Copyright can be intimidating and confusing, but in its essence it means that when you create something, you own the copyright to it. That means that you can control how it is used and other people cannot use it without your permission. A "license" is a formal permission to use a copyrighted work. Licenses can be freely given only by the copyright owner. Sometimes they are bought and paid for; other times the copyright owner makes them available for free.
While you own the copyright to content that you create by publishing it to Wikia, by submitting the content to our network you agree to license it under a Creative Commons license.
The CC-BY-SA is a type of license that grants broad permissions to the general public to reuse, remix, and adapt your contributions in any way as long as they follow the license terms. There are various types of Creative Commons licenses, which you can learn more about on their site.
CC-BY-SA License Terms
The CC-BY-SA has some very clear terms, or requirements that have to be followed to qualify for the license. To adhere to the terms of the CC-BY-SA, anyone who reuses the content has to do these things:
Attribution (BY), means that whoever uses the content has to make sure that the original author receives credit. When you add your content to Wikia, you agree that being attributed in any of the following fashions satisfies the attribution requirement:
A link to or URL of the original article.
A link to or URL of a stable copy of the article that credits the authors similarly to the edit history on Wikia.
A list of all the contributing authors.
Sharealike (SA) means that if you alter, transform, or build upon the material, you can only release the resulting work under the same or similar license. So if you add more information, then that information along with the original content must remain under the same license, or one very close to it.
You also need to identify the changes to the original work. On-wiki, this is done automatically through versioning and diff views.
Importing Non-Text Files
Remember that uploading images or video files does not necessarily mean they are released under the CC-BY-SA. While text contributions automatically fall under the CC-BY-SA, image and video files do not.
It is a best practice to make sure that you specify the license that applies to each non-text file you upload to Wikia. You should generally cite the source of the file, attribute the authors, and note any copyright information that might apply, such as whether you are claiming that file qualifies as a fair use or whether you created the image yourself. See the Help page for Image Copyright Tags for more information.
Many individual communities elaborate upon and refine requirements for file uploads. You should always make sure you are following the local community guidelines when you add non-text files to a wiki.
When you import text from other sources to your wiki, it has to be available under terms that are compatible with the CC-BY-SA license. This means, for example, that you cannot import text from a CC-BY-NC licensed-wiki into a CC-BY-SA, because that changes the terms of the license.
Assuming the license is compatible, as long as you attribute the original authors, you can generally import text from other Wikia communities, Wikipedia, or many outside wikis. Importing pages in their entirety using the Import/Export tool is the best way to make sure you cover all your bases because you can include the entire page history along with the content.
However, it is usually best to only import content when you desire to use it in a new or unique way, or to re-contextualize it. Things like translating a wiki into a different language or taking wiki pages about a novel and building them into a wiki of the film version are ideal cases of importing content. It is a good idea to let the wiki know you are importing their content so they don't think you are just making a blanket copy of it.
The vast majority of communities on Wikia use the CC-BY-SA, although there are a few with other Creative Commons licenses. These were generally communities acquired by Wikia whose CC-BY-NC noncommercial license were kept intact. See our Licensing Policy page for more information about contributing to wikis with alternate licenses. To check the license of the community you are contributing to, you should check in the footer and/or on the edit page of that wiki. Wikia does not change the license of a community on request.
When you see your content somewhere else, the person who is reusing it must credit you and release the work under a similar license. If they do not, they are violating the terms of the license and infringing your copyright. If it is happening on Wikia, we advise that you contact the admins responsible for this content and explain this policy to them, and share a link to our Licensing Policy. If they are unwilling to address the issue, please use Special:Contact to send us:
1. The URL to the conversation you've had with them
2. Examples of copied pages (including two URLs each -- one for the page on their wiki and one for the page on yours) so we can research the issue further.
If someone outside of Wikia is using your content without attribution, as the copyright holder you should start by leaving them a friendly note explaining the issue and presenting them with options for how to credit you properly. Many times, the lack of attribution is unintentional. If the friendly approach fails, you are free to send a takedown notice under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The internet is full of sources for more information on the required elements for a valid DMCA notification.