GFDL and CC-BY-SA enforcement

Wikipedia is licensed under the GFDL (with the exception of CC-BY-SA only content) and the CC-BY-SA. Many people reuse its content. These re-uses fall into four categories:

  • Definitely permitted by the GFDL or CC-BY-SA (rare)
  • Probably permitted by the GFDL or CC-BY-SA (common)
  • Probably not permitted by the GFDL or CC-BY-SA (fairly common)
  • Definitely not permitted by the GFDL or CC-BY-SA (rare)

In some of these cases, Wikipedia may act to protect its copyrights and enforce the terms of the licenses. However, the Wikimedia Foundation, as a charitable organisation, always has to consider whether legal action is in the best interests of its underlying mission. Further, Wikimedia only holds copyright in the small amount of content (e.g. logos) controlled by the Foundation. In many cases it might decide against legal action.

But, you own the copyright on what you wrote and submitted to Wikipedia. Wikipedia doesn't take them away from you. Therefore you can choose to enforce your copyrights, by whatever means you decide.

Some suggestions:

  • Make it clear that you are not acting in any way on behalf of Wikipedia, Wikimedia, Jimbo Wales, other Wikipedians, etc
  • Make it clear that you are only complaining about original material you wrote. Name specific articles.
  • You may wish to send google a takedown notice - this may be more efficient than pursuing the site directly.
  • Please try to avoid bringing Wikipedia into disrepute.

A recommended process for English Wikipedia is located at Wikipedia:Mirrors and forks.

Wikipedia neither condemns, nor promotes, such efforts at enforcing the licenses, and is not responsible for any consequences.