Wikipedia talk:Verbatim copying under the GFDL

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Wikipedia and Wikipedia users do not give legal advice

A requirement to mirror?[edit]

Does this mean if one publishes more than 100 copies they must also maintain a mirror web site of the entire Wikipedia site if the URL at Wikipedia is to be considered unstable? Is that really reasonable? Why would the article disappear and if it was moved wouldn't the previous name be left as a redirect? Of course if Wikipedia disappeared that could create a problem, but is that a possibility? Just a thought. — Alex756 21:51, 30 Nov 2003 (UTC)

Thanks for reading. :)
An article would disappear because it was deleted, which happens quite often - check the wikipedia:deletion log for an idea as to frequency - it's perhaps 100 a day, roughly? I lost count. When articles are moved, typically the redirects are left behind, but sometimes the redirects are deleted, or turned into disambiguation pages, etc. Still, one only has to be "reasonably prudent", so maybe these things aren't a problem?
If you don't want to rely on Wikipedia, you don't have to maintain a complete mirror of it. The simplest option for verbatim copiers would be to download the database and rehost that. I'll add some details to the article. Martin 19:27, 1 Dec 2003 (UTC)


Removed from article:

=== History Subunit ===
As the GFDL was never intended for wiki articles, things get complicated. Some allege that the "page history" link is the history subunit and that you should include this "by reference" by linking to it.
However, the "page history" is not in the correct format for the GFDL, is missing information that would be required under the GFDL if it were the history subunit, and is not "Entitled" History. Further, there has been no official declaration from either Bomis or the Wikimedia foundation that the "page history" is intended to represent the history subunit. Further, it is possible to download the Wikipedia database without downloading the full history.
As a result, some allege that you may ignore the "page history" for the purposes of verbatim copying. If the text includes a section Entitled "History", then you should of course copy that along with the rest of the body text.
I'm not sure what this is trying to get at. If you copy an article under the GFDL, verbatim or otherwise, you have to preserve the "history" section (whatever it might be called). On Wikipedia it's called "Page history"; it was given this title precisely because that's the name mentioned in the GFDL. If you copy the document, you have to preserve the history.
All that's pretty clear from the GFDL. The above paragraphs don't seem to be interpreting the GFDL in a meaningful way. I don't think they add anything useful; I'd be interested to hear other people's views. Enchanter 00:14, May 16, 2004 (UTC).
In fact, "Page history" is not the title mentioned in the GFDL. The GFDL says "History". Please re-read the text of the GFDL. One of the relevant sections is 4I:
I. Preserve the section Entitled "History"...
Thus, it is disputable whether Wikipedia's "page history" is supposed to be the GFDL "History" subunit, as the Title is wrong, and for the other reasons given in the paragraphs above. The paragraphs explain the dispute (though apparently not clearly enough), and point out the two differing interpretations that people have taken on the subject. Martin 22:32, 16 May 2004 (UTC)
As far as I am aware, the page history has always been intended to mean the history section of the GFDL. When the original Wikipedia software was written, the link was called "history" for precisely this reason (the link was subsequently changed to "page history", presumably for clarity). There was quite a bit of fuss when the software was introduced because the page histories weren't always preserved, which meant that we weren't fully GFDL compliant.
Furthermore, if the page history section isn't considered as part of the document, that means that wikipedia is not GFDL compliant. The history section is not optional.
I'm concerned that this page is giving too much credence to what I see as a marginal and tenuous argument. Enchanter 18:28, May 17, 2004 (UTC)
Well, pages such as the wikipedia:GFDL History that Cunctator created suggests that, right from the start, this issue was unclear. As far as I know, The Cunctator never got a definitive response on this. I suspect that this is deliberate - Jimbo doesn't want to leave any hostages to fortune, especially with the possibility of renegotiating the GFDL in the future.
That page shows that one individual thought the issue was unclear two years ago; it doesn't reflect the outcome of any debate or decision. As far as I'm aware, Cunctator never got a definitive response on this because he didn't even press the question - he let the matter drop.Enchanter
So do we agree then, that neither of us know whether or not the "page history" was intended to mean the history section of the GFDL, or whether it was intended simply as an editorial tool? Martin 00:35, 26 May 2004 (UTC)
I agree that the original intention is unclear; the link was originally put in by Magnus Mansk when he wrote the software, and I doubt he thought very hard about these issues. At the time, there were lots of ways in which our GFDL compliance was not very good; for example, we didn't have a proper copyright notice. There is some ambiguity, and I think it would be nice to resolve it in some way. Enchanter 22:56, May 28, 2004 (UTC)
The history section is optional, in this sense - you can write an essay, have no history section, and place that essay under the GFDL. It is only if you create modified versions, and only have permission to do so from the GFDL, that you require a history section. For example, if I'm the sole author of a document I've released under the GFDL, I can modify it, release the modified version, and not have to put in a history. As Wikipedia is a collaborative work, and most articles are created solely on Wikipedia, they may fall into this category. Or they may not.
Copyright on Wikipedia articles is generally retained by the contributor. That means that when you modify an article, you do not hold the copyright to the version you are modifying, so the only way you can create a derived work is by following the provisions of the GFDL for creating a derived work. That applies to more or less every edit on Wikipedia where an article has been modified by more than one person.Enchanter
Yes, copyright is maintained by the contributor. When you modify an article, you do not hold the copyright to the version you are modifying, so the only way you can do so is if the copyright holder has granted you a license. Fortunately, such a implicit license exists - the edit box warning that Wikipedia users will mercilessly edit the submitted content, and the result (as with all contributions) will be released under the GFDL, backed by the implicit license arising from contributing to a collaborative encyclopedia. As Wikipedia is a collaborative work, this interpretation is quite natural, maybe even "common sense". Martin 00:35, 26 May 2004 (UTC)
I think arguing for such an implicit license is a bit of a stretch. For a start, when the warning that Wikipedia contributions would be 'mercilessly edited' was written, it wasn't with this interpretation in mind. There was no discussion at the time along the lines of the one that we are having. So I think what you are arguing for is a creative reinterpretation of something that someone wrote, which is not in line with what the writer meant.
Another issue is that the page history stores the history of the authors of the document. Whether or not we give an implicit licence for others to edit the work without invoking the GFDL, I'm not sure that we give an implicit licence for the authorship information not to be preserved. It could be argued that it is important for both the letter and spirit of the GFDL that this information about who wrote what is kept. Enchanter 22:56, May 28, 2004 (UTC)
If a GFDL History is required, then Wikipedia is not GFDL compliant, as the "page history" does not meet the requirements set out in the GFDL, section 4I. This is the case regardless of whether or not one considers the "page history" to be included by reference in the article.
Just what is the problem with the requirements set out in section 4I? The GFDL asks that the "title, year, authors, and publisher" are given. Year and authors are given; the title is the same for each revision, so it's obvious; similarly it's obvious that the publisher is Wikipedia, unless explicitly given otherwise in the edit summary text. So I don't see anything seriously wrong with the format.Enchanter
See below. Martin 00:35, 26 May 2004 (UTC)
Personally, I have grown resigned to the fact that any interpretation of the GFDL arising from actually reading it are either tenuous, result in Wikipedia being non GFDL-compliant, are hideously impractical, or a combination of all three. However, I do understand your concern about emphasis, so I will edit that section of the page. Martin 18:39, 25 May 2004 (UTC)
Agreed, interpreting the GFDL is not for the faint hearted!Enchanter

To clarify my concerns about the page history, this is my response to the reasons given in the article, that the Wikipedia page history:

  • ... is not in the correct format
The GFDL asks that the "title, year, authors, and publisher" are given. Year and authors are given; the title is the same for each revision, so it's obvious; similarly it's obvious that the publisher is Wikipedia, unless explicitly given otherwise in the edit summary text. So I don't see anything seriously wrong with the format. Enchanter
The title is not the same for each revision, as articles can change title. I don't believe the GFDL provides an exception for things that are "obvious". It says "for each item, state the publisher". The history doesn't do that. Also, it doesn't distinguish between "authors" and "new authors". Martin 00:35, 26 May 2004 (UTC)
Again, I agree that Wikipedia is not fully compliant; I don't agree that this warrants the conclusion that the page history does not represent the GFDL history. Enchanter 22:56, May 28, 2004 (UTC)
  • ... is missing required information
You can give whatever information you like in the edit summary; what is "missing"? Enchanter
My bad - I confused myself when I added this. Removed. Martin 00:35, 26 May 2004 (UTC)
  • ... is not "Entitled" History (though it was in the past)
Saying that the history section isn't the history section because the title says "Page history" or "Revision history" rather than "history" seems a bit silly to me, and not a strong argument either in legal terms or according to common sense.Enchanter
I'm happy for third parties to judge the strength or weakness of the argument, and act accordingly. Martin 00:35, 26 May 2004 (UTC)
I don't think that that is adequate. If you're using something under license, and there's ambiguity about how the license is to be interpreted, the natural response is to ask the owner of the materials you are using (the Wikipedia contributors) what they think - after all, they are the people who could sue you! I think Wikipedia ought to have a view on this, and that this view should be reflected in the copyright pages. Enchanter 22:56, May 28, 2004 (UTC)
  • ... is incomplete in many articles, notably those that have been merged or split, in very old pages, in pages moved or translated between wikimedia projects, or in pages sourced in part from external GFDL sources.
Agreed, the history isn't merged as the GFDL says. But in general, the edit comments should give enough information to give a proper history (admittedly, assuming people fill in the box fully!)Enchanter
Yes, a proper history could in some cases be reconstructed in theory. That doesn't invalidate the point. Martin 00:35, 26 May 2004 (UTC)
I agree the point that the page history is not fully compliant with the GFDL history. I don't agree that because it is not fully compliant, you could reasonably conclude that it's not actually the history at all, as defined by the GFDL. Enchanter 22:56, May 28, 2004 (UTC)
  • It is possible to download the Wikipedia database without downloading the full history.
So what? You can download any combination of pages you like; it doesn't change how it is licensed.Enchanter
It would be odd to make a download available which, were anyone to take advantage of that download, they would be in violation of the GFDL, as it was not a verbatim copy. Martin 00:35, 26 May 2004 (UTC)
The download can be used to produce another site, which effectively includes the history by linking back to Wikipedia - which is what we have always suggested that people reusing Wikipedia data do. Enchanter 22:56, May 28, 2004 (UTC)

There are various interpretations. The interpretation you favour is more conservative, but also less practical. My favoured alternative interpretation is more questionable from a legal POV, but also more practical. A more conservative interpretation still is that Wikipedia is systematically non-compliant, and no legal copying is possible. Third parties have to choose which interpretation they favour, weighing legal risk against other factors. Martin 00:35, 26 May 2004 (UTC)

I don't think this is just a matter to leave to third parties - it has relevance for all Wikipedia contributors. For example, my interpretation requires that the information about who authored what is preserved, whereas yours implies that contributors give up their right to be credited with their contributions under the GFDL.
Also, we want other people to be able to reuse our material with a minimum of fuss - leaving this unresolved makes understanding how to reuse our material more difficult. Enchanter 22:56, May 28, 2004 (UTC)

All I want is for this page to tell the truth, no matter how inconvenient that may be. The truth is that currently there are some uncertainties regards what is required for a verbatim copy of a Wikipedia article to be compliant. If you manage to change the truth, I'll be happy for the article to change to reflect that. Martin 00:45, 29 May 2004 (UTC)

To make one thing clear - I know that both interpretations have problems. Both of their problems could be patched up in various ways, both technically and legally. My problem with your favoured interpretation is that including the entire history verbatim, even in printed copies, is incredibly impractical, and I suspect not what most contributors actually want. It seems to me that the desire is rather one of (a) author credit and (b) requiring a link back. Fortunately, both of these things can be done in my interpretation, and I hope this will be done in a future version of mediawiki. Martin 23:01, 29 May 2004 (UTC)

Changes and removals[edit]

edit summary: "some changes and removals to clarify what the GFDL says"... yeah, I'd like more explanation than that, please.

Some content regards the handling of links - removed the two legally questionable exceptions. Why? Section two just says "verbatim copying". Verbatim means "word for word", so it should be entirely possible to change formatting details like links while still making a verbatim copy. This is what happens when I take a print out of a Wikipedia page, for example.

"Wikipedia's current License and Copyright Statement is itself questionable" - just removed. Well, it is questionable, certainly. Would you like me to explain why?

"Embedding a Wikipedia Document within a larger webpage" - removed "legally questionable". Well, it is questionable - the question is whether such embeds are considered "aggregation" or "derivative works". That question would have to be resolved in court - there have been some cases around this subject, IIRC, but nothing conclusive.

"Relying on Wikipedia is legally questionable because pages on Wikipedia may be deleted from public view" - removed. Well, why? This is just true - some pages on Wikipedia are deleted, and to the extent that this happens, Wikipedia will not be a machine-readable copy of the distributed text, and thus the sublicensee will not be in compliance with the text of the GFDL. So, it's questionable. People can do this, but they need to be aware that there may be issues with doing so. Martin 22:47, 16 May 2004 (UTC)


As we have a formal statement from Jimbo that the aggregation interpretation is go, I've used this to draft a couple of sections.

We also want buy in from our contributors, so in due course such a statement should go into wikipedia:Submission Standards. This will allow redistributors to rely a little more confidently on that interpretation. Martin 13:01, 19 Jun 2004 (UTC)

It says "If you do not wish to use this aggregation interpretation, and choose to consider images as part of the article, then it follows that you cannot add or remove images in verbatim copies of Wikipedia articles, and you cannot make verbatim copies of those Wikipedia articles which rely on the aggregation interpretation to include images." However, I think this interpretation is vital. Otherwise, we are distributing the images under the GFDL. We don't have the right to do that for many of them (some are under CC, etc.). I'd like to remove this statement. Superm401 - Talk 00:35, 3 January 2007 (UTC)
The aggregation interpretation is vital for us, certainly. If it were found invalid in a court of law, we'd need to make some fair scything changes to many of our articles.
Rethinking it, I can't see any reason why a redistributor would not wish to rely on the aggregation interpretation. One risk they take by doing so is being sued by Wikipedia contributors. That sounds low risk - surely any contributors disgruntled by mixing their content with non-GFDL content would first want to take it up with Wikipedia, rather than a mere redistributor?
I have no problem with you removing the statement in question. I've also added some text on using GFDL images in non-GFDL works. Martin 22:25, 3 January 2007 (UTC)
I've removed it. Hopefully, no one will object later. Superm401 - Talk 09:48, 4 January 2007 (UTC)

Are we serious?[edit]

I have a small static site called [fixed reference] which I am trying to keep compliant with the various developments in interpretation of licence, but I have to say that the history is the most problematic. In principle I don't see why this discussion assumes the edit history contains adequate history in evolution of the article: a lot of the text is built by team on the talk pages as well: do we need local copies of all versions of all those to be compliant? I for one do not want future users of my work to have to carry hundreds of pages of discussion and versions around before they are allowed to use it and trying to include all this in, say, a CD version for schools is ridiculous: so what do we do? What if there is indecent material in the discussion pages: are we legally obliged to include it in a version for five year olds? Britannica must be laughing all the way to the bank. I would take an aggressive line that stating the content comes from WikiPedia and that WP will prvide the next step of information up the chain. This is the only workable route for this project to have any value to anyone. 99% of it comes under the additional agreement submitters have accepted "If you do not want your writing to be edited mercilessly and redistributed at will, do not submit it." in any case. --BozMo|talk 09:08, 12 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Personally, I'd want you to make available a copy of every version of the document which ever existed, since that's what the history does. It's also what I'd do if setting up a mirror... . But so long as you linked to a copy of the history somewhere, I'd be happy enough and I expect most of the other authors to have the same view. You need the complete history, including every difference between revisions, to track who is the copyright holder for each portion and to preserve both the ability to deal with copyright infringment and the moral rights of authors to be associated with their works - which appears to be the fundamental purposes of the history section in the GFDL. The talk pages are not considered part of the encyclopedia, so no, you don't need to include them. The "additional agreement" you referenced is not an additional legal agreement but a caution that this is a wiki, added to stop people from being too concerned about others modifying what they write, after some people took an excessive territorial interest in their own wording. The legal agreement is the GFDL. Jamesday 19:09, 10 August 2005 (UTC)

Title page[edit]

The section Title page does not really say if the title page (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) should exist in the verbatim copy. I'd prefer not because the text is quite naïve and changing over the time. (Actually, I am not doing any verbatim copies but the question is interesting) --Etu 02:02, 5 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I think that you do not have to include the the title page. Brianjd 09:57, 2004 Dec 27 (UTC)

I think verbatim copy is copy of the whole document, and anything that is part of the licensed document should be kept the same.
Besides, this page currently says that the Title Page is below title, but it is near the title. See the first section of the license where terms, including Title Page is defined. Tomos 04:03, 28 Dec 2004 (UTC)

License and Copyright Statement[edit]

License and Copyright Statement - currently, "All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License (see Copyrights for details). Disclaimers.".

Note the link to GNU FDL, which redirects to GNU Free Documentation License. However, the actual license and copyright statement links to Wikipedia:Text of the GNU Free Documentation License.

Webpage copies[edit]


From Wikipedia:Verbatim copying:

You may not change the Title. For example, in this document, the Title is Wikipedia:Verbatim copying.

It's my understanding of the GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL) that we must change the title unless the original publisher of "a" (does that mean "any"?) previous version gives permission to do use the same title as that version, in which case it is up to us.

In summary: The Wikimedia Foundation cannot make that restriction. Brianjd 06:38, 2004 Dec 22 (UTC)

In case of verbatim copying, I think everything has to be kept, including the title. In case of modification, title has to be changed, because of the provision 4-A. So I take this part as simply rephrasing what verbatim copy means in the context of GFDLTomos 03:59, 28 Dec 2004 (UTC)
You seem to be saying that copying is verbatim if and only if the entire Document (including the Title) is the same. Then if we change the title, we have created a Modified Version, and everything will be fine if and only if we follow section 4. Brianjd 10:10, 2004 Dec 29 (UTC)

Title Page[edit]

  • The "Title Page" is the text just below the title, before the start of the article proper. This is currently "From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia", but was previously (briefly) "Find out how you can help support Wikipedia's phenomenal growth", etc.

If I remember correctly, then on the MonoBook skin, for a short while, there was no "Title Page".

  • Where Wikipedia has imported text from a third party, such as Nupedia, the Title Page may additionally extend to some italicised block text immediately after the title, and before the start of the main text.

That seems a bit vague. I would expect at least a link to an example of such an article ("Document" according to the GFDL). Brianjd 06:38, 2004 Dec 22 (UTC)

I looked at some articles linking to Nupedia, and italicized texts were after the main text. I suppose that is technically not very good, though it is hard to miss that piece of text anyway. [1] Tomos 10:57, 29 Dec 2004 (UTC)

History Section[edit]

As the GFDL was never intended for wiki articles, things get complicated.

I don't think the GFDL was ever intended for use by non-lawyers. The GFDL already seems a lot more complicated than it needs to be. Brianjd 06:38, 2004 Dec 22 (UTC)

Some interpret the GFDL as applied to Wikipedia such that the "history" link (known as the "page history" in non-standard skins) is the GFDL History Section.

"Non-standard skins"? Can't we just say "some skins"? And I don't think that the page pointed to by the "history" link - not the "history" link itself of course - is the GFDL History section, because the GFDL History section needs to be a "section" of the "Document" in the usual sense, and the Wikipedia history is not. Brianjd 06:38, 2004 Dec 22 (UTC)

There are some issues with this interpretation, making it legally questionable: the "page history"...

  • (3 other points)
  • It is possible to download the Wikipedia database without downloading the full history.

I would rather see a more consistent wording:

License and Copyright Statement[edit]

Here you have more freedom, chiefly because Wikipedia's current License and Copyright Statement is itself questionable.

Well I hope they're doing something about it then! Brianjd 06:38, 2004 Dec 22 (UTC)

You must link to a local copy of the GFDL.

See Wikipedia talk:Text of the GNU Free Documentation License#Why is it on Wikipedia? for some more discussion regarding this point. I note there that the Wikimedia Foundation's website ([2]) doesn't seem to have a local copy of the GFDL - the links at the bottom of pages point to - and here that Wikipedia is the only wiki I know that has a local copy of the GFDL. Brianjd 06:38, 2004 Dec 22 (UTC)

It sounds like then, Wikipedia is following GFDL better than other wikis and Wikimedia Foundation. That's good. Section 6 of the GFDL says that in a collection of GFDL documents, GFDL licenses in individual works could be replaced by just one copy. Tomos 04:11, 28 Dec 2004 (UTC)
  • It sounds like then, Wikipedia is following GFDL better than other wikis and Wikimedia Foundation.
    Agreed, but they are still not doing enough.
  • Section 6 of the GFDL says that in a collection of GFDL documents, GFDL licenses in individual works could be replaced by just one copy.
    How is this relevant? Brianjd 10:03, 2004 Dec 29 (UTC)
As far as having a copy of full license-text, Wikipedia is doing perhaps all it needs to do. If we regard Wikipedia as a collection of independent documents, that is. We have a full text in our collection, and it is linked from the bottom of each content page. Or you have a different take? Tomos 10:49, 29 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Printed copies[edit]

If you accept this interpretation, then you would need to print out the entire "page history" of the article (you may need to URL-hack to get the entire page history on a single webpage).

This is unacceptable. I don't think this needs much explanation. Brianjd 06:38, 2004 Dec 22 (UTC)

I'm confused. Say I want to collect a number of entries and compile them into a academic study book for my church group. This book would be made available for purchase on a printing service like LuLu. Would I be required to print the complete text of the "history" tab for each entry? As I understand the discussion above, that would make printed reproduction of any wikipedia entry nearly impossible. We can't have 1,000 line entries for each page of definition. Obviously I donn't want to violate any user obligations.

In any event, your ability to redistribute Wikipedia articles beyond the terms of the GFDL are extended (at least in the United States) by the fair use and first-sale doctrines.

I don't know much about those but I presume that they are subject to change. Why are we singling out the United States here? Brianjd 06:38, 2004 Dec 22 (UTC)

I think it is okay to add non-US examples. But there seems to me an uncertainty what the relevant law would be when a user outside of the US uses Wikipedia contents and Wikimedia Foundation finds it a breach of the license. Always U.S. law? Depends on where the breach happens? I don't know. But it seems there is a fair chance that U.S. law is the strongest candidate for the governing law in case of some dispute. And that is perhaps why. I hope I knew better. Tomos 10:54, 29 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Copying in quantity[edit]

If you are copying more than 100 copies, then section 3 (copying in quantity) comes into play. Chiefly this means that you must include either:

  • (2 other points)
  • (legally questionable) A URL for Wikipedia - note that "(legally questionable)" was originally in italics

Relying on Wikipedia is legally questionable because pages on Wikipedia may be deleted from public view, or Wikipedia as a whole may be taken down for legal or financial reasons. However, it is clearly the easiest solution, and Wikipedia is pretty stable.

Is this really specific to Wikipedia? This doesn't seem to be consistent with the GFDL, in spirit at least. Brianjd 06:38, 2004 Dec 22 (UTC)

Extra Redistribution and Copying in Quantity[edit]

I've removed the vague sentence, "In any event, your ability to redistribute Wikipedia articles beyond the terms of the GFDL are extended (at least in the United States) by the fair use and first-sale doctrines." Fair use rights are limited, and there is no guarantee it will apply to the redistribution. First-sale doctrine does not apply unless they are transferring the copy they have(without keeping their own). Of course, they might then get another copy, but on the whole things somewhat questionable. At any rate, we don't need to encourage GFDL non-compliance. Als I'd like to address the "copying in quantity" section. The GFDL text says in the "verbatim copying" section, "If you distribute a large enough number of copies you must also follow the conditions in section 3." It doesn't say if you distribute a large enough number of printed copies, so I think this applies in general to web sites too. The "Copying in quantity" section contains the text "If you publish printed copies (or copies in media that commonly have printed covers)...". That paragraph (and the closely related following one) doesn't apply to web sites. However, I think the next part, which says, "If you publish or distribute Opaque copies of the Document numbering more than 100, you must either include a machine-readable Transparent copy along with each Opaque copy, or state in or with each Opaque copy a computer-network location from which the general network-using public has access to download using public-standard network protocols a complete Transparent copy of the Document, free of added material." I think that applies to all copies. I've tried to clarify the situation on the page by moving some things around. Please look over the Wikipedia:Verbatim copying#Copying in quantity and Wikipedia:Verbatim copying#Printed copies sections and see what you think. Superm401 | Talk 20:02, 8 November 2005 (UTC)

What to do about copied material?[edit]

It seems that [3] is a verbatim copy of Wikipedia's Wine_making article. There's no license or source information on, at least none that I can find. I'm sure there must be a process for reporting and investigating this, but I can't find it. Gregmg 22:46, 20 February 2006 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Mirrors and forks#Non-compliance process. Martin 00:31, 2 January 2007 (UTC)


Am I allowed to copy an article and then change the content?

Yes. You must follow the same conditions for Verbatim copying, except that you must also follow the requirements in section 4 of the GFDL. See Wikipedia:Text of the GFDL and Wikipedia:Copyrights#Reusers.27_rights_and_obligations. Superm401 - Talk 09:44, 4 January 2007 (UTC)

Essay template[edit]

I've added the "essay" template to this page. Previously it was not clear whether or not this page was intended to be "official" policy or not. Looking at the page history, the page has not been worked on by many editors, and it doesn't look to me that it has received detailed scrutiny from experts in the topic, or from the Wikimedia foundation. So for the time being, I think it's best to view it as an opinion piece - hence the essay template. Ideally it might be good to get more input from experts, or the Wikimedia foundation, for this page. Enchanter 00:23, 18 December 2006 (UTC)

== "From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia" ==[edit]

There have been objections to including this text at mirrors because in web searches a page with this text will appear to be the original at, misleading people about where they are going to go if they follow the link. Including this text may be a trademark infringement.

Given that it is mandatory to include this text in order to satisfy the GFDL, surely the Wikimedia foundation must grant permission to use the Wikipedia trademark in that way? Martin

I would have thought that saying that an article copied from Wikipedia is "From Wikipedia" is a simple statement of fact, and wouldn't be a trademark infringement. The "objection" doesn't make much sense to me either. Enchanter 00:42, 2 January 2007 (UTC)

Example of breach of GFDL ?[edit]

Whilst running a Google search on the Rapier missile I came across the following copy [4] on an advertising website which omits the GFDL licence. Does anyone enforce the licence requirements ? John 20:59, 25 April 2007 (UTC)

The copyright owner(s), typically the major contributors to the article in question, may choose to enforce their license if they wish, but are not required to do so. There is a page on wikipedia mirrors at WP:MIRROR. Martin 11:02, 1 November 2007 (UTC)