed here for 5 days or less. Anyone in the community may help clarify the copyright status on these. See the section on responding for more information.

21 November 2014

Copyright investigations (manual article tagging)

22 November 2014

Copyright investigations (manual article tagging)

23 November 2014

Copyright investigations (manual article tagging)

24 November 2014

Copyright investigations (manual article tagging)

25 November 2014

Copyright investigations (manual article tagging)

26 November 2014

Copyright investigations (manual article tagging)


Wikipedia's current date is 26 November 2014. Put new article listings in Wikipedia:Copyright problems/2014 November 26. Images should be handled by speedy deletion, possibly unfree files or Wikipedia:Non-free content review.