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Understanding the legal engine that powers Wikipedia

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A presentation from UC Berkeley Library Office of Scholarly Communication Services for the Art + Feminism + Race + Justice Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon. The event took place at Moffitt Library on March 4, 2020.

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Understanding the legal engine that powers Wikipedia

  1. 1. Understanding the legal engine that powers Wikipedia Copyright, the public domain, and open licensing Timothy Vollmer Scholarly Communication + Copyright Librarian UC Berkeley Library March 4, 2020
  2. 2. ● What do we want to cover today? ○ Copyright ○ Public Domain ○ Open licensing ● Goal: helping you feel more confident in editing and contributing text and media to the Wikimedia projects
  3. 3. ● Wikipedia is... ○ Open collaboration project ○ Running on open source software ○ community sets the rules about contributing
  4. 4. ● What do these rules say? ● Exclusively “free content” ○ all materials on platform must made openly available to share, reuse, and repurpose
  5. 5. ● As creators, we all have rights under copyright, and we need to understand how we can use these rights to share on Wikipedia ● And we need to know what rights and responsibilities we have in using others’ works too
  6. 6. Copyright Photo by tanialee gonzalez on Unsplash
  7. 7. Exclusive rights to make certain uses of original expression for limited period of time Photo by Luis Alfonso Orellana on Unsplash
  8. 8. Exclusive Rights 1. Reproduction 2. Derivative works 3. Distribution 4. Public performance 5. Public display Black Lives Matter Black Friday
  9. 9. Limited Period ● Varies, but at least author’s life + 70 years ● Within the “protected” period, you need author’s permission to reproduce, display, perform, etc. Black Lives Matter Black Friday
  10. 10. If copyright gives authors exclusive rights for so long, how can we ever use anything?
  11. 11. Limitation: Expression, not facts expression ideas or facts
  12. 12. Limitation: The Public Domain FEDERAL GOVERNMENT WORKS James Nasmyth, Normal Lunar Crater, 1870. http://hdl.handle.net/10934/RM0001.COLLECT.479722 EXPIRED COPYRIGHT https://www.flickr.com/photos/projectapolloarchive/2166929401 1/in/album-72157658601662068/
  13. 13. If a limitation (e.g. just facts, public domain) doesn’t apply, then we need to rely on an exception (like fair use) or use openly licensed content.
  14. 14. “The fair use of a copyrighted work…for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching…, scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright.” Photo: AFP / GreenPeace / Victor Moriyama
  15. 15. ● Wikipedia's goal is to be a free content encyclopedia for everyone, anywhere around the world. ● They lean against making uses of content under “fair use,” and have additional hurdles to include such content/media.
  16. 16. Black Lives Matter protest against St. Paul police brutality Not in the public domain? Still okay if it already has a license on it.
  17. 17. ● “Some rights reserved” ● Creators keep copyright ● Give permissions to use works in certain ways ● Attribution required ● Promotes sharing and reuse
  18. 18. ● CC0 Public Domain ● CC BY ● CC BY-SA
  19. 19. Black Lives Matter protest against St. Paul police brutality
  20. 20. ● Open licensing permits reuse of text and media across Wikipedia, and beyond Black Lives Matter protest against St. Paul police brutality
  21. 21. ● What are the best practices for contributing to Wikipedia from a copyright and licensing perspective?
  22. 22. ● If you contribute text that you authored, you license it to the public for reuse under a CC BY-SA and GFDL license.
  23. 23. ● If you want to use text that someone else has created, should already be under CC BY-SA and GFDL, or in the public domain. ● Fair use allowed in very limited circumstances. ● Linking to lawful content always permitted.
  24. 24. ● Re-using text content: provide attribution! ○ a hyperlink (where possible) or URL to the page you are re-using, OR ○ a list of all authors of the page
  25. 25. ● If you wish to reuse or upload images or media that someone else has created, must be public domain, open license, copyright was transferred to you ● Fair use allowed in very limited circumstances. ● Linking to lawful content always permitted.
  26. 26. KEY TAKEAWAYS FROM TODAY ● You have copyright in what you create ● You can edit and upload content on Wikipedia, but follow the rules around open licensing, public domain, fair use (very limited) ● You can reuse others’ content from Wikipedia, but follow the license terms, and attribute
  27. 27. MORE RESOURCES ● Wikipedia:Copyrights ● Wikipedia:Contributors Rights and Obligations ● Wikipedia:Reusers’ Rights and Obligations ● Wikipedia:FAQ/Copyright ● Wikipedia:Non-free content ● Wikipedia:Image use policy ● Copyright Quick Start LibGuide
  28. 28. We can help. Contact us! Office of Scholarly Communication Services Website: www.lib.berkeley.edu/scholcomm E-mail: schol-comm@berkeley.edu
  29. 29. Image credits ● Wikipedia logo - CC BY-SA 3.0 ● Black Lives Matter Black Friday - CC BY-SA 2.0 ● Black Lives Matter protest against St. Paul policy brutality - CC BY 2.0 ● “text-box” icon - CC BY 3.0 US ● “upload” icon - CC BY 3.0 US

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