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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 content you should contact the Wikimedia Foundation about is the trademarked Wikipedia/Wikimedia logos.

Permission to reproduce content under the license and technical conditions applicable to Wikipedia (see below and 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.

The license Wikipedia uses grants free access to our content in the same sense that free software is licensed freely. This principle is known as copyleft. 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 ampiasaina (a direct link back to the article is generally thought to satisfy the attribution requirement). Wikipedia articles therefore will remain free under the GFDL and can be ampiasaina by anybody subject to certain restrictions, most of which aim to ensure that freedom.

To this end, 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.

The English text of the GFDL is the only legally binding document between authors and users of Wikipedia content. What follows is our interpretation of the GFDL, as it pertains to the rights and obligations of users and contributors.

IMPORTANT: If you wish to reuse content from Wikipedia, first read the Reusers' rights and obligations section. You should then read the GNU Free Documentation License.

Contributors' rights and obligations[hanova ny fango]

If you contribute material to Wikipedia, you thereby license it to the public under the GFDL (with no invariant sections, front-cover texts, or back-cover texts). In order to contribute, you must be in a position to grant this license, which means that either

  • you hold the copyright to the material, for instance because you produced it yourself, or
  • you acquired the material from a source that allows the licensing under GFDL, for instance because the material is in the public domain or is itself published under GFDL.

In the first case, you retain copyright to your materials. You can later republish and relicense them in any way you like. However, you can never retract the GFDL license for the copies of materials that you place here; these copies will remain under GFDL until they enter the public domain.

In the second case, if you incorporate external GFDL materials, as a requirement of the GFDL, you need to acknowledge the authorship and provide a link back to the network location of the original copy.

Using copyrighted work from others[hanova ny fango]

All works are copyrighted unless either they fall into the public domain or their copyright is explicitly disclaimed. If you use part of a copyrighted work under "fair use", or if you obtain special permission to use a copyrighted work from the copyright holder under the terms of our license, you must make a note of that fact (along with names and dates). It is our goal to be able to freely redistribute as much of Wikipedia's material as possible, so original images and sound files licensed under the GFDL or in the public domain are greatly preferred to copyrighted media files ampiasaina under fair use. See Wikipedia:Boilerplate request for permission for a form letter asking a copyright holder to grant us a license to use their work under terms of the GFDL.

Never use materials that infringe the copyrights of others. This could create legal liabilities and seriously hurt the project. If in doubt, write it yourself.

Note that copyright law governs the creative expression of ideas, not the ideas or information themselves. Therefore, it is legal to read an encyclopedia article or other work, reformulate the concepts in your own words, and submit it to Wikipedia. However, it would still be unethical (but not illegal) to do so without citing the original as a reference. See plagiarism and fair use for discussions of how much reformulation is necessary in a general context.

Linking to copyrighted works[hanova ny fango]


Since most recently-created works are copyrighted, almost any Wikipedia article which cites its sources will link to copyrighted material. It is not necessary to obtain the permission of a copyright holder before linking to copyrighted material, just as an author of a book does not need permission to cite someone else's work in their bibliography. Likewise, Wikipedia is not restricted to linking only to GFDL-free or open-source content.

However, if you know that an external Web site is carrying a work in violation of the creator's copyright, do not link to that copy of the work. Knowingly and intentionally directing others to a site that violates copyright has been considered a form of contributory infringement in the United States (Intellectual Reserve v. Utah Lighthouse Ministry [1]). Linking to a pejy that illegally distributes someone else's work sheds a bad light on Wikipedia and its editors. The copyright status of Internet archives in the United States is unclear, however. It is currently acceptable to link to internet archives such as the Wayback Machine, which host unmodified archived copies of webpages taken at various points in time. In articles about a website, it is acceptable to include a link to that website even if there are possible copyright violations somewhere on the site.

Copyright violations[hanova ny fango]

Contributors who repeatedly post copyrighted material despite appropriate warnings may be blocked from editing by any administrator to prevent further problems.

If you suspect a copyright violation, you should at least bring up the issue on that page's discussion page. Others can then examine the situation and take action if needed. Some cases will be false alarms. For example, text that can be found elsewhere on the Web that was in fact copied from Wikipedia in the first place is not a copyright violation on Wikipedia's part.

If a pejy contains material which infringes copyright, that material – and the whole page, if there is no other material present – should be removed. See Wikipedia:Copyright violations for more information, and Wikipedia:Copyright problems for detailed instructions.

Image guidelines[hanova ny fango]

Images and photographs, like written works, are subject to copyright. Someone holds the copyright unless they have been explicitly placed in the public domain. Images on the internet need to be licensed directly from the copyright holder or someone able to license on their behalf. In some cases, fair use guidelines may allow an image to be ampiasaina irrespective of any copyright claims.

Image description pages must be tagged with a special tag to indicate the legal status of the images, as described at Wikipedia:Image copyright tags. Untagged or incorrectly-tagged images will be deleted.

U.S. government photographs[hanova ny fango]

Works produced by civilian and military employees of the United States federal government in the scope of their employment are public domain by statute in the United States (though they may be protected by copyright outside the U.S.). It is not enough that the employee was working at the time; he/she must have made the work as part of his/her duties (e.g. a soldier who takes a photograph with his/her personal camera while on patrol in Iraq owns the copyright to the photo, but it may find its way onto a unit webpage or otherwise be licensed to the government).

However, not every work republished by the U.S. government falls into this category. The U.S. government can own copyrights that are assigned to it by others -- for example, works created by contractors.

Moreover, images and other media found on .mil and .gov websites may be using commercial stock photography owned by others. It may be useful to check the privacy and security notice of the website, but only with an email to the webmaster can you be confident that an image is in the public domain.

It should also be noted that governments outside the U.S. often do claim copyright over works produced by their employees (for example, Crown copyright in the United Kingdom). Also, most state and local governments in the United States do not place their work into the public domain and do in fact own the copyright to their work. Please be careful to check copyright information before copying.

Source[hanova ny fango]

United States Code; Title 17; Chapter 1; § 105 Subject matter of copyright; United States Government works.

Copyright protection under this title is not available for any work of the United States Government, but the United States Government is not precluded from receiving and holding copyrights transferred to it by assignment, bequest, or otherwise.

US Code

UK Copyright[hanova ny fango]

The Writers Copyright Association as well as the UK Copyright service has a good summary. The legal basis is the 1988 Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, and subsequent modifications and revisions, details at Jenkins IP In particular for literary, artistic works, copyright ends 70 years after the last surviving author dies or if unknown, 70 years after creation or publication.

The UK Office of Public Sector Information, formerly HMSO, has told us:

Crown copyright protection in published material lasts for fifty years from the end of the year in which the material was first published. Therefore material published [fifty-one years ago], and any Crown copyright material published before that date, would now be out of copyright, and may be freely reproduced throughout the world.[2]

Comments on copyright laws by country[hanova ny fango]

Russia: copyright exemptions[hanova ny fango]

According to the Russian copyright law of 1993 (Федеральный закон от 9.07.1993 № 5351-1), the following items are not subject to copyrights:

  • Official documents (laws, court decisions, other texts of legislative, administrative or judicial character);
  • State symbols and tokens (flags, coats of arms, orders, banknotes and other state symbols and tokens);
  • Folk creative works;
  • Reports about events and facts, of informative character.

Russian copyrights generally expire 70 years after the death of the author. Items by authors who died prior to 1953 are in the public domain – before 2004, the expiration term was 50 years. The copyright extension in 2004 was not retroactive (see Law 72-FZ, 2004 (in Russian), article 2, part 3).

If an item was not published during its author's life, its copyright expires 70 years after its first lawful publication (if the item did not fall into the public domain before). This gives maximum term for unpublished or posthumously published works of 140 (if the author died after 1953) or 120 years (if the author died before 1953, AND their work was published before 2003).

If an item was published anonymously or pseudonymously, and its author remains unknown, its copyright expires 70 years after its first lawful publication. If the author is discovered, the usual rule applies.

Public domain status of a work in Russia can differ from that in the US, where Wikipedia servers are located.

Algeria[hanova ny fango]

Article 9 of Algeria's Ordonnance N°97-10 du 27 Chaoual 1417 correspondant au 6 mars 1997 relative aux droits d'auteur et aux droits voisins. states that: "Works of the State made licitly accessible to the public may be freely ampiasaina for non-profit purposes, subject to respect for the integrity of the work and indication of its source. By "works of the State", in this article, are meant works produced and published by the various organs of the State, local communities, or public establishments of an administrative character." (original is in French.) In short, they are available for non-commercial use - which is considered unfree on Wikipedia.

Afghanistan, Bhutan, Ethiopia, Iran, Iraq, Nepal, San Marino, Yemen[hanova ny fango]

According to Circular 38a of the U.S. Copyright Office, Afghanistan, Bhutan, Ethiopia, Iran, Iraq, Nepal, San Marino, and possibly Yemen have no copyright relations whatsoever with the U.S. (Eritrea isn't mentioned at all.) Works originating in one of these countries thus are not copyrighted in the United States, regardless of the local copyright laws of these countries (see 17 USC § 104, quoted in the circular).

Regardless, according to Jimbo Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, Wikipedia contributors should respect the copyright law of these nations as best they can, the same as they do for other countries around the world.[3]

Introducing invariant sections or cover texts in Wikipedia[hanova ny fango]

Under Wikipedia's current copyright conditions, and with the current facilities of the MediaWiki software, it is only possible to include in Wikipedia external GFDL materials that contain invariant sections or cover texts, if all of the following apply,

  1. You are the copyright holder of these external GFDL materials (or: you have the explicit, i.e. written, permission of the copyright holder to do what follows);
  2. The length and nature of these invariant sections and cover texts does not exceed what can be placed in an edit summary;
  3. You are satisfied that these invariant sections and cover texts are not listed elsewhere than in the "page history" of the pejy where these external materials are placed;
  4. You are satisfied that further copies of Wikipedia content are distributed under the standard GFDL application of "with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts" (in other words, for the copies derived from wikipedia, you agree that these parts of the text contributed by you will no longer be considered as "invariant sections" or "cover texts" in the GFDL sense);
  5. The original invariant sections and/or cover texts are contained in the edit summary of the edit with which you introduce the thus GFDLed materials in wikipedia (so, that if "permanent deletion" would be applied to that edit, both the thus GFDLed material and its invariant sections and cover texts are jointly deleted).

Seen the stringent conditions above, it is very desirable to replace GFDL texts with invariant sections (or with cover texts) by original content without invariant sections (or cover texts) whenever possible.

Reusers' rights and obligations[hanova ny fango]

If you want to use Wikipedia materials in your own books/articles/websites or other publications, you can do so -- but only in compliance with the GFDL. If you are simply duplicating the Wikipedia article, you must follow section two of the GFDL on verbatim copying, as discussed at Wikipedia:Verbatim copying.

If you create a derivative version by changing or adding content, this entails the following:

  • your materials in turn have to be licensed under GFDL,
  • you must acknowledge the authorship of the article (section 4B), and
  • you must provide access to the "transparent copy" of the material (section 4J). (The "transparent copy" of a Wikipedia article is any of a number of formats available from us, including the wiki text, the html web pages, xml feed, etc.)

You may be able to partially fulfill the latter two obligations by providing a conspicuous direct link back to the Wikipedia article hosted on this website. You also need to provide access to a transparent copy of the new text. However, please note that the Wikimedia Foundation makes no guarantee to retain authorship information and a transparent copy of articles. Therefore, you are encouraged to provide this authorship information and a transparent copy with your derived works.

Example notice[hanova ny fango]

An example notice, for an article that uses the Wikipedia article Metasyntactic variable might read as follows:

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Metasyntactic variable".

("Metasyntactic variable" and the URLs enclosed in the above must of course be substituted as necessary.)

Alternatively you can distribute your copy of "Metasyntactic variable" and list at least five (or all if fewer than five) principal authors on the title pejy (or top of the document), as explained in the text of the GFDL license. The external Page History Stats tool can help you identify the principal authors. All (re-)distributed documents need to include a copy of the GFDL license text.

Fair use materials and special requirements[hanova ny fango]

All original Wikipedia text is distributed under the GFDL. Wikipedia articles may also include quotations, images, or other media under the U.S. Copyright law "fair use" doctrine in accordance with our guidelines for non-free content. It is preferred that these be obtained under the most free content license practical (such as the GFDL or public domain). In cases where no such images/sounds are currently available, then fair use may be ampiasaina in certain circumstances as described in the criteria for using non-free media.

In Wikipedia, such "fair use" material should be identified as from an external source (on the image description page, or history page, as appropriate). This also leads to possible restrictions on the use, outside of Wikipedia, of such "fair use" content retrieved from Wikipedia: this "fair use" content does not fall under the GFDL license as such, but under the "fair use" (or similar/different) regulations in the country where the media are retrieved.

Wikipedia does use some text under licenses that are compatible with the GFDL but may require additional terms that we do not require for original Wikipedia text (such as including Invariant Sections, Front-Cover Texts, or Back-Cover Texts). When wanting to contribute such texts that include Invariant Sections or Cover Texts to Wikipedia, see Introducing invariant sections or cover texts in Wikipedia above.

If you are the owner of Wikipedia-hosted content being ampiasaina without your permission[hanova ny fango]

If you are the owner of content that is being ampiasaina on Wikipedia without your permission, then you may request the pejy be immediately removed from Wikipedia; see Request for immediate removal of copyright violation. You can also contact our designated agent to have it permanently removed (but it may take up to a week for the pejy to be deleted that way). You may also blank the pejy and replace it with the words {{copyvio|URL or place you published the text}} but the text will still be in the pejy history. Either way, we will, of course, need some evidence to support your claim of ownership.

Inversely, if you are the editor of a Wikipedia article and have found a copy hosted without recognizing Wikipedia or GFDL licence please see Wikipedia:Standard GFDL violation letter.