Wikiquote talk:Copyrights

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Initial thoughtsEdit

I like this. It is clear, and makes sense. I would add a few things (these are random thoughts, not sure how it should be organized):

  • Actual authors of thequotes have to be sourced when quoting from a series or film (ie. the script/dialogue writer, not the director)
  • In the same way the arrangement of quotes in Wikiquote can be licensed under the GFDL, other arrangements on other websites may be copyrighted (database rights). Please do not copy/paste quotes from other websites collecting quotes.

notafish }<';> 08:23, 13 September 2005 (UTC)

Script/dialogue writers' input is often changed by directors. I say, give the released details (who were the writers and directors, and cast, which might also influence the dialogue), and let the readers decide who they think they wrote it, rather than needlessly speculate. The policy is also heavily unclear, and certainly goes against established practice here (in general, in community efforts, policy should formalize and clarify current practice rather than mandate a new practice). ~ MosheZadka (Talk) 11:02, 13 September 2005 (UTC)
Which policy is unclear? The one Fastfission proposed? Please do tell me how it is unclear. Cheers. notafish }<';> 12:15, 15 September 2005 (UTC)
For example, how many quotes are allowed? In which articles? ~ MosheZadka (Talk) 12:38, 15 September 2005 (UTC)

Nota's second point is fine to me. "Please don't copy other database" is a clear standard. As for first point, I generally support to have a filmography brief and good enough know the work. In most films screenplay writers are credited as are. On the other hand we think the director (and perhaps second, the producer) play a big role, so I would like to know both names as a raeder. But MosheZ' points are interesting and I would like to hear him further. Aphaia 20:20, 16 September 2005 (UTC)

On how many quotes allowed in articles with copyrighted sources, I don't know. I don't know of any real discussion on this on here yet, so I just tried to make it sound as scary as possible. A review of the caselaw listed on that Stanford page makes it look like the number can be dangerously low, but I don't know how representative they are of the total cases of that sort. It's not something for which there is any strong basis for setting a specific number; I have a feeling that it is a "use your judgment" sort of thing. But it needs to be kept in mind. Personally, I think dozen culturally important or representative quotations from a movie or TV series is probably fine. Too many more than that and we start to infringe on whether the copyright holder would be able to publish trivia/quotation books of their own. But that's just my feeling on it, there's no non-arbitrary reason to say "12" versus "14" versus "28" versus "45" etc. Fair use law is based on qualitative, not quantitative, arguments, usually, and so it is impossible to know for sure without actually being sued over it. The general goal of fair use policy around these parts is to always stay in a situation where the copyright holder would have enough doubt about their ability to sue and win that they wouldn't bother suing, of course, so it might be safe to be cautious. --Fastfission 19:02, 23 September 2005 (UTC)
Don't group TV shows with movies. There is a major difference between the amount of material in a movie and that in most TV series. Consider that Twin Peaks, one of the currently tagged shows, is at least 10 times the length of a typical movie, so its ~40 quotes are roughly equivalent to citing 4 quotes in a movie. This hardly seems like un-fair use. For the counter-argument of "all that matters is whether the copyright holder may sue", see Running in fear of litigation below. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 22:44, 16 October 2005 (UTC)

Flagging pages for reviewEdit

I created a template for flagging problematic pages for copyright review. It should be added to talk pages only. It is {{checkcopyright}}, and it puts the articles into a category so that they are at least in one place whenever someone decides they want to do something about this. I flagged a few of the aggregious offenders. In general I think that these articles need to be pared down to much smaller sizes -- concentrating only on the genuinely emblematic or quotable quotes -- so that they are fair use compliant. But I figured I would float the idea here first before doing anything myself. --Fastfission 02:38, 14 October 2005 (UTC)

I glanced at the articles you tagged, and they seem like fair use to me. A different question is about style, i.e. it's possible that a lot of boring stuff was dumped into an article, and by trimming it and leaving only the "quotable quotes", the article can be improved. However, I didn't see why you think that the articles that you tagged aren't fair use in the legal sense. There were some discussions about copyrights in the village pump here before, in particular with regard to lyrics, raising the issue of who should who has burden of proof. Perhap you could contribute to the discussions on policy here, as it didn't seem like our admins were very eager to mess with the copyrights and fair use issues so far. iddo999 04:10, 14 October 2005 (UTC)
I'm not sure those pages are fair use -- they quote excessively from copyrighted scripts or series in ways which caselaw has ruled against fair use in the past (see the Seinfeld case I linked to on the Copyrights page). But anyway, at the moment I just want to flag these things, so that if some agreed upon guidelines are put in place they can be acted upon one way or another. --Fastfission 15:00, 16 October 2005 (UTC)
Also, yes, I haven't been too involved in policy discussions here mostly because I don't spend a lot of time here (most of my editing and copyright work is at Wikipedia -- I'm a participant in Fair use WikiProject Fair use over there, which is a good place to post copyright questions) and I don't see them when they come up. Lyrics are a complete copyright problem here unless they are in the public domain, which is most of the time highly unlikely to be the case (even the song "Happy Birthday to You" is still protected by copyright). The trickiest fair use issue in regards to quotes is the number of them — too many and it starts to both be a "substantial" amount of the work (according to caselaw) and it starts to infringe on the future profits of the copyright holder (they couldn't publish their own quote/trivia book, for example). It's unfortunately not easy to come up with a "safe" number though because of the way fair use legislation works, but it is something which should be thought about seriously. I'd be happy to sit in on any copyright discussions if I knew when they were happening and where. --Fastfission 15:06, 16 October 2005 (UTC)
Oh, I assumed that the quantity of fair use quotes should be measured in relative terms (e.g. in the Seinfeld page I assume that it's not more than an average of 1 or 2 quotes per episode), but if it's measured as an absolute number (such as 41), then it's indeed a problem. Could you also offer a comment with regard to the burden of proof issue, i.e. should we assume that something is illegitimate (according to some general guidelines) even though no one has complained, or would it be ok if we stay passive while no one is complaining? Thanks. If you're looking for participants in the fair use wikiproject, then I guess that I and some of the other admins here would be happy to contribute. iddo999 18:25, 16 October 2005 (UTC)

As I mention at Wikiquote talk:Copyrights, flagging an article for review and approval by a select few, whatever their qualifcations, is effectively setting up an editorial board, which is antithetical to the nature of wikis and Wikimedia Foundation projects. This is a bad move, though I agree that we need some review process. The essential problem, I believe, is the same one we have for so many issues at Wikiquote — very few folks who are willing to devote time to such reviews. Wikipedia can count on a pool of dozens or even hundreds of editors to review any particular article; here we're lucky to get more than two or three. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 03:22, 17 October 2005 (UTC)

Further, I note that many of the "editors" are not abiding by fair use case law and actual law as summarised on Wikipedia. Even in the copyright notice for Wikiquotes is stated "anything more than a few lines" that is quoted is copyright violation, which is incorrect. The amount quoted is relevant in relation to the entire work. Quoting "more than a few lines" out of a lengthy tome does not constitute copyright infingement, despite the assertion. Fair use allows that "[A] reviewer may fairly cite largely from the original work..." under certain circumstances. (Folsom v. Marsh, 9 F.Cas. 342 (1841). The problem that I have seen is that "editors" of Wikiquote are randomly and often arbitrarily asserting "standards" that are partial and incorrect. Further, having read many of the backgrounds of these editors, none have a legal degree or any legal grounding, whether they have been made an administrator or not.—The preceding unsigned comment was added by 76.105.31.147 (talk) 27 March 2010

Since the Wikiquote:Limits on quotations guideline has been developed, it may be appropriate to change the tagging template, as suggested on its talk page, or to adopt a new one. Not only is the new guideline understandable without expert analysis of case law, its purpose is not limited to legal compliance. ~ Ningauble 17:33, 30 March 2010 (UTC)

Running in fear of litigationEdit

Fastfission, who is obviously a conscientious and concerned editor, makes a compelling argument about the need to view quotation samples from the point of view of the copyright holders, requiring the Wikiquote community to plan to avoid lawsuits. But it is impossible to expect our editors (or the Wikimedia Foundation, for that matter) to read the minds of the very different masses of copyright holders. We might feel comfortable quoting as much as we like from David Weber's books, because the entire works are freely distributable as long as they're credited (and presumably not altered or misrepresented), under Baen Publishing's unique practices. But 60 quotes from Seinfeld (1 for every 3 episodes) could easily get us sued, based on that copyright holders documented practices. This puts an impossible burden on Wikiquote editors, and so cannot be made a policy. Also unacceptable is the currently proposed idea that flagged articles be reviewed for acceptability by a legal scholar, which is in complete opposition to wiki practice of no executive editing board.

Standard Wikipedia practice is self-policing of copyright issues, where the community (A) decides whether any specific article violates copyright, and (B) reviews any posted complaints from a copyright holder. Yes, Wikiquote has some different issues than Wikipedia, but Wikipedia always contains copyright violations, and it deems its published practices sufficient to deal with these problems and fend off legal attacks. We are better off using existing Wikipedia practices than trying to invent vague ones of our own.

If we really feel we're running a risk here, and we don't feel the standard practices are sufficient, I would suggest that we pick a number of quotes per hour of material (for movies and TV shows) or per number of pages (for literary works) and make this a clear policy. Any legal challenge would then have to acknowledge that we have an explicit "fair use" policy (better than the governments themselves!) and prove that it is unreasonable, which would also allow us to cite many similar violations (possibly even of respected publications like Bartlett's and Oxford) to demonstrate the relative impact of any low-set threshhold, encouraging the court to see the bigger picture threatened by overzealous litigants.

The reality of modern litigation is that organizations with deep pockets will sue anytime they think they can get something out of it, regardless of the merits of the case. We can cower in fear and trim our compendium to useless bare bones, or we can make it clear that we are concerned about reasonable fair use and establish policies that make it practicable (and not inconsequentially make us less attractive targets). Personally, I refuse to support any policy that dictates a craven acceptance of litigation-happy lawyers' practice of intimidating organizations into avoiding long-standing fair use policies. Not only is it unreasonable, it can't be implemented in any reliable way. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 22:45, 16 October 2005 (UTC)

I don't currently have the time to write a lengthy response, but I would like to point out the discussion in User talk:Jeffq/2005#Buffy quotes, where many of these points have already been debated. ~ MosheZadka (Talk) 00:30, 17 October 2005 (UTC)
Saying, "we don't know, let's not do anything" is not a good legal response. What I am trying to encourage is the development of some sort of guidelines in order to help users avoid copyright violation. I think there is enough caselaw (at least three major cases) which indicate that these sorts of collections of quotations, when they reach a large number, can be very problematic.
"Safe harbor" clauses only apply if we honestly believe that we are doing things according to "fair use" -- at the moment, there is no evidence on Wikiquote that anyone has worried about copyright policy whatsoever, and almost everyone I bring it up with seems to actively deny that it applies in any way to this project. Being copyright-savvy is not the same thing as being "cowed" by anyone -- in fact, I think it is far more liberating. Having a coherent policy formulated along the lines of existing policy operates in a pre-emptive matter as well, making it increasingly unlikely that we would ever be sued. (On this issue, see this for more of my thoughts on this).
Wikipedia's copyright policies are set up for very different types of subject matter. There is nothing on its pages specific to collections of quotations, which is what Wikiquote is in its entirety. A Wikiquote user would get no guidelines looking at Wikipedia's copyright page except on things which are not relevant to Wikiquote — for example, how fair use applies to images (one cannot upload fair use images here), or how re-writing of other sources can be made into a "safe" practice (Wikiquote does not paraphrase, it quotes). It is not helpful for Wikiquote users to rely on Wikipedia's copyright policy alone. Obviously Wikiquote copyright policy should be done in the same spirit as Wikipedia's, but the different goals of each projects necessitate different guidelines for users.
In any event, Wikiquote currently does not use Wikipedia's practices. It does not have a mechanism of easily talking about copyright problems, nor does it have guidelines specific to its different types of content (which Wikipedia does). It does not have copyright flagging mechanisms.
I do not advocate copyright paranoia. I advocate copyright awareness. Obviously we cannot protect against truly frivolous lawsuits but such was never what I was attempting anyway. --Fastfission 00:45, 17 October 2005 (UTC)


Relevant caselawEdit

There are two instances in the caselaw which I think should prick up our ears. The first is relating to quotes and paraphrases from the show Twin Peaks from 1993. The Stanford Copyright and Fair Use website summarizes it as follows:

  • Not a fair use. A company published a book entitled Welcome to Twin Peaks: A Complete Guide to Who's Who and What's What, containing direct quotations and paraphrases from the television show "Twin Peaks" as well as detailed descriptions of plot, character and setting. Important factors: The amount of the material taken was substantial and the publication adversely affected the potential market for authorized books about the program. (Twin Peaks v. Publications Int'l, Ltd. 996 F.2d 1366 (2d Cir. 1993).)

Now the question of what "substantial" means here is of course problematic. A more concrete number comes from another case five years later, relating to the show Seinfeld, which the Stanford site summarizes as such:

  • Not a fair use. A company published a book of trivia questions about the events and characters of the "Seinfeld" television series. The book included questions based upon events and characters in 84 "Seinfeld" episodes and used actual dialogue from the show in 41 of the book's questions. Important factors: As in the "Twin Peaks" case, the book affected the owner's right to make derivative "Seinfeld" works such as trivia books. ( Castle Rock Entertainment, Inc. v. Carol Publ. Group, 150 F.3d 132 (2d Cir. 1998).)

There are no other cases that I saw on that page which looked relevant to Wikiquote's contents and purposes. I think we should look at these cases in a bit of detail when we get the time (to try and make sure we are within the spirit of them), as well as look for other relevant cases. This is unfortunately the best way we can get an idea of what a good standard would be. However claiming "we don't know how it would be ruled" is an argument for shutting down the project entirely, not for going along without a copyright policy. --Fastfission 00:55, 17 October 2005 (UTC)

Both of those cases involve commercial benefit from the infringers, which doesn't apply to Wikiquote. Furthermore, both infringing publications' sole purpose was providing quotes for a particular work, so the substantial excerpting of each work was an egregious example of violation of one copyright holder's rights. Wikiquote is more like a Barlett's than a Welcome to Twin Peaks. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 03:13, 17 October 2005 (UTC)

The German branch of Wikiquote is a pure copyvio (beside of the PD quotations of authors 70 years dead). In germany we don't have fair use. All collections of copyrighted quotations without the consent of the rights holder are forbidden. This is unfortunatley absolutely clear (German "Bundesgerichtshof" court decision on a handbook of modern quotations Handbuch moderner Zitate). The only chance for the German Wikiquoters is IMHO to make short stories around each single quotation narrating the background, the history of use etc. --172.182.117.172 20:21, 20 October 2005 (UTC)

I don't understand what German has to do with Germany :) The server de.wikiquote.org is in Florida, in USA, where fair-use is recognized by (AIUI) constitutional law. German is spoken (AFAIK) in Austria and Switzerland, and possibly in other places, as well as by some Americans who immigrated from Germany. ~ MosheZadka (Talk) 20:56, 20 October 2005 (UTC)

Repeating the server argument does'nt make it better. It is policy of the German Wikipedia to respect German law (read the legal advice Rechtsgutachten http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Rechtsfragen_M%C3%A4rz_2005). Because the German branch is adressing to German speaking people in Germany, Austria, Swiss, a copyright holder is free to choose a court in one of these countries for suing Wikimedia. I wish good luck to the foundation if ignorant people like Moshe are ignoring clear legal facts. --134.130.68.65 16:26, 21 October 2005 (UTC)

The German Wikipedia is free to make up its own policy. German Wikiquote is also free to make up its own policy. I am a member of neither of these communities, and honestly I don't care that much. English Wikiquote has a clear fair use policy -- this page is meant to clarify what is fair use. If you have the opinion of a legal professional, please give his name and quote his exact words. If you have a precedent, point to it. If you are just giving your personal opinion, it would be nice if you at least registered and put some sort of identity behind words which are spoken with such self-assurance (if, of course, you are a lawyer, I am sure you can provide evidence of that, such as records from the relevant organization). ~ MosheZadka (Talk) 20:51, 21 October 2005 (UTC)

I have linked to a German legal advice. If you cannot understand German - ask some one who is able to do so. You have written bullshit and the fact that I am not registered does'nt change the point. See also [1] --132.230.108.236 21:39, 26 October 2005 (UTC)

Just clarifying the lay-out and general English editingEdit

As an American attorney, and also an English editor and teacher, I can appreciate what Wikiquote is trying to warn of, here. I'm also an enthusiastic quotations-collector, and didn't realize that some were protected,as I don't work in the intellectual property (IP) area. I've noticed, too, that various journalistic sources have begun to indicate, on their online editions, that it is not permissible to quote from any news story, for example. I found this interesting, since, as I recall, there was a difference between paraphrasing and plagiarism, and quoting a source while paraphrasing the substance was a good way to avoid that particular monster. I do think most contributors here have good intentions, although intentionality does not seem to be noted in the test discussed - and I don't have the 'scoop' on that aspect.

At any rate, I think I've just cleaned it up so that it's a bit more understandable. Send more legal English my way if you like - I enjoy it. - —This unsigned comment is by 85.166.236.10 (talkcontribs) .

Seinfeld caseEdit

An anonymous editor at wikipedia:WT:WAF#Plot summaries as copyvio posted another excerpt from the Seinfeld case that provides even more illumination on the kind of problem excessive sampling of data from a fictional work can cause Wikimedia:

"Unlike the facts in a phone book, which do not owe their origin to an act of authorship, each ‘fact’ tested by The SAT [Seinfeld Aptitude Test] is in reality fictitious expression created by Seinfeld's authors. The SAT does not quiz such true facts as the identity of the actors in Seinfeld, the number of days it takes to shoot an episode, the biographies of the actors, the location of the Seinfeld set, etc. Rather, The SAT tests whether the reader knows that the character Jerry places a Pez dispenser on Elaine's leg during a piano recital, that Kramer enjoys going to the airport because he's hypnotized by the baggage carousels, and that Jerry, opining on how to identify a virgin, said ‘It's not like spotting a toupee.’ Because these characters and events spring from the imagination of Seinfeld's authors, The SAT plainly copies copyrightable, creative expression." Castle Rock Entertainment v. Carol Publ'g Group, 150 F.3d 132, 139 (2d Cir. 1998)

Food for serious thought. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 22:39, 6 January 2007 (UTC)

American non-acceptance of the rule of the shorter termEdit

Please be aware that even if works have entered the public domain in their source countries, those still copyrighted on 1 January 1996 where originated might remain copyrighted in the USA even if they have entered the public domain in their source countries. Please visit m:American non-acceptance of the rule of the shorter term with a proposed petition as this can cause problems to quote excessive things from works that may be legally copyrighted in the USA.--Jusjih 12:58, 1 February 2007 (UTC)

Actually, it shouldn't pose a problem because we don't want excessive quoting of anything, including public-domain materials. The answer in either situation is to severely reduce the quoted material. If someone wants to push for a large excerpt of a supposedly public-domain document, we usually recommend they go to Wikisource. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 13:45, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
As I administer English, Multilingual, and Chinese Wikisources, they cannot practically claim fair use in articles, so being supposedly in the public domain is generally unacceptable there. Quotes can claim fair use, but Wikisource cannot.--Jusjih 11:43, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

Presentation copyrightsEdit

WQ:COPY needs a paragraph on "presentation copyrights" to go with the new MediaWiki:Newarticletext link from the phrase "presentation copyright violation", or the very editors we applaud for reading policy pages will simply shrug their shoulders when they fail to find the implied explanation. WP has no article; if it has something in its own copyright pages, I don't recall the location offhand. It may take a little digging to get sourceable information from the U.S. Copyright Office or a legal website. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 02:33, 20 August 2007 (UTC)

I can't recall where I got the phrase "presentation copyright" from. I know I read it somewhere, but Googling the phrase merely yields thousands of Powerpoint presentations with copyright notices. But I have found that the more common term is "compilation copyright", and I'm compiling some references for a section on this topic, starting with:
I hope to write up something in the next day or so. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 22:54, 3 February 2008 (UTC)

Quote for a positive reason for trimmingEdit

Every time I weed out material from copyvios, I hear the following in my head:

Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Perhaps we could insert this somewhere into this and other relevant policy pages when we talk about making Wikiquote articles concise and therefore giving them more impact, rather than just harping on avoiding copyvio. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 05:10, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

Copyright chaosEdit

Please see the issues I've raised [2]. Tony1 12:48, 14 September 2008 (UTC)

ReportsEdit

  • The Sopranos - I tagged it with {{copyvio}}. There are WAY, WAY, WAY too many copyrighted quotes that the page is almost 400 kilobytes. Some computers have trouble accessing such huge, huge pages. Discuss here. Brendan Filone 15:41, 21 June 2007 (UTC)
    • I removed this tag because I believe it to be a bad-faith edit as part of a widespread sockpuppet battle. (I have also blocked Brendan Filone as a suspected sockpuppet and for arrogating sysop actions — a tactic of sockpuppet Zarbon — by signing my name to block notices Brendan posted.) However, the issue is quite valid, and should be addressed by editors. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 16:39, 21 June 2007 (UTC)
      • I have flagged this article with {{checkcopyright}} and intend to trim it down a week from now unless someone beats me to it. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 20:16, 30 July 2007 (UTC)
  • The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, The Return of the King — I flagged all three of these articles last week and have just posted an announcement on the last that I intend to do some severe trimming in a week if Return is not otherwise edited down in this time. I don't imagine this will be popular, but since these articles have been used as excuses by other copyright violators, I feel we should start with these to avoid showing favoritism. Copyvio doesn't cease to be so just because we really, really like the works. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 04:23, 6 August 2007 (UTC)
    • The first edition of The Lord of the Rings is out of copyright in the United States thanks to a quirk in U.S. copyright law of the time. Legal publication of a "pirate" first edition by another publisher is why Tolkien prepared the second edition that is the one now published. I doubt most of these quotes come from only the second edition. 4.152.3.132 17:22, 18 August 2007 (UTC)
      • w:The_Lord_of_the_Rings#Publication_history disagrees with you. It says that, while Ace Books claimed it not to be protected by US copyright, it was later found otherwise in court. - 71.224.123.149 08:02, 22 October 2007 (UTC)
  • Charles A. Kupchan needs review while I wonder if it is absolutely necessary to quote long paragraphs and the subject has 42900 Ghits but no Wikipedia article.--Jusjih 21:14, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

New reportsEdit

  • Bertrand Russell - The section "What Desires Are Politically Important? (1950) contains about 2470 words of the 5708 words original. -- Mdd (talk) 00:36, 20 February 2013 (UTC)
  • The Closing of the American Mind - This article contains 140,301 bytes while the book is 392 pages. -- Mdd (talk) 02:03, 20 February 2013 (UTC)
    • This article (started here in Allan Bloom) contains 271 quote, with a total of 22.500 words, while the books contains approximately 120 to 150.000 words. -- Mdd (talk) 02:11, 20 February 2013 (UTC)
Last modified on 20 February 2013, at 02:17