Wikipedia talk:Copyrights/Credit repair

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From Talk:Credit repair

Kielsky has graciously provided content from his Electronic Credit Repair Kit for this article.


While I can readily comprehend the concerns voiced here about whether or not User Kielsky is or is not attempting to advertise his "products" here and I can also easily comprehend the concerns over the copyright issues I think that there is a much greater concern regarding the presentation of the material.

While it is true that there is and has been a mountain of scams and misinformation regarding the subject of credit repair and also the fact that enormous numbers of consumers have both been ripped off and greatly helped I will also hasten to assure one and all that User Kielsky is not a scam artist nor a ripoff artist and has helped a very large number of people and does offer a volume of excellent and even free information.

Be that as it may, it is my understanding that the purpose of a wikipedia is defining things so that people understand what it is and if applicable a bit about how it operates. I do not feel that goal has been accomplished in any way, shape or form by User Kielsky's posting.

I will attempt to resolve that problem.

Credit repair: A process whereby various letters are sent to credit bureaus in an attempt to force the change or deletion of inaccurate or adverse information contained in one's credit bureau records. Statistically speaking the practice is only about 40 percent successful for both individuals and firms alike.

Quite frankly, I fail to see where much more than that needs to be said to define it. Such blatant commercialism as has been demonstrated herein has little or no place in a wikipedia.


Moved from User Talk:RickK:

What do we do about the credit repair external link? I am troubled that this article is being used to generate trafic for a commercial web site. At the same time when I look at the site I see pages of valuable indepth information. I wish WP was so useful on this topic. The problem we have is that the web site info is copyrighted and can be used on WP only by citing the web page. Unfortunately, that means we should be deleting the whole page and not just the link. Can we come to some sort of compromise with the author? mydogategodshat 04:31, 20 Nov 2003 (UTC)

We could probably put the credit info on the Talk page. What do you think? RickK 04:34, 20 Nov 2003 (UTC)
You could suggest that to him. He might be happy with that. I took a look at Wikipedia:Sites that use Wikipedia for content to see if doing that would satsify WP policy if the circumstances were reversed. I don't know for sure, but I think WP would expect the citation on the same page as the Wikinformation. Another option is to put a warning on the link stating that it is a commercial web site. Hope you can work something out with him. mydogategodshat 05:34, 20 Nov 2003 (UTC)

I'm honestly confused. How in the world is proper, honest attribution to another site, and, on top of which, that site is FREE to all comers, and has been a free internet resource for nearly a decade, in any way an advertisement? Kielsky 16:34, Nov 20, 2003 (UTC)

I'd estimate you're making money from approximately 50 banner ads on that page. silsor 16:39, Nov 20, 2003 (UTC)
Not the way you might think. Only when a reader clicks through AND pays for the associated good or service, then I may see a commission. Kielsky 17:05, Nov 20, 2003 (UTC)
Your repeated use of the "trademark" icon was also a small hint. RickK 16:41, 20 Nov 2003 (UTC)
You have no idea how many times over the last ten years my page has been copied OUTRIGHT and passed off as the work of another. Kielsky 17:05, Nov 20, 2003 (UTC)
Since you're the original author, it seems apparent that the only purpose of listing the link right in the article is to get it attention. Why not just list it in the talk page? silsor 16:44, Nov 20, 2003 (UTC)
This is the part I don't get. I'm certain the purpose is to get high-quality content into Wikipedia, for our mutual benefit. Is it not conceivable that such content could have already been created and copyrighted by another? Is it then not possible, that if the author grants permission, that this content could be duplicated here, with the author requesting only proper attribution? How has this done anything but enhance the very value Wikipedia promotes? Kielsky 17:05, Nov 20, 2003 (UTC)
You're dodging the point. I pointed out that your only purpose in giving the link to the site is to draw attention to it. There is no need for you to say "quoted with permission" since you are the original author of the work, and by contributing parts of it to Wikipedia you have relicensed parts of it under the GNU Free Documentation License. If you were only saying "quoted with permission" to clear up any confusion about the matter, a simple notice on the talk page would be adequate. By your own admission you try to make money from the page and in my opinion that makes it an advertisement. silsor 19:13, Nov 20, 2003 (UTC)
Not to mention that even if you did not make money from the page, it would be a vanity advertisement. silsor 19:30, Nov 20, 2003 (UTC)
Quoting from section 2 of the GFDL: "You may copy and distribute the Document in any medium, either commercially or noncommercially, provided that this License, the copyright notices, and the license notice saying this License applies to the Document are reproduced in all copies, and that you add no other conditions whatsoever to those of this License." This makes it very clear the copyright notice is an integral part of the copy. The way I see it is that some people are insisting that my copyright somehow is not deserving the same courtesy. I'm happy to share, freely, under the terms of the GFDL those portions of my copyrighted work I have posted, but I insist that my rights under that very same GFDL be respected. Kielsky
I'm not sure Rick's talk page is the place to have this discussion (apologies Rick) but you should note "If you don't want your writing to be edited mercilessly ... then don't submit it here" and that includes removing any links you add to your site. Angela 20:50, 20 Nov 2003 (UTC)
Keilsky your rights are repected because your name is in the page history. So it is absolutely clear that you are the author of the work. As I see it there is no need to have the link back to your web page to ensure your rights under the GFDL.theresa knott 09:41, 21 Nov 2003 (UTC)

Restored attribution statement. Compare Functional programming. Read the Text of the GFDL. Read wikipedia:copyrights. Note what we ask people who use Wikipedia content to do. Note that I and others have given assurances to third parties that the GFDL ensures that they will be credited - thus I will consider myself obliged to issue a DMCA takedown notice if Wikipedians start violating the GFDL by removing copyright notices while keeping the content. Martin 19:14, 21 Nov 2003 (UTC)

More attribution fuss

User:Kielsky

User:Kielsky keeps inserting advertising into Credit repair. RickK 04:11, 20 Nov 2003 (UTC)

I think you are a bit off in listing them here for that! It seems to me that User:Kielsky was simply trying to comply with terms of copyleft.He copied the info from the commercial site and so provided a link back to that site. I don't see how that makes him a problem user! I've done a complete rewrite, so that we don't need to insert the link. Hopefully that problem solved. If there are no further problems on credit repair and if nobody objects I will swipe User:Kielsky from this page tomorrow. theresa knott 14:06, 20 Nov 2003 (UTC)

Ambiguity about copyright

Here's what Kielsky's external website says:

This Document, the Electronic Credit Repair Kit tm, may not be further copied, photographed, posted, reproduced, stored, translated, or transmitted, in whole or in part, without prior express written consent from the author and copyright owner. Permission is granted to view or print a single personal copy of this document, solely for educational purposes, in its entirety and without modification, as long as this copyright notice remains intact. This permission does not extend to making copies available to others without the author's express written consent. This document may not be sold, rented, or leased, nor may anyone but the author and copyright owner receive any compensation for this document, without the prior express written consent of the author and copyright owner.
All Rights Reserved Without Prejudice.

This entire document is copyrighted. "Electronic Credit Repair Kit" is a trademark of [Michael Kielsky].

I'm not sure if this counteracts his "donation" of the "part" which found its way into credit repair. I'm not going to be anal about it -- since IANAL and proud of it! -- but it looks like either:

  1. He should take back his excerpt and go away, no hard feelings; or,
  2. Wikipedia is now a co-owner of the excerpt, and we have no more obligation to maintain a "donation notice" or "copyright notice" than we do for any of the other ten thousand articles. --Uncle Ed 19:31, 21 Nov 2003 (UTC)

A mention in "links" is not acceptable, as it does not make it clear that this is a required copyright statement rather than normal editable text. Thus, later Wikipedians may inadvertantly remove the statement, believing it to be unnecessary. Martin 19:29, 21 Nov 2003 (UTC)

So what do we do, Martin? Ask on the legal mailing list? Is he giving us the excerpt fully, or with stings attached? --Uncle Ed 19:33, 21 Nov 2003 (UTC)

I've mailed wiki-legal.

The GFDL has strings attached - that is what distinguishes it from public domain text. We certainly have an obligation to maintain copyright notices for content from non-Wikipedians, unless they waive that right under the GFDL. Not only do we have this obligation, but so do all our downstream licensees.

It is possible to argue that where a Wikipedia user is contributing his own text, this is not a direct license under the GFDL, but rather implicit permission is given to Wikipedia to publish the material, where that published material is released under the GFDL. Such arguments are dubious, however, especially where, as in this case, Kielsky is explicitly disagreeing with this interpretation. Martin 19:47, 21 Nov 2003 (UTC)

I just went ahead and wrote a brand new article - carefully NOT glancing at the old one - a kind of clean room design technique applied to text. Now, if Kielsky wants to edit OUR version of the article, he's welcome to do so, and I hope he'll understand that any changes he makes are covered by GFDL. --Uncle Ed 20:11, 21 Nov 2003 (UTC)

Hi guys saw Martin's request on Wikilegal-L. IAAL and this is not a legal opinion (NALO), but let's get one thing straight. When you contribute material to Wikipedia, either if it is published or unpublished you grant a license. Who do you grant that license to? We could discuss that for hours, but the fact is that it is "released under the GNU FDL" as stated below the window where I am currently typing this text. Once that happens it can be "edited mercilessly and redistributed at will".(period). Anyone else who logs on can deleted it or change it (though there are arguments that you cannot unilaterally delete the work of another, but you can certainly transform it into a new work that totally minimalizes the copyrighted content of prior contributions. Once you make a contribution you cannot ask that you get any more attribution rights than anyone else under the GFDL as we do not accept invariant sections here (that is clear if one links through to Wikipedia:copyrights. I don't think that the external links are for advertising and I know of at least one case where someone contested that very issue when dealing with a topic that had certain proprietary rights associated with certain words in the article (how is that for legal obfuscation). The point is that the information on that site should and could be added to Wikipedia, that is what we are hear for. Wikipedia is not a collection of links and any links at the bottom of an article should be to provide more primary source material on the topic of the article. As far as credit repair services, if someone is looking for something like that they can look it up in a search engine. Wikipedia is not a search engine; also this article should deal with credit repair on other countries beside the USA. — Alex756 21:12, 21 Nov 2003 (UTC)

Okay, I've finally read the original text of the article - before I did my "clean room" rewrite. And I hate to say it but I suspect the original poster of running a scam. Note that I do not "accuse" or "charge" this, in a totally smelly (ANAL) sense! But the utter lack of any mention of LEGITIMATE bad entries in one's credit report is suspicious: I was shocked to find that the article implies that most "credit repair" is the removal of errors; I think it's just the other way around: most credit repair is either:

  1. paying back what you owe
  2. scams to AVOID paying back what you owe

We might also mention identity theft, but that's a separate topic. --Uncle Ed 21:41, 21 Nov 2003 (UTC)

First, I'm not running a scam. My website has been up for nearly a decade, and is (and has always been) available for free. While I've had many offers to "do credit repair" from people over the years, I simply refuse to do it. The info is there, choose to use it if you wish. As to "being shocked", well, I can appreciate that, because it IS shocking. Because of the complex interaction between the laws, regulations, creditor practices, and debt collection practices, in most cases you may be better off NOT repaying some debts. I can show example after example where someone who has done the morally upright thing, and repaid all their debts but not within their original terms, is in far worse "creditworthiness" shape than someone who has simply walked away from their obligations. You don't have to trust me on this, when formalized, this process is called "bankruptcy". Finally, most of the people that seem to benefit from my page are not those shirking their obligations, but many, like some of us, who have encountered circumstances (and not without blame), which has lead one mistake to reflect badly on their credit report dozens of times. Many, many, many of these are due to unscrupulous collection agencies, placing multiple collection items on a credit report for one bad debt, multiplied over and over again whenever that debt is passed to yet another collection agency. Such entries are subject to removal upon dispute, because they are false. One bad debt entry versus 13 bad debt entries, that's a huge difference on a credit report. No scam, just the facts and the law. Please, do your own research, I find the Federal Trade Commission Staff Opinion Letters (http://www.ftc.gov/os/statutes/fcra/) most instructive. --User:Kielsky 17:55, 25 Nov 2003 (UTC)

Village pump discussion

The following text (in blue) was moved from the village pump.

I am particularly interested in the controversy around Credit repair as outlined in the messages on User talk:RickK (which may soon move to Talk:Credit repair) Talk:Credit repair. Particularly,

Quoting from section 2 of the GFDL: "You may copy and distribute the Document in any medium, either commercially or noncommercially, provided that this License, the copyright notices, and the license notice saying this License applies to the Document are reproduced in all copies, and that you add no other conditions whatsoever to those of this License." This makes it very clear the copyright notice is an integral part of the copy. The way I see it is that some people are insisting that my copyright somehow is not deserving the same courtesy. I'm happy to share, freely, under the terms of the GFDL those portions of my copyrighted work I have posted, but I insist that my rights under that very same GFDL be respected. Kielsky

Can an author donate text to Wikipedia and insist that a copyright notice remain? The page given to editing users does specify the license, but not who the license holder will be. Should it be specified? silsor 01:41, Nov 21, 2003 (UTC)

I don't understand the motivation for having a copyright notice of the text you added. What are copyrights good for? 1. Restricting the copying of a text so that you can make money off of it. 2. Making it clear who is the author of this text. 1 falls away if you license the text under the GFDL. 2 is satisfied by the "page history". Furthermore: what if I cange a sentence in your text: do you still keep that notice of yours? Do I now get to add my own? I just don't understand the motivation for having a copyright notice. As always, IANAL. --snoyes 02:41, 21 Nov 2003 (UTC)
My opinion: Wikipedia policy is that we don't include attribution for authors in the article text. So we have two options: we can either consider the "Document" to include the talk page (or even the whole site), in which case including the copyright notice on the talk page, alongside other copyright notices, would be sufficient under GFDL; or we can delete the offending text entirely. See my user page for an IANAL statement. -- Tim Starling 03:25, Nov 21, 2003 (UTC)

Making the "Document" include the Talk page would lead to the unfortunate result of requiring anyone who prints out and distributes the article under the rules for "verbatim copying" to also print out the full talk page (and any talk page archives) and distribute it alongside the article itself. This would be bad. Making the Document include all of Wikipedia would have even worse consequences.

We do include attribution text in the article itself for a number of articles, where required under the GFDL. See, for example, the Nupedia and Wikipedia list. The attribution statement requested by Kielsky is roughly equivalent to such notices, and is not unreasonable. Martin 19:19, 21 Nov 2003 (UTC)

An attribution is not unreasonable, but it is not required and it can be removed. Isn't the system for providing attribution from outside Wikipedia is one's listing on the page history? If one is making a contribution to Wikipedia isn't the attribution in the page history? If not, is not everyone who writes something on Wikipedia entitled to add a © date and name at the end of the article? This would seem to clutter things up to a terrible degree. Should each user have the right to go back and make such an addition at the end of the article? The reality is that we are making a collaborative work. If someone dumps their work on Wikipedia from their hard disk, their published book or something else, it does not change the attribution rules. Don't we all contribute our work equally here? Does any one have greater rights than any other contributor? The only time this becomes problematic is if one moves an article from one page to the next, cutting and pasting the text will destroy the page history, and IMO this is a violation of the attribution rules and not respectful of the contributions of others (this also occurs when a page is translated from one language to another, the translator should list the five major contributors in the summary box when translating and the origin language url). Just a suggestion, not a legal opinion. — Alex756 06:38, 22 Nov 2003 (UTC)

I may be just reading it wrong, but doesn't the GFDL treat copyright notices and attributions of authorship differently? It only requires attribution for only 5 major authors, but as far as I can see, all copyright notices must be preserved. I guess it's contradictory -- 50 authors could guarantee that they are each attributed by adding copyright notices. But then they could do that with invariant sections too. Note that the reason this particular copyright notice is objectionable is the nature of the linked site. Theresa Knott rewrote the article to get rid of it, Kielsky responded by dumping more text from the site, which was subsequently removed. -- Tim Starling 08:23, Nov 22, 2003 (UTC)

As long as we are not required to maintain a link to Kielsky's website AND Kielsky agrees that every sentence he added to the article is now covered by the GFDL, I have no more objections.

By the way, sorry about my hasty and suspicious remarks last month. I probably should not have applied the word scam in connection with your website... --Uncle Ed 16:23, 2 Dec 2003 (UTC)