User:GregG/Wikipedia copyright

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Proposed removals are struck out; proposed additions are underlined.

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][3]

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"[4]

A "human-readable summary" of the license terms is available for reference.[4] A lengthier, 3000-word legal document describes the terms of the license in more detail.[5]

Conservapedia's copyright conditions are generally less restrictive and easier-to-use than Wikipedia's. Reusers of Conservapedia's content who do not abide by the terms of the license may have their license revoked, while reusers of Wikipedia content who unwittingly violate CC-BY-SA are committing copyright infringement. For example, Conservapedia's terms allow free and unrestricted use for teaching, without attribution, subject to revocation of the license in rare circumstances. Wikipedia's terms do not allow this have no special exceptions for teaching use, although the doctrine of fair use may apply.

Moreover, Conservapedia's terms change less frequently than Wikipedia's. The Conservapedia copyright policy has not substantially changed since July 2007 (although it is still subject to change), while Wikipedia's copyright policy has changed once, in June 2009. Accordingly, Wikipedia 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 terms do not allow for an entire mirroring of the site entire parts of the site to be mirrored without permission. 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. Additionally, reusers are free to seek special permission from the original authors of contributions; however, in the context of a wiki, the number of contributors whose rights need to be obtained quickly becomes prohibitive.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Creative Commons ShareAlike License Deed
  5. The Legal Code for CC-BY-SA-3.0