UESPWiki talk:Copyright and Ownership

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Possible ObjectionsEdit

I remember looking at this back around 10/2005 just before I went back to real life. There are a couple of concerns. (BTW, I seems to recall that Garrett is a license fiend -- be sure to get him to look at this if he's still around.)

Garrett hasn't made an edit since June 1st. :( --Aristeo 19:40, 1 July 2006 (EDT)

Non-commercial Suppose that Dave puts up banner ads for the site -- that comes pretty close to being commercial. If he made money off it, it would be considered commercial. Which means that the license would not allow him to do it. Meanwhile what are the risks of commercial use? So long as any derived material allows both commercial and non-commercial use, then it could be plowed back into UESP. Note that the 800 lb gorilla of free market licenses (GNU and GNU document license), do allow commercial use, and many people in the FSL community view that as a very good and important thing.

As said on the article page, the policy covers the content only, not the entire site. Even if the license was in effect on the site, there is a clause in the license stating that any part of the license may be waived if you obtain permission from copyright owner. Since Daveh is the copyright holder of the site, he would ultimately be giving himself permission. Secondly, I agree that allowing commercial use may be a good thing. If a magazine wants to use our work on the grounds that they attribute our work in the manner specified by our policy, we get more advertising. --Aristeo 19:38, 1 July 2006 (EDT)

Attribution The problem with CC by-attribution licenses is that they assume relatively few authors. Using by-attribution when you have 10's to 100's of authors is just so unwieldy as to make it unusable. The by-attribution share licenses do have a way out of this, but you have to do the right thing to trigger the clause. Essentially you allow people to use something like "UESP Wiki" instead of the list of the actual authors. You trigger this not by editing the license (which isn't allowed), but somehow putting it on the page that links to the license -- I never learned the technical details -- check the CC site for more info.

The content on the article page, once it becomes a policy, will take precedence over the license. Also, there is a clause in the license that states that "you must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor." UESP is the licensor, and the way to attribute material from this site is shown on the heading Using_Materials_from_UESP. --Aristeo 19:38, 1 July 2006 (EDT)

That said, we definitely need to do something. I think that a CC license is probably the best solution -- my main question is which one, and how handle attribution (if required). Note to that there is the option of making the entire site public domain. Legally, it's the simplest -- but the cost may be too high (you give all control) e.g., a gaming magazine could spider the entire site, then release it on a disk with no attribution, or worse, someone could copy the entire site and then add new material which isn't free. So, a CC share-alike is probably best. — Unsigned comment by Wrye (talkcontribs)

Because of your above comments, I found the license by-sa] which allows commercial use. I very strongly oppose to putting the site in the public domain, and I rather us pick a CC license (or something similar). So what do you think about the by-sa license? --Aristeo 19:38, 1 July 2006 (EDT)

nc has to go, and here's whyEdit

Behold, the license fiend returns! :) Anyway, the first problem is that nc licenses aren't truly copyleft. The vast majority of gaming wikis are either GFDL or by-sa, meaning they wouldn't be able to use any of this content. Using nc does make OblivioWiki compatible but they're only one site out of many, and their use of nc doesn't have to influence UESP's choice. However because of UESP's colourful history there's an even bigger compatibility concern.

Since there was no license to begin with, past contributions were arguably considered to be under an ad-hoc attribution "license"; this means that they are incompatible with the new noncommercial license unless you track down the contributors and get their permission to use their content under this more restrictive license, or else rewrite everything they contributed so that their rights aren't being violated. However without the nc clause it is functionally identical to what is in place right now; it is merely a more concrete version of the current "policy" which serves to protect authors' rights further.

Now there's always the concern that IGN or somebody will step in and make money off the content (which is why I assume nc was suggested to begin with), but the embarrassment of including a copyleft statement would probably dissuade them. Also, it's going to be a lot less difficult sorting out local copyright this way.

Now bear in mind that the Creative Commons licenses still have their flaws, although they are less immediately troublesome than those of than the GFDL. The most crucial is attribution withdrawl. "If You create a Derivative Work, upon notice from any Licensor You must, to the extent practicable, remove from the Derivative Work any credit as required by clause 4(c), as requested." (clause 4(a) of CC-BY-SA 2.5 Legal Code). Under the GFDL authors who demand their work be removed can be ignored, but with (nc)-by-sa you have to grant their wishes. Because the mechanics of a wiki aren't accommodated for by the license it could be argued that even their diffs in the edit history has to be removed. Therefore if a major contributor suddenly changes their mind chaos may ensue. Also, edit attribution and history provision isn't so black-and-white as it is with the GFDL (which went slightly too far in this regard).

For these and other reasons StrategyWiki has bravely (or foolishly?) decided to forge their own license with the goal of improving by-sa to more adequately fit the needs of gaming wikis by gradually correcting criticised elements of the original license. As you can see from the rationales offered, cc-by-sa is generally better than the GFDL for gaming wikis but is by no means perfect. GarrettTalk 06:52, 2 July 2006 (EDT)

Welcome back, Garrett. I'm glad to have you back with us. I made the by-nc-sa into a by-sa. --Aristeo 11:10, 2 July 2006 (EDT)
Hmm... Okay, so if we go with CC, then we use the by-sa license -- I think that we're agreed on that (making sure that we trigger the "attribution" clause correctly so that we can allow attribution to "UESP Wiki" or something like that. There's still the question of whether some other non-CC license would be better. However, as you point out, there are still problems with the CC license. It would be nice if there were something out there that was a mature alternative, but I don't know of it. E.g., I checked the StrategyWiki license and it still has the removal clause which you object to.
Feh. Let's go with by-sa. --Wrye 15:16, 2 July 2006 (EDT)

Policy VotesEdit

Daveh's VoteEdit

Because of the legal implencations of this policy's proposal, Daveh will need to approve it before it can be put into effect.
Support: This seems like a good system to me. -- DaveH 17:34, 27 July 2006 (EDT)

Yay VotesEdit

  • Support - Because we really, really, really need something that declares copyright over the content of the site. --Aristeo 17:48, 30 June 2006 (EDT)
  • Support. by-nc-sa is NOT a copyleft license. If nc is removed, however, this counts as a support vote. GarrettTalk 05:18, 2 July 2006 (EDT)
  • Support However, attribution should be to "UESP Wiki" rather than to history page of authors. E.g., on the editing page, we should have something like "Your work will be licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 License and will be attributed to "UESP Wiki"." (E.g., see WikiNews article editing page.) --Wrye 15:24, 2 July 2006 (EDT)
  • Support - This one is a bit more complicated but I do agree. --PTemplar 16:06, 4 July 2006 (PDT)

Nay VotesEdit


Using Material From Wikipedia.Edit

I've noticed that wikipedia has more information on some subjects than this site does. Could we lawfully take that information and put it on this site? I don't know very much about wiki copyright stuff. 15:30, 4 March 2007 (EST)

As I understand it, Not unless it is reworded. Jadrax 15:38, 4 March 2007 (EST)
That makes sense, thanks. 15:46, 4 March 2007 (EST)
Yes, copying content verbatim from Wikipedia gets into tricky questions about copyright (see, for example, the lengthy discussion at UESPWiki:Community_Portal/Archive_6#Copyright/Licensing). It's much better for everyone if you rewrite, using your own words, any information you see elsewhere on the web. The information isn't copyrighted, just the wording used to present the information. Also, since in most cases we have comparable pages here that already provide some of the content, integrating information from elsewhere will require the content to be rewritten anyway. Feel free to ask if you have any other questions. --Nephele 15:56, 4 March 2007 (EST)
As I understand it, the problem is that we are under Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 License, and Wikipedia is under GNU Free Documentation License. Supposedly, material from other ShareAlike sites should be fair-game, but the differences between that and the GNU license, while minor, are enough that it's a bit iffy to just copy them directly. --TheRealLurlock Talk 17:27, 4 March 2007 (EST)
Well i checked wikipedia and this sites race pages, and seems as though someone copied+pasted ether whole articles or parts of articles. I'm not sure who copied who, but some of it is probably direct quotes from official sources. the pages are: the Argonian page which has parts of the wikipedia article snipped out with some differances, the Dunmer page, which is pretty much the same as the argonian page, the Breton page, which has one part taken from wikipedia, the Nord page, which is a blatant copy of wikipedia minus a different intro and a couple words removed, the Redgaurd page, which is basically the wikipedia page with a description added, and the Sload page, which is like the Nord page. 19:20, 4 March 2007 (EST)
I take it you have checked dates so you are sure who has copied who? Also some of it may be the same as it is copied from official sources under Fair Use. Jadrax 19:26, 4 March 2007 (EST)
I'm doing that right now. The history of the Argonian pages shows that wikipedias page had everything that was copied was on wiki before uesp, uesps page only had the official description. 19:56, 4 March 2007 (EST)
The same with the Dunmer pages 20:03, 4 March 2007 (EST)
What exactly would be the problem copying text from Wikipedia? Isn't it "free"? Please explain the differences in the licenses that both are public. --FMan | Talk (contribs) 20:09, 4 March 2007 (EST)
The text itself is free, but taking it and then editing it is the problem. Anyways, as for the race pages, I'm not going to rule out that the UESP and wikipedia are both copying from the same source, causing the similarities. A look at the Codex on Elder Scrolls.com shows the same thing. --Ratwar 20:13, 4 March 2007 (EST)

According to the history of both the Wikipedia [1] and UESP [2] pages on Argonians, the material that is common to both pages originally came from the official Elder Scrolls site. Therefore they are similar because both were copied from an official source, not because one was copied from the other. I'm guessing the same is true for the other race pages. --Nephele 20:18, 4 March 2007 (EST)

I think that may be true about the pages with only sections of eachother, but I'm not so sure about pages that are copied almost word for word like the nord pages, unless it was taken from Guide to the Empire or something like that. 20:37, 4 March 2007 (EST)
If the text is free, then I can edit it freely (pun intended) - otherwise it isn't really "free". --FMan | Talk (contribs) 20:55, 4 March 2007 (EST)
Another possibility that can happen is if the same person writes an article for both UESP and Wikipedia. Since the original author still owns their material whichever site they post it on, it would be perfectly legal for them to do this, and it's another situation that can result in duplication of material on the two sites. (Not sure how often this happens, but it's another possibility.) --TheRealLurlock Talk 23:25, 4 March 2007 (EST)
I thought of that too. but we don't have any way to prove that. 23:38, 4 March 2007 (EST)
Innocent until proven guilty. We assume good faith, so, unless we have reason to believe the edit was a copy, we assume that it was fine. Of course, several of the administrators make a habit of checking Wikipedia if a long article suddenly appears from a unknown editor. Really, I don't think the race pages are a problem, as they stand now. --Ratwar 01:30, 5 March 2007 (EST)

The problem isn't the freedom of Wikipedia's material, the problem is that our requirements are too strict to support material from Wikipedia. Simply put, it doesn't infringe their policies, it infringes our policy. --Aristeo | Talk 01:28, 5 March 2007 (EST)

Update links to cc by sa 3.0?Edit

The links for the Creative Commons License information are old, the by-sa license is now 3.0 and the link to it is this:


The links are correct since we're still at version 2.5. It might be worth considering updating -- but I don't think that it's at the top of anyone's priority list. --Wrye 15:29, 31 October 2007 (EDT)
Okay. I posted that because I was curious and found the links were broken and I thought this was because you had to update to the 3.0 one, but I guess not. Just checked again and the human-readable version is still good but the legal code is broken.
I checked why this would be and the reason seems to be that the link on the page has an .en at the end of the link, and the link to it from the human-readable doesn't. I would change it but the page isn't editable, for good reasons.
Fixed. Thanks for pointing that out. --Wrye 19:24, 1 November 2007 (EDT)

Quoting the official game content allowed ?Edit

Is it allowed for this site to include textual quotes from the original games on the wiki pages ? (Given it is marked as a quote). I'm asking because I feel it can enhance an explanatory page quite a lot if a referencing quote from the game is shown. (And I am currently doing so on the Bloodmoon:Creatures page, but after some research I'm not so sure anymore. I have seen UESPWiki:Spelling and seen that the books of the games have been included.) -- Adjego 08:16, 12 February 2008 (EST)

Almost certainly yes, but what exactly are you referring to? –RpehTCE 11:41, 12 February 2008 (EST)
Well, I was just thinking that not only pictures are copyrighted but stories and books are as well. And I wonder if the site has permission to present the written material (i.e. books) in full length or in fragments, or if this is generally allowed or if there is a limit of how much is allowed to show. I am just not familliar with this topic, and it might also be different here in Europe. -- Adjego 12:21, 12 February 2008 (EST)
We've got all the books on the site already... see Bloodmoon:Books for Bloodmoon-specific ones or for the full set, Lore:Books. –RpehTCE 12:42, 12 February 2008 (EST)
If you're interested in the details, there was a discussion a while back at UESPWiki:Community Portal/Copyright Issues where Daveh explained why using quotes from the game, including full text of books, is acceptable under copyright laws. --NepheleTalk 01:53, 13 February 2008 (EST)
Thank you for the links! That last page makes things quite clear and I'm relieved to read that. (Just strange that I did not find it myself. I did search, but there are quite a lot pages covering 'copyright' in some way.) Wouldn't it be a good idea to link that page from the normal copyright page ? -- Adjego 14:26, 13 February 2008 (EST)
That page is "discussion" format rather than "article" format, so I don't know that a link would belong on the main article. On the other hand, it should be easier to find that discussion. For now, the link from this discussion will hopefully help anyone else who wants to find it. Long term, we need some better ways to organize/access old discussions, but that gets into some major work :| --NepheleTalk 14:57, 14 February 2008 (EST)


I was skimming this and in my randomness I noticed the line You may fufill the last two obligations by directly... "Fufill" Should be "Fulfill". Could an admin change it? Thanks! --Arch-Mage Matt Did I Do That? 22:48, 29 August 2010 (UTC)

Done. Thanks for pointin' it out. --GKtalk2me 22:51, 31 August 2010 (UTC)

Image CopyrightEdit

From this page:

under United States law's "fair use" doctrine

From Template:Esimage

under the fair dealing clause of Canadian copyright law.

Which is it? mxk101Talk 20:52, 3 April 2011 (UTC)

Canadian. Probably. The servers are in Canada, but I have no idea how all this works. rpeh •TCE 21:18, 3 April 2011 (UTC)

A minor detail...Edit

I opened up this page by mistake while randomly flipping through links, and I noticed that under the Ownership section, several games (The spin-offs and Skyrim) are not mentioned. It's a protected page, so I couldn't do it myself, but I assumed that this is something that should be noted. ESQuestion?EmailContribs 00:50, 10 April 2012 (UTC)

Done. --TheRealLurlock Talk 03:56, 10 April 2012 (UTC)


Dragonborn needs to be added to the list of titles trademarked by ZeniMax in the Ownership section. --Xyzzy Talk 06:00, 24 September 2013 (GMT)

Thank you. --Xyzzy Talk 19:18, 24 September 2013 (GMT)
Yes, right, I updated it, probably should've mentioned that here. Silencer told me to. Good catch ~ Dwarfmp (talk) 19:52, 24 September 2013 (GMT)
Last modified on 24 September 2013, at 19:52