|This is an archive of past UESPWiki:Community Portal discussions. Do not edit the contents of this page, except for maintenance such as updating links.|
I'm splitting this off from the preceding topic because it look like it could go on for a while. Essentially the question arose as to whether we could salvage a page from Wikipedia that was about to be deleted. Answering this raises more general issues about when and how we can take material from other sites and when and how other sites can take material from us. --Wrye 16:25, 30 January 2007 (EST)
In regards to issue of salvaging page from Wikipedia...
- I'm sorry, but we can't use it here. We use the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 License, and Wikipedia is under the GFDL. On the bottom of every page of the UESP reads "All content is available under the terms of the Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 License.", and we must ensure the accuracy of this statement. --Aristeo | Talk 01:24, 30 January 2007 (EST)
- While this would be true if it was a simple copy, if the material is being deleted from Wikipedia then its content (document and images) is no longer under the GFDL (as I understand it anyways). Surely there must be some provisions in place to rescue said deleted content from Wikipedia. It would be a shame to lose such information just because of a few letters (GFDL vs CCAS) which may differ in content but have the same intent. -- Daveh 09:06, 30 January 2007 (EST)
- Not to mention I've seen Wikipedia articles copied on dozens of other sites, even if they aren't deleted articles. I'm pretty sure they allow this sort of thing, though I'm not sure about the differences between the licensing. It may be that it's permissible if due credit is given to Wikipedia on the page (one reason I made sure that was made clear in the edit summary). I'm okay with it either way, I just acted quickly because it looked at the time like the article was about to be deleted, and I wanted to save it before it went kaput. If that's not the case, then I guess it doesn't matter. Maybe if I'm bored I'll create a new page on the subject instead, though it's hardly a priority project for me. --TheRealLurlock Talk 09:36, 30 January 2007 (EST)
Aristeo is correct about the copyright/license. Material from Wikipedia is not copyable to here because of license conflict. Deletion of the page at Wikipedia is not relevant because Wikikpedia is not the copyright holder -- rather the individual authors are. E.g., if I buy a book and then throw that book away, that does not void the copyright that the author holds on the book. Put another way, deletion of the page at Wikipedia, does not remove it from the GDFL. The "few letters" are a big deal -- while the intent of the licenses is somewhat similar, they are completely different legal documents and are generally incompatible. (Note, for license discussion, see: UESPWiki_talk:Copyright_and_Ownership.) The copying of Wikipedia material on other sites (except for fair use, which is fairly limited) is illegal and and a violation of the author's copyrights. --Wrye 13:02, 30 January 2007 (EST)
- While I don't want this to devolve into an argument, I'd like to get it explained more, at least for my benefit (I'm admittedly rather naive about such things).
- According to section 2 of the GFDL, verbatim copying is allowed, unless I misunderstand the purpose of that section. The Wikipedia Verbatim Copying article also seems to support this.
- I do agree that copying an existing Wiki article into the UESP results in a liscense conflict. According to section 2 above partial or complete copying requires the copy be released under the GDFL which we're not using. I suppose we could explicitly release the copy under the GDFL but that gets complicated real quick.
- I'm confused about what happens when content is deleted from Wikipedia, or the UESP, or in general. Take a simple example of me writing an article. My copyright on that article is implicit. When I place it on Wikipedia my copyright is still held but by putting it on there I agree to release it according to the GDFL. If that Wiki article is then deleted, is the article still held by the GDFL or is now under general copyright? I would say the latter as the GDFL version of the article no longer exists...its contract has ended.
- Another contrived example: say I write an article, put it on Wikipedia can I also put it on the UESP or any other site with a non-GDFL liscense? If I can, being the original copyright holder, then it would be similarily possible to get the original copyright holder of the Wiki article to recreate it on this site.
- Say the previously mentioned Wiki article was deleted. If we wished to reuse it (fully or partially) would this require getting explicit permission from the original copyright holders? In this case it would be the dozens of people who contributed to the page, although it appears the majority of the content was from one user.
- Perhaps I'm making this needlessly complex, but you'd think something like this would be simpler. -- Daveh 14:20, 30 January 2007 (EST)
According to the copyrights page of Wikipedia, it's not a problem if you copy content from the site: "The license Wikipedia uses grants free access to our content in the same sense as free software is licensed freely. This principle is known as copyleft. That is to say, Wikipedia content can be copied, modified, and redistributed so long as the new version grants the same freedoms to others and acknowledges the authors of the Wikipedia article used (a direct link back to the article satisfies our author credit requirement). Wikipedia articles therefore will remain free forever and can be used by anybody subject to certain restrictions, most of which serve to ensure that freedom." So I don't think coppying the article is really a problem, as long as there is a link to the original article. Zoidberg 16:46, 30 January 2007 (EST)
- "grants the same freedoms" is short for "release under the GFDL license". SeeWikipedia:Verbatim Copying. --Wrye 17:39, 30 January 2007 (EST)
If we released that specific page under GFDL (and not under CC), then that would be legally okay. It would also be a logistical nightmare. I think that we'll all agree that we don't want a site with some pages under GFDL and some under CC.
Copyright and licensing are very complex issues for wikis! Having something like CC glosses over all that usually, but when you start asking questions like this, then you'll have to face the fact that we very quickly get involved in massively complex legal spagetti code.
Lets start simple. If I write an article from scratch, then I completely own the copyright. Adding it to UESP (under our site terms) does not change that at all. Which means that I can also release that article at a different site under a different copyright, print off copies and sell them, etc.
Now, suppose that I modify an existing article at UESP. Original article is A, my version is A'. The orginal author had sole copyright to A, but what about A'? Do I have the copyright to it? No. What I have a copyright to is the diff between A and A' -- i.e., to my edit. Do that a bunch of times and an article becomes a mosaic of copyright ownership with different people owning different parts. The only reason that this works at all is because they all release their material under the same license. That license: A) allows each author to modify the work of previous authors (this is a derivative work and would be illegal if the license were not there), B) makes successive author's changes also available under the terms of the license, and C) allows UESP (and other sites) to make the material available.
Now suppose the UESP throws the page away. That doesn't affect the material at all -- it's still available under the terms of UESP's CC license. This is because the license is a license granted by the copyright holders (not UESP) to all potential users. The fact that it happens to be currently hosted at UESP is just not that important as far as the life and meaning of the license is concerned.
Back to the material in question... Suppose that the original author has 4 authors. Three of them agree to release under CC and the fourth can't be reached. In that case, you can use the material from the three authors, but not from the fourth unreachable author. Of course, the more authors an article has, the less feasible this solution is, since you won't be able to use contributions from authors that you can't reach.
Note: If you're still confused, then 1) go read articles on copyright, and 2) read the full legal code of the licenses (not the CC summary, but the actual full legal text). If you're a programmer it may help to think of the legal text that's designed to run on human minds, in the context of an "operating system" of the existing laws. Once you understand the context (copyright law, the nature of licenses), then the legal text will be fairly clear -- though (like a program) it requires that you read carefully and follow the logic.
I hesitate to make this final point, because it's a bit rude... Copyright and licensing like many things have a simple description and a long description. The simple description is good most of the time, but at times like this you need to understand the long description in order to be able to understand the issues and comment knowledgeably. So if you haven't done that (and are willing to be bored to tears) go grab some coffee and start reading. Figure on at least two hours. (Personally, it took me a couple of days of reading and thinking to really understand copyright and the various licenses.) --Wrye 17:39, 30 January 2007 (EST)
- Surely there's some sort of limitation on this sort of thing? I mean, from the sounds of it, if one editor comes and corrects a single spelling error, then that correctly spelled word is technically his copyright, and the article cannot legally be reproduced unless the spelling error is preserved. (And somebody else fixing the same error would then be guilty of plagiarism.) I mean, of course that's a reductio ad absurdium, but you get my drift. There's got to be a line between what constitutes copyrightable material and what doesn't. Presumably, you'd only need to get permission from the primary creators and editors of the material. And since they wrote the article for a Wiki in the first place, it seems like it was clearly in their intentions for the work to be freely shared/altered/etc. I also think that few people are likely to object over a small difference in the license on another Wiki, and on the off chance that they did, we could always take it down then if they insisted, though I think that's highly unlikely to happen. I can understand not taking things from other sites which don't have any sort of free-use license, but when it is a Wiki, and especially when, as in this case, the material is destined to be removed, it seems such issues should be relatively moot. Anyhow, I'll defer to the legal-experts on this one, I just think it's an awful shame to let the material in question just disappear forever. --TheRealLurlock Talk 20:05, 30 January 2007 (EST)
Discussion at the this point is no longer about the article salvaging, but rather is intended to clarify UESP licensing. As for typo corrections not being eligible for copyright, I know of no such legal distinction -- please point to your source for that. (It sounds possible, but barring court judgements that support that view, then I think it's inconsistent with copyright law.) Now, on to my own answer for Lurlock...
The safe thing is to remove the spell checkers corrections. Then run a spell checker on the document and fix any spelling errors. Since this last operation would be mechanical and would not involve copying the other contributors changes, then there would be no problem with plagiarism. Legally, if two people independently generate the same text, then no copying is involved and there is no copyright violation.
The general problem with trying to separate primary authors from "lesser" authors is that there's no clear dividing line. Start with spell checking, then grammar checking, then sentence/paragraph stucture improvements, then improvements in content, etc. -- where do you draw the line between "substantial" and "trivial"? Moreover, there's no need to draw a distinction as far as open source docs are concerned -- all contributors are respected and all contribute under the same rules. And the document is available under a free license -- all you have to do is follow the requirements of the license.
Re intention: Generally in law, you only try to discern intentions when the legal document is ambiguous -- note that the very purpose of legal documents to remove ambiguity -- i.e. to remove guessing about intentions, and say "we mean specifically this!" The GFDL is very clear, and very generous -- if we don't want to use it at this site because it's too much of a hassle, fine -- but that means we forego using GFDL licensed documents.
As for who would object to using such material here, I would. If we start ignoring GFDL licenses because they're inconvenient, then we're simply copyright violators, grabbing whatever we feel like. And if we're doing that, then how can we expect people to respect our own CC license? --Wrye 23:45, 30 January 2007 (EST)
- Typos cannot be copyrighted because they hold no original value. The English language is not copyrighted by anyone. For more information about what can be copyrighted, see http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Canadian_Copyright_Law/Subsistance_of_Copyright. --Aristeo | Talk 15:21, 31 January 2007 (EST)
- That's a single unreviewed web page on Canadian Copyright law, and it doesn't say anything about the copyrightability of proofediting. I'm not looking for deductions, but something which specifically covers proofediting and discussed whether it's copyrightable or not. --Wrye 23:39, 31 January 2007 (EST)
- I can’t help you with US law, but in the UK proof editing another’s work and then distributing it, even if you have the rights to distribute it, is in itself illegal.
- "Preserving the moral rights of authors is also expensive because this involves accurate proof reading of the digitised text to make sure that it does not deviate from the original. Reproducing and circulating inaccurate copies of a hardcopy original would be to subject that original to derogatory treatment." -Joint, N. (2006) Libraries, digitisation and disability. Library Review, 55 (3).