Wikipedia talk:Text of the GNU Free Documentation License, version 1.2/Archive 2

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Application to templates[edit]

Does the GNU FDL mean templates on Wikipedia can be copied and used elsewhere with appropriate credit? 04:01, 1 May 2007 (UTC)

GNU Image[edit]

If you go to the GNU website, they have the gnu image, i think this article would be more complete with it Xexos Jan 9, 05

Over a year late, but I agree.--TheDoctor10 (talk|email) 07:56, 21 January 2006 (UTC)

Still no image. hmmm... Sasank 00:57, 16 May 2006 (UTC)

I had to look at the html coding of the [1], but I now have the image. It will be uploaded and put on this page in a few minutes. Flaminglawyer (talk · contribs) 17:34, 15 February 2008 (UTC)
Ok I take that back. This page is protected and I am not an admin. So I'm requesting an unprotect. Flaminglawyer (talk · contribs) 17:38, 15 February 2008 (UTC)
It can't be unprotected because of legal reasons - it's supposed to be a faithful and accurate depiction of the *text* of the GFDL. Therefore I don't think it needs an image. If one is used, wouldn't Image:Heckert GNU white.svg be sufficient? If you really want another opinion, you can use {{editnprotected}} to get the opinion of another admin. Graham87 04:08, 16 February 2008 (UTC)
I see you've already asked at the administrators' noticeboard. Graham87 04:25, 16 February 2008 (UTC)


There has been some controversy over whether to wikify this page. See the archive.

I still think that a links section should be added below the text. Brianjd 04:30, 2004 Dec 12 (UTC)

There seems to be nothing wrong with that. The German page does it - see #Formatting - German version. Brianjd 08:28, 2005 Jan 24 (UTC)

I've added a "see also" section to the to of the talk page, which I believe should be included in the article.

GNU Image[edit]

I'm really concerned about GNU not that I don't mind sharing information I put on Wikipedia but now the sort of websites that are made just to put ads on are using it. I thought I was sharing information here not helping people make $$$$. 23:39, 8 April 2006 (UTC)

Thats nice to know. Please remember that this is the talk page for the article, not for the license itself or even GNU.--workman161 2007-18-04 01:32 01:32, 18 April 2007 (UTC)

Need Help with Patent Version[edit]

As part of a class at Harvard Law, a class open to anyone, Prof. Charles Nesson are asking for help creating a similar version of this license for a patent that he and others have recently acquired. If you want to help, go to the website ( of the Open Patent Project. 23:45, 19 September 2006 (UTC)


See the archive.

فاهس ه س صاشف ه شة يخهىل اثقثThere wasn't much discussion before and I don't understand it. I don't think the table of contents is appropriate - it seems to be changing the license, which is not allowed. --Brianjd 08:23, 2005 Jan 24 (UTC)

Why is it on Wikipedia?[edit]

÷ب هف ؤشىطف لاث ؤاشىلثي )هفطس بعممغ ؤخحغقهلافثي(و صاغ ساخعمي هف لاث خى صهنهحثيهش؟ ًث ساخعمي سهةحمغ مهىن فخ فاث مهؤثىسث If it can't be changed (it's fully copyrighted), why should it be on Wikipedia? We should simply link to the license text on the GNU website from the main GFDL article. Or if we do keep it, a Used under Fair Use notice needs to be added. --Luke 15:33, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)

It's not used under fair use. It used under the license which says "Everyone is permitted to copy and distribute verbatim copies of this license document, but changing it is not allowed" (which is one reason that the page is protected)
Secondly, we have to keep a local copy, not a link to the external one to meet the terms of the GFDL; "To use this License in a document you have written, include a copy of the License in the document..." --Angela. 19:55, Oct 4, 2004 (UTC)
Except that it at the bottom of the page it says "All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License". --Luke 02:25, 6 Oct 2004 (UTC)
It is NOT on, as far as I know. The links at the bottom of pages on that site point to FDL link. I don't know how other wikis handle this. Why the inconsistency? --Brianjd
It still doesn't seem to be there - links down the bottom point to --Brianjd 04:31, 2004 Dec 12 (UTC)
"we have to keep a local copy"; I don't think this means it has to be in the form of a wikipedia article. The simplest solution would be to link it as a plain text (.txt) file. --pile0nadestalk | contribs 15:48, 23 July 2005 (UTC)
The GFDL itself requires that the license be distributed along with the text, therefore we must indeed have it here. The Uninvited Co., Inc. 23:36, 27 July 2005 (UTC)
Dear User:Angela, I think the phrase "To use this License in a document you have written, include a copy of the License in the document..." cannot force anyone to follow those method to use the license, i.e., FSF can't sue anyone using GFDL without follow the GFDL method. This is because FSF doesn't own those GFDL'ed documents.
Secondly, that phrase is not the real requirement of the GFDL, it's just a part of an Addendum. However, the real requirement identical to that phrase is placed the section 4 of GFDL:
  • H. Include an unaltered copy of this License.
This phrase is one of the requirement for anyone who want to redistribute the modified version of the Document, or else they can be sued by the author who own the copyright of the Document. But it is not a requirement for the copyright owner themselves, to include the verbatim copy of the GFDL License in their GFDL'ed document, because no one can enforce or sue them (except themselves), since the owners of the Document are themselves. Nevertheless, the owners who doesn't do this GFDL requirement, can render their documents to have an invalid licenses, since the users can't find the source of the licenses to read. But I think the owners can have a choice to express in the "license notice", a pointer to where the full License can be found (like the method suggested in GPL[2]).
However, since no one will eventually own the whole wikipedia article, so it is a best practice to place the GFDL here.
From Luke's question, he has noticed that the bottom of this article say something like "All text is available under GFDL", that can make the reader misunderstand that this GFDL verbatim is available under GFDL. But if we regard this article as a page to meet the GFDL requirement section 4H, this mean that it is a GFDL exception that the section that include the GFDL verbatim itself is non-alterable (This requirement is alike to the "Invariant Section"). The reader (who notices the license notice at the bottom of this GFDL verbatim page (which act as an virtually invariant section of wikipedia)) must read GFDL carefully to realize this.
--Ans 12:34, 21 October 2005 (UTC)
You're misinterpreting how Wikipedia works. The Wikimedia Foundation doesn't own the copyright of the articles. The contributors, such as me and you, do. They can distribute our work under the terms of the GFDL. If that isn't good enough from you, remember that Wikipedia also uses external GFDL sources. Therefore, if we didn't have the Text of the GFDL, those sources could sue is. See for example, the Reginald Bamford article. The WCF licensed a version of it under the GFDL. Superm401 | Talk 00:59, 22 October 2005 (UTC)
User:Superm401, yes, what I've said is the same as you said for Wikipedia case. The contributors own the copyright. --Ans 08:43, 25 October 2005 (UTC)
Even if this doesn't apply, some of our articles are modified versions of Nupedia articles, that we are modifying and redistributing under GFDL4. Martin 22:46, 3 January 2007 (UTC)

I think that we should have the license on a URL such as, not part of the actual wiki. Quite personally, I think that the formatting on Wikipedia:Text of the GNU Free Documentation License looks ugly. --Ixfd64 02:27, 2005 August 19 (UTC)

Formatting that we may not change. Martin 22:46, 3 January 2007 (UTC)

Modified Versions - different title!?[edit]

If I publish a Modified Version of a Document, why do I have to get permission to use the same title? I've seen copyrighted texts with the same title and I'm sure the authors/publishers did not have to get permission! --Brianjd

I am not sure what kind of answer you are looking for, if at all, but the intent of this particular provision is to make sure that an evil commercial publisher/media conglomerate cannot overwhelm the market with their copy of a GFDL'd document and make previous version created by a freedom-loving author look like an illegitimate copy or minor variant. Changing the title, along with preserving the history, its network location, stating at least the five principal authors of the previous version, etc. is a measure to protect freedom, I think. Of course, if this protection is beneficial for Wikipedia and its contributors is an another question. --Tomos 04:23, 28 Dec 2004 (UTC)
I don't think that's very likely to happen if they also comply with the GFDL. --Brianjd 09:00, 2004 Dec 29 (UTC)
I agree. GFDL feels often too protective of authors to me at the cost of licensee's freedom/flexibility of use. --Tomos 10:45, 29 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Rubbish. In keeping with the spirit of the GFDL, most of the authors will be licensees as well. It's not really protective of most authors. --Brianjd 08:30, 2005 Jan 24 (UTC)

Formatting - German version[edit]

This article on the German Wikipedia

Note a few points:

  1. The article is called "GNU Free Documentation License", not "Text of the GNU Free Documentation License". In this regard, the German Wikipedia is more closely adhering to the license, since it is supposed to be contained in a section of the former title.
    The titles actually include "Wikipedia:", so the correct titles are Wikipedia:GNU Free Documentation License and Wikipedia:Text of the GNU Free Documentation License. However, the German Wikipedia is still better than the English Wikipedia on this point. Brianjd 07:26, 2005 Jan 24 (UTC)
  2. The license has been changed by adding spaces to the start of some lines, however, this appears to be so trivial that it won't cause any problems.
    It's certainly more trivial than any changes resulting from the table of contents (see above). Brianjd 07:26, 2005 Jan 24 (UTC)
  3. The formatting seems better and there is additional information above it, although I don't know what it is. Brianjd 09:37, 2005 Jan 11 (UTC)

Unofficial German translation

Notice that in the first paragraph, the name "GNU Free Documentation License" is in italics. In the second paragraph, which is presumedly just the first translated into German (never assume something is true even if it seems obvious, I don't understand German), there is no special formatting. How should it be formatted?

to 3.: The notice at the top of the de: version means "The following is the English-language original text of the GNU Free Documentation License (GNU-Lizenz für freie Dokumentation). An inofficial translation is located here. Also have a look on the copyright page." TZMT (de:T) 15:57, 7 June 2006 (UTC)

Interwiki links[edit]

Please, remove the interwikis to ro and simple, since they are not the exact counterpart of this page. Also add pt:Wikipedia:GNU Free Documentation License.

In the case of Simple English, there is an exact counterpart of this page, with a link to the Simple English version, so change the interwiki link to the exact counterpart.

The Romanian Wikipedia does not have an exact counterpart, it seems. The current link is better than nothing, isn't it? --Brianjd 07:23, 2005 Jan 24 (UTC)

Also, of course, the link to the German page above should be added. --Brianjd 08:19, 2005 Jan 24 (UTC)
I have added the pt: and de: links and adjusted the link to simple version to bypass a redirect. I think the simple: link should continue to point to their simplified translation, the original copy in simple is just a duplicate of this page. I Agree with Brianjd that the current ro: is better than nothing, so left that intact. --jni 09:52, 22 Mar 2005 (UTC)


The GNU license is all very well for someone who wants to reproduce huge chunks of the Wikipedia, but what about the poor soul who'd just like to distribute copies of one one-page article (to a class, for example) and has to append a 12-page license? Shouldn't there be some provision for incorporation by reference? (I understand Wikipedia isn't in charge of this, but still.) --Deirdre Golash 03:31, 4 Feb 2005 (UTC)

One of the many problems of the GFDL. If I was a teacher distributing copies of an article to a class I certainly wouldn't bother with any such bureaucracy. Compiling some sort of print edition (like a WikiReader: this has been done) is a different matter, particularly if it's being sold for profit. Note that when you print a copy of an article from the website you are just left with the usual footer: "All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License (see Copyrights for details)." If the printer then hands this article to a family member or something this is probably a violation of copyright in strict legal terms, but who knows and, it seems, who cares? I say that because the Wikimedia Foundation's procedures for dealing with mirror sites that don't respect the terms of the GFDL seem very patchy and ad hoc, and these sites are much more significant than the occasional copyvio-ing teacher. It bothers me that people no different from spammers can reproduce my articles with a minuscule copyright notice at the bottom, if they bother with one at all, but if teachers are printing my articles for educational purposes on a small scale and are not bothering to credit me, or if someone produces and sells a print edition that clearly indicates where the material is from and makes no attempt to obfuscate its origins or the nature of the project, then I'm happy. — Trilobite (Talk) 18:46, 17 Feb 2005 (UTC)
[much later] That's why (in the US) we have fair use; small-scale copying and distribution for educational purposes is (in general; IANAL) exempt from copyright restrictions, including the GFDL itself. --Tardis 16:12, 22 May 2007 (UTC)

Interwiki link to vi:[edit]

Could a sysop please link to the Vietnamese copy of this page using the following line? Thanks:

[[vi:Wikipedia:Nguy%C3%AAn v%C4%83n Gi%E1%BA%A5y Ph%C3%A9p S%E1%BB%AD D%E1%BB%A5ng V%C4%83n B%E1%BA%A3n T%E1%BB%B1 Do GNU]]

All those encoded characters are there because this wiki can't handle Unicode, by the way. – Minh Nguyễn (talk, contribs, blog) 02:36, 1 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Done. --jni 09:33, 22 Mar 2005 (UTC)


I am not very cood comprehending legalese- could someone provide a short summary here? (I'd say put it in the article, but is protected.) --maru 15:11, 9 May 2005 (UTC)

Any summary would be a violation of our prohibition on providing legal advice. See Wikipedia:Legal_disclaimer. If you would like a summary or interpretaion, we suggest that you contact a legal professional. The Uninvited Co., Inc. 17:03, 18 August 2006 (UTC)
It may be possible, however to explain the ideals behind the GFDL, which are best covered on the wikipedia article on the subject: this is the wikipedia article

Spoken Wikipedia[edit]

This needs to be moved to the bottom of the page after the text of the licence:

Chameleon 18:27, 28 May 2005 (UTC)

FSF's new adress[edit]

The GPL, LGPL and GFDL have been minorly updated by the FSF to cover their new adress; this version uses the old one. Should it be edited? --Kiand 23:17, 1 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Yes. I'll post it to admin noticeboard. Superm401 | Talk 04:06, 6 November 2005 (UTC)

Interwiki link to uk:[edit]

Could admin please add link to Ukrainian copy of this page? Thanks:

[[uk:Wikipedia:Текст GNU Free Documentation License]]

Rh 19:20, 15 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Done. -- llywrch 7 July 2005 13:32 (UTC)


[[zh:Wikipedia:GNU自由文档许可证文本]]--zy26 was here. 01:49, 30 July 2005 (UTC)
Done :) --Dmcdevit·t 01:53, July 30, 2005 (UTC)

my proposals[edit]

I made a temporary version of the page, Wikipedia:Text of the GNU Free Documentation License/temp, for my proposals.

Basically, all I did was toned town the formatting a bit, updated the categories, added some HTML comments, and added a link back to the original version on the GNU official site.

What do you think? --Ixfd64 02:12, 2005 August 19 (UTC)

Spoken Word[edit]

Why is the spoken word article on the talk page rather than on the article page? --BozMo|talk 19:47, 12 October 2005 (UTC)

  • Because adding it to the project page would change the contents of the text, which isn't allowed. --Kwekubo 16:44, 28 December 2005 (UTC)

Move to Wikisource[edit]

No, it can't (only) be on Wikisource. The GFDL whas to be with the applicable document, and the document is Wikipedia, not Wikisource. Superm401 | Talk 23:13, 18 October 2005 (UTC)

Interwiki link[edit]

Can somebody link to : <>[[ms:Wikipedia:Teks Lesen Dokumentasi Bebas GNU]] <>

ThanksYosri 10:18, 3 January 2006 (UTC)


The article caries a {{shortcut}}, but the shortcut isn't a wikilink, as is it's suggested use.

Thanks. I've wikified it. Superm401 - Talk 23:55, 29 March 2006 (UTC)

Add template please?[edit]

Template:Wikipedia copyright FT2 (Talk | email) 04:08, 26 June 2006 (UTC)

Section 32 of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act[edit]

If for the purposes of educational research may I change this text in a format for private study and revision as approved in Sections 29 & 32 of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act?

Can I adapt this in order to save ink wastage by removing the credits and Copyrights etc. for my notes?

Header numbering[edit]

  • I added the above template as this page needs administrator attention to the issues below (mainly the GNU image), and the header wikicode on each section is causing subsection titles like 1 0. PREAMBLE where the 1 is generated by Wikipedia, and the 0. is part of the original text of the license. I propose that this be reduced to 0. Preamble (and similar for the other subsection titles), and I don't foresee any objection (if this change may be controversial, feel free to propose it here and call for comments). --Draicone (talk) 09:29, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
This is because you have enabled "Auto-number heading" in your preferences. As far as I know this cannot be disabled on specific page. —Ruud 12:54, 1 August 2006 (UTC)

Erm, what the heck is this?[edit]

I came across this article by accident. Without any introduction, without any wikifying and full of jargon and legalese, it's impossible to know what the heck this is. --Dweller 10:40, 15 August 2006 (UTC)

Check out the title of the page? All the text on Wikipedia is released under this licence, and part of the terms of it are that it be included in any such material, in unaltered form. -Splash - tk 12:12, 15 August 2006 (UTC)
Yeah... I don't understand the title of the page. I understand all the words (except "GNU") just not what they mean in conjunction with one another. Thanks for the explanation. Why can't the article say that (and define GNU)? --Dweller 13:43, 15 August 2006 (UTC)
It's not an article in the usual sense. Pages that begin with the Wikipedia: prefix are administrative pages (or other, non-encyclopedia pages). The article version is at Gnu Free Documentation License, which will make more sense. This particular adminstrative page is the necessary inclusion in the combined work of its licensing terms under which other people may use the material they find here. It is a legal statement. Moreover, the GFDL itself is not allowed to be modified, since it requires that all work be released under "exactly this" license, so including any other material would be either inappropriate or illegal. Basically, this page is, literally, exactly what it says in the title, and only that. Nothing else is allowed to be here. (Hence all the legalese: this is where it belongs!) -Splash - tk 21:12, 15 August 2006 (UTC)
Couldn't an italicised heading be put on the page directing confused people to Gnu Free Documentation License? --Dweller 09:11, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

Interwiki request[edit]

Please add interwiki link for Serbian language Wikipedia. The link is:

[[sr:Википедија:GNU Free Documentation License]]

Thank you. --Branislav Jovanovic 16:18, 26 August 2006 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done Done. —Mets501 (talk) 02:53, 9 September 2006 (UTC)

eu interwiki[edit]

Please, add the next interwiki if it is possible: eu:Wikipedia:Wikipedia:GNU Dokumentazio Librearen Lizentziaren testua. Thanks. Berria · (talk) 17:08, 3 September 2006 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done. --  Netsnipe  ►  16:23, 5 September 2006 (UTC)


If this is policy, lets add the Template:policy and the Template:policylist. Fresheneesz 23:34, 10 September 2006 (UTC)

This is not policy in the way that other pages are. This is a legal document that describes the license of content on Wikipedia. Template:Policy would be completely inappropriate, and Template:Policylist is a bad idea on most policy pages anyway. —Centrxtalk • 00:30, 11 September 2006 (UTC)
I figured this wasn't policy, but its listed under the Wikipedia:List of policies, so i figured i should ask. If you're going to say somethings bad, give a reason - your personal opinion is unimportant without it (a reason). But you can answer that on my talk page. Fresheneesz 00:44, 11 September 2006 (UTC)
I don't know what you mean. It is part of the policy of the website and is a Foundation legal issue. If you look at the bottom of any of the pages, it states that all text is licensed under the GFDL and links to this very page. It happens to be on the wiki for practical reasons, but the page is permanently protected from editing. This page is outside of the Wikipedia encyclopedia and its internal processes. —Centrxtalk • 00:58, 11 September 2006 (UTC).

Link to Gnu Free Documentation License?[edit]

Wouldn't it be a good idea to link to the article Gnu Free Documentation License? so Newbs who stumble in here understand what this page is? Borisblue 20:23, 28 October 2006 (UTC)

2 words, mate. Be Bold. If you think it should be added, go right ahead. It can't hurt. ScaleneUserPageTalkContributionsBiographyЄ 10:03, 29 October 2006 (UTC)
  1. In this document, making changes could be a breach of the terms of the license which forbids any changes to it. This is not an encyclopedia article, and is not, despite the note at the bottom of the page, released under the GFDL. We should not be changing the source code of the license any more than we absolutely must to make it appear properly on screen. We can live without the bluelink.
  2. Most people can't be bold on this page. It is fully protected, because of (1).
Splash - tk 17:05, 29 October 2006 (UTC)
Yeah, I understand, and that's the reason I asked. But would adding a short bluelink before the license starts be any more of a breach than the shortcut:WP:GFDL box?Borisblue 02:25, 1 November 2006 (UTC)

Please to interwiki adding[edit]

cs:Wikipedie:GNU_Free_Documentation_License, el:Βικιπαίδεια:GNU_Free_Documentation_License, ja:Wikipedia:Text of GNU Free Documentation License, no:Wikipedia:GNU_FDL, nn:Wikipedia:GNU_Free_Documentation_License_tekst, pl:Wikipedia:Tekst_licencji_GNU_Free_Documentation_License, sv:Wikipedia:Texten_till_GNU_Free_Documentation_License

--Sig0 20:22, 1 November 2006 (UTC)

Yes check.svg DoneMets501 (talk) 03:10, 2 November 2006 (UTC)

sk:Wikipédia:GNU Free Documentation License. ~~helix84 21:26, 15 November 2006 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done Martinp23 20:45, 20 November 2006 (UTC)

Inappropriate content on this page[edit]

I think somebody has messed with this page. When I first loaded it I had a massive pornographic image pop up. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 21:02, 9 December 2006 (UTC).

They messed with {{Shortcut}}. 01:52, 23 December 2006 (UTC)

Can I copy and paste content to from[edit]

They both use GNU GPL... Zephyr103 23:30, 19 December 2006 (UTC)

Yes, you can, but don't forget to give the appropriate attribution. At least you should mention the source page in your edit summary. --Donar Reiskoffer 13:40, 22 December 2006 (UTC)
They both use the GFDL, not the GPL. Superm401 - Talk
This is just as well, as the GPL is incompatible with the GFDL. Martin 22:51, 3 January 2007 (UTC)

Interwiki request[edit]

Please add interwiki link for Croatian language Wikipedia. The link is: [[hr:Wikipedija:Tekst GNU Free Documentation License]]

Thanks. Andrej Šalov 14:30, 14 January 2007 (UTC)

GNU Image[edit]

That's just a backdoor. The people who made this law are all currupt. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 16:04, 4 April 2007 (UTC).

There is no image. There is no backdoor. This is not a law. --workman161 2007-18-04 01:29 01:29, 18 April 2007 (UTC)

GFDL violation[edit] —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:11, 29 May 2007

Not sure how you found that, but thank you for noticing it. The text on that page does appear to be copied from Burstable billing, and not the other way around. See the edits leading up to it [3]. I have sent them a standard GFDL violation letter using this form on their site. — CharlotteWebb 02:15, 31 May 2007 (UTC)
Hey - thanks for the find and for sending the violation letter! Is copying still the highest form of flattery? I wish people would just write their own content for their copycat template based webhosting companies. I thought for a brief second that some major company had ripped off this article...but alas, just another noob... --Mattarata 23:22, 31 May 2007 (UTC)
I think in today's world there is no original thought; everything is derived from something else. — CharlotteWebb 02:28, 1 June 2007 (UTC)
Would someone mind sending a followup letter to this site? I would send the letter myself...but it may be a conflict of interest for me... --Mattarata 16:25, 31 July 2007 (UTC)

ar:ويكيبيديا:نص رخصة جنو للوثائق الحرة[edit]


Plases add ar:ويكيبيديا:نص رخصة جنو للوثائق الحرة to the interwiki. Thanks--OsamaK 09:41, 31 May 2007 (UTC)

Please also add id:Wikipedia:Lisensi Dokumentasi Bebas GNU. Thx. --ivanlanin •• 10:57, 31 May 2007 (UTC)
YesY Done -- zzuuzz (talk) 11:51, 31 May 2007 (UTC)

Thanks. --ivanlanin •• 04:05, 1 June 2007 (UTC)


Why does Wikipedia not use Version 2.0? FSF recommends using it, and most free softwares are version 2...

Wikipedia is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License, a license intended for technical documentation, not the GNU General Public License, a license intended for software. They are different things. While version 2 of the GPL was released in June 1991, and version 3 in June 2007, version 1.2 of the GFDL is the most recent version. Version 2 of the GFDL is still in draft form – Gurch 22:01, 2 July 2007 (UTC)
Wouldn't it be helpful to include this info in the article about Text of the GNU Free Documentation License? Ordinarily I would (sorta) expect a retort of "do it yourself", but in this case, I think it is different somehow - there is some special rule that applies. (right?) Mike Schwartz 06:28, 26 August 2007 (UTC)

Move to wikisource (second proposal)[edit]

{{editprotected}} I do not know if this was ever discussed but this really belongs to wikisource not here. Please apply the relevant template to initiate a discussion on this. I propose a move and soft redirect to wikisource -- Cat chi? 11:35, 16 June 2007 (UTC)

This isn't a standard source document. It is the license that we use for almost all text content and many photos on this site. It is linked to from the bottom of Wikipedia:List_of_policies#Legal_and_copyright and inherently a part of the policy Wikipedia:Reusing Wikipedia content. Even if not marked as such, it's practically a site policy. I think we should keep it here.--Chaser - T 14:17, 16 June 2007 (UTC)
I believe that the GFDL requires that the license has to accompany the copyrighted material. Hacing a copy here ensures that it does. — Carl (CBM · talk) 14:46, 16 June 2007 (UTC)


I have a query about the GFDL as it applies within Wikipedia. Some people on the mailing list have said or implied that any material copied from one article to another is a violation of the GFDL unless the pages are merged so that the edit history of both is available. So, for example, if editor A wrote article X, and then editor B came and copied the contents of article X into article Y, that would be a violation of the GFDL, because A would not be credited for his authorship.

Other editors are saying this is nonsense, and that material may be copied and pasted freely within Wikipedia without acknowledgement. Does anyone know which is correct? SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 09:05, 10 July 2007 (UTC)

it depends. IF you treat wikipedia as a signle document then you are free to copy text. However as a signle document wikipedia is probably in violation of the GFDL and reuse becomes near imposible. If you treat wikipedia as a collection of documents (articles) then yes you would need to credit the authors of any merged material and history merges are one way to do this.Geni 20:40, 19 August 2007 (UTC)

another interwiki[edit]

{{editprotected}} tpi:Wikipedia:Buk Bilong GFDL. aliasd·U·T 05:55, 26 August 2007 (UTC)

YesY Done. Thanks, mattbr 12:56, 26 August 2007 (UTC)

Spoken Aloud[edit]

How does the this work if a podcast/radio host would to read a section of a wiki article? The host can't list all the Authors. Who a saying the link to for example it would be like: [Title] [section] From under the GFDL. Check the article at [URL] for more info on topic. --Internet Nerd 22:43, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

Another interwiki request[edit]

I'm wondering if the interwiki to Thai WP can be added at th:วิกิพีเดีย:ข้อความในสัญญาอนุญาตเอกสารเสรีของกนู Thank you. --Manop - TH 23:51, 4 October 2007 (UTC)

Done. -- zzuuzz (talk) 00:32, 5 October 2007 (UTC)

Interwiki links[edit]

ca:Llicència de documentació lliure de GNU cy:Wicipedia:GNU FDL fr:Wikipédia:Licence de documentation libre GNU ga:Ceadúnas GNU do Dhoiciméadú Saor hu:Wikipedia:GNU Free Documentation License sl:Dovoljenje GNU za rabo proste dokumentacije sq:Wikipedia:GNU Free Documentation License tr:GNU Özgür Belgeleme Lisansı

Found using [4] --elwikipedista 05:59, 17 October 2007 (UTC)

All added. Graham87 06:35, 12 December 2007 (UTC)

Copying the wikified page[edit]

Hi I want to copy the wikified version of GFDL to my own wiki... two problems: first, GFDL says changing the document is not ok, so I am not sure whether wikifying it is allowed at all, and second, if I copy it, do I need to mention Wikipedia? I have no problem referencing Wikipedia but as GFDL says modifications aren't allowed then I can't put the reference in the page itself but only in the talk page, right? Also, if I need to reference Wikipedia, should I also copy the history to show who put the wikification or is this not needed? Perhaps someone who knows more about this stuff can help me on what is the proper way to include the text of GFDL to my wiki? In the past I had the GFDL as a text file out of the wikis, but nowadays I think it's more practical to have them in the wiki (and protected). NerdyNSK 06:32, 2 November 2007 (UTC)

  • Ok searched a bit and found some commentary by Eben Moglen: Our intention in using the phrase `verbatim copying in any medium' is not to require retention of page headings and footers or other formatting features [...] - do you think that wikification is ok under this commentary? I think the commentary applies to the GNU webpages, though. NerdyNSK 06:39, 2 November 2007 (UTC)


Please add [[tr:Vikipedi:GNU Özgür Belgeleme Lisansı]]

(link to Turkish language).

Thank you ;-)

Eras-mus (talk) 12:00, 25 November 2007 (UTC)

YesY Done -- zzuuzz (talk) 23:48, 27 November 2007 (UTC)

any genuine GFDL gurus?[edit]

  • Hiya, any genuine GFDL gurus hanging out here? Lawyers, that would mean... not just people who "know everything"?
  • I noticed that User:Kaihsu asserts on a user page at User:Kaihsu/copyright that all contribs must carry both a copyright notice and a GFDL license. This is not an abstract question 'cause he/she is uploading photos for use on articles, see Image:PaulineGreen20050423 CopyrightKaihsuTai.jpg which is used in Pauline Green. The two licenses seem mutually exclusive to me, but according to Kaihsu's text, I am full of beans... therefore, since I Am Not A Lawyer, I am looking for one...

Quick question about GFDL[edit]

Ok, lets say I want to print out User:Eloc Jcg/WWI in the form of a textbook (one copy), would I be protected under GFDL? § Eloc § 21:28, 3 December 2007 (UTC)

Front cover texts[edit]

I've always taken this to mean that the media in question cannot be used on the cover of a textbook. The text never makes this clear. Am I correct? --Henry W. Schmitt 05:58, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

"The "Cover Texts" are certain short passages of text that are listed, as Front-Cover Texts or Back-Cover Texts, in the notice that says that the Document is released under this License. A Front-Cover Text may be at most 5 words, and a Back-Cover Text may be at most 25 words.
"If you publish printed copies (or copies in media that commonly have printed covers) of the Document, numbering more than 100, and the Document's license notice requires Cover Texts, you must enclose the copies in covers that carry, clearly and legibly, all these Cover Texts: Front-Cover Texts on the front cover, and Back-Cover Texts on the back cover. Both covers must also clearly and legibly identify you as the publisher of these copies. The front cover must present the full title with all words of the title equally prominent and visible. You may add other material on the covers in addition. Copying with changes limited to the covers, as long as they preserve the title of the Document and satisfy these conditions, can be treated as verbatim copying in other respects.
"If the required texts for either cover are too voluminous to fit legibly, you should put the first ones listed (as many as fit reasonably) on the actual cover, and continue the rest onto adjacent pages.
"You may add a passage of up to five words as a Front-Cover Text, and a passage of up to 25 words as a Back-Cover Text, to the end of the list of Cover Texts in the Modified Version. Only one passage of Front-Cover Text and one of Back-Cover Text may be added by (or through arrangements made by) any one entity. If the Document already includes a cover text for the same cover, previously added by you or by arrangement made by the same entity you are acting on behalf of, you may not add another; but you may replace the old one, on explicit permission from the previous publisher that added the old one.
"If the Cover Text requirement of section 3 is applicable to these copies of the Document, then if the Document is less than one half of the entire aggregate, the Document's Cover Texts may be placed on covers that bracket the Document within the aggregate, or the electronic equivalent of covers if the Document is in electronic form. Otherwise they must appear on printed covers that bracket the whole aggregate."
Wikipedia does not impose cover texts or invariant sections. Somewhere there is a policy statement that we do not accept contributions with cover texts or invariant sections. I can't find it right now. MilesAgain (talk) 07:31, 26 December 2007 (UTC)

Korean version..[edit]

{{editprotected}} The Documentation of Korean Wikipedia(위키백과) is also available, but I can't add the interwiki link because I'm not authorized to do that. --Juniuswikia (talk) 07:52, 1 January 2008 (UTC)

Done. עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 09:54, 1 January 2008 (UTC)

Move interwiki onto sub-page[edit]

I think the interwiki should be moved onto a sub-page. This way, non-admins will be free to add to/update the interwiki links. עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 09:55, 1 January 2008 (UTC)

That seems like a good idea - something like Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Header without any header text. The same thing should probably be done for all of the disclaimer pages and all of the other indefinitely protected pages with many interwiki links. I would recommend that these header pages be semi-protected and/or well-watched in case people use them for vandalism. Graham87 10:10, 1 January 2008 (UTC)

Basis in law?[edit]

An important thing comes to mind: these licenses are all well and good as concepts, but how about enforcement? Is there any? If so...

...what is the basis in law for the GNU/GDFL licenses? Did Congress write this into the copyright laws? Is there a UN or international convention (i.e. a treaty)?

In other words: how can this license be enforced?

Anyone could say "I own the copyright to this..."; but without the protection of civil and criminal copyright law, the statement would be merely words (of about the same value as Algore's claim to have invented the Internet).

Basically: if someone flouts the terms of these licenses--especially the sections prohibiting "repackaging" the licensed item with different covers, or altering the work, etc--how can this hypothetical person be stopped from doing so?

+++Before the advent of modern copyright law(s), authors had virtually no protection from piracy, plagirism, etc. As a result, almost every book with any kind of popularity had pirate editions popping up all over the place as soon as it appeared (Voltaire and Erasmus, in particular, lost huge fortunes due to their massive popularity). In fact, before the 18th century, authors were unable to support themselves from their work. They almost always had to have a patron, whether a noble, a monarch, rich merchant or even wealthy churchmen, who would reward them with gelt for a dedication (look up the famous story about Samuel Johnson's reading the Earl of Chesterfield the riot act after the latter dissed him when Dr. Johnson went to ask for his patronage for the Dictionary).+++ PainMan (talk) 12:11, 9 February 2008 (UTC)

I am not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice, but my understanding of the situation is this: the license itself does not need to be "enforced" by anything beyond the normal provisions of copyright law. This is because the licence does not make any restrictions which need to be enforced; rather, it grants a specific set of rights (which include the ability to sublicence under the same terms), subject to a specific set of conditions. If you don't uphold those conditions, you cease to enjoy the rights granted under the GFDL. At this point, you are then using a copyrighted work without a license to do so, and the normal provisions of copyright law then apply. -- The Anome (talk) 10:21, 16 February 2008 (UTC)

Who is licensing whom?[edit]

I know this is the wrong place to ask this, but I can't find anywhere better, so maybe someone will be good-hearted enough to answer anyway. On every edit page it says "You agree to license your contributions under the GFDL". Is this intended to mean: a) You are licensing your contributions to Wikipedia under the GFDL, or b) You agree for Wikipedia to license pages containing your contributions to others under the GFDL, or c) both, or d) something else? --Kotniski (talk) 22:49, 12 April 2008 (UTC)

All right, I think I get it actually: I'm licensing my contributions under the GFDL; Wikipedia is taking advantage of "my" license to host pages which it then (in accordance with "my" license) licenses in turn under the GFDL to the public. (Phew, maybe I should have studied law after all...)--Kotniski (talk) 07:36, 13 April 2008 (UTC)

Make WP:GFDL not a redirect?[edit]

Oh, and another thing (more on topic this time). I understand that the page with the text of the license mustn't be altered in any way, but is there any reason why WP:GFDL (currently a redirect to that text) shouldn't be made into a short explanatory page, leading on to that text, but also containing other links and some basic information for the uninitiated? This might avoid some of the confusion exemplified by many of the previous threads on this discussion page.--Kotniski (talk) 22:59, 12 April 2008 (UTC)

Table of Contents?[edit]

I know that this has been brought up before, but there doesn't seem to have been a real consensus on it. Is there a reason why we can't put a table of contents on the page?--Aervanath's signature is boring 20:07, 13 April 2008 (UTC)


I am working on standardizing official policy markup such as templates and categories. I note apparently people can add things "around" the GFDL-- because this policy already contains magic words, a shortcut box, an inline anchor, markup and formatting, a spoken text link, language links, and categories. I am starting with this page and a couple other challenging policies because that is where any difficulties will be found. I am currently proposing the following change:

  • Delete second line {{shortcut|WP:GFDL}}
  • Insert second line {{policy|WP:GFDL|WP:FDL||||legal}}
  • Delete last line [[Category:Wikipedia official policy|{{PAGENAME}}]]

The results of this change will be to add a policy box, to move the shortcut into the policy box, to add the other shortcut, and to add the category "Wikipedia legal policy". (The official policy category will be retained because supplied by the policy template.) The only reason I can guess in advance for this not being acceptable is the potential objection that {{policy}} is not a protected template. However, it has not been protected for the reason that it only appears on the approximately 50 policy pages and so does not actually pose a high risk for vandalism. Given that consensus, it appears that adding it to this page would not change the risk appreciably. I wanted to verify first whether there had been any reason not to flag this with the policy template. If there is, please let me know if I need to find other programming solutions that do not add to the visible text on this page. I would also like to add a nutshell later, which has the same issues. JJB 11:18, 4 June 2008 (UTC)

Not done: I don't think this is a good idea, because {{policy}} conveys completely the wrong message here. "When editing this page..." is counterindicative, because this page mustn't be edited in any way. "All users should follow" is also inappropriately loose: all editors must license their contributions under the GFDL or not contribute at all. In many senses, this is not a policy page: it is above policy; it could almost be considered foundation level. To be honest, I don't know why we have this page here at all: I would think it would be much better placed at foundation:Text of the GNU Free Documentation License, and we adjust our bottom banner to link there instead of keeping a local copy. Plus that would allow for translations into as many languages as possible. Barring that, I don't think adding {{policy}} here is a very good idea; {{nutshell}} is most definitely out of the question. Happymelon 12:52, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
Well I appreciate it. I knew it would be a hard sell anyway, but then I forgot to add that I wanted another sentence in the policy box as well along the lines of WP:CHECKUSER and WP:OVERSIGHT, which was a serious omission for me. But I must note that technically there's a contradiction between "mustn't be edited in any way" and our routine editing to add translation links; adding other templates like the shortcut template appears permissible because of that exception. And since only admins can edit, "when editing" only applies to them and an additional stronger sentence like those other two policies would be sufficient. I can see that "should" being weaker than "must" is an issue. Anyway, whatever people may think about that, there is another way to categorize this and resolve my concerns for proper pigeonholing. If it's above policy, can we put it in the meta-category [[Category:Wikipedia policies and guidelines|{{PAGENAME}}]] instead of [[Category:Wikipedia official policy|{{PAGENAME}}]] please? Or could we create a new special category like "Wikipedia licensing" within P&G, rather than "official policy", that would only be expected to hold this page (and any very closely allied page that might arise)? Thanks. JJB 15:41, 4 June 2008 (UTC)

{{editprotected}} Got a better idea more in line with WP:IAR. Let's put a policy box on the top of this talk instead, and then the categories will link to the talk but they will still reflect properly in the lists. I'll do a draft of that now. If this works for you, please delete the policy category from the page itself (at your convenience), as it will be redundant with the talk page. The nutshell could go here as well. The reason I want to standardize nutshells is so that editors can later pull whatever the current nutshell text is when referring to the policy; that is, I'm building forward-compatibility with other ideas. As I indicated above, the alternate shortcut WP:FDL should also be added to the shortcut box. JJB 20:22, 4 June 2008 (UTC)

But this talk page isn't a policy page either, so doesn't want a policy box. What I once suggested was having a separate page at WP:GFDL, which explains what's going on with this licence thing and could reasonably be regarded as a "policy page" in the normal Wikipedia sense, and have that page link to this page, which is something quite else (and might be moved into foundation space anyway, per Happy-melon's suggestion above).--Kotniski (talk) 20:34, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
Maybe we need "What GFDL Means" at WP:WGFDLM. I do believe using the talk page would be a good answer for how to tie the policy to the template and to the category lists, but I put it out there. My request still stands, though, because I need some way of addressing the concern that this page should be categorized and templated somehow the same way as the other pages. Thanks for the shortcut Melon. JJB 20:45, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
Some template would be nice, but it would have to get past the lawyers, who don't seem to like adding any extraneous text to this page. I don't think it can be a standard policy template though (whether on the page or the talk), because the statements in that template are hardly applicable in this case, even if text is added to it.--Kotniski (talk) 20:58, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
Ok, ok, I watchlisted it, now leave off the editprotected templates :D. I asked Angela about possibly moving the text to foundation:, let's see where that goes before doing anything rash... Happymelon 21:25, 4 June 2008 (UTC)