Wikipedia talk:FAQ/Copyright

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Ambiguity in "Can I add something to Wikipedia that I got from somewhere else?" section (top)[edit]

At Wikipedia:FAQ/Copyright#Can I add something to Wikipedia that I got from somewhere else? 3rd para., 1st sentence:

Only text that is licensed compatibly with the Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 3.0 Unported License (CC-BY-SA) or in the public domain can be freely copied onto Wikipedia.

Then a couple of sentences & a table later, it is stated that others besides 3.0 are compatible with WP. Now you can infer that they are compatible with 3.0, but it is not a necessary inference. A less ambiguous Edit proposed is:

Only text that is in the public domain or licensed compatibly with Wikipedia, including Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 3.0 Unported License (CC-BY-SA) and the other Green tickY licenses below, can be freely copied onto Wikipedia. --Thomasmeeks (talk) 15:18, 28 September 2010 (UTC)
It's an essential inference. We really do mean that we can only accept text licensed compatibly with Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 3.0 Unported License (CC-BY-SA) or in the public domain, because Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 3.0 Unported License (CC-BY-SA) is the license we use. The box just contains some of the licenses that are compatible with Wikipedia because they are compatible with CC-BY-SA. --Moonriddengirl (talk) 15:22, 28 September 2010 (UTC)
That was queek. I'm on your side, but (I'm sorry to say) repetition with emphasis of the first quoted sentence above with a gloss referring to what comes later does not make the first sentence clearer as a stand-alone. There, "compatibly" is not self-interpreting. A diligent reader might very well not see what it adds to the sentence, and thereby be perplexed at the consistency of the first sentence with what comes later. Are you saying that the proposed Edit is wrong, unnecessary, or both. If it's not wrong by your lights, then what's the harm of clarifying early? Thanks. --Thomasmeeks (talk) 19:11, 28 September 2010 (UTC)
Your proposed change is not in itself inaccurate, but could be confusing to those who miss the point that the compatibility they need to find is between other licenses and CC-By-SA. The list is not exhaustive. I think your proposed change could possibly introduce more ambiguities than what we currently have. If anything, I think it would be better to change the wording "not currently licensed compatibly with Wikipedia"--to "not currently licensed compatibly with Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 3.0". --Moonriddengirl (talk) 19:25, 28 September 2010 (UTC)
Well, they may not be in a position to judge CC-BY-SA compatibility easily. All they need is something they can Green tickY off. Some of the same considerations on the other page may apply here as to different ways to say "Yes" (all you need is one!). If like Consumer Reports, it was feasible to rank licenses according to different dimensions, prospective donors might be in a better position to give an informed & confident "Yes." I believe that the proper thought experiment is this: suppose you were coming to this page with little background. What wording would raise the fewest valid questions? Thanks. --Thomasmeeks (talk) 20:25, 28 September 2010 (UTC)
I'm not sure what you mean by "different ways to say "Yes" (all you need is one!)" But if the other page you mean is Wikipedia:Declaration of consent for all enquiries, this page is not written specifically copyright holders. It is written for people who find already published content and want to know if they can bring it here. I'm also not sure what you mean when you say the goal is raising the fewest valid questions; we have our copyright policy for that. It seems to me that our goal here is to anticipate valid questions and address them. If they are not in position to judge CC-By-SA compatibility easily, they can follow the green check marks in the table. I'm not sure how acknowledging that CC-BY-SA compatibility is required complicates that. --Moonriddengirl (talk) 11:39, 29 September 2010 (UTC)

Overhaul proposal[edit]

May I make a plea for simplicity and clarity. In the last fortnight I have come back to this article five times and I am still not certain that I understand it. I would like the first para of the section to summarise all the permissible kinds of addition. Something like:
"You can add material obtained from somewhere else if:
it is a fact which cannot be copyrighted.
it is in the public domain.
it has a licence compatible with Wikipedia, see below.
you have obtained permission to use it, see requesting permission for details.
it falls under the fair use clause of US copyright law (only under narrow cicumstances).
These can then be amplified in the sections which follow. Apuldram (talk) 10:52, 29 September 2010 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── This seems kind of like a separate issue to me, so I've subdivided for clarity. Hope you don't mind. :)

The danger of a nutshell is that people often do not go beyond it. :/ Perhaps we can achieve some of what you like with bolding and/or numbering? I would not personally support separating (for instance) your first point from the necessary note that facts must written in original language if they are expressed with creativity. It is hard to simplify a very complex subject. :/

What about something like this:

You can freely copy content to Wikipedia that you found elsewhere if:

  • It can be verified to be Wikipedia:Public domain. The absence of a copyright notice does not mean that a work may be freely used. If in doubt, assume you cannot use it. (Occasionally, the question is raised about the copyright status of press releases. While press releases are by nature intended to be reproduced widely, there is no inherent permission to alter them or create derivative works based on them, or to use them for commercial purposes. Accordingly, press releases are handled like other copyrighted content. In the absence of explicit disclaimer or permission, these may not be freely reproduced.) If you can verify that content published elsewhere is public domain, you may import it with full attribution in the manner set out at Wikipedia:Plagiarism.
  • It is licensed compatibly with Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 3.0 Unported License (CC-BY-SA). (If copyright of the previously published text belongs exclusively to you, it must also be licensed under Gnu Free Documentation License.) It's not enough to have a license that restricts use only to Wikipedia or prohibits commercial use; these are treated as if there was no license at all. If the material you would like to use is not currently licensed compatibly with CC-BY-SA, you may be able to obtain permission to use it. See Requesting copyright permission for details. The Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License is not necessarily compatible with other copyleft licenses. An incomplete table of licenses compatible Green tickY or not Red XN with CC-BY-SA is shown below. Remember that inputs of Creative Commons licensed text may require attribution - point to the source in your edit summary and in your references. If the content is not dually licensed under GFDL, you must note that it is only available under CC-BY-SA either in the reference or prominently on the article's talk page. (You may use Template:CCBYSASource or compose a note of your own.)
Table of compatible licenses
License Compatibility with Wikipedia
Creative Commons Licenses
License/Compatible License/Compatible
CC-By-NC Red XN CC-By 2.0, 2.5, 3.0 Green tickY
CC-By-NC-ND Red XN CC-By-SA 1.0, 2.0, 2.5, 3.0 Green tickY
CC-By-ND Red XN CC-By-US 3.0 Green tickY
Other Licenses
Any GNU only license Red XN GFDL & CC-By or CC-By-SA Green tickY

Even if content is not compatibly licensed or public domain, you may still be able to use it in some cases. Under very narrow circumstances, copyrighted images and text can be used without permission under the "fair use" clause of US copyright law. Limited use of copyrighted text, for example, can be done without requiring permission from the rights holders for such things as scholarship and review. See Wikipedia:Non-free content and below for more information on when and how copyrighted text and images can be used on Wikipedia.

You may, of course, use facts that you find elsewhere, as facts cannot be copyrighted. It is legal to read an encyclopedia article or other work, reformulate the concepts in your own words, and submit it to Wikipedia, although the structure, presentation, and phrasing of the information should be your own original creation. The United States Court of Appeals noted in Feist Publications v. Rural Telephone Service that factual compilations of information may be protected with respect to "selection and arrangement, so long as they are made independently by the compiler and entail a minimal degree of creativity," as "[t]he compilation author typically chooses which facts to include, in what order to place them, and how to arrange the collected data so that they may be used effectively by readers."[1] Unless the facts are presented without creativity (such as an alphabetical phone directory), you may need to reorganize as well as restate them to avoid substantial similarity. It can be helpful in this respect to utilize multiple sources, which can provide a greater selection of facts from which to draw. (With respect to paraphrasing works of fiction, see derivative works section below.)

(The box, of course, is just to make it clear where the proposed alteration begins and ends. I'm not suggesting we box it in the FAQ.)

Is this better? Worse? --Moonriddengirl (talk) 11:34, 29 September 2010 (UTC)

I believe that that brief Lead paragraph such as at the top is still worth consideration as to this section. To paraphrase Strunk & White, 1st tell them what you're going to say, then say it. If people have some notion of what's below, they're more likely to continue, as distinct from getting clobbered by the details first. So, Green tickY "Yes" for a nice, short lead paragraph inviting study of what comes next in the section.
Since the page is about WP:FAQ/Copyright, it makes sense in this section to talk about copyright issues first (so, an improvement from the current Edit) but with italics, not bolding unless used for each paragraph, and with no hidden table. I now see that Wikipedia:Text of Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License qualifies the the 1st lines of the Deed there in ways that only work to the advantage of prospective donor of content, alleviating a concern expressed in the preceding section & another page. --Thomasmeeks (talk) 20:57, 30 September 2010 (UTC)


At "Can I add something to Wikipedia that I got from somewhere else?" Paragraph 2, line 3 @ "copyleft" should read "copyright." Fat-Al123 (talk) 12:21, 11 October 2010 (UTC)

Hi. It's not actually a misspelling, but a different concept: copyleft. :) It's explained in more detail at Wikipedia:FAQ/Copyright#Copyleft licenses. Since it's a perfectly reasonable conclusion to draw, I've added a link to the word, which may help keep it clear for others who review it. Thanks for pointing out the confusion! --Moonriddengirl (talk) 12:32, 11 October 2010 (UTC)

Imported Wikipedia Pages On My Site[edit]

I am creating a free wiki to help those of us in property preservation. I have imported pages from ya'll and am trying to put credit where credit is due. Situation: The credits section is my attempt to catch anything that slips through the cracks. This is a specific example of giving credit. I am not a coder by any stretch of the imagination and I don't want to do anything wrong here. I mainly want folks who worked hard to make the stuff I am importing get credit, but I realize there's probably legal stuff I don't understand. Is what I have created sufficient? Thanks, in advance, to ya'll! --Foreclosurepedia (talk) 12:57, 12 November 2010 (UTC)

Hi. Thanks for your interest in doing this the right way. :) We can't give you legal advice here, but I'll give you some feedback based on what I see. I don't see anything on your website about the copyright status of your content. Any article into which you import content from Wikipedia must be licensed under either WP:CC-By-SA or WP:GFDL. See Wikipedia:Reuse. Frankly, I'd go with CC-By-SA, since because we underwent a licensing transition a while back not everything here is under GFDL anymore. I would recommend acknowleding in your "edit history" the copying. On Wikipedia, we would usually do this by writing in the edit summary something like, "Content copied from link; see talk page for details". (That said, when we incorporate content from sources under CC-By-SA, we acknowledge it on the article's face. You can see how we do it here.) --Moonriddengirl (talk) 13:10, 12 November 2010 (UTC)
Thanx for your reply! So, I see the notes section on the Clinton article. Are you saying just create a Notes section? I mean I don't know how to get/apply a license. Now, the copying part would be easy (e.g.; create a template to hold all the copyright/license stuff --- this would be kinda what you have in the Notes Section --- and then stub the link out to ya'll on Wikipedia for the actual article where it came from). Or do I need to embed some kind of link in the footer to state what my license is like where the mediawiki button is? Or can I simply create a page containing this info or put it in my Copyright link? Thanx again! I added the license to the bottom of the wiki and created a licensing page. I hope I am moving in the right direction.--Foreclosurepedia (talk) 19:56, 13 November 2010 (UTC)

Suggestion regarding tabular presentation[edit]

Suggestion - the table in this section should be reformatted. While it didn't take long to figure out, I wasted time trying to understand why there were two columns. I checked to see if the headings were different, or if there was some distinguishing difference between the two sides. I first though it was simply designed to be more compact, but now I think someone decided incompatible licenses should be on the left, and compatible should be on the right. If that is the goal, it isn't the right way to present it. With that goal, one column should be something like "Licenses not compatible with Wikipedia" and the other "Licenses compatible with Wikipedia". (Plus, I would list the compatible ones first, on the left. In the current scheme, there are two indicators of the status - the choice of column, and the entry of a "no" or "yes". While redundancy can be a positive in some cases, in this case it leads to confusion. The alternative is a single long list, using the signifier "no" or "yes". I slightly prefer the first option.

For example:

License Compatibility with Wikipedia
Creative Commons Licenses
Licenses compatible with Wikipedia Licenses not compatible with Wikipedia
CC-By 2.0, 2.5, 3.0 CC-By-NC
CC-By-SA 1.0, 2.0, 2.5, 3.0 CC-By-NC-ND
CC-By-US 3.0 CC-By-ND
Other Licenses
GFDL & CC-By or CC-By-SA Any GNU only license

--SPhilbrickT 11:41, 27 May 2011 (UTC)

I fully support this change. On a sidenote, what is CC-By-US 3.0? As far as I can determine it refers to the US version of CC-By 3.0, so why a separate mention? I would understand if it was commonly used abbreviation of said license, but that does not appear to be the case. Yoenit (talk) 12:15, 27 May 2011 (UTC)
(addendum) Thinking about it a bit more, it also makes sense to include CC-0 1.0 and clarify under other licenses that we mean "GFDL & CC-By or GFDL & CC-By-SA". Yoenit (talk) 12:19, 27 May 2011 (UTC)
Somebody seems to have removed the red crosses and green ticks which previously were a useful visual aid. --Redrose64 (talk) 12:47, 27 May 2011 (UTC)
I think this table is good. It's easier to understand than the yes/no or check/X columns actually. Moonriddengirl's changes originated from a conversation here where I was confused about its use for text and/or images.--NortyNort (Holla) 13:31, 27 May 2011 (UTC)
I'm all for any change that makes things easier to use. :) I created the table on my userpage, without much thought as to widespread publication at the time, and it was added to the FAQ by somebody else as useful. :) CC-By-US 3.0 was separated out in the table by same contributor (who has given me tons of help over the years), here and there. I'm not sure why. --Moonriddengirl (talk) 14:56, 27 May 2011 (UTC)
I see enough support that I'm going to go ahead and change it. I'll leave it to others to supplement the list if there are some things missing, or remove or modify (in the case of CC-By-US 3.0) if that isn't the right phrasing.--SPhilbrickT 15:00, 27 May 2011 (UTC)
Long time since this was done but some editors have recently misinterpreted the table here and I can see how the status of "Any GNU only license" could be a bit ambiguous. Therefore I've boldly tweaked the table to try to avoid this happening again. Dpmuk (talk) 09:08, 24 October 2011 (UTC)
Good call--SPhilbrick(Talk) 19:19, 8 January 2012 (UTC)
Can we please include links from this table to their explanations? Either to 7.1 below, or to the more thorough articles. Perhaps even hover boxes with non-abbreviated titles. All these abbreviations are confusing, and some sources use the full name, not the abbreviations so it is difficult to connect the two and make the right decision about using that source. The easier it gets for the average user, the more content we get, and with better alignment to WP rules. TGCP (talk) 12:16, 27 April 2014 (UTC)

Non-commercial licenses[edit]

Our guideline states: "Jimbo has prohibited the use of these" and links to , but I note that the email in question is rather unclear. Surely we have a better proof and explanation why non-commercial images are not allowed? An unclear email from Jimbo dated to 2004 and saying "Jimbo says no" is hardly sufficient those days. PS. would be better, I think, at least it is much more clear. PPS. commons:Commons:Licensing/Justifications has some interesting arguments, but no references to back it up as an official, community or foundation decreed proof that non-commercial licenses are not allowed. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 04:19, 17 August 2011 (UTC)

The second to last frame of the cartoon in the Commons link you provided seems to say it: Wikimedia sells inexpensive books and DVDs.--NortyNort (Holla) 07:13, 17 August 2011 (UTC)

Translations from other languages[edit]

One aspect of copyright which I think many editors are not very aware of is that sources in other languages need to be translated AND paraphrased. Translations, especially direct ones, are derivative works. If the original is in the public domain then the translation becomes copyrighted to the translator. If the original is copyrighted, then the publication of a direct translation is a copyright violation. This means that:

1. When using someone else's translation, same rules apply as to works which were originally published in English. 2. If a Wikipedia editor translates and uses a source which is in public domain, then she or he is releasing the rights to their translation per GDFL. 3. Most importantly, if an editor is translating a copyrighted source in an article, the wording still needs to be paraphrased, just as is done with English language sources.

I've encountered quite a number of instances where a particular editor was not aware that simply translating a copyrighted foreign language work is not sufficient. Often the attitude/belief (though in most cases this was done out of ignorance, not purposefully) is that the act of translation itself is a "paraphrasing" (it's not).

Given that en-Wiki does have a large number of non-English speakers I think that this is something that should be included in this FAQ, as well as, per Moonriddengirl's suggestion [2] over at Copy-paste. I hesitate to change the page myself but any suggestions as to the exact words to be included are welcome (if not I'll have to be bold or something).VolunteerMarek 01:18, 8 January 2012 (UTC)

While I try never to change too much in these kinds of pages under bold, I think that inclusion of this truth should be flatly uncontroversial. How is this for a start? [3] The guidance at Wikipedia:Copy-paste, I think, would be more direct and explicit. --Moonriddengirl (talk) 14:16, 8 January 2012 (UTC)

Question about GFDL[edit]

So I'm kind of trying to understand the issue of Wikipedia vs. GFDL vs. CC-By-SA. And here's something I don't get: For years, all contributions to Wikipedia were released under the GFDL. This article says:

"All published derivative works must use exactly the same license as the original: if you use the work, you're forced to use the same license for your own original work as well."

I had always assumed that Wikipedia is considered a "derivative work" of all of these various contributions. This would "force" Wikipedia to use the GFDL for all of its content, then. And in fact, it says at the bottom of this page (the one I'm typing on, not the one you're reading):

"you irrevocably agree to release your contribution under the CC-BY-SA 3.0 License and the GFDL [emphasis added]."

And for this reason I had always assumed that this new license Wikipedia adopted a few years ago, the CC-By-SA, must be 'backward-compatible' with the GFDL. But Wikipedia is apparently not under the GFDL.

"All text published before June 15th, 2009 on Wikipedia was released under the GFDL, and you may also use the page history to retrieve content published before that date to ensure GFDL compatibility."

Elsewhere the article says it's "most[ly]" under the GFDL—I guess because "most" of its content was authored by the people who typed into that box [or was in the public domain]. It never occurred to me before today that "your contribution" doesn't mean the same thing as "whatever you just put in this box" (and it probably still hasn't occurred to a lot of other people). I mean, "whatever you just put in this box, assuming it isn't already incompatible with Wikipedia's license," and I think that part is implied obviously enough. But—I just learned this—I can't put GFDL content, e.g. from another wiki, in Wikipedia, even with proper attribution and a link to the GFDL. (I tried it and the article in question was speedily deleted, to my substantial surprise.) Everyone seems to agree about this, but I'm not at all sure—even after reading this article—what the basis for that agreement might be (other than wanting to be agreeable). In fact, it appears that the incompatibility is symmetrical; our article also says:

"Some text has been imported only under CC-BY-SA and CC-BY-SA-compatible license and cannot be reused under GFDL; such text will be identified either on the page footer, in the page history or the discussion page of the article that utilizes the text."

I'm not even entirely sure what that means... and I'm less confident that it's true because I haven't seen it anywhere else. Overall, my perception of the discussion on this issue is that it consists of a mass of assertions without explanations. But perhaps I am simply bereft of certain intuitions that many others share. Or perhaps there is a technical explanation that can only (though 'legitimately' in some sense) be understood by those with significant technical legal background, in which case those who agree are mostly simply deferring to the experts (or think they are). Am I mixed up? Or is Wikipedia's copyright mixed up? Or is copyright (and copyleft) in general mixed up? (These possibilities are not mutually exclusive.) Can anyone explain it clearly and concisely? False vacuum (talk) 05:52, 20 March 2012 (UTC)

I'd suggest reading GNU Free Documentation License#Compatibility with Creative Commons licensing terms and m:Licensing update. Essentially a clause was added to GFDL version 1.3 that allowed us (and similar projects) to migrate to a CC license (the FAQ link of the second link covers this reasonably well). This clause effectively allowed us to release our content under CC-BY-SA or GFDL. However the two would not be compatible without that clause. The statement about "All text published before June 15th, 2009" is there because anything that was introduced before that date was definitely release under GFDL whereas anything after that date has only very probably been released under GFDL. It's also worth remembering that the copyright remains with the original creator and so if I release my contributions under GFDL I can also release it under CC-BY-SA quite separately and then people can choose which license to use.
I wasn't really active on wikipedia at the time of the migration so there will be people more knowledgeable than me out there. I'm happy to try to answer any more questions you have and know someone to ask if I don't know the answer - indeed it wouldn't surprise me if they come along and give an answer anyway although given that they're very busy at the moment that may not happen for a while. Dpmuk (talk) 16:56, 20 March 2012 (UTC)

Request for general guideline on book covers / cover art[edit]

I've been going round in circles between copyright faq, policy, image policy, etc., for some time now, and I can't find a clear answer to my question.

All I want to know is: if I have scanned a book cover myself, can I fairly use that image in a Wikipedia article on that book? (Novel published as a paperback in the UK by Pan in 1978)

Surely this is an extremely common issue with new contributors like myself, and would be worth a section headline?

I understand that the rules will change, depending on what book, where & when published, etc, but is there not a general rule, given certain limited conditions, within which we can say 'this is ok'?

Help please! David FLXD (talk) 09:29, 26 June 2012 (UTC)

Given that the cover is almost definitely copyrighted I'd start at WP:NFC and if you're still unsure a post at WP:MCQ is more likely to elicit a helpful response here as this page isn't massively well watched. I'm more of a text copyright person myself so sorry I can't be of more help. Dpmuk (talk) 10:04, 26 June 2012 (UTC)
Thanks Dpmuk. WP:NFC was not one of the pages I had looked at, and the answer to my question is there under Guideline Examples - Acceptable Use - [| Images] - 1. Cover art, where it says that IF accompanied by a critical review of THAT item then it's covered under fair use. I still think that this page would be a good place to display the same guidelines as well. David FLXD (talk) 11:14, 26 June 2012 (UTC)
I'd probably agree. Amongst those volunteers that are active in copyright there has long been a feeling that the Wikipedia guidance pages related to copyright need an overhaul but unfortunately at the moment we don't even have enough editors to keep up with the backlog of copyright problems (see, for example, WP:CP which currently has a backlog of a couple of weeks) so sorting out the information pages, unfortunately, keeps on taking a back seat. Dpmuk (talk) 11:27, 26 June 2012 (UTC)

Articles written from IMDB filmographies[edit]

We get an awful lot of these, sometimes produced in organized efforts to essentially translate IMDB filmographies into Wikipedia articles. In some cases, the problem is clear enough (cut/paste copyrights seem clear violations), but I'm starting to doubt whether transcribing the entries with minimum transformation is actually fair use, as it usually seems to be presumed to be here. Our use is non-commercial, the nature of the work is a database. Both of those are good, I'd guess. The organized translation of entries into otherwise unsourced biographies that are all filmography, or all filmography plus a line of text, would seem to start rising to a substantial amount of information from IMDB. And our use does have an effect on IMDB's commercial use of the same information with respect to ad revenue. Could I get some guidance from people with real copyright clue on this matter? Thanks. --j⚛e deckertalk 16:21, 3 August 2012 (UTC)

I'm fairly sure there'd be an issue in Europe, but the United states has no database rights to worry about. What that leaves us with is the creativity of IMDB's information and whether or not it's protected by copyright. If they used selective lists or presented them in a creative fashion, then it could be, but a truthful comprehensive listing presented in chronological order is about as mundane and noncreative as it gets. It's certainly useful, but as far as I can tell there's nothing that would let them legitimately assert that their filmographies are protected by copyright. VernoWhitney (talk) 21:48, 3 August 2012 (UTC)


Hi, in what way is it allowed to use public information of motorcycle specifiations? I just started Kawasaki Z800 and User:MadmanBot alerted some little similarities to + – is it sufficient to reword the specs (what is a bit difficult to not change them technically)? --Trofobi (talk) 02:17, 23 May 2013 (UTC)

You might want to re-post this at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Motorcycling. My understanding is that the text can be copyrighted but athe data itself will not be, like a recipe or a telephone book. Brianhe (talk) 14:12, 23 May 2013 (UTC)

Minimum requirements of attribution licenses[edit]

In commons:Commons:Licensing#Acceptable licenses it says that simply writing "the material may be used freely by anyone" or similar isn't sufficient.

But here in section WP:Attribution licenses, it gives "You may use, copy, or distribute this work, as long as you give credit to the original author" as an example of attribution license. But in this sentence it's not clear whether derivative work is allowed or not. Isn't it necessary for the license to explicitly express allowance of derivative work? Shouldn't we change it to "You may use, copy, modify or distribute this work, as long as you give credit to the original author"? -- Dalba 2 Shahrivar 1392/ 18:37, 24 August 2013 (UTC)

WP:Attribution licenses appears to describe attribution licences in general and not only free attribution licences. For example, CC-BY and CC-BY-NC-ND are both attribution licences, but only the former is considered free in the Wikipedia sense. --Stefan2 (talk) 19:28, 24 August 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for your reply. But the section starts with "An attribution license is a permissive license with an additional requirement of attribution of previous authors' works in any derivative work". As I understand, this is definition of free attribution licenses; otherwise a general attribution license does not need to be a permissive license or allow derivative works. -- Dalba 2 Shahrivar 1392/ 20:12, 24 August 2013 (UTC)

Author adding his own text, for which he holds the copyright[edit]

I have a question on copyright, for which I have not yet been able to find an answer. Is it acceptable for an author to cut and paste a section of his own book into a WP article? Let us assume the added text is of moderate length. --Greenmaven (talk) 00:11, 14 December 2013 (UTC)

CC-BY 4.0 compatibility?[edit]

On 25 November 2013, Creative Commons released version 4.0 of their license suite. Quite quickly, and importantly for Wikipedia, PLoS adopted it and used it to publish a Topic Page (of which I am an author). More details on Topic Pages can be found here or here, but basically they are peer-reviewed academic review papers designed to be co-published on Wikipedia. For this particular topic page, license compatibility may not be an issue, as the page was prepared on the PLoS wiki under a CC-BY 2.5 license, so that should be the original license and it should be compatible. However, it would be useful to know whether PLoS publishing future Topic Pages under CC-BY 4.0 will break license compatibility. As of now, it is not listed on WP:Compatible license. Could somebody in the know clarify whether CC-BY 4.0 is compatible with Wikipedia? -Kieran (talk) 20:36, 15 December 2013 (UTC)

@Kierano: Pls see Wikipedia:FAQ/Copyright#Can_I_add_something_to_Wikipedia_that_I_got_from_somewhere_else?. Fgnievinski (talk) 14:35, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
@Daniel Mietchen: are you still editing the topic pages for PLoS-CB? This might be worth raising with the publisher. -Kieran (talk) 02:00, 15 September 2015 (UTC)
Yes, I am still involved with the Topic Pages, but I don't see what the publisher should do now. In any case, I think CC BY 4.0 is compatible with Wikipedia in the sense that CC BY 4.0 materials can be incorporated into CC BY-SA 3.0 articles. Not sure what the precise legal language is for that, though. -- Daniel Mietchen (talk) 10:17, 16 September 2015 (UTC)
I just asked for pointers. -- Daniel Mietchen (talk) 10:23, 16 September 2015 (UTC)
Does anyone know whether or not this situation is likely to be resolved in the future? I'm concerned CC-BY-3.0 is being phased out and the resulting shrinking pool of free/libre resources available for reuse at Wikipedia. Thanks. Fgnievinski (talk) 14:41, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
@Kierano and Fgnievinski: Recent discussions at Wikipedia:Teahouse/Questions#Open text and plagiarism (note that this wikilink will later be archived) reveal that material licensed under CC BY 4.0 (the latest version at the time of writing) is compatible with the Wikipedia CC BY–SA 3.0 and GFDL licenses. Indeed the compatibility table in the Wikipedia:FAQ/Copyright § Can I add something to Wikipedia that I got from somewhere else? article is currently correct. Best wishes. RobbieIanMorrison (talk) 17:07, 10 August 2016 (UTC)
@RobbieIanMorrison and Daniel Mietchen: Thanks Robbie! Very good to know. I'm pinging Daniel as well, since he's the technical editor of the PLoS Topic pages. -Kieran (talk) 19:31, 15 August 2016 (UTC)
Thanks. -- Daniel Mietchen (talk) 15:59, 25 August 2016 (UTC)


Hello Daniel Mietchen, Fgnievinski, and Kierano and also Bluerasberry, Finnusertop, Justlettersandnumbers, and Moonriddengirl. I recently emailed the Wikimedia Legal team ( on this matter and received a reply today. The key points are:

  • CC version 3.0 is more strict than 4.0, thereby creating the backwards compatibility problems we have been discussing
  • the Wikimedia Foundation intends to engage in a community consultation about an upgrade from 3.0 to 4.0 for all Wikimedia projects (including Wikipedia), a process that may start as soon as October 2016. Participation by Wikipedia contributors will be encouraged.

A license upgrade would, of course, resolve the issue. Best wishes to all. RobbieIanMorrison (talk) 22:19, 10 September 2016 (UTC)

What does that mean? Do we have to ask en:Stallman for special en:GFDL compatibility permission again? How did this happen last time?
Some of this happened in 2007 and some happened in 2008 or 9... not sure.
Yay, Stallman! Blue Rasberry (talk) 02:43, 12 September 2016 (UTC)
Hello Daniel Mietchen, Fgnievinski, and Kierano and also Bluerasberry, Finnusertop, Justlettersandnumbers, and Moonriddengirl. Wikimedia is consulting on an upgrade to Creative Commons 4.0 with discussions being held between 5 October 2016 and 8 November 2016. For more information and to participate, see: Terms of use/Creative Commons 4.0. Best wishes. RobbieIanMorrison (talk) 10:26, 6 October 2016 (UTC)

Clarifying examples of Derivative Work[edit]

I request/recommend a few clarifying examples of reproduction of 3-D works. For example (and what has prompted this request), is a photograph of a product, such as a can of Del Monte Peas, or a bottle of Vitalis hair tonic, considered a new creation that the photographer can then release the rights to, or are they only reproductions of a copyrighted image/product that require releases from Del Monte or Vitalis before being uploading and used these graphics in Wikipedia? For example, can i take a picture of a bottle of soda and publish it here as my own work, or do i need permission from Coke or Pepsi to do so? Is something like this [File:Peck's Anchovette Jar.jpg] or this [File:Coca-Cola 24 Can Pack.jpg] OK to publish (and release) as original art? Also, is a reproduction of the paper label removed from the product treated any differently than if it was still on the can, as this changes the original art from 3-D to 2-D? BeadleB (talk) 16:37, 19 December 2013 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 23 August 2015[edit]

Sehraumesh (talk) 19:29, 23 August 2015 (UTC)

Red question icon with gradient background.svg Not done: it's not clear what changes you want to be made. Please mention the specific changes in a "change X to Y" format. Stickee (talk) 00:23, 24 August 2015 (UTC)