Forum:Foreign Office translations as a copyright problem

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Forums: Index > Ministry of Love > Foreign Office translations as a copyright problem
Note: This topic has been unedited for 1645 days. It is considered archived - the discussion is over. Do not add to unless it really needs a response.

Under the terms established when this wiki was founded in 2005, the copyright on content of the English-language Uncyclopedia belongs to the original authors but is available under a non-commercial license. The license (CC-BY-NC-SA) which requires that any re-use of the material credit the original writer(s), not be done for commercial gain or advantage and keep the license intact.

The only exception to these conditions would be to obtain permission from all of the original authors. As the authors own their own work, they may do with it as they please. As this is not being done, any use of the text (even in translation, and regardless of whether the original appeared in mainspace, Babel:, wherever) needs to respect this copyright. Anything less is stealing from whomever wrote the articles here.

I've looked at what's been coming out of this "Foreign Office" translation effort and, while the project may have been started with good intentions, the result has been to run roughshod over the rights of authors on en.uncyclopedia to no good end. This must stop.

Some typical examples are:

  • de:UnBooks:Warum man ein Atheist werden sollte was stolen from en:Reasons to become an atheist. The closest this comes to acknowledging the original writers is a template claiming "Dieser Text ist eine Übersetzung von en:Reasons to become an Atheist und steht unter der GNU-Lizenz für freie Dokumentation (GFDL)" (or "This text is a translation of en:Reasons to become an atheist, licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL)"). In other words, someone on unilaterally has taken it upon themselves to say that a piece of non-commercially licensed text from en: is now fair game for every scraper site on the planet to load with ads. It was bad enough that they have made off with our 'stolen' domain name, but this is one step too far.

Perhaps, if the intent is that Uncyclopedia continue to attract talented writers, a little more respect for the rights of authors is in order here?The preceding unsigned comment was added by Carlb (talk • contribs)

Re.... "spect?" As an Uncyclopedia author, I am unfamiliar with this term. Please elaborate.--<<Bradmonogram.png>> 12:08, October 4, 2009 (UTC)
It means by-nc-nd is the Axis of Elvis. -- 15:44, October 4, 2009 (UTC)
Um... UN:N? MegaPleb Dexter111344 Complain here 21:04, October 4, 2009 (UTC)
UN:N applies. - T.L.B. Baloon WotM, UotM, FPrize, AotM, ANotM, PLS, UN:HS, GUN 23:53, Oct 4
I would go with UN:N on this one, for the reason that we don't want to attract copyright infringement claims back us. Technically, putting articles from a (CC-BY-SA) site on here is also a copyright violation, as the two licenses are incompatible, not to mention our broad and gray claims to "fair use" of actually copyrighted material. Also, the legality of ad supported hosting of noncommercial content is still in a gray area. --Mn-z 05:20, October 6, 2009 (UTC)

Hold on. I don't think we should be so casual about this. You may not agree with Carl, but at least respect him enough to not brush him off. A few months ago, we were all up in arms about losing our site to ads. Does it matter that the ads aren't on the English Uncyc? They're still ads. I for one do not want any of my articles to be treated like that. Necropaxx (T) {~} Tuesday, 04:33, Oct 6

I agree, but to avoid another "Wikia is screwing us over AGAIN" rant, I'll try to keep quiet on this one.--<<Bradmonogram.png>> 11:41, October 6, 2009 (UTC)
Actually, Wikia isn't doing anything here. If we take any action against the ad-hosting foreign wikis, they could just as easily legal threaten us for hosting (CC-BY-SA) under the wrong license. That is also a violation of the terms of a creative commons license. In other words, Any legal threat to stop translations on ad-supported wikis will shut down the foreign office. I would suggest placing requests for attribution on the appropriate talk pages.
Also, I would question if ad supported hosting of noncommercially licensed material is a copyleft violation. I would say if the uploader himself earning money from the ads, it might be. However, by that logic, if we were to leave wikia and formed a non-profit organization, we couldn't have banner ads requesting donations. But, this is a case of private individuals uploading content without monetary gain. The license specifically says:
You may not exercise any of the rights granted to You in Section 3 above in any manner that is primarily intended for or directed toward commercial advantage or private monetary compensation.

Since the "primarily" is used, then it would allow for at least some incidental "commercial advantage or private monetary compensation". And I assume that would include 3rd party web hosters earning money from ads. I'm talking more along the lines of myspace, facebook, geocities, web forums, and the like. Wikia's sort of a gray area since its partially controls the content of its wikis, unlike a website or forum hoster. --Mn-z 14:15, October 6, 2009 (UTC)

I think we're, again, blowing things out of proportion. As far as I can see there are three issues here:
  1. Writer's right on their own content.
  2. Licensing issue.
  3. Ads issue.
  • Writer's right - talking form my own perspective, I was pretty happy to see my content translated into other languages. Gave me a warm fuzzy feeling. I didn't care for not mentioning my name - because I know I wrote it and I didn't care as much that the people in the Spanish/Japanese wikis didn't, and worst case, I can always talk with the admins of that wiki, usually it works. Also, I don't think any writer here plans to make money or to sue over intellectual property rights. However, I do recognize that some writers would like to make sure they're given credit - I think this can be easily arranged via the foreign office. I also think, Carl, that this has nothing to do with "skilled writers writing in Uncyclopedia".
  • Licensing issue - overkill as far as I'm concerned. Do we want to start negotiating licensing terms with other wikis? I don't think so. Do we want to sue other wikis for hosting our content under a different license? Bollocks. Also the other way around - do we think other wikis will sue us? Again, I think it bollocks. We are loose communities of individuals who like writing for the sake of writing, I don't think any community will get together and pay the legal fees to deal with it.
  • Ads issue - again, very much overkill. We can't dictate to other wikis how to run their business. We can only dictate how we'd like to run our wiki.

Bottom line - I think most issues can be dealt with via the ambassadors, as this whole foreign office project was built on good faith and enthusiasm from round the world Uncyclopedias and no one seems to have an issue here, other than Carl. If a specific writer feels his rights are damaged, I'll be happy to support him and talk with the other admins/wikis and I'm sure they'll be happy to give credit where it's due. Let's not create a mess where one doesn't exist. ~Jewriken.GIF 15:04, October 6, 2009 (UTC)

Per above. Although I'm not sure we can completely overlook licensing issues. Well legal threats over minor copyleft violations are unlikely, they are still possible. Technically, if we spork or translate a (CC-BY-SA) page, we can't legally re-license as a (CC-BY-NC-SA) page. That issue could be fixed by licensing specific pages under (cc-by-sa) (with Wikia's permission), or (cc-by-nc-sa) in the foreign wikis. Or Wikia might know of some other fix for (cc-by-sa)/(cc-by-nc-sa) incompatibility issues. --Mn-z 15:35, October 6, 2009 (UTC)
I like this idea. Our way is best, so every other wiki should conform to our ways, per the Bush argument.--<<Bradmonogram.png>> 22:26, October 6, 2009 (UTC)
how about everyone shot your fuck up because nobody cares? honestly, wasn't the whole idea of this thing to be in 'good faith' or some such crap stuff? and if it's that big of a problem, why not have our foreign office rules amended so that on the talk page one has to say "sporked from ..."? -- Soldat Teh PWNerator (pwnt!) 22:37, Oct 6
I think "sporked from" would be ok with me, but why have a license at all if we ignore it?--<<Bradmonogram.png>> 22:42, October 6, 2009 (UTC)
I think the issue here is word of the law vs. the intent of the law. The intent is to prevent every asshole with a blog copying and pasting uncyclopedia articles onto his site and taking credit for it. That's just kind of a dick move. However, if the same asshole with a blog is posting our articles under the header "check out this hilarious article that some sexy guy named TLB from Uncyclopedia wrote" along with a link to the page, I'm absolutely in favor of letting him generate hits for us while entertaining his fanbase. The foreign office is similar in that it seems to me to be almost exclusively beneficial to the parties involved. We swap content that would be otherwise almost completely unavailable to either userbase due to the language barrier, and each site winds up with more funny articles. How is that bad for anyone? - T.L.B. Baloon WotM, UotM, FPrize, AotM, ANotM, PLS, UN:HS, GUN 23:14, Oct 6
Welp, I'm convinced. Carl?--<<Bradmonogram.png>> 23:17, October 6, 2009 (UTC)
The point carl was making is that the articles he mentioned have been copied without attribution to the original. All they need is a template at the top or bottom saying it came from here (or there) with a link to the original article. Which, as it's a wiki, we could even fix ourselves. And if you want to go further, add a note stating the licence it's under, if the wiki's licence is different from ours. Same as for articles copied to here, if the original isn't by-nc-sa. Simple! Spang talk 23:25, 06 Oct 2009
I'd be fine with that. I'm ok with whatever we do, as long as it doesn't include going out and telling people to get rid of their translated articles or shutting down the foreign office. Something about carl's tone made me think that was his intent, I guess. - T.L.B. Baloon WotM, UotM, FPrize, AotM, ANotM, PLS, UN:HS, GUN 23:40, Oct 6
Actually, I do believe Carl is asserting (incorrectly in my opinion) that the noncommercial license prohibits copying onto websites with advertisements. The German article he mentions does in fact give credit. Granted, it lists the wrong license for the original, but that is probably an innocent mistake.
However, there is a real issue of the license incompatibility that I mentioned earlier. In order to legally publish a translation an article from a cc-by-sa wiki, the translation must also be under a cc-by-sa license, and only a cc-by-sa license. Same for our cc-by-nc-sa license: all derivatives must also be licensed under and only under a cc-by-nc-sa license. Like I said earlier, this legal issue can be avoided by licensing individual translations under a different license. Or, we can hope everyone follows UN:N on this issue, like we do for our broad and gray-area Fair use claims. --Mn-z 05:16, October 7, 2009 (UTC)
And, I just remembered that wikipedia is also under a cc-by-sa license, meaning that sporking from there would have the same legal issues. --Mn-z 06:33, October 7, 2009 (UTC)
Wikipedia sporks should be protected under parody, right? - T.L.B. Baloon WotM, UotM, FPrize, AotM, ANotM, PLS, UN:HS, GUN 02:46, Oct 8
A parody of an article would be covered. For example Bullshit theory of value. However, a sporking of an article, even if humorous is not covered. For example UnBooks:Jimbo's Love Life: The Story of Wikipe-tan is technically a copyright violation as long as we claim to license it under cc-by-nc-sa. In sort, parodies, critiques, and the like fall under fair use. "Its funny in the original form" doesn't, regardless of if it was vandalism in a serious wiki or the like.
However, there is also the issue of what is called "tolerated use." Basically tolerated use is a technical copyright violation that the copyright holder doesn't care about. Often, it results when the copyright holder decides its in his best interest to passively overlook copyright violations. An example would be the toleration of fanfic and youtube poops by Nintendo and Sega to prevent angering their fanbase. Obviously, Sega can't sell images of Sonic and Shadow making sweet love to each other without alienating most of its customers. The wikipedia sporks under tolerated use because of UN:N.
I would suggest that we continue the policy of tolerated use with respect to the cc-by-sa foreign uncyclopedias to ensure their continued policy of tolerated use with our translations of their articles. And we if start a copyright war, they could also bring our actual copyright violations (invalid fair use claims and the like) to the attention of the copyright holders. Or briefly, we are in a glass house, don't start a stone throwing fight. --Mn-z 05:02, October 8, 2009 (UTC)
I changed the worng GFDL-license in de:UnBooks:Warum man ein Atheist werden sollte in the correct CC...and so far. Just a weak moment when I put the template under the article that everyone tells that the article is a translation. For any more complains foolow the link on my user page. -- Zyniker 14:24, October 14, 2009 (UTC)
I found a couple other listings of a wrong license and corrected them under an ip address. (I did it by checking the what links here for the template.) --Mn-z 15:16, October 14, 2009 (UTC)
Suggestion: Maybe a internal uncyclopedia licence? Theoretical it should be o.k. when there is a link to the original and the mark that the reader reads a translation. -- Zyniker 15:34, October 14, 2009 (UTC)
By the way, I noticed your changes, Mnbvcxz, but it is not very polite to work in other peoples laboratories. I'm not sure, how this is handled here, but we use this labs to finish articles before we publish them. -- Zyniker 15:48, October 14, 2009 (UTC)
What do you mean by "publish"? legally, everything on the internet is published? Are you talking about some sort feature cleaning-up? Anyway, if you don't want whoever editing certain articles, they should be semi-protected. --Mn-z 18:55, October 14, 2009 (UTC)

Just gonna point out that I said UN:N before everyone else.

And if anyone has an issue, just remind them Jews are to be blamed for everything. MegaPleb Dexter111344 Complain here 23:29, October 6, 2009 (UTC)

Agreed. ~Jewriken.GIF 08:05, October 7, 2009 (UTC)
Agreed. [/zh] 08:13 October 7

ZOMG! Illogicopedia Is Engaged in Relicensing-related Copyleft Violations! And on a scale hundreds of times larger than the issue carlb raised

I just found out that illogicopedia gas illegally moved pages from a GFDL to a cc-by-sa-nc license. The GDFL 1.3 gives wikis the right to re-license under a 3.0 or later cc-by-sa, and only a cc-by-sa (as in NOT a cc-by-nc-sa license) on or before August 1, 2009. This effects all pages from the license change (which appears to have happened Nov '08), and any page borrowing more than "fair use" quantities of material from an existing page. It appears illogicopedia adopted a massive epic UN:N policy, meaning they will illegally host pages under the wrong license until someone raises a legal threat. For a cc-by-sa to cc-by-nc-sa transfer (or vice versa) to legally happen a wiki, every person who contributed original ideas to an article must consent to the changing of the license.

Despite what some say, a cc-by-sa to cc-by-nc-sa re-licensing without the consent of the author is just as big of a copyright violation as the opposite. --Mn-z 18:19, October 7, 2009 (UTC)

Still UN:N. Sir SockySexy girls Mermaid with dolphin Tired Marilyn Monroe (talk) (stalk)Magnemite Icons-flag-be GUN SotM UotM PMotM UotY PotM WotM 18:27, 7 October 2009
Yes, but at least someone else has the problem that nobody cares about. --Mn-z 18:41, October 7, 2009 (UTC)
I care. </luke skywalker>--<<Bradmonogram.png>> 11:32, October 8, 2009 (UTC)

Unattributed translations? Only one out of more than 100

In Spanish uncyclopedia there are more than 100 articles translated from en.uncyc, all of them have a template at the top or at the bottom indicating they've been taken from here. The example Carlb brought up to make his point is an exception and not the rule. And it has nothing to do with the diverse licenses, even if the two wikis had the same license, translating with out attribution would still be a copyright violation. I'll now add the template to the article, if anyone finds any other non-attributted translation just let us know, it would be more useful than opening yet another forum about how evil wikia is. As of the licenses, all of them have the same goal, make it easier to freely share content while proctecting the author's rights. I don't think that stoping the content sharing goes with the spirit of any of the CC or GNU liceses, least of all with the spirit of either wiki.--Rataube 11:47, October 8, 2009 (UTC)

  • As long as the translation gives proper attribution, nobody cares.
  • Carlb's problem is not only lack of translation. He is asserting that noncommercial material (which are articles are) can not be hosted on ad supported sites (which most foreign uncycopedias are). I think this doctrine may have originated in our fight against Wikia over the possibility of ads after the domain name change last year. I'm not sure how far he takes his "no ads on noncommercial material" doctrine. Fortunately, Carlb is the only person who really seems to care.
  • This is a slight issue of actual commercial use of the translated articles. If its a simple translation, you could say "the original is under a cc-by-nc-sa license" somewhere on the page. However, if the article has been significantly edited, and contains both cc-by-sa and cc-by-nc-sa licensed material, it would create a problem. Neither license would legally override the other. Saying the hybrid work is under cc-by-sa would violate the cc-by-nc-sa contributors' rights by allowing commercial use, and the cc-by-nc-sa would violate the cc-by-sa contributors' rights by severely restricting usage rights.
  • This could present a problem if someone sporked a translation from your wiki for commercial use, and the original author discovered such use and attempted to stop the said commercial use. Your wiki, or the translator, might be in trouble for having bad license info. Likewise, our improper claims of originally cc-by-sa material to be noncommercial are just as bad, but less likely to cause as much legal drama.
  • Like Spang said, I think the problem could be solved by listing the license of the original work. Or, have a disclaimer about checking the original license of any sporks. That would avoid the false permission for commercial usage issue at least.
  • P. S. to put this in to perspective, it pales in comparison to our excessive fair-use/protected under parody claims against actual copyrighted content, which nobody really cares about. --Mn-z 15:36, October 8, 2009 (UTC)
Point 2 is a grey area which is still being worked out even by the people who created CC.
Point 3 is not quite right, the SA part of the licence means that any edits are released under the same licence, not the general licence of the wiki. It's fine to have different portions of a website use different licences as long as it's clear which part is under which licence. For example, Google maps using wikipedia data.
Also, nobody really cares. Spang talk 01:35, 09 Oct 2009
Looking back, I was a bit unclear under point 3. Basically, one can't legally combine cc-by-sa and cc-by-nc-sa, as I said before, and I assumed the reader knew that. You could have pages under different licenses on a wiki, but, you would need to tell the editors what their contributions are being licensed under, and we don't do that right now. (And there is the issue of permission to have multiple licenses on a wiki, but I digress.)
For example, if person A edits article X [to such an extent that original material is added], being told that the original and edits are under a cc-by-sa license, but it is later discovered to have been under a cc-by-nc-sa license (or vice versa), the license of person A's edits are not automatically changed to the original/correct license. So in theory, if original author B were to find article X and demand that it be changed to its correct license, editor A could legally refuse to re-license his contributions. And if original author B did not re-license the original under a dual license, the wiki would be left with no choice but to remove editor A's changes.
And most importantly, despite the verbose explanations, nobody cares. --Mn-z 04:55, October 9, 2009 (UTC)

Other wikis?

On a related note, has carlb suggested a similar enforcement of copylefts on the non-wikia uncyclopedias? I do believe most of those are cc-by-nc-sa like us. And if he has, have they followed UN:N like us? Carlb is in all likelihood acting in good faith, but this sort of copyleft fight could cause a huge catastrophic mess, and I'm naturally assuming carl didn't realize how large of a mess it could create. --Mn-z 05:53, October 9, 2009 (UTC)


The brazilian Uncyclopedia, using few of the Carlb's servers, actually uses a template for all of its translated articles.

One example, from Uncyclopedian articles: This article went traducted of the Uncyclopedia and your author speaks engrish! Of any form, visit the Uncyclopedia to read the version original of the article: (link to the article here)

Of course, this is engrish xD... However, all of our translated articles uses this kind of template, from all the other languages available (not all, but for the most used). Fire_Wolf_br Cookies? 21:54, October 12, 2009 (UTC)

Well at least the Brazilians are on top of things. One question though: Are they following UN:N? Necropaxx (T) {~} Tuesday, 03:53, Oct 13
It appears you use the same license as us. As long as you didn't improperly change licenses (which likely would have happened if that wiki was once on wikia), you should be ok. --Mn-z 15:19, October 13, 2009 (UTC)
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