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Memory Alpha:Dealing with possible copyright infringements

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This page describes one of Memory Alpha's policies and guidelines

Please read through the policy below to familiarize yourself with our common practices and rules.
If you have any questions, suggestions, or complaints, please post them on the talk page.

One of the key goals of Memory Alpha is to provide an accurate, original reference source for Star Trek fans. Therefore, we take the possibility of copyright infringement very seriously. Material coming from external sources – that is, material that you have not written yourself – may only be submitted by the original author. In all such cases, it is important to cite your sources in a "Reference" section, and to explicitly state that you have granted permission for this material to be used on the article's talk page.

It is not the job of rank-and-file members of the Memory Alpha community to police every article for possible copyright infringements. However, from time to time you may come across an article that you believe may be infringing someone's copyright, or worse, is plagiarized from an unauthorized source. (Unauthorized sources are those which we know we are not allowed to copy from; this includes works such as the Star Trek Encyclopedia or the official Star Trek website.)


Memory Alpha's copyright policy explicitly provides for cases in which an article or other media posted to Memory Alpha violates someone's copyright. If you think an article or image is in violation of someone's copyright and does not constitute fair use, place one of the following boilerplate messages (listed below) on that page. Then list the page on possible copyright infringements. Pages should be listed there until a decision is made.

According to Memory Alpha's deletion policy, pages listed may be deleted after at least two additional votes for deletion have been cast, or alternatively after a waiting period of seven days. There is no upper limit to the length of time a page may be listed here, but it is preferable for potential copyright conflicts to be resolved quickly, so that the ugly boilerplate messages are not left on article pages.

In addition to listing a potential copyright violation, you could also:

  • Replace the article's text with new (re-written) content of your own. You should do this on a temporary page (named [[PAGE NAME/temp]], for example) so that, when the previous version of the page is deleted, then the new version can simply be moved to take its place.
  • Request permission by contacting the copyright owner. (This is of course not possible in cases of works owned by Paramount.) Oftentimes, an author or artist might be very pleased to see their work get more attention from a site like Memory Alpha! If you receive explicit permission to post work, it should be noted on the talk page that permission to use the copyright work has been granted.

Exceptions for plagiarized works

In some cases, contributors who are unfamiliar with our policies may submit text that is copied directly from official Paramount sources – the Star Trek Encyclopedia is the most common source in this example. Once an article is listed on the possible copyright infringements page, it may be deleted immediately, at the discretion of the administrators. In such cases, a note should be left under the original listing, stating that the page was immediately deleted and for what reason.

Note that other plagiarized works – coming from fan websites, for example – do not qualify for immediate deletion. The only reason that copied Paramount works may be deleted immediately is because there is no chance of gaining permission to release the article text under the terms of the Memory Alpha copyright. In all other cases, some leeway should be granted to make it possible for the contributor(s) to obtain permission for the inclusion of the work.

Copyvios replacing valid content

In some cases, a contributor may replace valid article text with copyrighted text that does not belong in Memory Alpha. If this happens, it is acceptable to simply revert the changes back to a non-copyvio version of the text. The copyvio will remain in the page history, but will not be easily accessible to most readers (who are generally only interested in the current version of the text).

Articles which have a valid page history should not simply be deleted or replaced, because deleting the page will also wipe the history of contributions to that article – something which would be extraordinarily unfair to the contributors to that page.

If a copyright holder wishes to complain about a copyright violation in a page history, it is possible for a developer to edit the database manually and delete individual page revisions based on that revision's OLDID identifier.

Notice to copyright owners

If you believe Memory Alpha is infringing your copyright, you may choose to raise the issue using this page and the standard copyright infringement notice as described below. Alternatively, you may choose to contact Memory Alpha's designated agent under the terms of the Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act.

Note that archivists do not have the ability to remove copyright infringements from an article's page history. Therefore, if you believe that material in an article's page history infringes your copyright, you should contact an administrator or Memory Alpha's designated agent, rather than using this page.

Copyright infringement notices

Remove the text of the article, and replace it with the following boilerplate message.

For textual articles, use the following message:

Possible copyright infringement

The text of this article has been removed because of a possible copyright infringement. The text that was previously posted here is the same as text that can be found here:


This page is now listed on our possible copyright infringements page. Please do not edit this page until the copyright issue is resolved, even if you are rewriting it - follow the instructions below, instead.

  • If there was permission to use this material under terms of our license or if you are the copyright holder of the externally linked text and want to re-publish your text using the license linked to above, please indicate this on the talk page.
  • If there was no permission to use this text then please rewrite the page at Dealing_with_possible_copyright_infringements/temp, or leave this page to be deleted. Deletion will occur about one week from the time this page title was placed on the possible copyright infringements page. If a temp page is created, it will be moved here following deletion of the original.
  • In any case, please read Memory Alpha:Copyrights to avoid future confusion.

For images, use this message:



In both cases, append the URL of the original location of the work, as well as your signature, to the basic message.

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