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Wikipedia has my content!

Content from my website is in Wikipedia


Matt Probert

5:27 pm on Aug 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Wikipedia has reproduced a large number of articles from my own (older) encyclopaedia without permission.

Short of hiring a bank of lawyers, which would require remortgaging my house and those of all my family, is there anything practical I can do?

Of course I have lost money, since Wikipedia stole my articles, they took my traffic with them and there went my advertising revenue, also.

Estimated losses to date are in the region of 10,000 since October 2006.



4:19 am on Sep 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Wikipedia as an organization should be hold liable when it happens on a massive scale like the one in question... with full articles being distributed as open source when they are in fact not and there is a massive loss of income (which can be documented, not by an estimate but by a decline of profits and lost user base since the infringement took place)

but as far as ideas, facts, structures and such goes - if there were copyright on those - then we would all be in trouble. Let's make an example:

Fact: Hitler died in 1945.

I got there first, so I own the rights to use that fact in any context whatsoever. Somebody makes an essay about Hitler which I don't agree with or doesn't serves my own interests or just a competitor who also makes an encyclopedia or whatever so - Copyright infringement - somebody else owns that fact and you cannot use it without explicit permission from the person who holds the right to it, which would make the person who owns the fact control all works which would ever use it for any purpose whatsoever, which would basically undermine any exchange of information because it would always be biased and based towards who owns the copyright to the facts used.

This is the reason there cannot be any copyright on facts, because if they were considered private property, anybody and everybody would be in trouble for saying anything or elaborating or even discussing one of these "facts". But there are people who has a major interest in this happening - because it would give them alot of advantages, with regards to power, money and the accessibility to information - but would also stagnate society as a whole - that is the problem.

The same thing goes with ideas, what if I had this idea with a story about a man who killed somebody. I would own that idea, nobody could use it without my express consent, and I would probably not want competition - so it would just be "access denied" - it's not a nice scenario when you think about it - because - imagine somebody who owned all those ideas, facts, resources and so on - they would be in total control, and as a philosopher said in the 16th century "Knowledge is power"

Not that I think you should just throw around with other peoples works as in the copy/paste method of whole works - but if it is placed in another context, creative work, or derivation of it - then it's not that bad because it gives an incentive to actually create and be creative and build on the past and the works of other people - which is what has made us come to the technological point where we are. Imagine if somebody took a copyright on the idea of language itself and got a law passed which made the right inheritable - bye, bye society.

Sincerely, and have fun,


2:59 pm on Sep 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

>That's the problem though, what is the expression? Is it the exact phrasing or is it the overall structure? Facts are facts, but there's an art to presenting facts. It requires talent and imagination to present facts in an intelligent way that analyses them instead of just stating them.

That gets complicated. There was a copyright case successfully prosecuted against a Harry Potter takeoff -- on grounds that (so far as I could see) would make every Regency Romance ever printed a flagrant violation of copyright.

But that's so far as I could see. I'm not a romance novelist, Other people, with no clue at all about how to build a directory taxonomy, have opined loudly that the ODP category structure isn't copyrightable. Well, that opinion's too stupid for words ... you don't see the LoC or DDS systems not being copyrighted. (And yet, there must be SOME category structure that's too simple to be copyrighted: for instance, categorizing last names by first letter as in the phone book. Or categorizing towns by state as in ... well, everywhere.)

Well, that's the net for you, isn't it: any idiot's opinion is good for a website and a few thousand forum posts. All that matters is what the judge says when you take it to court...and that only matters until Congress changes the law again. (That's in my jurisdiction, of course: YMMV.)


8:00 pm on Sep 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

You should just find a lawyer who will take the case for a percentage of what you get from it. The company that I currently work for has done the exact same thing. It led to a decent return for our company and the removal of all content from their site. Sites like Wikipedia, MySpace, and YouTube are full of copyrighted material and unless the copyright holder and owner of the content forces the subject they will continue to illegally house other people's content on their site.


11:21 pm on Sep 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I've been a reader for a long time but this is the first time i feel i need to speak.

The fundamental non-understanding of wikipedia and the internet from some of the users in this tread really scares me.

Come on? Regulate internet? That goes against everything the internet is and stand for, free communication and information. And to say that all innovation and creativity would disappear if not the internet is regulated is like claiming that nobody would invent the wheel if copyright and patent didn't existed. Open source anybody? Doing something of engagement or interest?

Its easy to talk about Wikipedia as "they". But I'm a editor to. And Im not alone. Apologies to all people who get their content duplicated on wikipedia. All the IP-numbers on wikipedia is public, if you want to see who did the copy, check the ip-number. Its public on WP. Then go to the ISP. Its not harder. Why all this blame on wikipedia? "They" doesn't copy any content, or earn money on it, its just a non-profit organization that supply the infrastructure.

And by the way, lets face it, the internet has been "communistic" from the beginning. And if someone don't like it, what are they doing here?


5:47 pm on Sep 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member


A website creator is/should be responsible for any information on their site. People should not have to look through wikipedia because of people copying content from their site. If they cannot stop it from happening and cannot remove it without notification in a timely manner then they are in some serious issues when people start filing lawsuits against them like they do ever other medium prone to copyright THEFT.


7:18 am on Sep 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member


I resent having material I've posted on my site, after 12 years of study, being republished by 'editors' without a clue. Especially without reference- If it's not properly referenced and linked to (Lord knows Wiki editors most likely never cracked a book), the article should be deleted.

Your grammar and spelling are atrocious and typical.


9:11 am on Sep 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

There are alot of interests at stake on the internet - mainly ideological. I don't mind open source or free information, I have always and will probably always support the ideology behind it - BUT - you can't just force your ideology on other people. You can't just take entire works of other people and use it on an as-is basis without their consent on your website - no matter if it's for profit or not for profit - it takes everything away from them. If you really want to be all open source - please, take an education and everything you do from then on - make it open source, contribute to the community and ideology you support with actions -

What if these people who has their work republished on wikipedia made their work FOR profit and want to get something back for what they did - and then you or somebody else take that away from them on a massive scale? Again - I don't think anybody really cares if one or two articles were taken from their website.. but I do think they care alot when it's most of the website and work - and even without credit to the original source. Trust me ... if this takes over, then everybody who has put valueable information on the internet is going to take it offline and delete every trace there ever was of it - then you can go create your dream world - and let's see how far that would take you.

This is the ORIGINAL reason why copyright was made a law in the beginning of the 1900 - because people would do some creative art work, or original research and then everybody would just use it and earn on it without even give a penny to the original creator - it took the incentive away to create something from people who usually did not have the resources to earn on their own work or distribute it to an audience. Wikipedia is doing the same. They use other peoples entire works without giving them credit or take actual action when a massive distribution of other peoples work happen on their site - this is their responsibility, non-profit or not.

You can create deriviatives of other peoples work, you can quote them, reference them, do more research than them and elaborate on the topics, use their works in another context, make fun of them, do whatever - and then you actually contribute. But do not f.... steal their entire work for whatever reason you might have - they had a reason for creating it in the first place - and it's usually not idealistic and what serves the world the best mother theresa style when it comes down to it - just ask the guy who repairs your car if he is into open source and if he would do it for free, just because, you know, ideology and all?


9:25 am on Sep 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member vincevincevince is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Come on? Regulate internet? That goes against everything the internet is and stand for, free communication and information.

That too is missing the point. The Internet is well regulated. The problem is enforcing those regulations. If Wikipedia are collecting nothing more traceable than an IP address, and ISPs are not cooperating in legal processes targetted at IP addresses then I'm afraid it is time that we get better means of enforcement.


7:05 am on Sep 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Is there any easy way to find if your content has been copied on wikipedia? Copyscape is the only thing I can think of... any other ways?


6:19 pm on Oct 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Wikipedia can't possibly be responsible for enforcing copyright restrictions on its contributors -- simply because it can't be done.

It's hard enough ("nearly impossible", as several people have stated) finding infringements of your OWN copyright. In general, finding infringements on other psople's copyright can't be done. It's like requiring Xerox copiers to analyse the copyright status of sheets fed into the hopper. It's like requiring a speaker to shut down in the presence of microphones attached to tape recorders.

Wait a minute ... someone IS insane enough to try to do that last....


6:33 pm on Oct 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

>If Wikipedia are collecting nothing more traceable than an IP address, and ISPs are not cooperating in legal processes targetted at IP addresses then I'm afraid it is time that we get better means of enforcement.

Wikipedia is in the U.S., and therefore enforcement methods are limited by the U.S. Constitution -- the right to anonymous public discourse is considered (by Supreme Court decisions) to be intrinsic to the Bill of Rights. So you'd have to have some pretty pressing motive (i.e. a level of national emergency equivalent to war or insurrection) to have a constitutional excuse to impose "better enforcement."

And, basically, it's your responsibility to find the infringement. (Nobody else CAN, and nobody else has an interest in it anyway.) And it's your responsibility to prepare a legal case--and roughly speaking, it needs to be close to good enough for summary judgment, before anyone would be allowed to go after the identity of the participant.

It's a high barrier. And, by American constitutional theory, it ought to be: because free speech is a fundamental human right, and copyright is merely an instrument of social policy.

This 41 message thread spans 2 pages: 41

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