Debate:Is there a problem with simply copying content from other sites?

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Obviously copyrighted material should not be plagiarized/stolen, and this debate focuses more on a quote from Aschlafly has been thrown around a lot lately:

Joaquin, one good type of resource that I want you to be aware of is this: United States government websites. Because we funded those websites as taxpayers, there is no copyright protection and we can almost always copy information from them without attribution or restriction. If the information is unbiased, as in scientific terms or information about countries or numerous other topics, then copying from those websites is fine. The same is not true for state websites (e.g., California or Florida), because they often do assert a copyright. Also, there may be prohibitions on copying certain US government images, such as the emblem for a division of government like the CIA.

Is there a problem with this method of adding content to Conservapedia?


We are going for quantity not quality. Although out first commandment says Everything you post must be true and verifiable. Do not copy from Wikipedia[1] or elsewhere unless it was your original work. But recently we have decided that cut and paste in haste from .gov sources is fine[2] if you add a reference after what you copied[3]. Do not copy from out of copyright versions of Encyclopedia Britannica because Wikipedia did that early on in order to up its article count. That's liberal deceit we don't do deceit[4]. Remember we encourage conciseness here so don't copy more than a few sentences. We usually just copy what most people know already so we don't overburden them with too much knowledge. Remember don't add a stub template like at Wikipedia because that implicitly encourages long-winded, verbose entries, making it difficult to recognize the essential facts.

  1. It is appropriate to quote or cite Wikipedia to illustrate the liberal view of an issue.
  2. "We paid for work on government websites. It's ours already. It's not just public domain, but it is also bought and paid for by the public. So it's fine to copy unbiased material from such sites."[1].
  3. "Moreover, is copying OK to "kickstart" a project? No, of course not, especially when attribution is not prominently given for such wholesale copying." [2]
  4. "If we have to, use Britannica as a guide (and only a copying!) to structure and flow of thought." [3]
In copying from public domain works that are secondary sources of information, it still lacks references to primary sources of information. For example, for Bangust, is a secondary source of information. It was not eye witness accounts but rather an accumulation of them. There are many statements made in there that are pulled from primary sources that are not attributed and the secondary source itself is not a verifiable reference. For those, you need to go to primary sources such as . With this massive copy and paste effort underway, this attention to primary sources is being lost. Ultimately, it will take more time to clean up this (adding links to legal terms, finding references for statements made in military histories) than it would have been just to sit down and write it in the first place.
Another point to be made is that if Conservapedia is striving to be the source of information for people to go to, quality can never take a secondary position to quantity. --Mtur 19:12, 11 July 2007 (EDT)


As far as I understand, Conservapedia exists to provide a conservative viewpoint. However, many of the articles being created during this Team Contest are simple glossary information that really can't be spun one way or the other (take Crocoite's copying of volcano terminology, for example). It seems like with the limited editors that Conservapedia has, it would be a better use of editors' time to develop their own articles about topics that can be spun by liberals rather than just copy neutral information. Additionally, copying information just adds one more place where it has to be kept up to date. Now it's doubtful that volcano terminology is going to radically change any time soon, but there are many topics that do change often, and all that users will find on Conservapedia about those topics will be outdated information from the original copy instead of the updated information at the source. This is especially true if people copy over pages that no editor here is qualified to maintain. Finally, as more and more information is copied over, this problem just gets more and more complicated since there is more information that can potentially change more and more often.

Since Conservapedia is an encyclopedia, I feel that articles on Conservapedia should be original work based on facts rather than straight copy and pasting. Jinkas 17:53, 11 July 2007 (EDT)

I want to add to my point: Rather than wholesale copying of menial information about baseball terms or naval ships or football terms (things that are very well documented elsewhere), why isn't time being focused on the requested pages here or here? Do we want Conservapedia to be valued for it's complete list of volcano terminology or do we wanted users who come here to be able to find out more about Divine grace, Divinity of Jesus, or the Impact of Jesus on world history? Jinkas 19:29, 12 July 2007 (EDT)

I personally disagree with copying from government websites; tax funded or not. Seeing as how Mr. Schlafly protected the talk page over this issue, it seems the prevailing view is that this is legally sound. However, even if it is "our money, our right," it's still plagarism to use this information word for word without an explicit quotation. If you don't believe me try writing a term paper this way and see if you get kicked out of school. This contest has only done bad things for CP. Jazzman831 21:55, 12 July 2007 (EDT)


It's OK to copy images from wikipedia, just not the content, right? Joseph88 20:36, 12 July 2007 (EDT)

  • An image in the public domain is okay to copy from anywhere. Better to just use Google Images, or such, and find one yourself. --Sysop-TK /MyTalk 14:24, 15 July 2007 (EDT)
Just for the record, not everything on Google Images (and similar image searches) is public domain. Go to the full page where the image is posted and look around for a copyright or license notification before just reusing the image. Jinkas 00:32, 16 July 2007 (EDT)
  • Just for the record, no one implied in the slightest, that images on Google were public. That is the extrapolation that lacks logic. --Sysop-TK /MyTalk 06:54, 16 July 2007 (EDT)
I apologize if it looks like I was extrapolating from what you said or accusing your comment of lacking logic, TK. Copyright violations are rampant on the web, so I was simply adding a helpful reminder for any new editors to make sure they check copyright/licensing information. Jinkas 13:12, 16 July 2007 (EDT)
  • Oh, and here I was accusing your statement as lacking logic! My bad! :p --Sysop-TK /MyTalk 13:14, 16 July 2007 (EDT)