Anonymous asked in Computers & InternetInternetWikipedia · 1 decade ago

is it legal to use wikipedia articles without a reference to them?

i just read a historical article on a website (an official website, not a blog or something like it), and its subject seemed interesting. so i searched for it on wikipedia. and when i found it i realised that the articled i read was just a translation of the wikipedia page. is that legal? on the article there was no reference to the wikipedia page.


the wikipedia was definitely not copied by the article i read.

the website i visited is basically a big site where news are posted, but it also has (among others) a good history section which is frequently updated. and the article i read was posted yesterday.

6 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Technically, it's not legal.

    However, like crossing the street outside of a crosswalk, or driving 8 miles-per-hour over the speed limit, it is very, very unlikely that you would ever be prosecuted for the violation.

    Source(s): Years of dealing with Wikipedia administrators (e.g., JzG) who violate attribution:
  • 1 decade ago

    No, it's not legal to use a Wikipedia article without saying where it came from. The license Wikipedia uses allows anyone to reuse the articles for any purpose but they have to acknowledge where the article came from so the authors of the article get credit for their work. If you have found a Wikipedia article being reused without appropriate attribution, you should let the Wikipedia volunteers know by sending the details to They can then contact the website and let them know they are welcome to reuse the articles but must give attribution to the source.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    If the person who copied it is getting some sort of merit, then no, it's not okay. Regardless of whether Wikipedia is open source or whatever, if you're using someone else's work for your own benefit, then it should be cited. It's more important to do so for papers and articles than information websites, but w/e.

  • 1 decade ago

    Have you ever stoped to think that it's the other way around? The wikipedia page is a transaltion of the official website. And as long as the information isn't copyrighted it's ok. If the information is copyrighted it may be a problem if someone would use it in a official document, paper(the person should at least say what the source is, even if it's a translation of the original text; in some cases writen permission from the entity that holds the rights to the text is needed). As for wiki, it ain't a big deal, it's a open source information library.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    No, it's not legal, but the worst that can happen is that Phil, the Prince of Insufficient Light, will darn you to heck for a few minutes.

    Actually, something far worse could happen to you: you will completely lose your credibility because you just copy and paste from Wikipedia.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Its called plagiarism, and that is illegal

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