Tzwblock159 This article describes one of A Fifth Dimension's
guidelines and policies.

Please read and familiarize yourself with our common practices
and rules. If you have any questions, suggestions, or complaints,
please post them on the talk page.

This article provides a description of relevant subjects concerning and appropriate actions for dealing with pages in A Fifth Dimension suspected of copyright violation.

For a definition of what a copyright is, consult the Wikipedia article.

Accessing copyright status

The foremost intention of any wiki is that its text (not media; see below) may be freely redistributed, reused and expanded upon by anyone under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL). This means that all content added to A Fifth Dimension must be compatible with this license.

By submitting contributions to this wiki, contributors are agreeing to submit the original content under the GFDL. Material from public domain sources or other GFDL-licensed sources may also be used, provided correct attribution is given. The use of material, however, that is copied from other sources without the permission of the copyright holder is likely to be a copyright violation. This action should be treated seriously, as they not only harm the respect and ability for redistribution of this wiki, but also may lead to legal issues that endanger the project or its users.

In addressing the copyright status and licensing of images, the situation is similar, but different. The GNU Free Documentation License is not required for media—though it is an option. Generally, media which is not available under an acceptable free license and does not meet the non-free content criteria should be restricted from being used in A Fifth Dimension. See A Fifth Dimension:Image use policy for more details.


If content you are adding is not your own, chances are you need to provide a source for the information along with some acknowledgement of consent to use the content from the source/owner. Failure to do so will bring your contribution under scrutiny for copyright violation and possible deletion.

Note to copyright owners

If you believe A Fifth Dimension is infringing on your copyright, you may request immediate removal of the copyright violation by contacting any of the wiki's administrators. We want to be as respectful as possible in regard to creator's content and rights and require that permission be given for use of the contest whenever applicable. Unpermitted use of content is a clear violation of not only your copyright ownership, but of our own operating license.

Another option—since this is a wiki— is to simply remove the offending content from the article directly! This is a perfectly acceptable means of resolving the issue, but you may want to make certain to mention in the corresponding talk page that the content has been removed by the author or owner to help prevent the material be reverted back into the article. This action on your part will not only be respected by our trusted editors but they will also help to ensure that the copyrighted content stays off of the page.

Of course, as the owner of the rights to the material, you have the final say on how it can be used—including if you would like to release it under a free license, like a Creative Commons license or GFDL, which we use here. This would allow you to retain some creative rights to how your work is used and allow it to be used here based on conditions you apply—as minimally as only requiring the work to be properly attributed to you.

Copyright owners who submitted their own work

Articles containing content released with permission by the owner, but becomes flagged for being a potential copyright violation can be remedied by stating in the article's talk page that you are the copyright holder of the work. As a tactic to avoiding deletion of the article, however, credibility is an important issue. As the owner, you should try to prove that the content really is under your ownership in as many ways and as thoroughly as you can to prevent cases of hoaxing.

Perhaps the best way to prove your allowance of the material's use is to consider adopting a free license to allow some uses for the work. This would best be placed on the official website for the work, (e.g., a book publisher's website, the author's official website) where the credibilty will be difficult to argue against.

What about public domain?

It may be expected that public domain is the default status of rights for any creation. This is not the case. Copyright exists automatically upon creation in a tangible form, without any necessary application for or even claim to creative ownership. Only an explicit statement that the material is in the public domain, licensed with the GFDL, or is otherwise compatible with the GFDL, makes material reusable under current policy, unless it is inherently in the public domain due to age or source.

What about fair use?

Under guidelines for non-free content, like those applied to images, brief selections of copyrighted text may be used, but only with full attribution to the owner. For text, this may take the form of one or a few lines, a quotation, a passage or verse from a full work, but not something as substantial as a chapter, or even a page, and certainly not its entire contents.

Plagiarism that does not infringe copyright

References to and inclusion of material from outside sources falling into the categories of public domain, a free license or fair use are permitted. Examples of public-domain works include text and images from United States Government publications, and older works—such as the 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica—that are no longer, or never were, covered by copyright.

Even in these instances, it is still important to state the source, naming involved parties like authors, creators and rights holders. Without this attribution, an impression may be created that misleads a reader into believing the content has a different origin. It may also make it more difficult—or impossible—for your fellow editors or readers to refer to the content's source for more information or verification. Finally, it may be a violation of the terms of the GFDL, the license under which A Fifth Dimension operates.

Content that may be plagiarized but does not violate copyright policy does not require removal if it can be properly sourced. Always add appropriate source information to the article wherever possible. If sources for the material cannot be found by you personally, but seem quite likely to exist (e.g., the content is found in a rare, out-of-print book that is not online or in your local library, and thus unavailable to you for verification, but evidence certainly points to its existence), replace the content using the {{copyvio}} template and move the unsourced material to the article's talk page until sources can be found by you or other editors—unless the copyright holder asks A Fifth Dimension to remove it.

When you encounter an editor that has copied text or other content into A Fifth Dimension without properly attributing it to a source, politely inform the editor of this—a lot of times the act may not have been deliberate. You may also want to refer the editor to Verifiability, Cite your sources, and/or Deletion policy. If these resources don't answer all of one's questions, one should try the Forum:Help Desk.

Dealing with copyright violations

Material whose presence on A Fifth Dimension infringes copyright (ie. the material is not public domain, licensed under the GFDL or specifically licensed to A Fifth Dimension on suitable terms) should, as a general rule, be removed.

If you suspect a copyright violation, you should at least bring up the issue on that page's discussion page. Others can then examine the situation and take action if needed. The most helpful piece of information you can provide is a URL or other reference to what you believe may be the source of the text. You can also use the an appropriate copyright violation template to flag the page under suspicion.

Not every case will be an actual case of copyright infringement, even when appearing as such. An example of this would be when content is contributed by the author or copyright holder of the text. Even if it is published elsewhere under different terms, the author has the right to post it here under the GFDL. This is not to say, however, that the text may not still be unsuitable for A Fifth Dimension for another reason, but it is not a copyright violation. Nor is text that can be found elsewhere on the Web that originated from A Fifth Dimension a copyright violation. In both of these cases, it is advised to make special note of these types of situations on the corresponding discussion page.

In all cases, it is best to notify the uploading editor. If it is a case of copyright infringement, it may have been a mistake that will not be repeated once made aware of the error. If it is not a case of copyright infringement, the editor may have information he can add that helps to clarify this and erase any doubts of credibility.

Blatant copyright violations

Blatant copyright infringements may be speedily deleted if:

  • Material was copied from another website which does not have a license compatible with A Fifth Dimension;
  • There is no non-infringing content in the page history worth saving.
  • Uploader does not assert permission, or the assertion is questionable.

After notifying the uploading editor—and assuming the matter is not cleared up, you need to access the level of copyright infringement that is present. If the entirety of a page appears to be a violation of copyright policy, check the page history to see if an older non-infringing version of the page exists. If this is the case, you should revert the page to that version and make a note of why this reversion has taken place so that the offending content is not added again.

In cases where there is no such older version, you have three options:

  1. Re-write the page from the start : This would be the best choice if the subject of the article is a vital subject for the wiki to cover.
  2. Obtain permission from the copyright holder : This might be the most difficult option if the content is clearly copyright with all rights reserved, though it may be possible in some cases to convince the owner to release the content under a free license like the GFDL or Creative Commons licenses.
  3. Delete the page : In limited circumstances, administrators may delete obvious copyright violations on sight; see the relevant section of the speedy deletion policy. Contributors may list pages that meet these conditions for deletion using the {{copyviod}} tag. You should not blank the page in this instance.

Images should typically be handled by similar speedy deletion practices.

Suspected copyright violations

If infringement is not blatant or the speedy deletion criteria do not apply:

  • Revert the page to a non-copyrighted version if you can
    The infringing text will remain in the page history for archival reasons unless the copyright holder asks A Fifth Dimension to remove it. Please note the reason for removal in edit summary and at the article's talk page.
  • However, if all revisions have copyright problems:
    • Place on the page one of the following:
      {{subst:copyvio | url=insert URL here}}
      {{subst:copyvio | identify non-web source here}}
This will blank all text beneath the template. (To limit blanking, place </div> at the end of the text to be blanked.)

In finding a suspected copyright violation, it may not be necessary to remove the entire page, but rather only the infringing content from said page (see Template:Copyvio). As with all cases involving the removal of content from an article based on suspicion of copyright infringement should be noted in the talk page, along with the original source, if known. If the copyright holder's permission is later obtained, the text may be restored.

Alternatives to deletion

In addition to nominating potential copyright infringements for deletion, you may:

  • Rewrite the article, excluding copyrighted text. This is done on a temporary page at Talk:PAGENAME/Temp so that the original, copyright-infringing version can be deleted by an administrator and the rewrite copied over. If the original turns out to be non-infringing, these two can be merged.
  • Write to the owner and ask for permission. Check whether they gave or will give permission (or maybe they in fact posted it here!).
  • Where appropriate, please address the matter with the contributor who added the infringement. Template {{nothanks-web}} will generate a notice that you can paste on the contributor's user/talk page. Other notices can be found at Category:Copyright maintenance templates.

Repeated copyright violations

As mentioned in the a previous section, most cases of plagiarism are mistakes or misunderstandings, typically by editors that are still learning the citation and article writing process. However, in cases where editors engage in repeated posting of copyrighted material and will not respond to polite requests or even warnings, these editors should be reported to an administrator to be blocked from editing. (see 17 United States Code 512).

See also