Wikipedia:Submission Standards

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Please note this is still a draft of a proposed terms of use on Wikipedia. Changes and discussion of this text are greatly appreciated. While this is an attempt to codify what is generally accepted and acceptable not everything here is resolved policy. See Wikipedia:Submission Standards (a) for a stripped down version of this text that is not controversial.

Before you submit any material to Wikipedia or use its content we ask that you consider the following. If you cannot agree with these Standards and Terms of Use we ask you not to submit your materials.


This page gives you the basic terms and conditions upon which you can and should submit your original (or otherwise authorized) material to Wikipedia. It should be read in combination with Wikipedia:terms of use and Wikipedia:Copyrights and disclaimers. If you make a submission you are agreeing that:

  1. You will make only lawful contributions.
  2. Your content should be informative instead of promotional
  3. Your contributions can be edited mercilessly.
  4. Your contributions can be redistributed under the GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL).
  5. Provided certain conditions are met, if someone uses your contributions on another site without complying with the GFDL, you authorise Wikimedia to take steps to make sure that such third parties comply.
  6. You must be able to give your consent to making a contribution so that others can later use it.

The following text describes the terms of this contract in detail. Please take the time to read it and enjoy contributing to Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. We all hope you will stay a while and make many contributions here:

Make only lawful contributions

By submitting to Wikipedia you affirm to your own knowledge that any submission you make is not in violation of any applicable law or agreement.

These laws and agreements include, but are not limited to, defamation, copyright, trademark, industrial design rights, other intellectual property, laws that cover privacy, personality rights, unfair competition, trade secrets torts, intentional interference with contractual relations, threats of violence, and others. These agreements include contractual obligations you may be under such as non-disclosure agreements. Other examples include posting insider trading tips or secret formulas.

If you upload images or sounds which can only be used under the doctrine of fair use, you must note clearly that it is being submitted as fair use and you must give your own analysis of the four factors that make such a contribution a non-infringing addition to any article (see e.g., how to document fair use).

Your consent

You must also be able to give your consent to make contributions here. If you:

  1. are a minor, unemancipated, child,
  2. are in some manner judged to be incapable of giving consent by a competent authority (i.e. a court)
  3. are unable to give consent because someone is influencing you to make a contribution here under duress or undue influence, or
  4. cannot give consent for any other reason,

... we ask you to consider your actions (to the extent you are able to do so). Since you have not made your contribution with consent, you or someone else may later request that it be removed. However, if you do not act quickly to have it removed, it may be possible that your permission has been ratified by your subsequent lack of action, or subsequent permissive activity, on Wikipedia.

Consent if you are a minor

If you are a minor, you can make contributions, however please be advised that your parents may withhold their consent and if they do they may remove your contributions. In such a case if you have made a significant contribution others may try and modify it so that it is no longer your work but has become the work of other volunteers. It is possible to do this because the information you post is not the same as the expression of that information, thus someone can rewrite your contribution so that the information remains but the copyright belongs to someone else and not your parents.

License to edit mercilessly and redistribute

Policy shortcut:WP:MERCILESS (that redirects to Wikipedia:Five pillars)

By contributing to Wikipedia you grant Wikipedia users a perpetual, royalty-free, non-exclusive right and license to edit your text on Wikipedia. You agree that your submission may be changed, modified, edited, moved, extended, deleted or combined by subsequent users of Wikipedia. You understand that there can be no warranty regarding submission to any Wikimedia project beyond the immediate availability until the next edit is made by someone else or it is removed for a violation.

By contributing to Wikipedia, you grant the Wikimedia Foundation a perpetual, royalty-free, non-exclusive, right and license to publish your submission, before or after being modified as described above, under the GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL).

You also understand that acceptance of your submission is conditional on complying with the terms of this submission agreement and Wikipedia policies.

Copyright compliance

You hereby appoint Wikimedia Foundation Inc., or any of its duly authorized volunteers agents, to act as your copyright compliance officer on a non-exclusive basis for original material you have submitted to Wikipedia or any other of its projects and to send any takedown or cease and desist notices as authorized under § 512 of Title 17 of the United States Code (also known as the OCILLA provisions of the DMCA) if all of the following conditions are met:

  1. Your original contributions have been copied in violation of the GFDL license.
  2. You have not provided an additional license to the copying site or its contributors that permits copying of your contributions.
  3. Wikipedia is not in violation of the GFDL license with respect to your contributions, does not itself act as described in the infringement complaint and makes readily available all information required to use the content without infringement.
  4. You have contributed to Wikipedia in the last year
  5. You have not opted out of this clause or you applied to opt out of this clause less than one month ago.

You will be informed of any such action by notices placed at Wikipedia:Sites that use Wikipedia for content.

Opt-out and revocation

To make a request to opt out of this authorization to the Wikimedia Board of Trustees, you must place a prominent statement indicating the date you made that request at the top of your user page and add your application to the /copyright compliance opt out application. This request will automatically take effect one month from the date of your request.

General terms

Extent of the agreement

By using the Wikipedia site in any manner you are deemed to be aware of this agreement. By submitting content to the Wikipedia site you are deemed to have notice that it applies to you.

These submission standards apply to any and all contributions you make to Wikipedia irrespective of date or the then status of the terms and conditions of your submission.

Procedure for Changes

This is a protected page which means that changes to it will only be made if they are done by an administrator. Administrators agree only to change this page if the change is minor, and not a change from the generally accepted principles and policies under which the Wikipedia community operates, or as approved by the following modification procedure: any proposed changes to this text should be posted to the talk page here. After such discussion such change will be made to this text, an additional twenty days will pass until such change takes effect, in any case any changes to these terms shall not take effect until they are posted a minimum of thirty days; during the second period additional discussion may take place on the mailing lists and the board of directors of Wikimedia Foundation Inc., may then revoke any changes as they see fit.

In accepting this agreement, you agree that if you are an administrator, or ever become an administrator, you will only change this page in accordance with the paragraph above.

Notice of Changes

Major changes to this page must be announced at Wikipedia:Announcements and Wikipedia:Village pump. Announcements must remain on these pages until they are removed as part of the normal archive cycle, except for brief periods of absence due to error or vandalism. Any major change made to this page without being properly announced shall not take effect until after a proper announcement.

It is your responsibility to either read the relevant announcements pages sufficiently regularly, or to regularly check this page for changes. All properly announced changes will be binding regardless of whether or you have read them or not.

Minor, unannounced changes shall not be binding.


If any term, condition or clause of these terms of use is found to be invalid then the remaining terms, conditions and clauses, shall remain valid.

Titles significant

The titles of each section are not merely for descriptive purposes, being an integral part of the narrative of each article. They change the meaning of the sections, invalidating a frightening proportion of boilerplate legal excerpts.