Wikipedia talk:Copyrights

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Extensive plagiarism of Wikipedia by an "academic journal" article - not sure how to deal with this

This journal article substantially duplicates a large amount of text from Wikipedia's amphetamine article without attribution, substantially duplicates 2 paragraphs of text from Wikipedia's Adderall article without attribution, and reused 2 images that I drew, uploaded to Commons ([1] [2]), and published under CC-BY-SA-3.0, also without attribution.

Just to illustrate the extent of this issue, I've highlighted all of the sentences from the Wikipedia article and this journal article that are virtually identical in these pdfs: Amphetamine article (March 5 revision); journal article (March 10 submission date) (NB: orange highlighted text is copied from amphetamine; light blue highlighted text is copied from Adderall#Mechanism of action). Alternatively, see the results from the Earwig copyvio detector.

I'm not really sure how to provide an appropriate notice of copyright infringement in this context since the OMICS Publishing Group doesn't have a webpage dedicated to copyright issues. As far as I can tell, this contact page and the emails/phone numbers listed on that page appear to be the only means of communication with the publisher. Also, none of the model letters listed in Wikipedia:Standard license violation letter seem to apply in this context because this was published in an academic journal. Anyone have any advice? Seppi333 (Insert ) 14:33, 8 September 2017 (UTC)

  • They do have 2 links in the references section back to WP articles (Lisdexamfetamine and Substituted amphetamine)... if those were the only pages they re-used, then the hyperlinks in the page do seem to conform to the bare minimum attribution needed, per WP:REUSE. Your drawings being in those linked articles should fall under the umbrella cite of the pages. CrowCaw 22:46, 9 September 2017 (UTC)
I actually only recently decided to transclude {{Psychostimulant addiction}} into the lisdexamfetamine article (see Special:diff/797902889/797906870). When viewing older revisions of the lisdexamfetamine article, it will show that figure as being a part of the article because it's being transcluded in from the current revision of the amphetamine article. In other words, at the time the journal article was published, only 1 of my diagrams was displayed in the lisdexamfetamine article. Even so, the CC-BY-SA-3.0 license requires that a content creator be attributed unless waived by the licensor/creator (see the Creative Commons FAQ for attribution) and the url where the content is hosted be specified if reasonable; consequently, citing the lisdexamfetamine article as an indirect citation to my figures isn't adequate at the very least because I didn't waive that right and I wasn't attributed. Moreover, several sections that were copied from the amphetamine and Adderall articles into the journal article are not transcluded into the lisdexamfetamine article (e.g., the text that was copied from Amphetamine#History, society, and culture, Amphetamine#Chemistry, and Adderall#Mechanism_of_action).
So, in a nutshell, even if a single in-text attribution to those 2 Wikipedia articles were adequate for CC-BY-SA-3.0-compliant attribution with respect to duplicating ~20 paragraphs of text from Wikipedia, it would still fail to satisfy the license's attribution requirements for the text copied from the aforementioned 3 sections.
Anyway, I'm about to send OMICS Publishing Group a copyright infringement notice using a variant of Wikipedia:Standard license violation letter#If you are a significant contributor to the text. I'll follow up here if/when I get a response. That paper is also hosted on ResearchGate, so I'm notifying them as well. Seppi333 (Insert ) 01:36, 10 September 2017 (UTC)
I've sent the notices. Awaiting a response now. Seppi333 (Insert ) 03:55, 10 September 2017 (UTC)
  • I'd be interested in hearing how they respond. If you get into a dialog, you may want to point out the irony of them listing a very specific way to attribute their journal if re-used. CrowCaw 21:22, 10 September 2017 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────@Crow: Roughly 12 hours after I emailed [email protected], they responded to me via email notifying me that they'd removed the offending content which I had specified in my email to them. They removed the pdf and HTML versions of the full text article on their website and all of the images from the article's figure preview page, even though only 2 of the 4 images violated my copyright. This is the pdf file from ResearchGate (NB: I'm hosting this file externally) that used to be available for direct download through this link, which now simply redirects to the article abstract on ResearchGate. The abstract contains no material that infringes upon copyrighted content from Wikipedia or Wikimedia Commons; I assume this is why they left that intact.

These are the urls that I indicated as containing material which violates my copyright in my email to ResearchGate
  1. Full text of the article from the publication details page:
  2. Full text from the dedicated download link to the pdf file:
  3. Figures 2 and 3 from the following link:
  4. Figures 2 and 3 from the full text in the following two links:
  5. Figure 2 download link:[email protected]/Figure-2-The-mechanism-of-action-of-amphetamine-in-a-dopamine-neuron-Amphetamines-pass.png
  6. Figure 3 download link:[email protected]/Figure-3-Signaling-cascade-in-the-nucleus-accumbens-of-brain%27s-reward-center-that-lead.png

All of the copyright infringing material on these pages was promptly removed by ResearchGate.

I have yet to receive a response from OMICS. I'm going to wait a few days before sending a follow-up notice via email to [email protected][nb 1] and request that they reply with information about how they intend to rectify the situation; if I receive no response to that email after exactly 1 week, I'm going to send a cease and desist notice. If even that doesn't elicit a response, I'm going to follow-up with a DMCA takedown notice roughly a week later. Seppi333 (Insert ) 00:08, 12 September 2017 (UTC)

I found two email addresses for the editorial board of the journal in which the article was published – [email protected] and [email protected] – listed on [3] and [4], respectively; so, I just sent them an email similar to the one I sent to [email protected] two days ago. I also asked them to let me know how they intend to address the issue. Hopefully they'll respond. Seppi333 (Insert ) 02:16, 12 September 2017 (UTC)
I received the following response from the journal's editorial staff:

Dear [redacted name]
We informed the mistakes in the pdf to author and he had done the corrections, once we receive the final corrected pdf we will update it online
Feel free to contact us for any further queries
With thanks,

That was a very prompt reply. Seppi333 (Insert ) 06:37, 12 September 2017 (UTC)
  • Excellent, seems like the best response we could get. Hopefully the authors will comply as well, but if not, it's out of publication. CrowCaw 22:15, 12 September 2017 (UTC)
I'm currently working with the lead author to correct the issue. He seems eager to resolve the problem, so this issue should be resolved soon. I guess the lesson here is that when there's a copyright issue in an OMICS journal, the journal's editorial staff needs to be contacted directly. Seppi333 (Insert ) 22:25, 13 September 2017 (UTC)
I'm a bit late in following-up on this, but I sorted out all the copyright issues with the lead author about a week and a half ago. Their revised manuscript seems more-or-less acceptable now. Seppi333 (Insert ) 16:34, 28 September 2017 (UTC)


  1. ^ I only emailed [email protected] in my original email to OMICS. In my subsequent emails to them, I intend to add [email protected] (the contact address for medical journal content), [email protected] (the contact address for "OMICS International Journals"), and [email protected] (the contact address for the world headquarters). Since the OMICS contact page doesn't include any email for copyright-related issues, I'm including every email address that is listed on the contact page which includes the journal in which the article was published within their scope.


The educational blog at Jokpeme has plagiarised the Wikipedia article Habitat without attribution. I know this because I wrote most of the article and took it to GAN. I was alerted to the blog when yesterday somebody added some information to the article that they had copied verbatim from the blog. Can this blogger, William Watson, be encouraged to acknowledge the source of his material? Cwmhiraeth (talk) 09:59, 13 October 2017 (UTC)

I'd suggest contacting the blogger about the copyright violation and stating how it can be addressed/resolved. Seppi333 (Insert ) 12:50, 13 October 2017 (UTC)
I was unable to do anything about this copyright violation because I could find no way of getting in touch with the site. Cwmhiraeth (talk) 17:17, 22 October 2017 (UTC)

Sentence not making sense

This sentence: "Note that copyright law governs the creative expression of ideas, not the ideas or information themselves. Therefore, it is legal to read an encyclopedia article or other work, reformulate the concepts in your own words, and submit it to Wikipedia, so long as you do not follow the source too closely.", in "Using copyrighted works from others", does IMHO not make sense, but has still been there since at least 2010 (which is as far back as I looked). Reading an encyclopaedia is legal even if there are copyvios in it, it's adding the copyrighted material, and keeping it in the encyclopaedia, that isn't legal. So the text should, again IMHO, say that it is legal to write about ideas, and describe copyrighted works of art, as long as editors use their own words when doing it, and don't follow the source too closely. - Tom | Thomas.W talk 15:08, 13 October 2017 (UTC)

  • It's basically trying to summarize how people should use something they read online without just pasting it in. Essentially that sentence doesn't mean "It's legal to read, and also legal to write..." as much as "It is legal to use this process: read, reformulate, and then write." Perhaps is could be worded better, but it's a direct response to a question we see all the time: "I read X online, can I use it here?" CrowCaw 17:32, 22 October 2017 (UTC)

Suggested amendment

In Wikipedia:Copyrights#Linking to copyrighted works, the paragraph "The copyright status of Internet archives in the United States is unclear, however. It is currently acceptable to link to internet archives such as the Wayback Machine, which host unmodified archived copies of webpages taken at various points in time." has been interpreted in one case as meaning "If you can't link to a current page because it contains a copyright violation, you can link to an archived copy instead".

That's clearly wrong. so I propose adding to the second sentence so that it reads "It is currently acceptable to link to internet archives such as the Wayback Machine, which host unmodified archived copies of webpages taken at various points in time (providing the original webpage does not itself contain a copyright violation)."

Any thoughts? Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 15:18, 22 October 2017 (UTC)

  • Makes sense. You may want to clarify that you can link to a Waybacked site that contains copyrighted material (as in the site owns the copyright), such as when using it for a source, as long as that site isn't violating someone else's copyright. CrowCaw 15:23, 22 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Good point, thanks - I'll modify my suggested wording later. Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 19:19, 22 October 2017 (UTC)
Good edit. — Diannaa 🍁 (talk) 19:21, 22 October 2017 (UTC)

Suggested edit

Can we please add to WP:COPYLINK and WP:ELNEVER something like: "Non-open-access journals generally permit authors to make a pre-publication version of a paper available in many ways, sometimes with an embargo; many such journals do not give authors the right to make published versions of papers available anywhere - not even on their faculty websites. Linking to such published papers may be contributory copyright infringement and you should check the publisher's policy on authors' permission to post articles before linking."

Something like that. Folks have been using OAbot to add links to supposedly OA instances of published papers and I have been finding way too many links to published papers on academic websites, published by journals that do not allow this, as was done in this diff. Jytdog (talk) 04:20, 27 October 2017 (UTC)

  • Sounds fine to me. Seppi333 (Insert ) 22:53, 28 October 2017 (UTC)
  • That sounds entirely reasonable. At the very least, we can't count on the stability of the target links, if they are themselves copyvios. bd2412 T 00:46, 29 October 2017 (UTC)
  • I think this kind of addition could be useful but it needs to be rescripted. Green OA is increasingly practiced, allowing the deposit of published manuscripts, or just preprints, on university repositories, author webpages, or subject repositories like ArXiv. Right now the weighting of this caution suggests it's an uncommon and likely infringing practice, but a whole bunch of University Scholarly Communication Librarians who invest in respository infrastructure would disagree. Depositing rights vary by author, contract, journal, institution, repository, date of publication, and version. Further, it's always possible for an author to have negotiated something other than the standard copyright agreement with the publisher. So, clearly editor discretion is needed. I think the addition needs to balance reasonable checks using sites like Sherpa/Romeo, which indexes which versions of a paper can or cannot be deposited, as well as a consideration of good faith on the part of the uploader when put in a legitimate academic website or repository. Ocaasi (WMF) (talk) 18:21, 30 October 2017 (UTC)
Restrictions on authors (or anybody else) making the final published version freely available in a publicly accessible archive are still very common and as we have seen people are being way too sloppy with posting links to final published papers. The language above is focused on final published papers. But sure, please propose something different and still concise.Jytdog (talk) 19:47, 30 October 2017 (UTC)
It also needs a note that the full published text papers published with funding from the US National Institutes ofHealth for 2009 and later are acceptable links , although the PMC link should be used,not just the publishers link or any other link

(and similarly for many other funders, many of them listed at [5], which are acceptable also , though the effective year of the policy varies.

Noting that they are still under copyright though, in almost all cases with an incompatible license, and cannot be copied into WP.
We also should have a link to the PMC journal list
I'mnot sure how to word this compactly DGG ( talk ) 15:02, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
In my view, this policy is not here to tell everybody what they can do, but rather to be clear about what they should not do in order to not harm the encyclopedia. The suggested edit is focused on being careful about posting links to the final actually-published version. That is where the risk is. Most every journal allows authors to post pre-prints with some conditions (like including a doi or other link to the final actually-published paper - the version of record on the pre-print). Jytdog (talk) 15:24, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
perhaps word it as does not apply when). I think it will lturn out that about 1/3 to 1/2 links to items in medicine will have a valid link. I think the best way to avoid people doing it wrong is to tell them how to it right. At the very least, it is not necessary to investigate links to PMC--either it will show a legal text or it will have a message that it's abstract-only. And if it shows abstract only now, it will almost always show the full text a year from now. DGG ( talk ) 17:58, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
Something brief sure, as long as it remains clear what does violate policy and is blockable. While the WMF movement is deeply aligned with the OA movement, we cannot have OA advocates putting the encyclopedia at risk or people trying to RGW by adding boatloads of COPYLINK violations to WP. Jytdog (talk) 18:05, 2 November 2017 (UTC)

RfC on copyright and FfDs

There is currently a discussion at Wikipedia:Village_pump_(policy)#Consensus_and_copyright_law. All are invited to participate. TonyBallioni (talk) 14:51, 6 November 2017 (UTC)

Upload request

Where can I request an upload? I had an account that I lost the password to, but have no desire to create a new account? Sorry if this is the wrong place to ask this question. (talk) 06:57, 13 November 2017 (UTC)

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