SourceWatch talk:Contributing

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Copying from Wikipedia

User:Jim_Lane added the following content, which I've removed to this "talk page" for discussion:

One constraint is that principal authors must be credited. If you link back to the source, a reader can see the authors by checking the page history. Therefore:

  • A copied article should generally include an attribution line of this type:
This article incorporates material from the Wikipedia article "McCarthyism". The list of authors can be found here.
  • If you're copying only material that you yourself wrote, you don't need to include such a link. You might find it useful to note that you're the author, however, in your edit summary and/or on the article's talk page, because otherwise a later editor might think that the terms of the GFDL had been violated.

I am not a lawyer, nor am I in any other way minimally prepared to provide authority or expertise on this matter, but it seems that the "principal authors" clause refers back to the Wikipedia in whole and general, rather than to individual contributors thereto. It seems probable to me that individual contributors to wiki projects grant enough license to the project as to transfer "principal author" status for their original content to the project.

Discussion in the license texts and agreements indicates to me that sections regarding "principal author"s are referring not to the original content of contributors, but to external content sourced by other principal authors outside of the project, and linked or introduced by project contributors into the project.
--Maynard 08:31, 11 Jan 2005 (EST)

I am a lawyer, but I don't do intellectual property work, so I claim no expertise here. It's my understanding that the interpretation you offer is not the one generally accepted among people working with the GFDL. Note this discussion on a Wikipedia talk page about a Wikipedia mirror site that wasn't crediting authors: w:Wikipedia talk:Mirrors and forks#GFDL compliance and author listing. There's further relevant discussion on the same page at w:Wikipedia talk:Mirrors and forks#Standard questions.
Furthermore, your interpetation seems to me to be contrary to the text of the GFDL. Consider this language from section 4.B of the GFDL, concerning what you must do if you're using an original Document under the license: "List on the Title Page, as authors, one or more persons or entities responsible for authorship of the modifications in the Modified Version, together with at least five of the principal authors of the Document (all of its principal authors, if it has less than five)." The requirement of listing at least five people would make no sense if one could simply say "I got this from Wikipedia" or "I got this from SourceWatch." (This comment is from Jim Lane. I thought I was logged in but in "Show preview" my signature is appearing as an anon IP -- sorry, I'm not used to this site.) 20:20, 11 Jan 2005 (EST)
Hi; I am not a lawyer, but I am a wikipedia contributor. I do not transfer copyright to WikiMedia. Further, I do sometimes upload articles in a form which is deliberately almost "complete" and self contained, and over which I would claim all copyrights. Even though I use a pseudonym, correct attribution is important to me particularly since I want my articles to be available under other copyleft licenses (e.g. CC-SA) for those who want them; please provide that. This means that I personally would consider it a breach of the GFDL not to attribute me in some way. A link to the original article and (preferably) history would be enough for me. A general link to Wikipedia which didn't make it easy to trace back to my user page would be a problem. Oh, and .. whilst I'm visiting .. copy away. That's what we do it for. -- Mozzerati

Question about "Recent changes" notation

What's the meaning of the exclamation marks before most of the entries in "Recent changes"? Jim Lane 04:04, 16 Oct 2005 (EDT)

I was wondering about that myself, so I did some research. Here's a page that explains it:
Apparently this is a new feature to the software that got added when I upgraded recently. --Sheldon Rampton 12:16, 16 Oct 2005 (EDT)


As a Zen Buddhist, I object to the pointless section title "The Zen of Editing". Mokurai 09:26, 7 December 2009 (UTC)