[Foundation-l] Using content from Wikipedia

Markus Sz echalone at hotmail.com
Sat Oct 7 17:38:55 UTC 2006

> Date: Sat, 07 Oct 2006 18:32:38 +0200
> From: Yorian <webmaster at compumania.nl>
> Subject: [Foundation-l] Using content from Wikipedia
> Hey everyone, I have a question I'd like to ask:
> I have an idea for a (hopefully profitable) website, and I'd like to use
> content from Wikipedia for it. About half of the content from the
> website will be from Wikipedia. Of course I will mention Wikipedia as a
> source and I will donate some of my profits to Wikimedia, but is it okay
> to have other content on an individual webpage, besides the
> Wikipedia-content, that is not GFDL-licensed? The GFDL is not very clear
> on that, and people on the Dutch and English Wikipedia couldn't answer
> this question. Is there anyone who knows this? I'm afraid I can't afford
> a lawyer :( Thanks in advance!
> Yorian

Interesting question. The GFDL is about documents and therefor only mentions
documents. It doesn't say anything about websites. The two applying sections
in the GFDL are:
You may copy and distribute a Modified Version of the Document under
the conditions of sections 2 and 3 above, provided that you release
the Modified Version under precisely this License, with the Modified
Version filling the role of the Document.

A "Modified Version" of the Document means any work containing the
Document or a portion of it, either copied verbatim, or with
modifications and/or translated into another language.
The problem is, what is a "work" in terms of internet websites? Is a whole
website a "work"? Or is a single page a "work"? This could for example be
the case if every single page can again be edited by different people...
which would probably make it a single "work" again.
So, if you say a Website is a "work", than it would be the modified version
and therefor any text on the website must be under the terms of the GFDL. If
a single page is a "work", than only this page has to be put under the terms
of the GFDL again. Hard to tell... You would be on the secure side if you
put everything under the GFDL. It seems to me, the GFDL is not yet internet
ready ;) You can of course take a chance and if you get rich with your
website and the Wikimedia Foundation sues you, you can afford a lawer who
will maybe win the case for you ;) Its realy hard to tell because those free
software and free document licenses are rarely taken to court and therefor
only few official legal interpretations for them exist.


PS: I am no lawer and all I'm saying can be just crap anyway ;) Just to
disclaim any liability ;)

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