How Wikipedia Works/Appendix A

Wikimedia site content is freely licensed. This means anyone can reuse Wikimedia content in any number of ways, for commercial or noncommercial purposes. Under the site's license, you have the freedom to reuse and remix content, provided that the same license is retained for your new creations—a radical departure from traditional notions of copyright. Not only can you become an editor and rewrite Wikipedia articles, but you are also free to use the material elsewhere, as long as you follow some specific and fairly simple guidelines. Reuse is part of the WMF's fundamental aim to distribute knowledge and content as widely as possible. The conditions of reuse come with the license chosen for the Wikimedia sites, which is, in most cases, the GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL), printed at the back of this book. Here we'll briefly discuss reusing Wikipedia content.

Guidelines for ReuseEdit

The general policy that outlines reuse of Wikipedia content is at Wikipedia:Reusing Wikipedia content, but the legal requirements for reuse come from the text of the GFDL license. The Wikimedia sites can be forked or mirrored (copied) in their entirety, or individual pages can be copied or reprinted. Under the GFDL, direct copying is referred to as verbatim copying, whereas creating new versions of works by changing or adding to Wikipedia content is referred to as making a modified version or producing a derivative work.

If you want to post either a full or partial copy of a Wikipedia article on your own website, reprint the article in a book or magazine, or reprint images, these conditions apply:

   New works that use GFDL-licensed content have to be licensed, in turn, under the GFDL: The license cannot be changed. (Because of this clause, the GFDL is often referred to as a viral license.)
   You must include a full copy of the GFDL license text with any GFDL-licensed work, to be reproduced in all copies of that work (for websites, this copy of the license should be locally hosted). The license can be found at
   You must acknowledge the authorship of the article(s) you reuse; this can mean including either a prominent link to the original article history on Wikipedia or a list of all the authors from the article's history along with crediting text such as, "This page uses material from the Wikipedia article <name of article>."
   You must provide access to the transparent copy (in other words, a machine-readable copy) of the article you're using. (The transparent copy for a Wikipedia article can be any of a number of formats available from Wikipedia, including the wiki text, the HTML web pages, the XML feed, and so on.)

You may be able to fulfill the latter two obligations partially by providing a conspicuous direct link to the article hosted on Wikipedia. Moreover, for the purposes of creating derivative works of individual Wikipedia articles, a direct link to the particular Wikipedia article used is generally considered to be in compliance with the GFDL (provided your derivative work is also licensed under the GFDL).

As set out at Wikipedia:Copyrights#Definitions and trademarks, Wikipedia considers each Wikipedia article to be an individual document. Wikipedia does not use invariant sections or cover texts. Fair-use content, such as fair-use images, does not fall under the GFDL license as such, but under the fair-use (or similar) regulations of the country where the media are retrieved; any such images should be credited to their original sources rather than Wikipedia. You can find more information about the copyright policy at Wikipedia:Copyrights. Content that is also in the public domain, such as older texts or photos from government agencies, can be copied without restriction; but if the text or photo has been modified on Wikipedia, the terms of the GFDL must be followed.

Examples of ReuseEdit

Examples of reuse include printing Wikipedia articles in a book or magazine, hosting them on another reference website, or issuing a collection of articles on CD. Several selections of Wikipedia content have been released on a CD or DVD. The first was a German version published by Directmedia Publishing in October 2004. It was followed by a DVD-ROM of articles in April 2005. The DVD was wildly popular, selling out all 10,000 copies within 10 days.

In April 2006, a Wikipedia CD Selection was put together by the charity SOS Children. This CD was the first English-language CD version of Wikipedia and featured around 2,000 articles of particular interest to schools and children. The articles were selected by volunteers working for SOS Children, checked for suitability, and cleaned up. This CD was followed up in 2007 with a DVD selection called the "Wikipedia Selection for Schools," which SOS Children UK launched in coordination with the Wikimedia Foundation. This release was significantly larger, with 4,625 articles (or the equivalent of 15 printed encyclopedia volumes). A 2008 release is also planned.

In July 2007, the Polish Wikipedia was released on DVD by the Wikimedia Polska chapter, in cooperation with Helion SA. This DVD edition contained around 239,000 articles (and 59,000 images) and was put together by a combination of volunteers and paid editors who checked over the articles.

Also in 2007, the Wikipedia 1.0 WikiProject released its first DVD ("Version 0.5") with Linterweb, containing approximately 2,000 high-quality articles from the English-language Wikipedia. These articles were selected through the WikiProject, which assesses articles for quality specifically in preparation for releases in print or CD/DVD, as well as gathering collections of core articles, selections of important topics that every encyclopedia should have.

Printing Wikipedia has often been discussed but has proved trickier as a practical proposition than selecting articles for a disk. The German Wikipedia has led the way with printed selections of articles called Wikireaders, which were published by a company called WikiPress, an offshoot of Directmedia. In 2008, Bertelsmann, a German publisher, announced that it would work with the German Wikimedia chapter to produce The Wikipedia Encyclopaedia in one volume, a selection of the opening paragraphs of some 50,000 articles.

Finally, dozens of other websites mirror Wikipedia content, often combining Wikipedia articles with other reference sources; and are just two such sites.

Further Reading Wikipedia's local copy of the GFDL (shortcut WP:GFDL) The Copyright policy and information on the GFDL and reuse The policy on reusing Wikipedia content A guide to reusing images from Commons Discusses the available downloads from the Wikipedia database, which are regularly produced for copying purposes Information about forking Wikipedia A list of Wikipedia forks and mirrors, including information about what to do if you find a mirror site that is not in compliance with the GFDL or has remote-loading pages Project page for the 1.0 project CD selections A browsable collection of the articles chosen for the SOS Children's CD for schools Information about Bertelsmann's plan to publish The Wikipedia Encyclopaedia in one volume