Contributors to the online encyclopedia Wikipedia license their submitted content under a Creative Commons license, which permits re-use as long as attribution is given. However, there have been a number of occasions when persons have failed to give the necessary attribution and attempted to pass off material from Wikipedia as their own work. Such plagiarism is a violation of the Creative Commons license and, when discovered, can be a reason for embarrassment, professional sanctions, or legal issues.
In educational settings, students sometimes copy Wikipedia to fulfill class assignments. A 2011 study by Turnitin found that Wikipedia was the most copied website by both secondary and higher education students.
Many notable individuals and institutions have been credibly said to have committed plagiarism from Wikipedia.
- Chris Anderson
- Jill Bialosky
- Monica Crowley
- Five Star Movement (Italian political party)
- Jane Goodall
- Michel Houellebecq
- International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO) was accused of copying IB test questions from Wikipedia
- Internet Research Agency
- Benny Johnson
- Siniša Mali, Serbian Finance Minister, who was found by the University of Belgrade to have plagiarized his Ph.D. thesis
- John McCain
- Yana Milev
- Okayama Prefectural Assembly
- Oxford University Press
- Rand Paul
- The Pentagon
- Peter Schweizer, in his 2018 book Secret Empires
- Government of the United Kingdom, in its 2022 "Levelling Up" white paper.
- Gerónimo Vargas Aignasse
- Fabiola Yáñez
- Alejandro Zaera-Polo
- Santa Clara County grantwriter
- Elsevier retracted a 2020 book for plagiarizing many large passages from Wikipedia.
- David Agus
- Rachel Reeves
- "Should students be allowed to use Wikipedia as a source?". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 2018-08-13.
- "Wikipedia, Yahoo Answers Tops for Academic Copying - Plagiarism Today". Plagiarism Today. 2011-11-03. Retrieved 2018-08-13.
- Rich, Motoko (June 24, 2009), "Chris Anderson apologizes for plagiarizing Wikipedia", The New York Times
- Zax, Talya (October 4, 2017), "Poet Jill Bialosky Faces Plagiarism Accusations Over New Memoir", The Forward
- "Trump pick Monica Crowley plagiarized multiple sources in 2012 book", CNNMoney, 2018-02-07, retrieved 2018-02-07
- "Why plagiarism took down Monica Crowley, Trump's pick for a top national security post", The Washington Post, 2017-01-16, retrieved 2018-02-07
- "Italy's Five Star Movement accused of plagiarizing Wikipedia and rivals' political speeches in election programme", The Local Italy, February 8, 2018
- Flood, Alison (2013-03-25), "Jane Goodall book held back after accusations of plagiarism", The Guardian, retrieved 2018-02-07
- Lichfield, John (2010-09-08), "I stole from Wikipedia but it's not plagiarism, says Houellebecq", The Independent, retrieved 2018-02-07
- Stewart, William (October 8, 2010), "IB lifted exam marking guides from Wikipedia", The Times Educational Supplement, p. 1,
An IB examiner who spoke to The TES said they were "shocked" to discover there were "serious examples of academic dishonesty", throughout the document with guides for 14 of the 24 questions containing large sections copied wholesale from unattributed websites, including Wikipedia. The TES has learned that the mark scheme is one of at least three being urgently investigated by the International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO) over plagiarism allegations as part of a "wide review" into the issue.
- Alba, Davey (March 29, 2020). "How Russia's Troll Farm Is Changing Tactics Before the Fall Election". The New York Times.
The Kremlin-backed Internet Research Agency, which interfered in the 2016 election, is using different methods to hide itself better...Now Russian operators are trying to avoid detection by copying and pasting chunks of texts from other sources directly into their posts. When Facebook took down 50 accounts linked to the Internet Research Agency in October , many of the posts featured text copied from Wikipedia.
- Coscarelli, Joe (July 29, 2014), "Plagiarizing Wikipedia Is Still Plagiarism, at BuzzFeed or the New York Times", New York magazine
- "Serbia finance minister plagiarised thesis - university", Times of Malta, November 21, 2019
- "Did McCain Plagiarize His Georgia Speech From Wikipedia?", The Huffington Post, September 11, 2008
- Weber, Stefan (2022-11-21). "Plagiatsfall an der Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien". DOZ. DR. STEFAN WEBER (in German). Retrieved 2022-11-23.
- "Okayama Pref. lawmakers copied Wikipedia entries in official reports on US trip", Mainichi Shimbun, January 31, 2018, archived from the original on 2018-03-13
- The Covert World of People Trying to Edit Wikipedia—for Pay, The Atlantic, August 11, 2015
- Peters, Jeremy W. (2013-10-31), "Senator Rand Paul Is Accused of Plagiarizing His Lines From Wikipedia", The New York Times
- Wong, Kristina (2016-11-17), "Intel chairman: Pentagon plagiarized Wikipedia in report to Congress", The Hill, retrieved 2018-02-07
- Markay, Lachlan. "Book Alleging Biden Corruption in Ukraine Lifted Passages From Wikipedia". The Daily Beast. Archived from the original on October 3, 2019.
The Daily Beast found more than a dozen instances in which Secret Empires, the bestselling book by investigative journalist Peter Schweizer, copied nearly complete sentences or sizable portions of them verbatim or near-verbatim from other sources. In a number of instances, those sources were uncited Wikipedia pages created before the book's publication in early 2018.
- "Parts of Michael Gove's levelling-up plan copied from Wikipedia". The Independent. 2022-02-04. Retrieved 2022-02-04.
- Masnick, Mike (May 14, 2010), Argentinian Politician's Proposal For New Anti-Plagiarism Law Plagiarizes Wikipedia, Techdirt
- "Un diputado K presentó un proyecto de ley contra el plagio, plagiado" [A deputy who presented a bill against plagiarism, plagiarized]. Clarín. May 14, 2010.
- "Gerónimo Vargas Aignasse - Presentó un proyecto contra el plagio y plagió a Wikipedia" [Gerónimo Vargas Aignasse-presented a project against plagiarism and plagiarized Wikipedia]. Todo Noticias. May 16, 2010. Archived from the original on May 21, 2010.
- "La Primera dama de Argentina plagia presuntamente 20 páginas de Wikipedia para su tesis". abc (in Spanish). 2021-05-31. Retrieved 2021-09-22.
- Fairs, Marcus (20 March 2015), "Princeton accuses former architecture dean of making "inaccurate" plagiarism statement", Dezeen
- Amanda Bartlett (June 5, 2022). "Bay Area woman paid to write county history book reportedly plagiarized from Wikipedia, SF news outlets". San Francisco Chronicle.
After the 580-page manuscript was finally submitted by Jean McCorquodale last January, the Mercury News found that many excerpts were allegedly copied word-for-word from the websites she was drawing her research from, including a section from the Wikipedia page for politician Jonathan D. Stevenson, a paragraph from a History Channel article about the Spanish-American War's Treaty of Paris and segments from another page on the Santa Clara County Parks and Recreation website.
- "Elsevier retracts entire book that plagiarized heavily from Wikipedia". Retraction Watch. 2021-05-28. Retrieved 2022-09-24.
- "A famed oncologist's bestselling new health book about 'animal secrets' got yanked off the shelves after the LA Times discovered he copied from Wikipedia". Yahoo News. 6 March 2023.
- Keynes, Soumya; Parker, George (26 October 2023). "New book from shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves lifts from Wikipedia". Financial Times. Retrieved 26 October 2023.