UESPWiki:Administrator Noticeboard/Archives/Copying Our Images

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Copying Our Images

Please can somebody with a better knowledge of the ins and outs of the ShareAlike license advise on (most of) the images on this page? The Arquen, Ungolim, Shaleez, Alval Uvani, Havilstein Hoar-Blood, Adosi Serethi, Adrian Decanius, Adrienne Berenne and Ah-Malz images have all been lifted directly from UESP. If this were text then I'd blank the page with an explanation. Images are a bit trickier though because we acknowledge Bethesda as the creators. Should we ask for credit anyway? --RpehTalk 08:01, 8 October 2007 (EDT)

Complicated answer (which I'll write a bit more time tonight), but you should look at the licensing that we have stated for those images. --Wrye 17:52, 8 October 2007 (EDT)
Okay, got a bit more time. The Major point is that this is not about our CC share alike license. This is about the license the screenshot images that are displayed here. Screenshot images are not under our cc-by-sa license. The undertanding is that, being derivative works, these are not copyrightable by the person who takes the screenshot. Instead we understand these to be fair use of Bethesda's original material. Anyway, our fair use understanding is noted on the information pages for our screenshots. In other words, if Wikiscrolls takes the screenshots that contributors here have taken and reposts them on their website, then we don't really have much grounds to complain on (since we (or rather the original contributor) don't hold copyright).
In short, the point is that since images are (presumably) protected by Bethesda's copyright, then we, both as contributors, and as a site, cannot license them under our cc-by-sa (if you don't own the copyright, then you can't license it). Hence, there's no violation of UESP's or of individual contributor's copyright in this case. --Wrye 23:02, 8 October 2007 (EDT)
Where it gets tricky is when text is copied - as the text IS under cc-by-sa. What would you propose we do about a site like wanbulei.com that copies entire articles, translating them into Chinese? Compare: Oblivion:Skills to this page. I noticed this because the icon images used here were created by me - same filenames and everything. The front page of the site gives credit to UESP, but we're not mentionned anywhere else on the site that I can tell. (Though, I can't read Chinese, so who knows?) I also can't tell what kind of license they're under, since it's also in Chinese. But they've copied half the Oblivion articles on the site onto their page, verbatim as far as I can tell. The formatting and organization is identical. Obviously, I can't tell how much is changed in translation, but when even the paragraphs are indented in the same way, same terms bold-faced, etc., it's pretty obvious. --TheRealLurlock Talk 23:13, 8 October 2007 (EDT)
First, some basic theory... If I create an article from scratch, then I alone hold the copyright to it. I can then sell or otherwise release copies of that article as I please. If I post that article on UESP wiki, then I haven't given away my copyright at all, but rather (under the terms of UESP contribution/licensing) released it under the terms of cc-by-sa license. Since I continue to hold the copyright to the article, I could also still release it elsewhere under a different license, sell it in a book, whatever.
However, suppose that I modify an existing article at UESP -- that's creating a derivative copy of the original work -- which is a right normally reserved to the original copyright holder. The only reason that I'm allowed to do it, is the the cc-by-sa license specifically allows me to do it -- so long as I obey the other terms of the license (give attribution, release under the same cc-by-sa license). Note that in this case, I only hold a copyright over the changes that I made to the original article, not the original article. Because of the terms of the license, I can only release under the cc-by-sa license. Specifically, I cannot release under an additional license.
Now since many/most article at UESP are created by multiple authors, each of which continues to hold their copyright, the only way to release it under a different license would be to contact each of the original authors and get them ALL to agree to do so. Obviously, this is impractical (or more often impossible since many authors are unreachable). Hence the site is effectively locked into cc-by-sa. Note that this is pretty much intentional --it's a large part of what makes the site an open source site. (Wikipedia and most other wikis work in the same way.)
Our UESPWiki:Copyright and Ownership page is pretty good. It states fairly clearly what is copyright, what the relationship between UESP and contributors is, etc.
The problem with the chinese site is not that they've copied our materials, but rather that they've failed to release under the cc-by-sa license -- which is a requirement -- see specifically the legal code behind cc-by-sa, paragraph 4b. So, the chinese site is in violation of UESP contributor copyrights by failing to obey the terms of the license -- which is the only thing that would allow them to both 1) create a derivative work (the translation) and 2) display it. I would suggest messaging them and indicating to them that they need to follow the terms of the cc license. Aside from displaying the license, they must also credit the original creators -- that's why it's a "by" license. Again our copyright page describes how to do that.
FYI, although Wikscrolls itself is under cc-by-sa, and prominently displays the license, it cannot use UESP cc-by-sa material since Wikiscrolls has a different relationship with its contributors. At UESP, contributors license their material to UESP; but at Wikiscrolls, contributors give their material to Wikiscrolls...
When contributing to Wikiscrolls, you agree to automatically transfer the ownership of your contribution over to Wikiscrolls, and in return, we license you back the rights to modify, distribute, publish, and sub-license your work. This gives the community the flexibility to re-license the site under a newer version of the CC-BY-SA or to choose a different free license if necessary. This also allows you to have the rights over your content that you would normally. --Wikiscrolls Copyright page
As copyright holder, Wikiscrolls can change the license completely, shut the site down, sell the site for as much money as anyone would pay, etc. -- and contributors wouldn't have a legal leg to stand on, since they gave the material to Wikiscrolls. In other words, the last statement in that claim is false -- the contributor doesn't have the same rights at all -- since they just gave all those right to wikiscrolls. (Now, why any contributor would choose to do that... :shrug:) Anyway, this means that Wikiscrolls cannot use our (non-screenshot) material since doing so would require the agreement of all authors who contributed to any article that Wikiscrolls would attempt to use.
Keep in mind that copyright is pretty complicated by itself, and various licences complicate things further. It generally makes sense if you take the time to follow it, but is also subject to a lot of stress in these days of easy copying, googling, etc. --Wrye 00:30, 9 October 2007 (EDT)
Thanks, Wrye. That's roughly what I thought, but you seem to have dealt more with all this than I have. That Chinese site is particularly galling though - especially when you consider they're probably using a lot of UESP's bandwidth too. --RpehTalk 03:01, 9 October 2007 (EDT)