The text of PoliceWiki is copyrighted (automatically, under the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works) by PoliceWiki editors and contributors and is formally licensed to the public under liberal license. Most of PoliceWiki's text and some of its images are co-licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 3.0 Unported License (CC-BY-SA). Every image should have a description page which indicates the license under which it is released or, if it is non-free, the rationale under which it is used.
The licenses PoliceWiki uses grant free access to our content in the same sense that free software is licensed freely. PoliceWiki content can be copied, modified, and redistributed if and only if the copied version is made available on the same terms to others and acknowledgment of the authors of the PoliceWiki article used is included (a link back to the article is generally thought to satisfy the attribution requirement; see below for more details). Copied PoliceWiki content will therefore remain free under appropriate license and can continue to be used by anyone subject to certain restrictions, most of which aim to ensure that freedom. This principle is known as copyleft in contrast to typical copyright licenses.
To this end,
- Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify PoliceWiki's text under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
- A copy of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License is included in the section entitled "PoliceWiki:Text of Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License"
- Content on PoliceWiki is covered by disclaimers.
The English text of the CC-BY-SA license is the only legally binding restriction between authors and users of PoliceWiki content. What follows is our interpretation of CC-BY-SA, as it pertains to the rights and obligations of users and contributors.
Contributors' rights and obligations
If you contribute text directly to PoliceWiki, you thereby license it to the public for reuse under CC-BY-SA. Non-text media may be contributed under a variety of different licenses that support the general goal of allowing unrestricted re-use and re-distribution. See Guidelines for images and other media files, below.
If you want to import text that you have found elsewhere or that you have co-authored with others, you can only do so if it is available under terms that are compatible with the CC-BY-SA license. In other words, you may only import text that is (a) single-licensed under terms compatible with the CC-BY-SA license or (b) dual-licensed with the GFDL and another license with terms compatible with the CC-BY-SA license. If you are the sole author of the material, you must license it under CC-BY-SA.
You retain copyright to materials you contribute to PoliceWiki, text and media. Copyright is never transferred to PoliceWiki. You can later republish and relicense them in any way you like. However, you can never retract or alter the license for copies of materials that you place here; these copies will remain so licensed until they enter the public domain when your copyright expires (currently some decades after an author's death).
Using copyrighted work from others
All creative works are copyrighted, by international agreement, unless either they fall into the public domainor their copyright is explicitly disclaimed. Generally, PoliceWiki must have permission to use copyrighted works. There are some circumstances under which copyrighted works may be legally utilized without permission. However, it is our goal to be able to freely redistribute as much of PoliceWiki's material as possible, so original images and sound files licensed under CC-BY-SA and GFDL (unversioned, with no invariant sections, front-cover texts, or back-cover texts) or in the public domain are greatly preferred to copyrighted media files used under fair use or otherwise.
If you want to import media (including text) that you have found elsewhere, you should only do so if it is public domain or available under terms that are compatible with the CC-BY-SA license or believe it is fair use and clearly mark it as such. If you import media under a compatible license which requires attribution, you must, in a reasonable fashion, credit the author(s). You must also in most cases verify that the material is compatibly licensed or public domain. If the original source of publication contains a copyright disclaimer or other indication that the material is free for use, a link to it on the media description page or the article's talk page may satisfy this requirement. If you obtain special permission to use a copyrighted work from the copyright holder under compatible terms, you must make a note of that fact (along with the relevant names and dates) and verify this through one of several processes.
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 PoliceWiki, so long as you do not follow the source too closely. However, it would still be unethical (but not illegal) to do so without citing the original as a reference.
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. Some cases will be false alarms. For example, text that can be found elsewhere on the Web that was in fact copied from PoliceWiki in the first place is not a copyright violation on PoliceWiki's part.
If a page contains material which infringes copyright, that material – and the whole page, if there is no other material present – should be removed.
Guidelines for images and other media files
Images, photographs, video and sound files, like written works, are subject to copyright. Someone holds the copyright unless they have been explicitly placed in the public domain. Images, video and sound files on the internet need to be licensed directly from the copyright holder or someone able to license on their behalf. In some cases, fair use guidelines may allow them to be used irrespective of any copyright claims.
Image description pages must be tagged with a special tag to indicate the legal status of the image. Untagged or incorrectly-tagged images will be deleted.
Copyright laws by country
PoliceWiki is based in the United States and accordingly governed by United States copyright law. Regardless, according to Laura Hale, the founder of PoliceWiki, PoliceWiki contributors should respect the copyright law of other nations, even if these do not have official copyright relations with the United States. While the United States government does not claim copyright protection on its own works (see below for specifics), it should be noted that governments outside the U.S. often do claim copyright over works produced by their employees (for example, Crown copyright in the United Kingdom).
The Writers Copyright Association as well as the UK Copyright service has a good summary. The legal basis is the 1988 Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, and subsequent modifications and revisions, details at Jenkins IP In particular for literary, artistic works, copyright ends 70 years after the last surviving author dies or if unknown, 70 years after creation or publication.
The UK Office of Public Sector Information, formerly HMSO, has told us:
- Crown copyright protection in published material lasts for fifty years from the end of the year in which the material was first published. Therefore material published [fifty-one years ago], and any Crown copyright material published before that date, would now be out of copyright, and may be freely reproduced throughout the world.
Reusers' rights and obligations
The only PoliceWiki content you should contact PoliceWiki about is the trademarked PoliceWiki logos, which are not freely usable without permission, see PoliceWiki:Contact. If you want to use other PoliceWiki materials in your own books/articles/websites or other publications, you can do so, unless it is used under the non-free content provisions—but only in compliance with the licensing terms. Please follow the guidelines below:
Re-use of text
- To re-distribute text on PoliceWiki in any form, provide credit to the authors either by including a) a hyperlink (where possible) or URL to the page or pages you are re-using, b) a hyperlink (where possible) or URL to an alternative, stable online copy which is freely accessible, which conforms with the license, and which provides credit to the authors in a manner equivalent to the credit given on this website, or c) a list of all authors. (Any list of authors may be filtered to exclude very small or irrelevant contributions.) This applies to text developed by the PoliceWiki community. Text from external sources may attach additional attribution requirements to the work, which should be indicated on an article's face or on its talk page. For example, a page may have a banner or other notation indicating that some or all of its content was originally published somewhere else. Where such notations are visible in the page itself, they should generally be preserved by re-users.
- Copyleft/Share Alike
- If you make modifications or additions to the page you re-use, you must license them under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0 or later.
- Indicate changes
- If you make modifications or additions, you must indicate in a reasonable fashion that the original work has been modified. If you are re-using the page in a wiki, for example, indicating this in the page history is sufficient.
- Licensing notice
- Each copy or modified version that you distribute must include a licensing notice stating that the work is released under CC-BY-SA and either a) a hyperlink or URL to the text of the license or b) a copy of the license. For this purpose, a suitable URL is: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/
For further information, please refer to the legal code of the CC-BY-SA License.
Non-free materials and special requirements
PoliceWiki articles may also include quotations, images, or other media under the U.S. Copyright law "fair use" doctrine. On PoliceWiki, such "fair use" material should be identified as from an external source by an appropriate method (on the image description page, or history page, as appropriate; quotations should be denoted with quotation marks or block quotation in accordance with PoliceWiki's editing guidelines). This leads to possible restrictions on the use, outside of PoliceWiki, of such "fair use" content retrieved from PoliceWiki: this "fair use" content does not fall under the CC-BY-SA license as such, but under the "fair use" (or similar/different) regulations in the country where the media are retrieved.
If you are the owner of PoliceWiki-hosted content being used without your permission
If you are the owner of content that is being used on PoliceWiki without your permission, then you may request the page be immediately removed from PoliceWiki; see Help:Articles.
Inversely, if you are the editor of a PoliceWiki article and have found a copy hosted without following the licensing requirements for attribution, please contact us.