How much of a Wiki article can we quote?

In this thread Marley23 said:

Curtis LeMay, when you quote from an article, please use just enough to prove your point and link to the rest. I shortened your Wikipedia quote.”

Now, I did not see what he had all posted before it was shortened so if it was a mile long I understand the shortening.

My understanding of Board rules is to avoid copyright infringement when quoting other sources. Basically the “Fair Use” standard.

That said I thought things like text that is public record (e.g. the text of a law) can be quoted in its entirety. When it comes to Wikipedia (indeed any Wiki) it operates under the Creative Commons Attribution standard which states all text is free to use as long as proper attribution is included.

So, can we quote all of a Wiki article (subject to being reasonable for length and such) or are we still beholden to only copying snippets?

I realize Wikipedia articles are not under copyright, but I had this in mind:

Curtis LeMay originally posted about 2,100 words from the Wikipedia entry, which was way, way overlong. One paragraph near the end was highlighted, which indicated most of the rest of the quote was not necessary. The entry is something like 11,000 words, so he quoted about 20 percent of it. I cut the excerpt down to about 350.

No, it’s not just Fair Use, it’s also common sense.

Quote enough to prove your point, regardless of the source.

Why clog up a thread with more material than is really necessary? Why make people read it? Why copy it here when it can be read elsewhere?

I agree there is no point to quoting more than necessary to make the point and then having the link so people can check context or more details.

I on occasion had times where I really think the whole (or most of) an article has really relevant points. Particularly when the article is very short and concise. Keeping to 5% of the source can in some cases be a word or two which would make no sense.

Anyway, I understand if the Wiki quote was needlessly overlong and just clutter when the smaller bit sufficed with a link if someone wanted more.

Just wanted to be sure that legally quoting as much as you want of a Wiki was ok (assuming it was somehow all relevant).

I agree. Five percent is a really small amount for some things, and a really large amount for others. I think the guideline should just say quote the minimal amount necessary to make your point, probably no more than a couple paragraphs.

And, yes, it is common sense. But if you’re going to have a guideline, it makes sense to have one that’s a little more useful.

There is a totally false but extremely widespread belief that the copyright laws say that it is legal to copy 5% of an article. In fact, nowhere in the law is any percentage given and, as said earlier, it does not even make sense as a guideline.

I agree that excessive amounts of work shouldn’t be copied, even if legal to do so, but I hate having a number used as justification.

Fair Use is a simple concept but exceedingly complex to administer. There are no good guidelines in case law beyond “I know a violation when I see it.” Sure, the masses here are going to come down on mods that use that as an excuse, but it’s still better than using a 5% rule that’s wrong in every possible way.

We don’t enforce that 5-percent suggestion to a T. It wouldn’t be practical at all. But when we see a quote that’s ridiculously long, we’ll trim that down. I think “a few paragraphs, but not the whole thing” is a reasonable guideline in almost any case.

They are under copyright. It’s just that the copyright holder grants a license to copy, for free, as long as the terms of the CC license are followed.

Sorry for the nitpick, but this misconception is one of my pet peeves when talking about open-source and Creative Commons licensing issues.

Please note that the single line of mine quoted is part of a longer Rule:

And, agreed Expano, we never thought the 5% was any sort of legal guideline. It was a suggestion, that’s all. Obviously, 5% of a song would be about two words; 5% of WAR AND PEACE might be a full chapter. It’s just a sort of way of saying: don’t quote a lot.

Or, for “Love to Love You Baby,” more like “L,” maybe “Lo.”

Extremely widespread? Really? Do you know of places that claim that this is what copyright law says? I’ve never seen that mentioned anywhere.

I’ve seen people say it here. It’s never 10% or some other percentage. It’s always five.

Isn’t that like asking how many cites can dance on the head of a pin? :slight_smile:

You should quote enough to get your point across. For some posts it’s going to be more, for some it’s going to be less. It’s not a one size fits all kind of deal and there’s really no useful way to make it so.

But I need the whole text to get my point accross!! :wink:


Probably because that’s what the number (pulled out of a hat) in the FAQ guideline is. I love this message board, but I wouldn’t call something said here as an “extremely widespread” belief if I only see it at the SDMB. :wink: Maybe the FAQ should include a disclaimer: “This is not to be construed as legal advice etc.”

I think the full text of the rule makes that more clear. So maybe I should have quoted more of it. :smack:

But no more than 5%! :smiley:

Somewhere in between. Looks like “Lc” would about do it.

Some works that are designed to be quoted are very specific on what is allowed. I remember a Bible I had said you could quote no more than one chapter, provided that was less than 500 verses or 25% of the book in question. Oh, and it couldn’t be commentary, which pretty much makes sermons illegal.