Wikipedia:Boilerplate request for permission

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Jump to: navigation, search


Shortcut:
WP:BRP

This page is intended as boilerplate text for requesting permission to re-use somebody else's content in Wikipedia. Usually, to do this, they must re-license it under the GFDL or a GFDL-compatible license. For more, read Wikipedia:copyrights. (Some Creative Commons Licenses (cc-by and cc-sa) are GFDL-compatible, and may provide greater security of attribution, especially for images. See the CC website and Wikipedia:Image copyright tags for more.)

If you have a letter that has worked in requesting permission, please add it to this page, or work the text that you think was effective into the existing letters. Also, if you are granted permission post the details of the permission granted at Wikipedia:Successful requests for permission. You should also send a copy of the permission email to "permissions at wikimedia dot org" where it will be permanently archived.

Contents

An explanation

The main legal thing that is important to explain to potential contributors: they would be agreeing that their picture (or text) can be used freely by Wikipedia AND its downstream users, and that such use might include commercial use, for which the contributor is not entitled to royalties or compensation. Wikimedia itself is a non-profit organization, and any money raised from the re-use of Wikimedia content would go to furthering our aims—buying new servers to keep the websites running efficiently, producing print runs, making Wikipedia available on CD/DVD for schools and developing countries. However, not all of those who re-use our content are so high-minded.

This means that a contributor's work might appear in print or digital versions of this encyclopedia that are sold in stores. It might appear in WikiReaders, or other specialized subsets of the full text—teacher curriculum packets, publicity brochures, other uses we haven't thought of yet. It will certainly be used by other websites that legally copy our content. Although many of our mirrors and forks don't currently bother with images, that will change over time as they become more sophisticated. Contributed images could even conceivably be legally reused in calendars, coffee mugs or clip-art collections.

It seems about half of the people asked for image contributions say no, uncomfortable about losing creative control, or the idea that someone else might make money from their work, or that there's little we can do to ensure that every downstream user will take the same pains as we do to provide proper GFDL author credit. This is certainly within their legal rights, and many argue that this is a perfectly reasonable response, especially for those who make a living from their creative work. However, about half of these people have given an enthusiastic yes, happy to be contributing to a genuinely free source of knowledge, and knowing their work will continue to be used and spread.

One appeal that has made a difference to some is that licensing a small number of images to Wikipedia does not put all of their work under this license. Even a professional photographer may be able to contribute just one lovely shot of a building, or a glacier, or a famous figure, without undercutting the saleability of the rest of their work. It may even give their work a greater audience, since those looking for a picture to use for any given project will always choose free pictures over those that require payment, over time the pictures licensed here are likely to become the "definitive" pictures for any given subject.


Templates

Casual

<AUTHOR | WEBMASTER>,

I really liked your <WHATEVER>! I found it very informative and useful. I'd love to use it in a project I'm involved with called Wikipedia, so I'm seeking your permission. Wikipedia http://www.wikipedia.org is a free encyclopedia that is collaboratively edited by volunteers from around the world.

I'd like to include your materials in this article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/<RELEVANT_WIKIPEDIA_PAGE>. To get a sense of the freedom of Wikipedia, you could even edit this right now, even without formally registering.

We can only use your materials if you are willing to grant permission for this under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License. This means that anyone will have the right to share and, where appropriate, to update your material. You can read this license in full at:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Text_of_the_GFDL
(NB To keep things simple, we don't use Invariant Sections, Front-Cover Texts, or Back-Cover Texts)

The license expressly protects authors "from being considered responsible for modifications made by others" while ensuring that authors get credit for their work. There is more information on our copyright policy at:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Copyrights

If you agree, we will credit you for your work in the resulting article's references section by stating that it was based on your work and is used with your permission, and by providing a web link back to:
<URL OF SOURCE>

Thank you for your time; I look forward to your response.

Kindly,

<WIKIPEDIA AUTHOR>


Informal (text)

Dear <AUTHOR | WEBMASTER>,

I wanted to let you know that I enjoyed your <WEBSITE TITLE> at <WEBSITE URL>, which I found while researching for the free online encyclopedia "Wikipedia"; I thought that your information on the subject might be worthy of inclusion in our living and growing document.

Wikipedia (http://www.wikipedia.org) is an encyclopedia that is collaboratively edited by volunteers from around the world. Our goal is to create a comprehensive knowledge base that is not only available at no charge, but is also freely distributed. It is one of many projects of the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation.

I am seeking your permission to use your text either directly, or as a reference for my original writing on the subject. I'd like to include your materials in this article:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/<RELEVANT_WIKIPEDIA_PAGE>. (To get a sense of the freedom of Wikipedia, you yourself can edit this page without registration, right now.)

We can only use your material if you are willing to grant permission for it to be used under terms of the GNU Free Documentation License. This means that although you retain the copyright and authorship of your own work, you are granting permission for all others (not just Wikipedia) to use, copy, and share your materials freely—and even potentially use them commercially—as long as they do not try to claim the copyright themselves, or try to prevent others from using or copying them freely. You can read this license in full at:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Text_of_the_GFDL. (To keep things simple, we do not use Invariant Sections, Front-Cover Texts, or Back-Cover Texts.)

Please note that your contributions may not remain intact as submitted; this license, and the collaborative nature of our project, also entitles others to edit, alter, and update them at will, i.e., to keep up with new information, or suit the text to a different purpose. However, the license also expressly protects authors "from being considered responsible for modifications made by others" while ensuring that those authors get credit for their work. There is more information on our copyright policy at:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Copyrights

We choose the GNU FDL license because it is the best available tool for ensuring that our encyclopedia is and can remain free for all to use, and for providing credit to everyone who donates text and images. It may or may not be compatible with your goals in creating the materials available on your website -- that is your choice. Please be assured that if you do not grant permission, your <copyrighted?/original?> materials will not be used at Wikipedia; we have a very strict policy against copyright violations.

If you do agree to grant permission, we will credit you for your work in the resulting article's references section, by stating it was based on your work and is used with your permission, and by providing a link back to your website.

<You are obviously <very interested/an expert> in your field, and we invite your active collaboration in writing and editing articles on this subject and any others that might be attractive to you. If you are interested, please see:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Welcome%2C_newcomers for more information!>

Thank you for your time; we look forward to your reply.

Kindly, <WIKIPEDIA AUTHOR>


Informal (images)

To whom it may concern:

I found your page <page name or URL> while doing research for the free online encyclopedia Wikipedia, and thought your image [regarding <topic>] might be appropriate for inclusion in our articles concerning <subject>.

I am specifically seeking your permission to use this image:
<URLs>

I would like to include your image in these articles:
<Article URLs>

Wikipedia (http://www.wikipedia.org/) is a free encyclopedia that is collaboratively edited by volunteers from around the world. Our goal is to create a comprehensive knowledge base that may be freely distributed and available at no charge.

Normally we ask permission for material to be used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License. This means that although you retain the copyright and authorship of your own work, you are granting permission for all others (not just Wikipedia) to use, copy, and share your materials freely -- and even potentially use them commercially -- so long as they do not try to claim the copyright themselves, nor prevent others from using or copying them freely.

You can read this license in full at:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Text_of_the_GFDL

This license expressly protects creators from being considered responsible for modifications made by others, while ensuring that creators are credited for their work. There is more information on our copyright policy at:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Copyrights

We choose the GFDL because we consider it the best available tool for ensuring our encyclopedia can remain free for all to use, while providing credit to everyone who donates text and images. This may or may not be compatible with your goals in creating the materials available on your website. Please be assured that if permission is not granted, your materials will not be used at Wikipedia -- we have a very strict policy against copyright violations.

With your permission, we will credit you for your work in the image's permanent description page, noting that it is your work and is used with your permission, and we will provide a link back to your website.

We invite your collaboration in writing and editing articles on this subject and any others that might interest you. Please see the following article for more information.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Welcome,_newcomers

Thank you for your time.

Kindly,
<your name>

Formal

a little help here? Need something very professional, suitable for sending to larger organizations (news orgs, political parties, etc.), perhaps with a signable & mailable form to send back?

the Epopt's letter to HMSO

A while (or maybe a while and a half) ago, I sent this letter to HMSO. Feel free to fold, spindle, or mutilate it at will. The reply, by the way, was negative: in the opinion of HM Government, Wikipedia may not use Crown Copyright material.

Controller and Queen's Printer
HMSO
St.Clements House
2-16 Colegate
Norwich
NR3 1BQ

Dear Ms. Tullo:

I am an editor of the Wikipedia, a multilingual project to create a complete and accurate open content encyclopedia. The English-language version may be viewed on the Web at http://en.wikipedia.org/. We gather information from many sources, and government Web sites are often particularly useful. As a unique and highly visible project, we freely and publically release our work, that it may benefit mankind. To this end, we punctiliously respect copyright, and have studied the terms of the Crown copyright carefully.

We understand that we may use your material "free of charge in any format or medium provided it is reproduced accurately and not used in a misleading context" provided that "the source of the material [is] identified and the copyright status acknowledged." Our question centers on the relation between the Crown copyright and our own. We maintain copyright over the material we create, but license its use under the GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL), which was designed by the Free Software Foundation (FSF) for free works. You can find the license text at http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html. Wikipedia is the largest documentation project to use this license.

The license stipulates that any copy of the material, even if modified, must carry the same license. Consequently, we may not inherit the Crown copyright restrictions. For example, although I might copy a work under the Crown copyright accurately, honestly, and with attribution, under the GFDL a third party must be allowed to create derivative works which may be altered deceptively.

We wish to copy material from the Web sites of Her Majesty's Government and relicense it under the GFDL. We would be grateful if you could provide us with the official position of the Stationery's Office on this matter.

I can be contacted by e-mail at [e-mail address], by telephone at [telephone number] (I am in time zone UTC-7 -- please call in your late afternoon), and by post at:

[name]
[postal address]
[city], [state/province abbreviation] [zip/postal code]
[country code]

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

[full name]

Generalized Formal Letter

This is a modification of the Epopt's letter above. Changes have been made to make it less specific to the particular situation that inspired the original letter, and more applicable to other cases.

Name or Title
Address

Dear <NAME>:

I am an editor of the Wikipedia, a multilingual project to create a complete and accurate open content encyclopedia. The English-language version may be viewed on the Web at http://en.wikipedia.org/. We gather information from all types of sources, but the web sites of government bodies, institutes of higher learning, and other non-profit organizations are often particularly useful. As a unique and highly visible project, we freely and publically release our work, that it may benefit mankind. To this end, we deeply respect copyright, and are careful to prevent any infringement.

We would like your permission to include resources created by your organization in our encyclopedia. Specifically, we are interested in copying <TITLE>, accessible at <URL>. In order for us to do so, it would be necessary for you to license your work under the GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL), which was designed by the Free Software Foundation (FSF) for free works. You can find the license text at http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html.

If you licensed one or more of your documents under this license, you would retain full copyright. However, we would be licensed to distribute the material, as would future users of it. We would distribute your work free of charge. However, future commercial distribution could occur. This is because users of our encyclopedia are authorized by the GFDL to distribute it, or any part of it, for a fee.

The license does stipulate that any copy of the material, even if modified, must carry the same license. This guarantees that if licensed in this manner, no copy of your work could be made proprietary. That means that no one who distributes the work can ever restrict future distribution.

Please notify me if you are interested in licensing <TITLE>, or all of your copyrighted material, under the GFDL. I can be contacted by e-mail at [e-mail address], by telephone at [telephone number] (I am in time zone UTC-7 -- please call (preferred time in time zone of reader)), and by post at:

[name]
[postal address]
[city], [state/province abbreviation] [zip/postal code]
[country code]

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

[full name]


Another proposition

This is formal and concise, and written by-the-book, in British English. Please do comment.
 Dear Sir or Madam
 
 I am writing to you on behalf of the Wikipedia project <http://www.wikipedia.org/>,
 an endeavour to build a fully-fledged multilingual encyclopaedia in an entirely open
 manner, to ask for permission to use your copyrighted material.
 
 Your organisation has on its website content which would undoubtedly enhance
 communication with our target audience; in order to do so, I should like to ask for
 your authorisation to use such content, namely the [photograph|illustration|etc]
 located at [URL], under the terms of Wikipedia's licence.
 
 Wikipedia licenses all its content under the licence developed for purposes of free
 documentation by the Free Software Foundation, the text of which can be found at
 <http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html>. It should be borne in mind that if you
 choose to allow Wikipedia to use the stated [photograph|illustration|etc], it will
 remain copyrighted to you; however, the said licence stipulates that third parties
 must be permitted to reuse the licensed work so long that they retain the licence of
 this work and any derivatives from it. Consequently, you may wish to consider
 carefully whether you are prepared to compromise some of your rights granted to
 you by copyright law by licensing your work as suggested.
 
 That said, allow me to reiterate that your material will be used to the noble end of
 providing a free collection of knowledge for everyone; naturally enough, only if you
 agree. If that is the case, could you kindly fill in the attached form and post it to
 [where?]? We shall greatly appreciate it.
 
 Thank you for your time and consideration.
 
 I look forward to your reply.
 
 Yours faithfully
 [name surname]

(alternatively, the salutation can be 'Dear Mr/Mrs/Ms Surname' if the surname of the person to whom the letter is being sent is known, in which case the complementary closing must be 'Yours sincerely' as opposed to 'Yours faithfully')

Neutrality's semi-formal letter for images

Dear (Mr./Mrs./Ms./Dr./Prof./Whatever) (----):
I am an (editor/edministrator) of Wikipedia (wikipedia.org), a multilingual
project to create a complete, accurate, and open-content encyclopedia.
Volunteers from around the world collaboratively edit Wikipedia, which
is one of many projects of the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation
(wikimediafoundation.org). We depend on (photography/art/diagrams/charts) 
to clearly illustrate our articles.

I enjoyed your (excellent/informative/colorful) (drawings/images/art/photographs/whatever) 
at your website (----).
However, we can only use your material if you are willing to grant
permission for it to be used under terms of the GNU Free Documentation
License (GNU-FDL, or GFDL for short). This means that although you
retain the copyright and authorship of your own work, you are granting
permission for others to use, copy, and share your materials freely,
and even potentially use them commercially, so long as they do not try
to claim the copyright themselves, or try to prevent others from using
or copying them freely (e.g., "share-alike"). You can read this
license in full at wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Text of the GFDL).
Please do note that your contributions may not remain intact as
submitted; this license, as well as the collaborative nature of our
project, also entitles others to edit, alter, and update them at will,
i.e., to keep up with new information, or suit the text to a different
purpose.  However, the license also expressly protects authors "from
being considered responsible for modifications made by others."

If you do agree to grant permission for use, we will credit you, 
state the image was based on your work and is used with your
permission, and provide a link back to your website.

You are obviously an expert (photographer/graphic artist/videographer/whatever). 
I hope you will consider accepting our request.

Warmest regards,
(real name)

Semi-formal, Polite, Concise

Comments welcome.

Dear <Mr./Ms./Dr.> <insert last name>:
I am one of the many volunteer editors of Wikipedia (wikipedia.org), a Web-based
collaboration.

I respectfully request your permission to use your excellent 
<drawing/image/art/photograph/whatever>, <attached, or at your website,
<add link here>>, as Wikipedia content.  Wikipedia is multilingual open-content 
encyclopedia that strives for complete and reliable content. Volunteers from
around the world collaboratively create content, but Wikipedia depends upon
<article/photography/art/diagram/chart>, such as yours, to clearly illustrate
that content.

It is to that noble end that I make this request.  However, for Wikipedia to use
your material, you must agree to the GNU Free Documentation License (often referred
to as the GNU-FDL, or GFDL). In essence, the GFDL allows you to retain the copyright
and authorship of your work, but grants permission for others to use, copy, and
share your materials freely, and even potentially use them commercially, so long
as they do not try to claim the copyright themselves, or try to prevent others
from using or copying them freely (e.g., "share-alike"). You can read the
complete license at "wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Text of the GFDL". 

If you grant permission for use, we will credit you for your work, <and> state
that it is used with your permission <<if applicable>, and provide a link back
to your website>.

I sincerely appreciate your consideration of this matter. Please advise your
decision of this request <by mail, email, telephone, etc.> and I will gratefully
forward it to the Wikimedia Foundation.

I hope you will consider accepting this request. I am

Sincerely,
<real name>

Steven McCrary 16:13, July 15, 2005 (UTC)

See also

Personal tools