Wikipedia:Copyrights

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See the GFDL (GNU Free Documentation License) or the Simple English version of the GFDL.

Important note: The Wikimedia Foundation does not own copyright on Wikipedia article texts and illustrations. It is therefore useless to email our contact addresses asking for permission to reproduce articles or images, even if the rules of operation of your company or school mandate that you ask web site operators before copying their content.

The only contents about the use of which you should contact the Wikimedia Foundation are the trademarked Wikipedia/Wikimedia logos.

Permission to reproduce content under the license and technical conditions applicable to Wikipedia (see below and en:Wikipedia:Mirrors and forks) has already been granted to everyone without request by the authors of individual articles and images, at least unless they violated Wikipedia rules by uploading copyrighted material without authorization or under incorrect licensing terms. For permission to use it outside these terms, one must contact all the volunteer authors of the text or illustration in question.

When someone makes a creation (like a book, movie, picture, song or website), they can say how this creation should be used. This is called copyright, and there are laws that protect it. For someone else to use the creation, they need to get permission from the creator or pay a fee.

Laws about copyright were created so that people who write books or songs or make web pages or movies could get money for their work.

Someone writes a book and want to sell it. People who want to read the book have to pay the author to get copies of it. He would not want someone else to sell a stolen version of the book, and get money for the work he had done. The author also wants people to know that he was the first person who could write a book like that one; if the book is good, it means the author is good at writing; people who know the author is good at writing may hire the author to write things for them.

The rule of all the Wikipedias, including this one, is that nothing in the Wikipedia can be copyrighted by someone else. The exception is if Wikipedia editors (including named and unnamed editors) have permission to use it. This means that we are only allowed to copy things from books or from other web pages into the Wikipedia if the writer has said that anyone can copy these things and make changes to them.

The text contained in Wikipedia is copyrighted (automatically, under the Berne Convention) by Wikipedia contributors and licensed to the public under the GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL). The full text of this license is at Wikipedia:Text of the GNU Free Documentation License.

Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".
Content on Wikipedia is covered by disclaimers.

Fair use

There is an exception to the rules of copyright, which is called fair use. This says that we can copy a short amount of something (for example, one or two sentences, or a small picture) without permission. Fair use is part of the laws of United States of America and some other countries. This should only be done if you are going to write about the part that was copied.

Because people could get very angry at the Wikipedia if we copy the wrong things, it is better not to copy anything onto the Wikipedia unless we are sure it is allowed.

Moving things from other Wikipedias

We can move things from other Wikipedias to here. Text from other Wikipedias is copyrighted and we can only use it if we follow the rules of the GFDL. According to the GFDL, you must provide attribution (that means, you must say where you got it from) when using someone else's work.

This means that copying between pages (or projects) is OK. When the changes you make are more than just making the words correct, copyright is not kept; this makes you a co-author. You must show respect to the people who wrote what you are copying by saying they did this work. You can do this by writing in your edit summary where you have copied the work from. You can also add a note in the article or on the Talk page.

A full step-by-step set of instructions is located at How to copy from another Wikipedia

Copyright does not apply in some cases

Copyright does not apply is some cases. These are the ones that are probably relevant here:

  • There needs to be enough creativity (called threshold of originality). This means that when something is done in a way that is not creative, it cannot be copyrighted. An example would be an alphabetical listing of people's phone numbers.[REF]
  • There is a time limit on copyright. If something was created a long time ago, the copyright of it may have expired.
  • Things that are commonly known can usually not be copyrighted.
  • In the context of texts: Very short texts (only a few words long) cannot be copyrighted; please note that this does not apply to music: jingles are very short pieces of music. They allow someone to identify a certain company or product, they can be copyrighted.

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