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Wikipedia talk:Copyrights

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I cut
The realities of modern copyright law demand that we pay attention to legal issues to ensure that our work can be made available, and to protect
the project from legal liability. since I don't see the purpose of this sentence; the second half-sentence is factually wrong, since the GFDL doesn't include any liability disclaimers, and while we could have added warranty disclaimers, we didn't.

I made clear that only the GFDL text is legally binding; everything else written on this page is just our interpretation.

I changed "articles" to "materials" in the official copyright notice, since the "fair use" exception applies to texts and photos alike; we should avoid the impression that text is always GFDL and photos are never GFDL. I also removed the "special permission" part: if you get permission, it has to be permission to publish under GFDL. The only other option is fair use.

I shortened the example notice, since it is disingenious to suggest a notice that's considerably longer than the one we use ourselves. The attempt at a one-sentence summary of the GFDL in the example notice was also incomplete.

Under "contributor obligations", I deleted the phrase telling people to acknowledge authorship and network location on the Talk page or History page. This seems unfair: we ourselves demand a "conspicuous link", so we should provide the same, and a random addition to an article's Talk page can hardly be called conspicuous; most people would never look there for copyright information.

In the "copyright infringement" paragraph, I removed the unnecessary references to "administrators". AxelBoldt 18:57 May 1, 2003 (UTC)

This sentence " It is not possible to use text in Wikipedia that is incompatible with the GFDL (small sections of clearly quoted, annotated and attributed text can be considered fair use, however). " is, IMO, vital and should be placed back in. Otherwise people will use "fair use" as an excuse to copy large blocks of text from other websites. This is not at all something that should be encouraged (esp given our compulsory licensing under the GNU FDL of all text submitted to Wikipedia - to be "fair" in that context the text needs to be short quotes and clearly not something open to editing). The bit on the "References" section should also be put back in (but I agree that the talk page bit should stay out). --mav

When it comes to fair use, size is not (always) that important. To this end, a fair use disclaimer similar to the statement that you referenced above is the best possible way to put people on notice in re the vagaries of fair use. -- NetEsq 21:23 May 1, 2003 (UTC)

Are we providing permission to use all Wikipedia text under the GFDL, or all Wikipedia content? Previously it was only text - see the bottom of every screen "All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License", and the version of this page prior to AxelBoldt's edits. Now it seems to be suggesting that all content including images are licensed. This is bad! If we grant permission to use all images under the GFDL, then our images must be under the GFDL. However, we include lots of images under "fair use" - if we say that our images are licensed under the GFDL in the formal permission grant in bold, then we're going to have to delete them all.

Now, I realise that people will try and claim "fair use" of images - well that's a very solid defence if we don't grant contributors rights to use all images under the GFDL. After all, Wikipedia is an educational site located in the USA, where all images have explanatory text next to them. However, with the GFDL we're not saying "you can copy this image provide you keep it with the accompanying encyclopedia article". We're saying "you can copy this image in any manner you like". And in the case of fair use images, we can't truthfully say that.

I strongly suggest that unless someone here has taken paid legal advice on the subject that we revert to the previous state of only formally granting permission to use text here. At the very least this change needs to be discussed a helluva lot more widely than just here. In the meantime, I'm reverting till I'm convinced. Martin

See, I told people that saying "text" there would give some people the wrong idea. Look, EVERYTHING SUBMITTED TO WIKIPEDIA MUST BE GFDL-COMPATIBLE, BECAUSE WIKIPEDIA IS LICENSED UNDER THE GFDL. The only possible way to weasel out of that is to claim that excerpts of other works under "fair use" are okay to slip into that GFDL work. That assertion is dubious, but seems to be widely supported, just as many people would support the assertion that it is okay to slip in "fair use" textual quotes. There is no difference between ASCII text and images here. --Brion 19:45 May 1, 2003 (UTC)

Then if that's the case I need to drastically rewrite wikipedia:image use policy and list bunches of images on votes for deletion. I'm going to take this to meta:permission grant extent. Martin 19:56 May 1, 2003 (UTC)

Perhaps "Avoid Copyright Paranoia" should be revised to read "Avoid Fair Use Paranoia." There is no need to drastically rewrite and/or delete anything. Other things being equal, copyrighted content that is used in good faith under the auspices of fair use does not create any special problems of legal liability. As such, our primary concern when it comes to fair use should be quality control. -- NetEsq 21:23 May 1, 2003 (UTC)

Please note: Nothing that I have posted here should be construed as legal advice or as constituting a legal opinion. -- NetEsq 21:23 May 1, 2003 (UTC)

It should be rewritten because if what Brion says is correct it's inaccurate and misleading. The word "drastic" was excessive - my bad.
The pages I'm thinking of listing on VfD are those that I considered listing in the past for quality control purposes, and decided not to because I thought images didn't have to be under the GFDL. Bunches = ten to twenty Martin 22:26 May 1, 2003 (UTC)

I should also point out that when the link to the copyright notice on the bottom of each screen was first added in November -- for the first almost two years the actual notice page was linked to only from the front page, recentchanges, the edit page, and a few other places -- it said:

"This page is available under the <a internal class=encyclopedia href='/wiki/GNU_FDL'>GNU FDL</a>." [1] (http://cvs.sourceforge.net/cgi-bin/viewcvs.cgi/wikipedia/phpwiki/newcodebase/Language.php.diff?r1=1.165&r2=1.166)

Someone else decided "all text" (ie, the whole Wikipedia) sounded better than "this page" (just this page), and it later got changed [2] (http://cvs.sourceforge.net/cgi-bin/viewcvs.cgi/wikipedia/phpwiki/newcodebase/Language.php.diff?r1=1.178&r2=1.179). --Brion 19:59 May 1, 2003 (UTC)

Well, I can at least feel reassured that I'm not the only sysop who's got a massively incorrect understanding of the nature of the Wikipedia permission grant. Could this be made really clear, once and or all? I guess it'd be something Jimbo would have to say - or a lawyer for the non-profit when/if it ever gets set up. Martin

Don't quote me on this, but I'm pretty sure that Jimbo has consulted with the Free Software Foundation and its lawyers in re copyright issues and that the dialog is ongoing. If you are so inclined, you might bring up the issue on one of the mailing lists, which is where Jimbo makes most of his contributions to Wikipedia. -- NetEsq 21:23 May 1, 2003 (UTC)

After reviewing meta:Wikipedia_and_copyright_issues, it seems that Isis and Lee Daniel Crocker believe that Wikipedia has a partial grant of GFDL over just the text. The Cunctator, like me, seems to believe that Wikipedia is trying to have a partial grant, but that this is a problem, and it should have a global grant.

I feel a poll coming on.

What Wikipedia content do you think Wikipedia currently grants permission to copy under the GFDL? (see meta:permission grant extent)

  • Global grant: All text, all images
  • Partial grant: All text, images not marked otherwise on the image description page
  • Don't know

Seeing how this poll is not at all binding I really don't see the point. We first need to try to reach a consenus. If that fails then we can try to reach a consensus that we should have a poll. But if we don't reach a consensus then the status quo rules the day. This is how things are done around here. --mav

Fair enough - I've restricted the poll to trying to find out what the status quo is. After all, we should probably find out where we currently are before trying to move anywhere. Martin

IMHO, Wikipedia's GFDL covers all text and all images that it purports to cover, provided that a copyright action is brought against a good faith licensee in a federal court in the United States, subject to the claims of a registered copyright holder whose rights have been inadvertently infringed. In any event, it is incumbent upon Wikipedia licensees to conduct an independent investigation into any copyright infringement in Wikipedia's content, good faith or otherwise, before republishing same. -- NetEsq 00:16 May 2, 2003 (UTC)

Ok then - what does Wikipedia's GFDL purport to cover? Martin


<< [W]hat does Wikipedia's GFDL purport to cover? >>

It covers all text and images for which Wikipedia contributors hold copyrights, provided that said contributors are under the jurisdiction of a United States court or another court that would apply United States copyright law or copyright law that is substantially similar to United States copyright law.

What the GFDL *cannot* cover is content that is in the public domain -- nobody owns that -- nor can it cover content that is used under the auspices of fair use. Rather, it is incumbent upon Wikipedia licensees to conduct an independent investigation into any registered copyright claims that may exist in re Wikipedia content before they repurpose and/or publish said content. Accordingly, in the interests of quality control, it is incumbent upon Wikipedians to cite their sources (when appropriate) and/or respond to reasonable claims that their contributions infringe upon the copyrights of others.

Note: The opinion above is my personal opinion and should not be construed as a legal opinion or legal advice. -- NetEsq 02:10 May 4, 2003 (UTC)

Hmm.
Well I think I've had my worries answered, and though I'm still unclear on a few points, the broad thrust of my concerns have been resolved. Accordingly, I've reverted my revert. I guess I might create a Wikipedia:Copyrights/Temp[?] copy of the article and make some edits to try and reflect what people have said on this. Martin


One of those "ouch" problems - the GFDL appears to be incompatible with audio, because MP3/Vorbis/... is not easily editable in a text editor, and is thus "Opaque". I think we need to tell people to grant their audio into the public domain, rather than under the GFDL... Martin 10:10 6 Jun 2003 (UTC)

JPEG and Gimp .xcf images files are also not easily editable in a text editor, but are explicitly mentioned as acceptable transparent formats in the text of the license. (In version 1.2, that is -- see [3] (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/fdl).) Vorbis is an open format and easily translated back to uncompressed audio (with some loss, like JPEG) for editing (and additionally you could crop & rearrange to some degree on the raw data...) --Brion 17:42 6 Jun 2003 (UTC)

It's certainly within the spirit of the GFDL, but I wonder if it's within the letter. The GFDL specifies a generic text editor, or a generic paint program, or a generic drawing editor, but says nothing about a generic sound editor. Martin 18:30 6 Jun 2003 (UTC)

Perhaps it's time to write a Gimp plug-in that imports/exports audio as very wide one-pixel-tall grayscale bitmaps. :)
In all seriousness, if you think it might be a problem, please contact the FSF and ask for clarification. The limitation of sound files, of course, is that they're tricky to integrate into a _printed_ document. (Though you can always include a CD with the book...) --Brion 18:52 6 Jun 2003 (UTC)


Hi, have you seen the new proposal of improving the copyright law in America? Have a look at the proposal (http://www.eldred.cc/eablog/TheBill.pdf) , would be nice if it would work out. Fantasy 13:30 26 Jun 2003 (UTC)


Sorry if this was discussed before but I did not find anything on the subject. I would like to know whether text from a usenet faq can be used on wikipedia. For example, http://www.faqs.org/faqs/gardens/roses-faq/part1/ (and subsequent documents) mentions authorship but not copyright. If the authorīs permission is required, how can this be obtained for a multi-authored work? Thanks, Nafnaf[?]

 7. Disclaimer/Copyright

 "The Rose FAQ" is copyrighted 1996. Before reprinting a FAQ article (or
 major portions of one) for other than personal use, please obtain permission
 from the author of the article.

I suggest sending the boilerplate request for permission to Bill Chandler, and seeing how it goes from here. Martin 18:34 2 Jul 2003 (UTC)



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