Wikipedia talk:Copyrights/Archive 9

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Wikipedia pages containing a copyright notice

Some user pages raise an interesting issue that I can't find an appropriate policy or guideline on. This user has added a copyright notice to his user page. There is no doubt that he is the writer of and copyright holder of this content. However I am not sure whether the copyright notice is appropriate. Does anyone have an opinion about this? It seems to me that the copyright notice might implicitly or explicitly be incompatible with the GFDL status of the page, but others disagree (see current discussion on WP:AIV).

I think its a problem because the copyright notice doesn't acknowledge the GFDL status of the text and at the least would mislead people into believing the page was not under GFDL. At worst it might be directly contradictory with the GFDL license? I can see several possible outcomes:

  1. There is no problem with copyright notices on GFDL text, no action necessary
  2. The user should be asked to remove the copyright notices if they are incompatible with the GFDL
  3. The user should be asked to remove the text since it is copyrighted in a manner incompatible with the GFDL

Can anyone with more knowledge of the GFDL provide some guidance? Thanks, Gwernol 12:44, 26 January 2007 (UTC)

My opinion is that there is no problem. In so far as Wikipedia edits can be copyrighted (spelling corrections, for example, probably can't be), the copyright belongs to the editor. It is covered by the global GFDL license which each editor accepts when submitting content, and so the editor in question has licensed his or her copyright. Ownership is tracked by the page histories, which are open to public viewing. In short, copyright notices are pointless on WP, but harmless in userspace. Physchim62 (talk) 14:21, 26 January 2007 (UTC)
If an editor wishes to overtly assert copyright of his or her page, IMHO they should also overtly state that it is released under the GFDL, by using one of the licensing templates, such {{NoMultiLicense}}, {{LicenseFreeUse}} or {{LicenseGPL}}. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Dalbury (talkcontribs) 03:18, 27 January 2007 (UTC).
As stated on WP:Copyright, retain copyright to your materials. You can later republish and relicense them in any way you like. However, you can never retract the GFDL license for the versions you placed here: that material will remain under GFDL forever.. So, that means that everything you write, you retain copyright of, but once material is released under the GFDL license, that cannot be rescinded. In short, GFDL does not mean no copyright.--Jeff 06:09, 27 January 2007 (UTC)
In fact, the GFDL recommends you put a copyright notice on GFDL material, and mandates that such notices be preserved by redistributors. Wikipedia doesn't strictly comply with this, which is okay because work is copyrighted automatically. However, there's nothing wrong with a copyright notice on a user page. Superm401 - Talk 00:29, 29 January 2007 (UTC)

What about templates?

So for example, over at my wiki, Im using the Wikipedia Community Portal template, because I like it, not using the same wording, just the layout coding. Do I need to credit for that? Brenton.eccles 08:12, 29 January 2007 (UTC)

After perusing the GFDL, it seems you should credit them; see section 4.b at WP:GFDL. B. List on the Title Page, as authors, one or more persons or entities responsible for authorship of the modifications in the Modified Version (this would be you) , together with at least five of the principal authors of the Document (all of its principal authors, if it has fewer than five), unless they release you from this requirement. (this would be the designers of the template you're using). How you go about conforming to this requirement is anyone's guess. It would take research in the page history, or you could probably get away with copying the pages edit history.--Jeff 00:38, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
Hi Again. I'm afraid I should revise what I said above. I quite accidently ran into this today at Template:Wikipedia-screenshot. Note on licenses: Please note that the GPL is for software and its derivatives and the GFDL is for text documentations or other forms of text and their derivatives. This means that the interface design of Wikipedia and all other portions of the MediaWiki software are licensed under the GPL, but the actual contents of Wikipedia are licensed under the GFDL. That seems to say that the design of a page is licensed under the GPL, not the GFDL, so that changes entirely everything.
Creative Commons GPL 2.0 license summary It does not appear that the GPL requires any sort of attribution. Yay for you.--Jeff 12:44, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
Auch! This is a nasty situation. The MediaWiki software (and surprisingly, its output as well!) is subject to the GPL. However, the "script" or anything that was entered in through the editing interface is also subject to the GFDL. I wouldn't want to try and sort out and say "this is subject to the GPL and this other stuff to the GFDL", although most of the page layouts are usually done by people who have seen the disclaimer on the edit window that says "You agree to license your contributions under the GFDL" or something similar.
Common law has well established that the output of any computer software is also subject to the copyright of the original software, unless the author of that software has put a specific disclaimer releasing copyright. Compiler publishers are particularly harsh on this point, as some do and some don't add this disclaimer. Yes, Microsoft owns anything you write (in theory) using Microsoft Office and has a copyright claim to all of that content.
This is one of those things where it becomes absurd when you try to sort out who actually owns the copyright to any particular hunk of text or image. --Robert Horning 19:12, 2 February 2007 (UTC)
It is completely incorrect that output of a software is a derivative work. I challenge you to provide a source for this. Compilers are a special case, since they may include their source code in compiled programs. Content created in Office programs, or MediaWiki, is not a derivative work of those applications. Superm401 - Talk 08:16, 3 February 2007 (UTC)
The output of software is copyrighted. This especially came up with compiler writers, where one compiler publisher asserted copyright over software that was produced with that software. It was appealed and affirmed on the Circuit Court level, but never made its way to the SCOTUS. I will have to dig up the exact case citation, but this is an established fact within the software community. Rendering of multimedia files is also considered under some circumstances to be a "copyrighted work" of the original software publisher, and word processor "output" is on shaky ground under these preceedents. I raise this point only to illustrate that even if you think you know who the copyright "owner" is on something, you might still be mistaken. You may own the words themselves that are in a MS-Word file, but the file itself and the formatting is copyrighted by Microsoft. Copyright can get uglier than even this bizzare twist of ideas here. --Robert Horning 10:45, 3 February 2007 (UTC)
P.S. I have a source to read about this idea.... please read this discussion about computer generated content from Duke University Law School. In this case the argument is about the ownership of an image rendered with a fractal generator creating a Mandelbrot Set display, asserting that the computer programmer who designed the fractal generator owns the copyright over the output of that software, even though another "end-user" entered the plot points for what part of the Mandelbrot Set they are looking at. There are other issues that are of concern here as well. --Robert Horning 11:50, 3 February 2007 (UTC)
Also, the GPL most certainly requires attribution, at least in the form of a reproduced copyright statement. However, any text (possibly except default MediaWiki messages) on this wiki is strictly under the GFDL (unless it specifically says otherwise), including layout coding. Superm401 - Talk 08:18, 3 February 2007 (UTC)

Contributory Infringement

Ok, just noticed the link on contributory infringement (see the external links section) is actually pointing to a disambiguation page. This probably deserves a SOFIXIT, but since the page is protected for now, I'm unable to make that change, and I'd like to get some other opinions first (oddly enough, the template on the page is only sprotected). I'd suggest changing the link to go to Copyright infringement, but the problem is, this article doesn't even mention contributory infringement. I suppose that's the easy one to fix, though—it's just a matter of adding a new section and starting (with as a bare minimum), the information establishing precedent for it. What would be the best approach, though? I'm not trying to revive the debate from November, but rather correct an internal link to a disambiguation page. (Also, would someone mind changing the protected template to the proper template--it caught me off guard for a second, until I saw the history...) dougk (Talk ˑ Contribs) 08:42, 2 February 2007 (UTC)

I'm not sure which template you're referring too, but they're all high use anyway so I added cascading protection. Now, I don't want to change the contributory infringement link unless you have somewhere better for it to point to. Create the section (well-sourced) first, then come back. Superm401 - Talk 08:23, 3 February 2007 (UTC)

VDC license compatible with GFDL?

I read through the VDC license but am somewhat uncertain if it means that I can copy & paste text from the VDC to Wikipedia. --Pizzahut2 20:40, 4 February 2007 (UTC)

IANAL, but..
a. With respect to Posted Material contributed by users of the Site, the contributing user (and/or Valve, to the extent Valve has such rights to license or sublicense) grants You a worldwide, nonexclusive, perpetual, irrevocable, royalty free, fully paid up license, in connection with the Source engine and Source SDK (and games, mods and other products based thereon), to: (1) make, use, copy, modify, create derivative works of such Posted Material, (2) publicly perform or display, import, broadcast, transmit, distribute, license, offer to sell, and sell, rent, lease or lend copies (and derivative works thereof) of the Posted Material, and (3) sublicense to third parties the foregoing rights, including the right to sublicense to further third parties.
My reading of that says to me you are licensed to take any material from the site you would like and license it however you want, GFDL or whatever you want.--Jeff 21:05, 4 February 2007 (UTC)

Typo 'replace it work the words'

I spotted a typo on this page. Where it says "replace it work the words" it should say "replace it with the words" -- Harry Wood 13:45, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

YesY Done Superm401 - Talk 00:02, 7 March 2007 (UTC)

Protection Template

WP:COPY is fully protected, however the template used to display the lock is {{sprotected2}}, however, it should be {{protected2}}. Someone fix this.

Fixed. Jkelly 22:56, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

Question about collections of copyrighted images

If someone creates an image that contains copyrighted images (specifically logos), I assume they have the rights to the image itself (the collection), but they still don't have the rights to the contents. So, doesn't that mean the image cannot be released as free use? For example, Image:Star Alliance.png. DB (talk) 19:30, 10 February 2007 (UTC)

That is a derivative work, and cannot be freely licensed. Jkelly 19:38, 10 February 2007 (UTC)
That's what I thought. Thanks. DB (talk) 22:01, 10 February 2007 (UTC)


You know, we have a million obsessive discussions / policies / guidelines / processes regarding copyright, and I've scarcely seen anything for other IP. What about trademarks? For instance on Eye tracking there are some very eager commercial interests who have contributed signficantly to the editing of the article, including references to products with the TM symbol and images generated by those products. A few other editors (myself included) have started going through this article to avoid commercial promotion issues, but are there guidelines in wikipedia about uses of marks/references to marks/etc.? --lquilter 14:41, 11 February 2007 (UTC)

I think this is a bit of a non-issue. We would infringe on a trademark if we were to use somebody elses trademark to try to sell something or suggest we were endorsed by another company in some way. But we don't do that, and we don't need to do that; we are an encyclopedia, and we can talk about companies and trademarks without worrying about infringing them, just as other encyclopedias, newspapers and other similar publications do. Enchanter 23:14, 11 February 2007 (UTC)
I'm not questioning whether we have a fair use to use images of marks. (But then, I would probably take a considerably different position than the community seems to be heading toward on the question of fair use, too.) Just wanting to know if wikipedia has existing policies on this. There are issues beyond infringement, for instance, that wikipedia might have already worked through. --lquilter 23:26, 11 February 2007 (UTC)
I'm not aware of any other issues relating to trademark law, and would be interested to hear if you have any specific concerns. My understanding is that pretty much any use of a trademark in an encyclopedia article will be OK. A trademark holder can't ask us not to use their trademark in an encyclopedia article, just as a trademark holder can't ask a publisher not to mention a trademark in a book or newspaper article.
There are some guidelines about trademarks at Wikipedia:Manual of Style (trademarks), but as far as I'm aware there's nothing more than that. Enchanter 23:47, 11 February 2007 (UTC)
Also worth noting, in the past people have occasionally gone around adding (TM) notices to articles; this has in the past been rejected as something we don't need to do. See for example Wikipedia_talk:Trademark_notices. Enchanter 23:59, 11 February 2007 (UTC)
I'm not so much worried about infringement -- I'm pretty comfortable asserting this as a TM fair use -- but more the appearance, from the wikipedia side, of accepting/giving sponsorship. The TM-registration marks on product names for instance really annoy me on the Eye tracking article; and I can just take them off, but wondered if there was a guideline policy to cite to that pre-explained things so that I wouldn't have to ... The link Enchanter posted is helpful, thanks; I'll also point to fair use (US trademark law) when I take them off. --lquilter 00:23, 12 February 2007 (UTC)

If I took a photograph of a musician performing in a concert from my seat, what copyright do I have of this?

So I have an image of a photograph of a musician on stage, and I took this photograph from the audience area. What likely is its copyright status? Can I release it to the public domain on Wikipedia? Please advise. Thanks, AppleJuggler 03:11, 13 February 2007 (UTC)

Sure. Jkelly 04:48, 13 February 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for advice. AppleJuggler 05:02, 13 February 2007 (UTC)

Please see Personality rights. There are many reasons why photos of people, even those taken by yourself, might not correctly be released into the public domain. However, current accepted practice in Wikipedia, either out of ignorance or in spite of law, is that they should be tagged as public domain. In my opinion, many peoples' simple want to enlarge what is free inappropriately and foolishly ignores existing law in favor of making themselves think certain content is truly "free", when it isn't, and thereby enlarging the commons. It's well established through court cases that using such photos in a commercial venture opens one up to a lawsuit that will be successful against them. Wikipedia's stated goal, which these folks use to embolden their case, is that "all wikipedia content must be free, even for commercial use", but anyone with a shred of common sense realizes that one cannot take a photo of a person purportedly in the public domain and use it commercially as clipart would be.
With technology availability changing things so vastly, and notable paparazzi abuse of celebrities, this area of law is not entirely clear at the moment, however I'm certainly not going to cause a stink about tagging such photos as PD; as one person I am never going to be able to rightly challenge the inertia behind all of this.--Jeff 05:22, 13 February 2007 (UTC)
Oh, and one other thing I just thought of. Many events have a "No photograph" policy. This policy might hide a larger issue at hand, that there may be a license agreed to by participants that they do not own photographs or recordings of the event. So, besides all of the reasons listed above, you still might not have the legal right to license, or release free of license, such photos. But as I said above, don't let what I say stop you tagging this photo as PD. Currently accepted practice is to just tag as PD everything you can cos everything should be free, or something, atleast thats the feeling i get from some folks.--Jeff 05:27, 13 February 2007 (UTC)
This is precisely the sort of intelligent and broadly-encompassing opinion I was seeking! Thanks for exploring the various angles, Jeff. You have a valid point in that perhaps, even though I may have taken a photograph of a musician at a concert, it could be that there is a "No Photographs Allowed" policy for that concert, which would then nullify a claim for release of the photograph to the "Public Domain" (I'm not so sure about this in my case, as the photograph was taken by a friend -- perhaps this status could be ascertained by checking the concert ticket? This concert was also aired on cable TV so could it be that the photograph taken at the concert, live, is not public domain but belongs to the cable telecaster?). Secondly, it is interesting to know that there is a possibility that people could send a photograph into "Public Domain", only to abuse the public-domain freedom by then using the photograph "commercially", which I think is pretty devious. Furthermore, I think it is only fair that musicians, for example, are protected from their images being used wantonly or exploited (as per "personality rights"). So you know, all these issues have held me back from tagging the picture as PD, although I believe that a photograph taken at a concert, used properly and strictly for illustrative purposes on a Wikipedia article is a fair thing (particularly in the case of this musician -- or many other musicians for that matter -- for whom it is difficult to get decent photo that fits PD or the free license criteria). Appreciate you taking the time to respond. With regards, AppleJuggler 05:49, 13 February 2007 (UTC)
Personality rights are independent of copyright. If I had a picture of a celebrity that was published in 1988, but which was never registered with the Library of Congress, that image would indisputably be in the public domain. At the same time, the celebrity's publicity rights would limit what could be done with the picture. --Carnildo 07:12, 13 February 2007 (UTC)
Of course personality rights are separate from copyright, I don't think I ever said anything different. But you're wrong about the photo thing. Copyright's do not have to be registered; the copyright is secured upon creation. If I published it with notice of copyright, it's secured. It's something that changed relatively recently, I think in 1978 or something.--Jeff 08:03, 14 February 2007 (UTC)
A reasonably complete set of what's copyrighted and what's not is at the Cornell Copyright Information Center, but the change you're referring to took place on March 1, 1989. There's a reason I picked 1988: it's before the changeover date, but late enough that the celebrity is probably still alive. --Carnildo 09:41, 14 February 2007 (UTC)
A minor nit -- even before 1989 (indeed even before 1978) registration was not required, what was required was a notice on any puiblished copies. The notice requirements became significantly less strict in 1978 (when the 1976 act went into force). Note also that if the picture was unpublished it would still be under copyright regardless of any notice. However, even if the photo was clearly public domain (say it was taken by a federal goct employee as aprt of a govt job, perhaps as a security photo; or it was widely published before 1978 with no notice) a celeb might still be able to control curent publication under personality rights, and a private person under various privicy rights and "false light" laws, depending on the precise circumstances. It all gets tricky. DES (talk) 14:54, 9 April 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for bearing out the distinction, Carnildo. AppleJuggler 07:39, 13 February 2007 (UTC)

A larger issue in that context is whether a photo taken during a concert is a derivative work of the performance, and thus indeed subject to the copyrights the performer has on the performance (the so-called related rights). This question came up recently at the commons, but was left unresolved. See Commons talk:Licensing/Archive 5#What is the licensing status of photos taken at live performances/concerts (paid admission)?. Lupo 07:47, 13 February 2007 (UTC)

Will look at the links that you've provided. Cheers, AppleJuggler 08:10, 13 February 2007 (UTC)

Further to our discussion, I found an interesting information here. It says "Definitely not OK: * Photographs of normal people who have not given their consent to being photographed." So what about a photograph taken of a musician by an audience (who has exposed himself to video shooting for a subsequent TV show to begin with); or is consent already implied here, since he is already exposing himself to the world at a concert? AppleJuggler 05:40, 14 February 2007 (UTC)
A musician performing before an audience generally is not "normal people". --Carnildo 07:45, 14 February 2007 (UTC)

Question about seals

A question has come up at Wikipedia:Featured article review/Ann Arbor, Michigan concerning the seal of the city, found at Image:Ann-Arbor-City-Seal.png. One user has requested that a GFDL replacement be found or created. I was under the impression that this would be impossible as the city of Ann Arbor, Michigan would own the seal and any derivatives of it. Could some one help clairfy the issue at the FAR? Jay32183 21:39, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

Seals cannot be replaced by GFDL versions. Since they're defined by their exact appearance (unlike coats of arms, which are defined by a text description), any copy would be a derivative work. --Carnildo 01:18, 18 February 2007 (UTC)


Template:CopyrightedCharacter - I'm pretty sure, at least in the one application that this template currently has, that this template is bogus. Also, I think its redundant to other fair use tags we have. I don't know enough copyright law to take this to TFD, though. Any thoughts? --Iamunknown 08:32, 19 February 2007 (UTC)

I have two questions and a request

Hi everyone, Iwant to copy some articles at Wikipedia and use them on my site but I don't know what should I do in order to be allowed (Example : Put a link-back, submit something "From Wikipedia" along with those articles,...). Please answer me here, don't link me to any other of Wikipedia Copyright article (I am just a kid and can't understand what they mean). Thank you very much.

Dude, it's very easy. All you got to do is to include in your essay the web address that links directly to the article that you used. Say for example, you used a large part of the Wikipedia article about Abraham Lincoln. Then, to acknowledge that you obtained information from Wikipedia, simply just type somewhere at the bottom of your essay or something the following --> "Wikipedia (the free encyclopedia). Abraham Lincoln. Available from: Accessed 20 February 2007." (or whichever date you accessed the article). Good luck! AppleJuggler 07:37, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

Thank you very much but is there anyway to submit them (I just use a very small part of gaming articles) with linking back ? It is quite annoying with that link when my users click to view some info. Please answer me. Thank you very much.

Dude, not sure what you mean by 'submit' them. Can you explain more clearly? AppleJuggler 03:30, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

Yes, for example, please visit this link :

You will receive a story about that game. Now I need to take a similar story from Wikipedia (Also about MegaMan, thanks to those MegaMan articles here) and will use them on my site. I will put up a link like MM 1 Story and show my users the stories I have taken from here. It will be annoying to put the link back in the "MM 1 Story" page (In my site) but I can giving credit (Link back, too ^_^) to Wikipedia by posting an announcement in my forum. Thank you very much.

Yes, that should be fine. Go ahead. AppleJuggler 04:22, 22 February 2007 (UTC)

Thank you very much for answering, AppleJuggler ^_^

Adding Bulgarian interwiki

Can you please add the Bulgarian interwiki to this article, bg:Уикипедия:Авторско право. Thanks, --Vanka5 21:16, 22 February 2007 (UTC)

Done. Jkelly 21:53, 22 February 2007 (UTC)

The wheelchair logo is copyrighted; what should we use instead?

See Wikipedia talk:Fair use#The wheelchair logo is copyrighted; what should we use instead?. --NE2 22:51, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

problem with warning on edit page; suggested improvement

The current boldface warning not to copy below the edit box currently warns about not copying from Web pages. However, a GPL'd Web page would be acceptable to copy from. And copyrighted (no permission) books would be unacceptable. The warning is inaccurate and doesn't correspond to the reality of copyright. I suggest the following or something similar:

Do not copy from copyrighted material without permission. If detected, the copied material will be removed.

ww 07:52, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

Removing stuff I wrote

Just wondering- If I wrote pretty much all of an article (any edits made by others, if at all, were minor), and don't want the content to be left on Wikipedia anymore for some reason, can I get it (either the article or just the parts I wrote if there were bits written by others) removed/deleted, and if so, where/how do I go about doing so? I mean, I do own the copyrights to the stuff I wrote, right? Omgwtflolz 19:42, 28 February 2007 (UTC)

As the edit page says: "You agree to license your contributions under the GFDL", which grants us a perpetual, non-exclusive license to use your work. So no, in general you can't insist that your edits be removed. In some cases, content uploaded by mistake or which is otherwise questionable has been removed as a courtesy (especially if it has only a single author), but such requests would be considered on a case by case basis. Dragons flight 19:50, 28 February 2007 (UTC)
I would note that if you removed the content yourself (through another edit), and otherwise didn't do what would be considered blatant vandalism, I doubt that many editors would complain or try to reverse what you have done. I guess it is also a degree to how much of the Wikipedia content you have contributed (if it is only over a few days or over the course of several years... that makes a huge difference) and how much of what you have written has been subsequently modified by other contributors. I would be careful, however, of trying to remove content that was added by others, even if accidentally.
BTW, in regards to if you own the copyright to what you have written, that is exactly true. You have granted Wikipedia the right to republish and redistribute the content you have added under the GFDL, but you are also welcome to take anything you have written and republish it under any other terms, including something completely propritary or something like the Microsoft ELUA. For example, you can put the same contribution to a Wikipedia article on a completely different Wiki that is licensed under the terms of the CC-by-SA-NC license, as long as you were the original author. That is completely legitimate and legal... as you are the one who is granting permission to do this. I know of a few people who have contributed content to Wikibooks, for instance, that have also published the same content under a normal propritary copyright in dead-tree paper format. --Robert Horning 16:12, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

Minor edit request

In section 1.4.3, where it says:

"Agencies that represent the photographers who shot the photos or the photographer themself (the latter especially for amateur photographs)"

It shoud be (photographer->photographers)

"Agencies that represent the photographers who shot the photos or the photographers themself (the latter especially for amateur photographs)"

(Rjgodoy 17:39, 2 March 2007 (UTC))

Can someone change "Seen the stringent conditions above" to "Considering the stringent conditions above"? I don't have access. User:Jjinux

Is a list really copyrightable?

There's a deletion debate now ongoing at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/The 100 Greatest Albums of the 80's‎, a list from an old Rolling Stone article. The main argument for deletion is that Wikipedia is violating copyright simply by reproducing the list of album names. I couldn't care less about the article itself, but the principle concerns me greatly: I think we need to be able to reproduce "best of" lists in Wikipedia (in part because of some of the articles I've created myself), and I think the list itself is essentially information, not copyrightable "expression". I also think that if an area is hazy, Wikipedia editors shouldn't try to be lawyers but, at most, refer the matter to people more knowledgeable about copyright rather than limit ourselves for reasons that might not be valid. Wouldn't the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences own the rights to its list of oscar nominees and winners if lists are copyrightable? Isn't that ridiculous?

My questions are:

  1. Is copying a simple "best of" list (or any list) really violating copyright?
  2. Is there any kind of Wikipedia guideline or official advice on when to pass on a copyright problem to Wikipedia authorities rather than try to figure out copyright law on your own?

I'd greatly appreciate any answers. Noroton 01:01, 5 March 2007 (UTC) (minor edit to fix the link)Noroton 01:03, 5 March 2007 (UTC)

Yes, some lists can be copyrighted. In general, lists that are a simple enumeration of facts (say, the chemical elements in order of atomic number, or a chronological list of US Presidents) cannot be copyrighted. If there is an element of creativity in the selection of the list items, or in the arrangement of the list, then the list is copyrightable. --Carnildo 02:09, 5 March 2007 (UTC)

I should have put this in: I'm hoping this offers a way for Wikipedia to use lists (from Merger doctrine#Copyright):

In United States copyright law, the merger doctrine holds that if an idea and the way to express it are so intricately tied that the ways of expression have little possible variation, there will not be copyright infringement, lest the copyright prevent others from expressing the same idea. The overall principle is that of the idea-expression divide, which is that one can hold a copyright in an expression, but not in an idea.

Any thoughts? Noroton 13:13, 5 March 2007 (UTC)

I think you're barking up the wrong tree here. There's only one way to express a chronological list of US Presidents (well, three, depending on how you count Grover Cleveland). There is no shortage of ways to express "The 100 Greatest Albums of the 80's". --Carnildo 21:26, 5 March 2007 (UTC)
Thank you, here's another couple of barks, and believe me, I wouldn't ask if this weren't important: If we listed the short story writers who appear in the "O. Henry Awards", an annual book of short stories, are we violating copyright? This is an extremely useful list in determining who the most celebrated short-story writers are in the country (along with "Best American Short Stories" each year). In any anthology, especially groundbreaking anthologies (such as The New American Poetry 1945-1960), it can be important to a good number of Wikipedia readers to know which writers appeared. To me, this seems more like reporting (of an idea) than copyright violation (of the specific way an idea is expressed, since the idea could NOT potentially be expressed in another way). I think it may also matter that there is no diminishing of the value of the originator's work, since these books are not bought for the sole purpose of reading the table of contents, so no harm is done. Is there a big difference between the Rolling Stone article and the Academy Awards list of winners? Obviously these two things are presented to the public differently, but in principle could the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences assert a similar copyright claim on its work product? Sorry to keep barking, but as I say, it's important to me for some of the articles I've created and may create in the future. Noroton 03:33, 6 March 2007 (UTC)
I don't think that the organizations that give awards have a copyright on a list of winners. My understanding is that you can not copyright a fact. Who won the Academy Award for best picture in 2007 is a fact. List of facts presented in obvious organizational schemes (alphabetically, chronologically, or the like.) Things like lists of "best albums" are not lists of facts but of subjective opinions, and therefore might be copyrightable, depending on what criteria was used for determining "bestness". (Besides Altan's Horse with a Heart didn't make the lis so its obviously bogus.) Dsmdgold 04:20, 6 March 2007 (UTC)
Well, no, organizations don't copyright their list of winners, but what else is the difference between what an award-giving organization does and what Rolling Stone does? Plenty of award-giving organizations have first- second- and third-prizes. That's a list. More to the point for me, what about lists of who appears in an anthology and for what works of literature? Noroton 05:27, 6 March 2007 (UTC)
One of the interesting distinctions is that voting does not constitute creative expression, so a list of awards given out based on a membership vote does not have creative content. Same applies to "Best of" lists if created by rank order of most votes. By contrast a "best of" list determined by the subjective, editorial decisions of one person or group, like Rolling Stone, does constitute a form of protectable creative expression. For your question, if the selection of short stories in an anthology is a subjective choice (as opposed to an objective choice based on say votes, or sales figures, or something), then yes it is potentially problematic. The 100 is a book discussing 100 influential figures in history and after some discussion is was decided that it was inappropriate to actually include a list of the author's 100 choices. Similarly, I would note that case law exists demonstrating that the index of a book, by itself, has been considered sufficiently creative to have protection. So for you, the question is probably a matter of how much should be included within the bounds of fair use. It is a matter that could draw some debate, and vary case by case, but the conservative choice would be to provide only selected examples of what authors appear in the book rather than a complete list. Dragons flight 05:52, 6 March 2007 (UTC)
Dragons flight, I appreciate your taking the time with that response, and I can see some distinction between awards voting and creative selection, although poetry awards, for instance, are often (perhaps usually) determined by single judges brought in for that purpose (who are usually themselves poets); compare that with a guest editor deciding who goes into "The Best of Nova Scotian Poetry", especially when you only list the results, and the anthology/awards distinction much narrower. You've also given me a clearer understanding of the argument for these lists as copyright infringement, which helps in figuring out what to do in the future. Unlike the Rolling Stone "best of" list and Wikipedia article, the type of thing I'm talking about not only isn't the essence of the work, but the nature of the Wikipedia text is to report a selection of facts from the whole (I think that matters in copyright law, or at least case law). Of course, the selection of facts I want to use is a whole category (or two or three) of facts. I think the public interest has been used as a factor in copyright cases (especially combined with lack of harm to the copyright holder) and the public interest would benefit from Wikipedia coverage.
You mention indexes and the 100 list, both interesting comparisons: The idea of a copyrightable index is similar in some ways to that of the list, but probably more copyrightable than a more straightforward list: (a) there are judgment calls in defining what ideas will become items in the index and how they will be organized in the index; (b) the index has page numbers, and a reprinted index could be used for the original purpose it was intended for (which may be irrelevant, because I can't see how that could harm book sales); using a table of contents, without the page numbers, makes the reporting-of-facts aspect predominate over the copyrightable expression aspect. I think this is a better comparison: Don't Monarch's Notes and Cliff's Notes sell booklets about Faulkner's Light in August? In any event, these study guides are published about works that are copyrighted. They give lists of major characters and plot rundowns, overall producing an enormous amount of information about a book, and they certainly cut into some book sales. Yet they survive. I think that's the best comparison, especially since we can comment on the lists in the Wikipedia articles, differentiating the article further from the nature of the original book. Anyway, I certainly like that comparison a lot more. Noroton 17:04, 6 March 2007 (UTC)
I think you have some interesting points here, Noroton. I think, in the Rolling Stone example, this is not a clear copyright violation exactly (although I think it should be deleted for other reasons, see my AfD comment). Basically, what Rolling Stone printed was an article listing their choices of the top 100 albums of the 80s with a bunch of commentary explaining why they made the choices, et cetera. So just the list itself without the commentary is not the same thing. It's clearly derivative... but I think ultimately the question is one of fair use. Take, for instance, an article like Newbery Medal, which contains the list of winners every year. In a sense, the selection that goes into creating that list is a creative act, so a copyright could apply, but it's okay for us to print the list because the Newbery Medal is important and not being able to reprint the list would unfairly hamper our ability to comment on the Newbery Medal. The same could be said for the Rolling Stone list, if that particular list is important and we feel the need to write an article about it. With no attempt to comment on the list / write an article about it (as opposed to simply reprinting it), the claim that it's fair for us to use the list is much weaker, probably too weak to take a chance on. Mangojuicetalk 16:55, 7 March 2007 (UTC)

Is it legal to integrate, and thereafter modify, a CC-BY text into a GFDL text?

I noticed that the timeline in the Essjay controversy article was copied directly from Wikinews with no credit. Wikinews is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution license, and Wikipedia the GNU Free Documentation License; is this even legal? (Note, diff at Wikinews, later diff at Wikipedia.) --Iamunknown 02:48, 7 March 2007 (UTC)

If it was entirely without attribution, it infringes on the copyright of the original author. That needs to be fixed. It may also infringe on the copyright of every editor to the page previous to the addition of this text if the coloured-box-with-text doesn't turn the article into an "aggregate" as defined in the GFDL in the manner that we argue that images do. Jkelly 02:58, 7 March 2007 (UTC)
It's not good practice. The GFDL requires attribution as well, and a revision history. Transwiki'ing is not supposed to be a cut & paste process. Mangojuicetalk 16:56, 7 March 2007 (UTC)
Now hold on there one minute. In the case of the Wikinews content license discussion (which got quite heated at times), there were several assurances that the Wikinews content could be copied freely to Wikipedia for incorporation into articles. That was precisely why they were permitted to have that license in the first place by the WMF. I would agree that attribution does need to take place, as is required by the Creative Commons license terms. A revision history, while a good thing, is not necessarily a hard and fast legal requirement but merely being a good and ethical contributor. Unlike the GFDL, the CC-by-SA license doesn't even have the requirement of five authors for collaborative documents.
Still, it is always the best ethical advise if you are quoting or using somebody else's words that you provide proper attribution for where you got the information in the first place. While this gets into the realm of specific legal advise, I don't see what is wrong with mentioning on the article talk page that the information was obtained from Wikinews under the CC-by license and who the main author(s) were. How you obtain that author list and how you display it is a matter of personal preference. --Robert Horning 22:52, 9 March 2007 (UTC)
This assertion doesn't make any sense to me. Can you point me to the conversation where we figured out it was okay to create a Modified Version of a GFDL'ed text that was not licensed under the GFDL? Jkelly 02:08, 10 March 2007 (UTC)
I guess I don't understand the confusion here. Remember that Wikinews was originally demanding that all content that was contributed had to be placed into the public domain (no license restrictions at all!). While that was not considered a permanent situation, it was felt that having everything in the public domain could be subsequently moved to any other license that was created or added in the future. Quoting explicitly public domain content in a GFDL'd article is completely legal... or even adapting it and making a modified version of that content. The same can be said about the basic CC-by-SA license because every term and condition of that license can also be met with the GFDL. The GFDL only adds additional restrictions. It isn't perfect, and there are some minor problems, but that was the main point of the original Wikinews license discussions.
There also was some (minor) work that was put into a special "Wikinews" license. They didn't use the GFDL because the license republication clause was deemed unworkable in a small newspaper situation where Wikinews articles would never be used by independent publications. That independent license did have an explicit "upgrade to the GFDL" clause that would have clearly permitted Wikinews content to be used with Wikipedia articles (and not as a fair-use quote). It was felt that the CC-by-SA license, even if not explicit, would do the same thing. So are you saying that abandoning this license effort was a bad idea? --Robert Horning 16:40, 10 March 2007 (UTC)
My confusion here is over what license such an integrated text would be under. In brief, if such a text is licensed under the GFDL, we have imposed an entirely new license on the work of the author of the CC-BY-SA without their release. If it is no longer licensed solely under the GFDL, we have infringed upon the licensing terms of the authors of every previous Modified Version, which insist that a further Modified Version must be so licensed. This particular problem wouldn't exist if Wikinews had dual-licensed all content under the GFDL and CC-BY-SA; I'm curious why that wasn't the approach taken. Jkelly 18:53, 10 March 2007 (UTC)

(de-indent) By that argument, however, any images not licensed under the GFDL should also not be permissible in a GFDL'd encyclopedia. The timeline could be copied to a template, protected from any modification, and a notice displayed at the bottom that, notwithstanding any other claim to license under the GFDL, it is licensed under CC-BY-SA. --Iamunknown 21:14, 10 March 2007 (UTC)

I'd just like to point out that Wikinews is under CC-BY, not CC-BY-SA. It's perfectly fine to incorporate a CC-BY work into any other work under any license, so long as the author(s) of the CC-BY work are credited. --Carnildo 05:12, 11 March 2007 (UTC)
Which you also have to do under the GFDL. Every condition of that license can be satisfied by the GFDL, only the GFDL adds additional restrictions. This situation isn't always true for all licenses, and is indeed a rather unusual situation here. Still, it was one of the major considerations that went into establishing that particular license situation on that Wikimedia sister project. The integrated text in this situation would have to be considered under the GFDL here on Wikipedia, and that content could not be taken "back into" Wikinews if it was to be further modified. But that was also a consideration when the license was chosen, as it was not deemed likely that a news article would contain substantial content from an encyclopedia and be considered credible. This also doesn't change the license of the original text, which you can still obtain from Wikinews under the CC-BY license.
Still, I am not so sure I would want to fight that battle in a courtroom, but I think somebody trying to enforce the CC-BY license would have a huge uphill legal challenge if they tried to claim that its integral incorporation into GFDL'd text is a violation of that license and copyright law. In this case it would be doubly so because you could show some substantial discussion that this was the very intention of the Wikinews content license in the first place.
As far as why it wasn't dual licensed, I can't say here. I don't know. I'm just reporting what the discussions were on this point. For details you can look at meta:Wikinews/License, which includes all of the arguments that went into this decision. Other discussions took place on the Wikinews mailing list, Foundation-l, and other places as well, including en.wikinews.--Robert Horning 00:28, 12 March 2007 (UTC)

violating derivative work

I just came across this report, whose descriptions of weapons are copied directly, with light editing, from the wikipedia articles on each gun, but makes no acknowledgment of the source of the material, let alone GFDL compliance. It's not a verbatim mirror, but they need to be told to comply, and I'm not experienced in how to do this myself. Someone else want to send a notice? Night Gyr (talk/Oy) 05:10, 17 March 2007 (UTC)

User continues to post copyrighted newspaper article

I wonder if I could have an admin talk to user User:Malangthon about repeated posting of multiple newpaper articles on Talk:Nova (English school in Japan) (see very bottom of page). I replaced the articles with links, but the user continues to repost the articles "for the record". I have explained to the user several times now that posting complete articles to talk pages is not acceptable for reasons of copyright infringement and also because Wikipedia is not a source. The user has been abusive when challenged. Thank you. Sparkzilla 01:28, 18 March 2007 (UTC)

If you need the intervention of an admin, you might try making your request to one of the Administrators' noticeboards, perhaps WP:ANI. —RP88 02:04, 18 March 2007 (UTC)
I've left a warning, but for the future, post to WP:AN/I. Tyrenius 02:18, 18 March 2007 (UTC)
Thank you for your help. I will use WP:ANI in future. Sparkzilla 02:27, 18 March 2007 (UTC)

Copyright Assistance - Deleted Article

I have created entries in Wikipedia for two important public health officials; Dr. Jonathan Fielding and Dr. Ciro de Quadros. Dr. Fielding's article was deleted due to copyright infringment by Garion96 (despite my best efforts to explain the following). What I did for Dr. Fielding's article was to; 1. Cut and paste from his standard resume, bios, bragsheet, photo, that was provided to me by Dr. Fielding; 2. I reogranized the materials into an appropriate format for Wikipedia; 3. I had his permission to use these materials (and he reviewed the article); 4. He provides these same materials in numerous other places on the web, as he is on many prestigious public health comittees and organizations (e.g. you can find Dr. Fieldings bio on his UCLA web page).

I bascially "cut and pasted" and re-organized this information into a Wikipedia article, and assumed that I had not violated any copyright laws "...if you obtain special permission to use a copyrighted work from the copyright holder under the terms of our license, you must make a note of that fact (along with names and dates)."

The Administrator (Garion96) who removed the Dr. Fielding article insists that I rewrite the entry. I find this is unnecessary and would like to have my original article resotred.

Can someone provide me with the correct copyright Tag that would allow the article to be included in Wikipedia and prevent this from being removed? A similar problem is occurring for my other article I wrote for Dr. Ciro de Quadros. I have also opened a CASE requesting Adovcates assistance on this (Wikipedia:Association of Members' Advocates/Requests/March 2007/mstrassburg).

As a professor at UCLA, I also have my bio posted in various places on the web, for which I just cut and paste out of my own original materials. For example the description of myself under is a cut and paste directly off of my UCLA bio website I believe. I would imagine that with regards to biographical/resume information (generated by the authors themselves) this is not an unusual or unexpected practice.

Thank you for your assistance. Dr. Strassburg Mstrassburg 17:13, 19 March 2007 (UTC)

Copyvio on Ohmefentanyl and Phenyltropane?

The odd formatting of the two articles seems rather suspicious. I googled the "Introduction" part of Phenyltropane and it appears to have come straight out of another article. As for the rest, the formatting prevents googling and there are a hefty number of sources that the articles reference. I don't know if this is enough to warrant action, but I just wanted to bring it to attention just in case.

- 20:26, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

sourcing definitions from copyrighted web content

I often find wikipedia articles which require citation for definitions of various terms that are used in the article. These can be necessary since articles dealing closely with such terms or phrases must explicitly define the terms by way of introduction to the topic. In nearly every case all sources that can be located for such information explicitly state that their content is copyrighted. Since definitions are very sensitive to the wording used how can we be sure that we are not in violation of copyright when using those definitions and citing the source? My understanding is that even rewording copyrighted material will not prevent copyright infringment unless the rewording is substantial. However, with definitions it often seems quite difficult to use wording that is at once unambiguously faithful to the meaning of the original definition and yet which is also substantially different from it's wording.

Am I understanding this issue incorrectly? What is the best way to source definitions where they are required for a properly sourced article?Zebulin 03:47, 26 March 2007 (UTC)

Interwiki link

{{editprotected}} I would like to request the change of the ar interwiki link to:

[[ar:ويكيبيديا:حقوق التأليف والنشر]]

Please note that the Arabic language is written from right to left. Thank you. --Meno25 11:40, 27 March 2007 (UTC)

Done, Garion96 (talk) 16:07, 27 March 2007 (UTC)

Question Regarding Use of Copyrighted Material

I have followed the below general guidelines from Wikipedia regarding using copyrighted material. What happens after the copyright owner has granted permission to use the material in on Wikipedia? Do I have to send the form letter to someone at Wikipedia? Can we just post the material with a link to the source? How does this work?

Using copyrighted work from others All works are copyrighted unless they either fall into the public domain or their copyright is explicitly disclaimed. If you use part of a copyrighted work under "fair use", or if you obtain special permission to use a copyrighted work from the copyright holder under the terms of our license, you must make a note of that fact (along with names and dates). It is our goal to be able to freely redistribute as much of Wikipedia's material as possible, so original images and sound files licensed under the GFDL or in the public domain are greatly preferred to copyrighted media files used under fair use. See Wikipedia:Boilerplate request for permission for a form letter asking a copyright holder to grant us a license to use their work under terms of the GFDL.

Thank you, Oshburg 16:27, 6 April 2007 (UTC)

It depends. If the source site (if it is a site) mentions that the material is released under a free license, then a mention with a link, like done on Splitting the Sky should be good enough. If not, then an e-mail should be sent to permissions(at)wikimedia(dot)org. Following that, the OTSR people will add a template to the talk page of the article, like was done in Talk:Jaime Bravo or Talk:J._A._Panitz. Garion96 (talk) 22:51, 6 April 2007 (UTC)

One warning rule?


What would you think of this idea? If someone directly and blatantly violates a copyright, they should be given one and only one warning. If they do it a second time, they should be banned. Permanently. No excuses, no copouts. Copyright is a very serious thing. Similar rules shoul dapply for libel/slander as well -- which are also very serious and could potentially cause legal repercussions to Wikipedia itself. mike4ty4 20:43, 8 April 2007 (UTC)

Our goal needs to be to keep plagiarism and copyright infringement to a minimum. Sometimes the most effective way of doing that is to indefinitely block an account and treat the user as a banned user immediately after the first warning. In other times, it might not be. Improving detection software, increased community participation in copyright issues, more robust processes for identifying and removing infringement and other tools may help more than liberal use of the block button. Jkelly 21:00, 8 April 2007 (UTC)
But how come in some cases the "one warning then BAM" rule does not work, anyway? mike4ty4 00:35, 13 April 2007 (UTC)

Request for comment: image copyright issue

Could I get a few opinions regarding the situation surrounding Image:Sartzetakhs2.jpg at Image_talk:Sartzetakhs2.jpg? Thank you kindly, Iamunknown 03:28, 9 April 2007 (UTC)

Adding copyright link to MediaWiki template

I wanted to add GFDL / Wikipedia links in my MediaWiki installation, which hosts a Wikipedia fork. I added this code to the end of MonoBook.php (just after the echo $this->data['tagline'] line):

          <li>This article is licensed under the <a href="">GNU Free Documentation License</a>.</li><li>It uses material from the Wikipedia article <a href="<?php $this->text('title') ?>"><?php $this->text('title') ?></a>.</li>

--Cloudie 14:33, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

Contributors' rights and obligations


We currently say "you can never retract the GFDL license for the versions you placed here". This is easily misread as implying that you have somehow given up your rights to that particular version, that you could not take that precise set of words (that you wrote) and republish it elsewhere in some non-GFDL-compliant way. I suggest changing the text to "you can never retract the GFDL license for the copy you placed here". —Steve Summit (talk) 19:45, 14 April 2007 (UTC)

Currently it reads:

"In the first case, you retain copyright to your materials. You can later republish and relicense them in any way you like. However, you can never retract the GFDL license for the versions you placed here: that material will remain under GFDL forever."

But the word "version" is confusing, as this applies to all material submitted, not just a "version". I would suggest making this explicit by saying:

"In the first case, you retain copyright to your materials. You can later republish and relicense them in any way you like. However, you can never retract the GFDL license for the materials you placed here: that material will remain under GFDL forever."

≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 19:52, 14 April 2007 (UTC)

How about "However, you can never retract the GFDL license for the copies of materials that you place here: these copies will remain under GFDL forever." CMummert · talk 12:15, 15 April 2007 (UTC)
I made the edit. CMummert · talk 00:41, 18 April 2007 (UTC)

Linking to sites that list illegal files

tl;dr version: [1] ?

Hi. See Wikipedia talk:Copyrights/Archive 7 for previous discussion about linking to sites that provide torrrents or infringing material. In articles about anime shows we like to link to various databases that include credits and other "trivial" facts, reviews, and news about these movies and shows. (Wikipedia is not an indiscriminate katamari of information.) Examples include IMDb, Anime News Network and These sites do not include links or information about illegal downloads available, but AniDB does. In fact, when clicking on the AniDB entry of a show, the most of the screen space is devoted to illegal downloads. It gives you a selection of files, with information about each one to use on file sharing networks and contact information to boot. Now, I wouldn't have much against linking to file search engines in an article on torrents, direct connect or whatever, but having an AniDB link as an external link on individual TV shows seems like likely contributory infringement to me. Also, we have enough database sites to do without AniDB. AniDB reviews are only user-submitted and unpaid after all, so there seems to be no benefit to keeping the links.

  • Am I reading the policy correctly?
  • Should the policy be changed to clarify? --GunnarRene 20:16, 17 April 2007 (UTC)
I'd like to comment. AniDB does not have any infringing files available for download, or links to sites that do. It lists information about the shows themselves, with lists of encodes, which are very useful in obtaining information on technical aspects of the show. Linking to the site is not linking to a site that even lists illegal downloads, or steps to download things illegally, let alone hosts them. Voretus 21:14, 17 April 2007 (UTC)
The same goes for logged in users ??? In that case i agree with you. there is little wrong with sites that only list technical information of something that might be a copyright infringement. Better question is, "does this site belong in wikipedia external links sections?" I'd sooner say no that specific question, then to the fact that it might be a "torrent" like site. This doesn't look like much of an encyclopedia worthy "exit point" of wikipedia. --TheDJ (talkcontribsWikiProject Television) 00:51, 18 April 2007 (UTC)

For logged-in users, it looks like the main features is adding illegal file information. This "technical information" are unique file identifiers. It is also not correct that they don't list to places where you can get the files. The "technical aspects" are who subtitled it, in what language, what file format, and where can I get it. For the example above, you can either use two clicks to get to the file information you need for P2P networks, or click three times and find the torrents via a fan-sub group website. Since the content on the AniDB wiki is under the GFDL, allow me to quote without fair use worries:

Files are probably the most important part of AniDB's structure. They are what gets added to users mylists in order to mark episodes watched.
Since files in AniDB are tied with an actual episode, the place where you add files is at the far right of each episodeentry. (...) For video files, the most important fields are: ED2K-link, CRC/CRC Status, Release group and Audio and Subtitle languages.
Ed2k-link. In this field you need to enter either a complete ed2k-link, or just an ed2k sum. Note: This is the only field that is required!

I guess that settles it? Copyright violation is the most important part of the site. --GunnarRene 17:56, 18 April 2007 (UTC)

Additional: The Emule links are hidden until you log in. In other words, it's one-click downloading if you have your program up and running and are logged in. --GunnarRene 18:09, 18 April 2007 (UTC)

I'm slightly confused here. We are an open source project. Why would we want to link to material that infringes copyright and is therefore as unfree (in licencing terms) as can be? --Spartaz Humbug! 18:11, 18 April 2007 (UTC)

Well, linking to unfree content is not bad unless it's content that can replace that of our mission (e.g. Encarta links on all articles). Linking to infringing material, however, is almost always bad. I guess I'll remove the links again. --GunnarRene 18:14, 18 April 2007 (UTC)
Yes, please. Remove them. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 22:01, 20 April 2007 (UTC)

Unknown subject

I have seen some links to sites that provide scans from magazines/covers/DVDs being removed and the reason being this talk. One of such example is which offers edited PNG's from such sources. Although no immediate copy is present over the site, it's still an edited version of a possoble copyrighted material. Such sites (others which focus only on images, such as or never faced any kind of prosecution or protest from the original studios as these sites work more as a propaganda for their works rather than damaging, since their work is the Anime titles, not random images. So, what's your instance on this particular type of site while linking reviews and essays? the user can browse to this areas and download the edited PNG's, but that's not all over the line on Copyright violation. Also, most images are edited and cleaned from original status. About wallpapers and gifs, they are even less prone to Copyright violation since they represent the work of the artists who used the images to create them, and as a general rule on all above sites, Copyright credit for the title or studio is mandatory. Caiobrz 22:25, 18 April 2007 (UTC)

After a research, I would like to point out that sites with images and derivative/transformative works can fall under the Fair Use directive and therefore is not prone to copyright violation, it also does not conflict with WikiCommons.Caiobrz 05:36, 19 April 2007 (UTC)
Your comments make no sense whatsoever to me. I suspect that I am, nevertheless, the sort of person you're trying to communicate to. Can you perhaps rephrase the point that you're trying to make? Jkelly 05:57, 19 April 2007 (UTC)
I think he is trying to promote the seemingly widespread viewpoint that the Anime/Manga/etc. fan community can infringe copyright with abandon, if it is polite, gives credit, avoids material that has been commercially sold in the West, etc. This is manifestly not true.[2] Just because it has got away with it in the past doesn't mean it will be able get away with it in the future. People got away with copyright-infringing music filesharing for about five years in the United States before the RIAA started suing individuals on a large scale, if I remember correctly.—greenrd 13:37, 19 April 2007 (UTC)
There is a huge difference in sharing a complete song (100% copy) and sharing a scanned image published from a periodical magazine, it will never apply the same way as RIAA issues. Only exception for scans from actual artbooks or artworks which are, than, 100% copies. If you read the Fair Use completelly, you will notice how such sites comply with all 4 basic rules and also often add credit for the original studios/artists as well are non-commercial sites. Napster did break all 4 basic rules, did not impose credit system and was a commercial system, one cannot compare can they?Caiobrz 21:56, 19 April 2007 (UTC)
In the fansub and scanlation communities, there is a gentlemen's agreement that fans can translate manga and anime into English, so long as (1) the Japanese publisher has no publishing agreement with an American distributor for that anime, (2) the translations are taken down as soon as such an agreement is made, and (3) the translations are not sold. --Carnildo 22:46, 19 April 2007 (UTC)
Yes, you are all sucesfully misanderstanding the scope of the subject, as it is not scanlations or fansubs which are downright illegal (EVEN if not published in US, Berne do mean something), the point here is scan for memorabilia, magazines and promotional material, NOT porting copyrighted material on it's whole, thus, mentioned scans and wallpapers. Bah whatever this will never get understood Caiobrz 08:25, 21 April 2007 (UTC)
Yeah, that's how I read it too. There is a slight possibility for parody fair use that only derives on characters and not on image content. Contrary to Caiobrz, I don't think either would be acceptable for commons.
Such links to wallpaper sites, re-traced art etc. should not appear as external links, or indeed as references, unless the subject of the text is a controversy over the website, for example.--GunnarRene 14:30, 19 April 2007 (UTC)
Well, I see the Commons acknowledge the low point this will bring for illustration and others in the long term but it's a give and take situation so I guess one will have to strip those links. In this case, case closed. Caiobrz 21:56, 19 April 2007 (UTC)


Those people who from previous discussions says we should not link to sites for illegal downloads should take a look at Abandonware articles such as Home of the Underdogs and Abandonia. There were complaints on other web sites that these articles confused people into thinking that such downloads were legal, and there are a number of links provided to pirate software (in fact there used to be instructions on how to do so on the Talk:Home of the Underdogs page. Attempts to point out in the articles that abandonware, despite the fancy name and rationalizations, is illegal have been removed as alleged POV-pushing while lots of POV pushing for the pro-software piracy side stays and continues to be added. DreamGuy 21:47, 22 April 2007 (UTC)

  • Doesn't our article on abandonware explain that the term has no legal bearing? Note that just because a site offers a number of illegal downloads doesn't mean we shouldn't link to that site. Obviously our article on HOTU should link to HOTU; it's a notable site and deserves an article. Some random War3z site obviously does not. >Radiant< 09:24, 23 April 2007 (UTC)
    • Addendum: Just to clarify. We can link to HOTU in the article on HOTU, but we can not do something like link to the corresponding HOTU page in each game's article. --GunnarRene 14:53, 23 April 2007 (UTC)
      • Well, that depends. Unlike most War3z sites, HOTU does offer independent reviews of games. HOTU also as a policy of not giving download links if the copyright owner objects. They also hold a few games with permission from the copyright owners, and many games that are indie, freeware, or otherwise "available". >Radiant< 14:56, 23 April 2007 (UTC)
        • Then we should only link to those profiles which have by-permission, freeware or libre software. Commercial no-permission games should not be linked to by us, even without a take-down notice. --GunnarRene 15:32, 23 April 2007 (UTC)
          • Note, however, that we do not violate copyright (or indeed, any other law) by doing so. I'm not suggesting that we should do it, but it is irrelevant to copyright. >Radiant< 15:41, 23 April 2007 (UTC)
            • Check out the previous discussion about contributory infringement. Not everybody agrees. --GunnarRene 18:45, 23 April 2007 (UTC)
              • I'm sure they don't, but what matters is if the law agrees. If linking to a copyvio site would violate copyright, search engines wouldn't exist. >Radiant< 07:41, 24 April 2007 (UTC)

One more thing about old software sites in general: There are some sites like or who host games with written permission from the current copyrigth holders. So not all "abandonware" is illegal, or even abandonware. --GunnarRene 14:53, 23 April 2007 (UTC)

"Doesn't our article on abandonware explain that the term has no legal bearing?"

Actually, it did.... and it got removed by someone, and then when I restored it I was accused of POV-pushing for putting it there and even blocked over it by an admin who on his user page says he was a main contributor to that and related articles. I fear he thinks he WP:OWNs the article and believes anything he disagrees with is POV-pushing. It may have gotten put back in later edits, I don't know, as I am trying to avoid going back there myself and risk yet another accusation of POV pushing for simply pointing out that it's not a legal concept and downloading copyright software without permission is illegal. I thought people interested in the topic of copyright should go in and contribute their viewpoints. DreamGuy 23:00, 23 April 2007 (UTC)

If the same user puts the same text in Wikipedia and in an external site

  • The advice about looking for copyvio warns about cases where the external site copied from Wikipedia, rather than the other way round. But an example (The Essex Autistic Society) has arisen of a third sort of copyright query, when the same user may have put the same text in a Wikipedia page and in an external site. The page about the Essex Autistic Society was created by User:Cliveessex, whose name contains "essex". It is likely that the Essex Autistic Society set up both The Essex Autistic Society and . In which case some may argue that there is no copyvio. But is marked "© The Essex Autistic Society", and Wikipedia pages have the GFDL copyright, and thus some say that there is a copyvio. But, what happens in the outside world if (say) someone sells the same book on two countries which have different copyright laws? Anthony Appleyard 06:23, 24 April 2007 (UTC)
This is perfectly acceptable, assuming that User:Cliveessex really is the copyright holder or has permission from the copyright holder. I'd suggest in this case sending an e-mail to the society asking for confirmation that they want to license their text for us to use, perhaps blanking the page in the meantime until we're sure. JulesH 10:12, 26 April 2007 (UTC)
  • Something related came up on Talk:Ron Catalano as well. I am not fussing over the specific case, which might have been deleted on non-copyright grounds anyway. In general, though, submitting content to one website won't stop you from submitting content elsewhere, even if that website is not yours, and claims copyright, and does not give permission (in this case, here: says "copyright" at the bottom, but also admits "submitted by" at the top). There is a point about identity verification, I suppose, but given a plausible claim to authorship, CSD G12 is probably not warranted. I'd hate to think that for text I wrote which got used somewhere else, I can never post it here without having to produce my birth certificate or the like. --Abu-Fool Danyal ibn Amir al-Makhiri 15:57, 26 April 2007 (UTC)

Copyright question

Hi everybody. I'd like to ask you a question: I've found a website [3] that published photos received from common users. This site notably claims to accept only copyright-free photos, as the header says "if there is copyright for any of the photos, contact us and we will remove them". What I wanted to know is: once the guys from this website publish these photos, can they claim any kind of copyright on them? In case they cannot, am I therefore authorized to submit these photos on Wikipedia with a copyleft license? Thanks. --Angelo 00:34, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

I don't speak Italian but from the looks on that site I think they simply mean that "if your copyrighted photo is on this site, contact us and we will remove it". Basically someone uploads a picture saying they made it themselves, but they obviously didn't. I don't think you can say that the pictures on this site fall in the PD or any copyleft license. The website or the submitters of the photographs still hold copyright over those photo's. Garion96 (talk) 06:59, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

Copyright question - unattributed wiki text on forums

I've found someone on a particular forum who copies entire sections of text from wiki articles without any attempt to identify the text as not his own work and certainly not attributing it back to the relevant wiki. My understanding is this breaches wikipedia's copyright (which only requires that such text be appropriately attributed). I've raised it with the forum moderators but they're not interested.

Is this is a breach of copyright? 10:38, 30 April 2007 User:

Yes it is. See WP:FORK for examples of complaint emails and letters. Note that the GFDL requires a little more than just attribution. DES (talk) 22:56, 30 April 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for that. I couldn't find anything in wiki's docs that pointed out where to report violations. The forum moderator labors under the illusion that if it doesn't contain an opinion it's a fact and therefore unprotected by copyright (even with verbatim copying of whole sections of text) and nothing will make him budge from there. I'll try going over his head and see if someone above him isn't so clueless. Failing that I'll follow your suggestion. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 12:25, 1 May 2007 (UTC).

Library of Congress

Can someone review the template for Template:Library of Congress. I created it to cover images downloaded from the Library of Congress also please check image [[Image:3c21756r.jpg]] which is being deleted for violating "fair use". --Richard Arthur Norton (1958- ) 21:33, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

Looks like it should be deleted. The majority of non-free images from the Library of Congress website don't meet our requirements. --Carnildo 08:06, 1 May 2007 (UTC)
The template should go. It implies that the Library is giving permission for use of images, which it does not. As you even quoted in the template: "the Library generally does not own rights in its collections ... [it] does not grant or deny permission". Some of their rights pages explain the concepts of fair use, but for our purposes it's no different than any of the existing pages and templates, so this is redundant to things like {{fair use}}.
Image:3c21756r.jpg, on the other hand, looks to be PD-US. It's dated "between 1917 and 1923". Even if it were taken in 1923, the Library of Congress bought the National Photo Company collection in 1947 [4], and the implication I get from their description page is that the rights lapsed, as they would have had to be renewed after 28 years. Note that the LoC pages for the photo, and the collection as a whole, say "No known restrictions on publication", which typically means that the Library thinks it's PD, but aren't going to make a legal commitment (understandable given the complexity of copyright and related law). --Davepape 01:42, 2 May 2007 (UTC)

UK Copyright

handy summary of UK copyright law at

In particular pictures go off copyright 70y after death of last creator, or 70y after pulication if creators anonymous. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Oldboltonian (talkcontribs) 09:43, 5 May 2007 (UTC).

Photographs of Buildings

I took some photos of the Dentsu Building, could you tell me what the copyrights involved with it are? Can I use them in the article? What about in other things? 03:28, 7 May 2007 (UTC)

If you took the photo, you own the copyright to it. There is not generally considered to be a copyright on the design of a building, such that any photo of it is a derivitive work. You amy relase it under any appropriate free license, and use it in wikipedia, if you choose to (and if the other editors of the article think the phot is useful there. You may use it anywhere else that you please. DES (talk) 17:26, 9 May 2007 (UTC)

Filmography as list of facts

There is now a discussion at Wikipedia:Deletion review#Jake Dinwiddie about an article that stared as a copy&paste version of a filmography from the IMDB. While the discussion seems to be turning on the question of how the edits to the initial version changed it, my position is that under Feist Publications v. Rural Telephone Service such a list is not protected by copyright in the first place, and so should not be subject to deletion as a copyvio even if unedited from the original paste/duump (although cleanup would bee needed, of course). People with copyright experience might want to commetn in that discussion. Or might want to comment here on whether my general premise is corect for Wikipedia or not. DES (talk) 17:36, 9 May 2007 (UTC)

Photo of a sculpture in a public place

I have taken a photograph of the Lewis Jones' public monument at Trelew. May I release this photograph under public domain? Rjgodoy 15:09, 10 May 2007 (UTC)

That depends. When was the monument created? Who was the sculptor, and when did he die? How does Argentina's copyright law treat copyright on monuments; does it have a freedom of panorama clause? --Carnildo 20:53, 10 May 2007 (UTC)

Image copyright question

There is an open Rfc page on image use policy & copyright which can be found here, Wikipedia:Requests for comment/FC Vorskla Poltava image. --Palffy 21:25, 21 May 2007 (UTC)

Material not quoted, but reference given, fair use?

I recently discovered material from a journal abstract had be copied and pasted into the Epigenetics article without any context indicating that the material was a quote. There were extremely minor changes to wording. Although there was nothing in the article to indicate this was taken from an outside source, that source was given as a reference. This was, in my opinion, plagiarism and possibly a copyright violation. Unsurprisingly, the author who added the material has been extremely defensive about it, saying this is "unquestionably fair use and not plagiarism at all". Although I'm sure no one thinks this editing style is appropriate, I was curious about the copyright issue -- is this considered "fair use"? Madeleine 21:28, 27 May 2007 (UTC)

No, see Wikipedia:Non-free content criteria. From quickly looking at the edit it seems unnecessary fair use. "Non-free content is used only where no free equivalent is available or could be created that would serve the same encyclopedic purpose" The information in the section could be used when sourced but this paragraph doesn't look important enough to be quoted directly. And if used under fair use, the original text should not forgot the not therehave been changed. Garion96 (talk) 22:32, 27 May 2007 (UTC)
Sorry, just trying to clarify -- it was technically fair use, but against wikipedia policy? If material does get used, verbatim, doesn't it need to be clearly attributed / quoted? or is a footnote reference to the source enough to make it "fair use"? Thanks. Madeleine 22:52, 27 May 2007 (UTC)
I am not expert enough on the topic to say for sure that it was against wikipedia policy. But after a quick glance, it did looked that way. Also, you must not forget that fair use (the legal term in the U.S.) and Wikipedia fair use (Wikipedia:Non-free content) are not the same. Wikipedia is more strict than required by law because we are a free content encyclopedia.
Regarding your second question. According to the manual of style you should always name the person whom you quote for a full sentence or more. The footnote reference should than be used for information where the quote came from. (magazine/book etc). Garion96 (talk) 23:04, 27 May 2007 (UTC)

A Link to a Web Page that Infringes Copyright

I wish to note that the editor in this diff [5] has linked to a page that was delinked by an administrator. The linking to this web page is a clear violation of WP:COPYRIGHT. Prompt attention is needed.--Drboisclair 00:58, 30 May 2007 (UTC)

  • Not really. Linking to a page that violates copyright does not in and of itself violate copyright, just like being friends with a thief does not violate the law against stealing. If it were otherwise, Google would be outlawed. >Radiant< 12:58, 30 May 2007 (UTC)
    • Knowingly and intentionally linking to infringing materials is a form a contributory copyright infringment in the US. It is similar to intentionally and knowingly giving aid to the thief in the commision of his crime, even if you don't steal anything yourself. Dragons flight 19:46, 30 May 2007 (UTC)
      • That is not what was decided in Perfect 10 v. Google, Inc., what case law are you citing? Back up your information with a citation. --Richard Arthur Norton (1958- ) 19:58, 30 May 2007 (UTC)
        • Intellectual Reserve v. Utah Lighthouse Ministry is one example (the one cited in Wikipedia:Copyrights) where the defendant was held laible for contributory infringment after deliberately providing links and encouraging others to visit a third party site that the defendant knew was violating the plaintiff's copyright. The Perfect 10 case is different because Google routinely removes links to infringing sites when they are properly notified (i.e. there is no knowing intent to encourage infringment), and secondarily as it was not an issue rasied in the preliminary injunction there is not clear decision from Perfect 10 v. Google regarding links to infringing sites (as distinct from the fair use issues regarding thumbnails which were the focus of the injunction and reversal). I beleive there are concurring cases arising from illegal software distribution sites, but I don't have the citations right now. The key factor appears to be whether the links were provided with the full knowledge and intent of encouraging others to violate a third party's copyright. Dragons flight 21:40, 30 May 2007 (UTC)
          • In that case, it is very unlikely that anything Wikipedia does would qualify. All we have to do is to refrain from linking to blatantly infringing content, and remove questionable links only if the copyright holder actually directly complains to the Foundation. We don't need to pre-emptively police the content of all external links. *** Crotalus *** 23:20, 30 May 2007 (UTC)
            • That's debatable... but beyond that, what we don't NEED to do legally and what we ought to do morally and for the good of the encyclopedia can be very different things. That's like saying you don't feel like picking up litter or reporting crimes in progress to the police and then go beyond that and insist that nobody else does either. That goes from merely being lazy and amoral to outright immoral. DreamGuy 05:19, 31 May 2007 (UTC)
  • How is the linking to a public domain text a violation of copyright? The text is at a university etext library. --Richard Arthur Norton (1958- ) 15:33, 30 May 2007 (UTC)
This text is not in public domain. It has been tentatively resolved through OTRS action. It may not be infringement on the part of Wikipedia, but it is contrary to the section on linking to web pages which do infringe copyright WP:COPYRIGHT. The offending link has been removed for now.--Drboisclair 15:42, 30 May 2007 (UTC)
  • Who is the copyright holder, and don't you think the issue should be resolved at the University level and not the Wikipedia level? When it is removed from the University etext library, we will know that they have been served with a "cease and desist" order, and their lawyers have agreed that it violates a copyright. Until then its all just you guessing, isnt it? --Richard Arthur Norton (1958- ) 19:54, 30 May 2007 (UTC)
    • I tend to agree. It's not our job to resolve copyright disputes between third parties. If the publisher wants the material taken down, it's not like Fordham University doesn't have contact information. *** Crotalus *** 23:21, 30 May 2007 (UTC)
      • Policy says we don't link to copyright violations. Thus it is our job. If you don't feel like doing that part of the job, get out of the way of the people who will. DreamGuy 05:17, 31 May 2007 (UTC)
        • O RLY. We can't discuss this because you say it's our job? >Radiant< 08:21, 31 May 2007 (UTC)