Wikipedia copyright

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Wikipedia uses a burdensome and complex system of copyrights, including statements like "any page which does not incorporate text that is exclusively available under the CC-BY-SA (Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike) license or a CC-BY-SA-compatible license is also available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License" (GFDL).[1] Wikipedia uses a byzantine system of rules -- as one might expect from its predominantly liberal editors. Authors always remain free to copy their own work, but cannot copy the contributions of others unless they comply fully with the requirements of CC-BY-SA.[2]

The basic requirements of the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike license are the following:

  • The work must attribute the authors in a specified manner (but not in a way that suggests endorsement)
  • If the work is "alter[ed], transform[ed], or [built] upon," it must be distributed under "the same or similar license"[3]

A lengthier, 3000-word legal document describes the terms of the license in more detail.[4]

Conservapedia's copyright conditions are generally less restrictive and easier-to-use than Wikipedia's. For example, Conservapedia's terms allow free and unrestricted use for teaching, without attribution. Wikipedia's terms do not allow this.

Moreover, Conservapedia's terms change less frequently than Wikipedia's. The Conservapedia copyright policy has not changed since July 2007, while Wikipedia's has different terms applicable to contributions contributions prior to June 15, 2009 (licensed under the GFDL version 1.2 or later). Those contributions prior to June 15, 2009 are available under both the GFDL and CC-BY-SA, and reusers can comply with the license terms of either. On a wiki it is very cumbersome and nearly impossible to separate contributions prior to a certain date from those after, for most entries.

Conservapedia's copyright conditions do not allow for an entire mirroring of the site. For details, see Conservapedia:Copyright.


  2. For articles with no edits after 2009, anyone who wishes to reuse Wikipedia content may instead follow the terms of the GFDL.
  3. Creative Commons ShareAlike License Deed
  4. The Legal Code for CC-BY-SA-3.0