Important note: The MTG Wiki, nor MTG, does not own copyright on MTG Wiki article texts and illustrations. It is therefore useless to email our contact addresses asking for permission to reproduce content. It is possible to reproduce content under the license and technical conditions applicable to MTG Wiki (see below and Wikipedia:Mirrors and forks). The permissions to reproduce MTG Wiki's content in accordance with these conditions are granted without request.
The license MTG Wiki uses grants free access to our content in the same sense as free software is licensed freely. This principle is known as copyleft. That is to say, MTG Wiki content can be copied, modified, and redistributed so long as the new version grants the same freedoms to others and acknowledges the authors of the MTG Wiki article used (a direct link back to the article satisfies our author credit requirement). MTG Wiki articles therefore will remain free forever and can be used by anybody subject to certain restrictions, most of which serve to ensure that freedom.
To fulfill the above goals, the text contained in MTG Wiki is copyrighted (automatically under the Berne Convention) by MTG Wiki contributors and licensed to the public under the GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL). The full text of this license is at Wikipedia:Text of the GNU Free Documentation License. This text should not be changed for legal reasons.
- Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
- A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".
- Content on MTG Wiki is covered by disclaimers.
The English text of the GFDL is the only legally binding document; what follows is our interpretation of the GFDL: the rights and obligations of users and contributors.
Contributors' rights and obligations
If you contribute material to MTG Wiki, you thereby license it to the public under the GFDL (with no invariant sections, front-cover texts, or back-cover texts). In order to contribute, you must be in a position to grant this license, which means that either
- you hold the copyright to the material, for instance because you produced it yourself, or
- you acquired the material from a source that allows the licensing under GFDL, for instance because the material is in the public domain or is itself published under GFDL.
In the first case, you retain copyright to your materials. You can later republish and relicense them in any way you like. However, you can never retract the GFDL license for the versions you placed here: that material will remain under GFDL forever.
In the second case, if you incorporate external GFDL materials, as a requirement of the GFDL, you need to acknowledge the authorship and provide a link back to the network location of the original copy.
Using copyrighted work from others
All works are copyrighted unless they either fall into the public domain or their copyright is explicitly disclaimed. If you use part of a copyrighted work under "fair use", or if you obtain special permission to use a copyrighted work from the copyright holder under the terms of our license, you must make a note of that fact (along with names and dates). It is our goal to be able to freely redistribute as much of MTG Wiki's material as possible, so original images and sound files licensed under the GFDL or in the public domain are greatly preferred to copyrighted media files used under fair use.
Never use materials that infringe the copyrights of others. This could create legal liabilities and seriously hurt the project. If in doubt, write it yourself.
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 MTG Wiki. However, it would still be unethical (but not illegal) to do so without citing the original as a reference. See plagiarism and fair use for discussions of how much reformulation is necessary in a general context.
Linking to copyrighted works
Since most recently-created works are copyrighted, almost any MTG Wiki article which cites its sources will link to copyrighted material. It is not necessary to obtain the permission of a copyright holder before linking to copyrighted material — just as an author of a book does not need permission to cite someone else's work in their bibliography. Likewise, MTG Wiki is not restricted to linking only to GFDL-free or open-source content.
If you know that an external Web site is carrying a work in violation of the creator's copyright, do not link to that copy of the work. Knowingly and intentionally directing others to a site that violates copyright has been considered a form of contributory infringement in the United States (Intellectual Reserve v. Utah Lighthouse Ministry). Linking to a page that illegally distributes someone else's work sheds a bad light on MTG Wiki and its editors.
If you find a copyright infringement
If you suspect a copyright infringement, you should at the very least bring up the issue on that page's talk page. Others can then examine the situation and take action if needed. The most helpful piece of information you can provide is a URL or other reference to what you believe may be the source of the text.
Some cases will be false alarms. For example, if the contributor was in fact the author of the text that is published elsewhere under different terms, that does not affect their right to post it here under the GFDL. Also, sometimes you will find text elsewhere on the Web that was copied from MTG Wiki. In both of these cases, it is a good idea to make a note in the talk page to discourage such false alarms in the future.
If some of the content of a page really is an infringement, then the infringing content should be removed, and a note to that effect should be made on the talk page, along with the original source. If the author's permission is obtained later, the text can be restored.
If all of the content of a page is a suspected copyright infringement, then the page should be listed on Project Talk:Copyrights and the content of the page replaced by the standard notice which you can find there. If, after a week, the page still appears to be a copyright infringement, then it may be deleted following the procedures on the votes page.
In extreme cases of contributors continuing to post copyrighted material after appropriate warnings, such users may be blocked from editing to protect the project.