No, I don't think a list of alphabetically ordered article names is in
any way creative or copyrightable. The other list could - IMO of
course - be reinstated, but asking Jimbo is probably a safe thing to
On 6/25/05, DF <dragons_flight(a)yahoo.com> wrote:
Whether or not using the 2004 Encyclopedia Britannica
to form a list of articles that Britannica has but
Wikipedia doesn't constitutes a violation of
The WikiProject:Missing encyclopedia articles
currently uses four very large lists of topics that
appear in other encyclopedias but do not appear in
Wikipedia. Of these lists, two are from sources whose
copyright has expired, one is a composite of multiple
unnamed sources, and the last is based on the 2004
Encyclopedia Britannica (hereafter "EB").
On the talk page,
there is an ongoing discussion of whether EB holds a
copyright in the list of articles itself. Under US
copyright law (e.g. Feist v. Rural), a mere list of
facts, topics, names, etc. can be protected by
copyright if the selection and/or arrangement of those
items is, in and of itself, a creative expression.
Since the selection of articles for an encyclopedia is
certainly an act of creativity, this may grant EB a
copyright over the list of articles in their
encyclopedia. If true, then creating derivative works
from their list of articles (i.e. by making a list of
articles that they have but we don't) is likely to be
a copyright violation.
As can be seen from the talk page, not everyone agrees
that this applies to the EB list. This includes
conflicting opinions from users Jamesday and Postdlf,
both of whom I respect for their legal acumen.
In March 2004, a very similar situation occurred when
someone created a list of missing topics based on the
Columbia Encyclopedia. At that time, it was decided
by community consensus to delete that list as a likely
Archive of that discussion (look under March 2):
In my opinion, the only real difference between the
two cases is that the EB list has existed for four
months without being challenged, whereas the Columbia
list was challenged and removed almost immediately
after its creation.
So what now?
Either we need to accept that such a list, though
potentially useful, is too much of a copyright concern
to keep around.
We need to come to some agreement that such lists will
be maintained despite the potential liability. In
which case, Jimbo probably needs sign off since he is
ultimately the one who is liable.
WikiProject: Missing encyclopedia articles:
Feist v. Rural:
US Copyright Code:
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