Wikipedia:Copyright problems

Page semi-protected
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This page is for listing and discussing possible copyright problems involving text on Wikipedia, including pages suspected to be copyright violations. Listings typically remain for at least five days before review and closure by a copyright problems clerk or administrator. During this time, interested contributors are invited to offer feedback about the problem at the relevant talk page, propose revisions to the material, or request copyright permission. After the listing period, a copyright problems clerk or administrator will review the listing and take further action if necessary.

Pages listed for copyright review appear in the bottom section of the page. The top includes information for people who have copyright concerns about pages or images, and for community volunteers who'd like to help resolve concerns.

To add a new listing, please go to today's section. Instructions for dealing with copyright concerns can be found at Instructions for dealing with text-based copyright concerns.

Handling previously published text on Wikipedia

Under the United States law that governs Wikipedia, copyright is automatically assumed as soon as any content (text or other media) is created in a physical form. An author does not need to apply for or claim copyright, for a copyright to exist.

Only one of the following allows works to be reused in Wikimedia projects:

A) Explicit Statement. An explicit statement (by the author, or by the holder of the rights to the work) that the material is either:

B) Public Domain. If the work is inherently in the public domain, due to its age, source or lack of originality; or

C) Fair Use. United States law allows for fair use of copyrighted content, and (within limits) Wikipedia does as well. Under guidelines for non-free content, brief selections of copyrighted text may be used, but only if clearly marked and with full attribution.

Even if a source is public domain or compatibly licensed, material should be properly attributed in accordance with Wikipedia:Plagiarism in respect of local customs and attribution requirements of compatible licenses. If the terms of the compatible license are not met, use of the content can constitute a violation of copyright even if the license is compatible.

Repeated copyright violations

Contributors who repeatedly post copyrighted text or images may be subject to contributor copyright investigations, to ensure the removal from the project of all copyright infringement. Contributors who repeatedly post copyrighted material after appropriate warnings will be blocked from editing, to protect the project; see 17 United States Code § 512.

Backwards copying: when Wikipedia had (or may have had) it first

In some instances, it is clear that two pieces of text (one on Wikipedia, and one elsewhere) are copies of each other, but not clear which piece is the original and which is the copy. "Compliant" sites that copy Wikipedia text note that they have done so, but not all of our re-users are compliant.

If you've found such a case, you might first check the discussion page to see if a note has been added to the top of the talk page to allay people's concerns. If not, you can look for clues. Do other pages in the other website copy other Wikipedia articles? Did the content show up on Wikipedia all in one piece, placed by a single editor? If you don't see good evidence that Wikipedia had it first, it's a good idea to bring it up for investigation. You might follow the Instructions for listing below or tag the article {{copy-paste|url=possible source}} so that others can evaluate.

If you confirm definitely that the content was on Wikipedia first, please consider adding {{backwardscopy}} to the article's talk page with an explanation of how you know. If you see an article somewhere else which was copied from Wikipedia without attribution, you might visit the CC-BY-SA compliance page or Wikipedia:Mirrors and forks. There are well-documented cases of plagiarism from Wikipedia by external publications.

Instructions for dealing with text-based copyright concerns

Copyright owners: If you believe Wikipedia is infringing your copyright, you may request immediate removal of the copyright violation by emailing us at Please provide the address or title of the page, and evidence to show that you are the legitimate copyright holder. Alternatively, you may contact Wikipedia's designated agent under the terms of the Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act. You are also welcome to follow the procedures here. See the copyright policy for more information.

Blatant infringement

Pages exhibiting blatant copyright infringements may be speedily deleted if:

  • Content was copied from a source which does not have a license compatible with Wikipedia, and was not copied from a mirror source.
  • The page can neither be restored to a previous revision without infringing content, nor would the page be viable if the infringing content were removed.
  • There is no credible assertion of public domain, fair use, or a free license.

To nominate an article for speedy deletion for copyright concerns, add one of these to the page:

Both of these templates will generate a notice that you should give the contributor of the content. This is important to help ensure that they do not continue to add copyrighted content to Wikipedia. An administrator will examine the article and decide whether to delete it or not. You should not blank the page in this instance.

Suspected or complicated infringement

If infringement is not blatant or the speedy deletion criteria do not apply:

  • Remove or rewrite the infringing text avoiding copyright violations or revert the page to before the text was added.
    The infringing text will remain in the page history, and it may be tagged for {{copyvio-revdel}}. Administrators hold discretion on the appropriateness of revision deletion for each case. Please note the reason for removal in the edit summary and at the article's talk page (you may wish to use {{subst:cclean}}). Please identify and alert the contributor of the material to the problem, unless advised not to. The template {{Uw-copyright}} may be used for this purpose.
  • However, if all revisions have copyright problems, the removal of the copyright problem is contested, reversion/removal is otherwise complicated, or the article is eligible for presumptive deletion:
to the bottom of the list. Put the page's name in place of "PageName". If you do not have a URL, enter a description of the source. (This text can be copied from the top of the template after substituting it and the page name and url will be filled for you.) If there is not already a page for the day, as yours would be the first listing, please add a header to the top of the page using the page for another date as an example.
  • Advise the contributor of the listing at their talk page. The template on the now blanked page supplies a notice you may use for that purpose.

Instructions for special cases

  • Probable copyvios without a known source: If you suspect that a page contains a copyright violation, but you cannot find a source for the violation (so you can't be sure that it's a violation), do not list it here. Instead, place {{cv-unsure|~~~|2=FULL_URL}} on the page's talk page, but replace FULL_URL with the full URL of the page version that you believe contains a violation. (To determine the URL, click on "Permanent link" in the toolbox area, and copy the URL.)
  • One contributor has verifiably introduced copyright problems into multiple pages or files and assistance is needed in further review: See Wikipedia:Contributor copyright investigations.

Instructions for handling image copyright concerns

Image copyright concerns are not handled on this board. For images that are clear copyright violations, follow the procedure for speedy deletion; otherwise list at Files for Discussion. To request assistance with contributors who have infringed copyright in multiple articles or files, see Wikipedia:Contributor copyright investigations.

Responding to articles listed for copyright investigation

Copyright owners and people editing on their behalf or with their permission, please see below.

Any contributor is welcome to help investigate articles listed for copyright concerns, although only administrators, copyright problems board clerks, and VRT (formerly OTRS) agents should remove {{copyvio}} tags and mark listings resolved.

Assistance might include supplying evidence of non-infringement (or, conversely, of infringement) or obtaining and verifying permission of license. You might also help by rewriting problematic articles or removing infringing text (without removing {{copyvio}}).

Supplying evidence of non-infringement

Articles listed here are suspect of copyright concern, but not every article contains infringement. The content may be on Wikipedia first, in the public domain, compatibly licensed, or falls below threshold of originality for copyright. Sometimes, the person who placed it here is the copyright owner of freely-licensed material and this simply needs to be verified.

Information can be provided to prove compatible licensing or public domain status under the listing of the article on the copyright problems board or on the talk page of the article. A link or a clear explanation can be very helpful when a clerk or administrator evaluates the matter. As listings are not immediately addressed on the board, it may take a few days after you make your note before a response is provided.

If the article is tagged for {{copyvio}}, you should allow an administrator or copyright problems clerk to remove the tag. If the article is tagged for {{copy-paste}} or {{close paraphrasing}}, you may remove the tag from the article when the problem is addressed (or disproven), but please do not close the listing on the copyright problems board itself.

Obtaining/verifying permission

Sometimes material was placed on Wikipedia with the permission of the copyright owner. Sometimes copyright owners are willing to give permission (and proper license!) even if it was not.

Any contributor can write to the owner of copyright and check whether they gave or will give permission (or maybe they in fact posted it here!). See Wikipedia:Example requests for permission. In either case, unless a statement authorizing the material under compatible license is placed online at the point of original publication, permission will need to be confirmed through e-mail to the Wikimedia Foundation. See Wikipedia:Confirmation of permission. If a compatible license is placed online at the point of original publication, please provide a link to that under the listing for the article on the copyright problems board or on the talk page of the article.

Please note that it may take a few days for letters to clear once they are sent. Do not worry if the content is deleted prematurely; it can be restored at any point usable permission is logged.

Rewriting content

Any contributor may rewrite articles that are or seem to be copyight problems to exclude duplicated or closely paraphrased text. When articles or sections of articles are blanked as copyright problems, rewriting is done on a temporary page at Talk:PAGENAME/Temp so that the new material can be copied over the old. (The template blanking the article will link to the specific temporary page.)

Please do not copy over the version of the article that is a copyright problem as your base. All copied content, or material derived from it, should be removed first. Other content from the article can be used, if there is no reason to believe that it may be a copyright issue as well. It is often a good idea – and essential when the content is copied from an inaccessible source such as a book – to locate the point where the material entered the article and eliminate all text added by that contributor. This will help avoid inadvertently continuing the copyright issues in your rewrite. If you use any text at all from the earlier version of the article, please leave a note on the listing to alert the administrator or clerk who review the rewrite. The history of the old article will then have to be retained. (If the original turns out to be non-infringing, the two versions of the article can be merged.)

Rewrites can be done directly in articles that have been tagged for {{close paraphrasing}} and {{copy-paste}}, with those tags removed after the rewrite is complete.

Please review Wikipedia:Copy-paste and the linked guidelines and policies within it if necessary to review Wikipedia's practices for handling non-free text. Reviewing Wikipedia:Plagiarism is also helpful, particularly where content is compatibly licensed or public domain. Repairing these issues can sometimes be as simple as supplying proper attribution.

Copyright owners who submitted their own work to Wikipedia (or people editing on their behalf)

If you submitted work to Wikipedia which you had previously published and your submission was marked as a potential infringement of copyright, then stating on the article's talk page that you are the copyright holder of the work (or acting as his or her agent), while not likely to prevent deletion, helps. To completely resolve copyright concerns, it is sufficient to either:

See also Wikipedia:Donating copyrighted materials.

Please note that it may take a bit of time for letters and e-mails to clear once they are sent. Do not worry if the content is deleted prematurely; it can be restored at any point usable permission is logged. Your e-mail will receive a response whether the permission is usable or not. If you have not received a response to your letter within two weeks, it is a good idea to follow up.

One other factor you should consider, however, is that content that has been previously published elsewhere may not meet Wikipedia's specific guidelines and policies. If you are not familiar with these policies and guidelines, please review especially the core policies that govern the project. This may help prepare you to deal with any other issues with the text that may arise.

Should you choose to rewrite the content rather than release it under the requisite license, please see above.

Clerks and patrolling administrators

Copyright clerks

For a more complete description of clerks and their duties, as well as a list of active clerks, please see Wikipedia:Copyright problems/Clerks.

Copyright clerks are experienced editors on Wikipedia who are familiar with copyright and non-free content policies and its enforcement. They are trusted to evaluate and close listings and request administrative actions when necessary. Clerks are periodically reviewed by other clerks and patrolling administrators.

Copyright problems board administrators

For a more complete description of administrators on Wikipedia, please see Wikipedia:Administrators.

Any administrator may work the copyright problems board. Working the copyright problems board may involve evaluating listings personally or using tools as necessary to complete closures by clerks. Clerks have been evaluated in their work, and their recommendations may be implemented without double-checking, although any administrator is welcome to review recommendations and discuss them with the clerks in question.

Closing listings

Pages can be processed at any time by anyone, but are not formally closed until a clerk or administrator verifies that all problems are resolved. Pages listed for presumptive deletion stay open for a minimum of 7 days before being processed. VRT agents may close listings at any times.

For advice for resolving listings, see:

The templates collected at Template:CPC may be useful for administrators, clerks and VRT agents noting resolution.

Listings of possible copyright problems

Older than 7 days

21 January 2023

8 February 2023

Articles tagged as copy-pastes from to May through December 2017

Ends. MER-C 19:38, 8 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

5 March 2023

6 March 2023

I have not checked the entire article, but entire paragraphs from the intro, "Complete FST models" and "FST definitions" sections are lifted basically word for word from the source. Would probably be worth checking the other sources for issues as well. I am technically not a clerk so I think I am supposed to leave this for them to handle? /wiae /tlk 11:25, 9 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It is unlikely that other sources have been used the same way, since they are citations lifted from the manuscript. The user has now claimed to be the author of the manuscript (or more precisely the author of another manuscript by the same author), and also retains copyright. It is up to him to decide what to do with it. Jähmefyysikko (talk) 09:22, 10 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I believe it is up to the publisher, not the author, but I could be wrong. The same editor also republished their own work at Point-accessibility operators for temporal logic, which was flagged but turned out to be released under CC-BY 4.0. However, I cannot find a copyright statement for the journal that this source is published in, but being paywalled doesn't give a lot of hope for it being freely licensed. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 14:27, 10 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You're probably right. I believe the license is similar to this one. Although this is not from 2018 when the article was published, but an updated version. Jähmefyysikko (talk) 09:35, 14 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

7 March 2023

@Primefac: Ticket number, or update on the ticket? Sennecaster (Chat) 00:51, 16 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

9 March 2023

10 March 2023

It's Episode summary copied from Voot and block required for (talk · contribs · deleted contribs · filter log · WHOIS · RDNS · RBLs · http · block user · block log) who keeps adding it. I should have removed the section and ask for revdel. But I felt admin attention on the matter would be better. Thanks --C1K98V (💬 ✒️ 📂) 03:47, 10 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

New listings

New listings are not added directly to this page but are instead on daily reports. To add a new listing, please go to today's section. Instructions for adding new listings can be found at Instructions for listing text-based copyright concerns. Editors may resolve issues within listings by removing the copyrighted content or rewriting content on the temporary pages at any time, save for presumptive deletion. See the section on responding for more information.

13 March 2023

14 March 2023

15 March 2023

16 March 2023

17 March 2023

18 March 2023

19 March 2023

20 March 2023

  • Killing of Tyre Nichols (history · last edit · rewrite) from source(s). {{u|WikiWikiWayne}} {Talk} 13:53, 20 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • Blanked section is super tight paraphrasing of This headline. Note: please only submit any fixes via an admin, copyvioclerk, or other authorized proxy. (Courtesy ping to AgntOtrth). – {{u|WikiWikiWayne}} {Talk} 14:00, 20 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      You blanked an entire article except the lead. You did not identify issues. You reverted it 3 times in about an hour. You blamed me for your choice to blank the entire article. You blanked sections I never did not edit. Does not seem like "good faith". Why would you blank sections did not edit? Why did you never create a talk topic to discuss the issue? AgntOtrth (talk) 14:42, 20 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      @WikiWikiWayne: are you really doing this over one sentence? Because that seems to be the only violation you've identified, and for that, this is clearly excessive when you could've remedied the issue yourself or simply removed it. Elli (talk | contribs) 15:14, 20 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Wikipedia's current date is 20 March 2023. Put new article listings in Wikipedia:Copyright problems/2023 March 20. Files should be handled by speedy deletion or Wikipedia:Files for discussion.