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Don't forget the effects of Duplicate Content.
Actually many of the Wikipedia articles need a rewrite.
Several sites copied text off of my pages. Fortunately I didn't suffer from this.
When I search for snippets of my text, I might find 20 or 30 pages in Google.
Google might show 10 of those immediately, with the bottom ones marked "Supplemental Result"
(read: Copycats, scrapers etc.)
At bottom, Google says "these are the first 10 pages found ..
To see the rest click here .."
I click and the other 20 pages are listed in SERPs, virtually all of them "Supplemental Results".
It amounts to a penalty, one usually well deserved.
If I can rewrite and paraphrase without infringing this is a wonderful shortcut to new content.
Don't forget the GPL requires that you make your modifications available under the same terms as the original, so anyone would be free to use your content too.
Yes, I think it would require the entire GPL boilerplate notice. Actually an infringer of my modified content who didn't then also include the notice and my link would have a beef with not just me but Wikipedia AND GPL, so I'd then be better off than if my original content had just been copied. If it were an egregious enough infringement it might get /., O'Reilly or digg involved...
I have no problem with giving Wikipedia and GPL free ads and links in exchange for content, this seems like a good deal and entirely within the spirit of the GPL.
Unless you're knowledgeable about the content, you would have to research other sources to make sure what you find in Wikipedia is correct.
If you're knowledgeable about the content, why not write your own original article?
If you have to research the content, why not write your article based on facts found in more reliable sources?
With Wikipedia, I'd worry that the information I pass on to my readers might be incorrect or "tainted." If you're trying to build a reputable site, why take that chance?
Building an entire site around it might not be the best idea. While much of the content is quite good, people might recognise it as Wikipedia content and instantly lower their opinion of you and your website.
I imagine it would be a good idea to modify a few wiki articles to better suit your website and add them to your site as "extras" or content that can be shared, with a link back to you ofcourse. :)
zivkovicp also makes a good point. Wikipedia clone sites will become what ODP clones are, Supplemental.
The bottom line: Add value and you won't be an infringer/spammer.