This policy is approved by the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees.
It may not be circumvented, eroded, or ignored by Wikimedia Foundation officers or staff nor local policies of any Wikimedia project.
Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge. That's our commitment. – Our Vision Statement
Welcome to Wikimedia! The Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. ("we" or "us" or "Foundation"), is a non-profit charitable organization, headquartered in San Francisco, California, United States, whose mission is to empower and engage people around the world to collect and develop content under a free license or in the public domain, and to disseminate it effectively and globally, free of charge.
To support our vibrant community, we provide the essential infrastructure and organizational framework for the development of multilingual wiki projects and their editions (as explained on our Wikimedia Projects page) (hereby referred to as "Projects") and other endeavors which serve this mission. We strive to make and keep educational and informational content from the Projects available on the internet free of charge, in perpetuity.
The community – the network of users who are constantly building and using the Projects and/or their websites (hereby referred to as "Project Websites") – is the principal means through which the goals of the mission are achieved. The community contributes to and helps govern our Projects and Project Websites. The community also undertakes the critical function of creating and enforcing policies for the specific Project editions (such as the different language editions for the Wikipedia Project or the Wikimedia Commons multilingual edition).
You, the user, are welcome to join as a contributor, editor, or author, but you should follow the policies that govern each of the independent Project editions, including the Universal Code of Conduct (UCoC), which apply to all Project editions. The largest of our Projects is Wikipedia, but we host other Projects too, each with different objectives and work methods. Each Project edition has a team of contributors, editors or authors who work together to create and manage the content on that Project edition. You are welcome to join these teams and work with them to improve these Projects. Since we are dedicated to making content freely accessible to the public, content you contribute is made available under a free license or released in the public domain.
For clarity, other organizations, such as local Wikimedia chapters and associations, that may share in the same mission are nevertheless legally independent and separate from the Wikimedia Foundation. Unless otherwise stated by the Foundation as an authorized party on a given Project's Website, those other organizations have no responsibility for the operations of the Project's Website or its content.
1. Our Services
The Wikimedia Foundation is dedicated to encouraging the growth, development, and distribution of free multilingual content, and to hosting the full content of these wiki-based Projects for the public free of charge. Our role is to host some of the largest collaboratively edited reference Projects in the world, which can be found here. However, we act only as a hosting service provider, maintaining the infrastructure and organizational framework. This infrastructure and framework allow our users to build the Projects by contributing and editing content themselves. They also allow our users to reuse that content. The infrastructure we maintain includes specialized technological infrastructure that enables users to programmatically interact with and reuse content on Projects (referred to as "Application Programming Interface" or "APIs"), and mobile applications.
Because of our unique role, there are a couple of things you should be aware of when considering our relationship to you, the Projects, and other users:
- We do not take an editorial role: Because the Projects are collaboratively edited, the vast majority of the content that we host is provided by users, and we do not take an editorial role. This means that we generally do not monitor or edit the content of the Project Websites, and we do not take any responsibility for this content. Similarly, unless we have expressly stated otherwise, we do not endorse any opinions expressed via our services, and we do not represent or guarantee the truthfulness, accuracy, or reliability of any submitted community content on the Projects.
- You are responsible for your own actions: You are legally responsible for your edits and contributions on the Projects, your reuse of content on the Projects, your use of the APIs, and your use of our services more generally. For your own protection you should exercise caution and avoid taking any actions that may result in criminal or civil liability under any applicable laws. For clarity, applicable law includes at least the laws of the United States of America and the State of California. For other countries, this is determined on a case by case basis. Although we may not agree with such actions, we warn users—particularly the editors, contributors, and authors—that non-U.S. authorities may seek to apply other country laws to you, including local laws where you live or where you view or edit content. We generally cannot offer any protection, guarantee, immunity or indemnification against the application of such laws.
3. Content We Host
- You may find some material objectionable or erroneous: Because we host a wide array of content that is produced or gathered by fellow users, you may encounter material that you find offensive, erroneous, misleading, mislabeled, or otherwise objectionable. We therefore ask that you use common sense and proper judgment when using our services.
- The Projects' content is for general informational purposes only: Although our Projects host a great deal of information that pertains to professional topics, including medical, legal, or financial issues, this content is presented for general informational purposes only. It should not be taken as professional advice. Please seek independent professional counseling from someone who is licensed or qualified in the applicable area in lieu of acting on any information, opinion, or advice contained in one of the Project Websites.
4. Refraining from Certain Activities
The Projects hosted by the Wikimedia Foundation only exist because of the vibrant community of users like you who collaborate to write, edit, and curate the content. We happily welcome your participation in this community. We encourage you to be civil and polite in your interactions with others in the community, to act in good faith, and to make edits and contributions aimed at furthering the mission of the shared Project. We ask that all users review and follow the Universal Code of Conduct ("UCoC"), which lays out requirements for collegial, civil collaboration across all Projects that we host.
Certain activities, whether legal or illegal under the applicable law, may be harmful to other users and violate our rules, and some activities may also subject you to liability. Therefore, for your own protection and for that of other users, you may not engage in such activities on, or otherwise using, our Projects. These activities include:
- Harassing and Abusing Others
- Engaging in threats, stalking, spamming, vandalism, or harassment as described in the UCoC;
- Transmitting chain mail, junk mail, or spam to other users;
- Posting or modifying content with the intention to seriously harm others, such as deliberate inducements to self-harm, or deliberate triggering of epilepsy.
- Violating the Privacy of Others
- Infringing the privacy rights of others under the laws of the United States of America or other applicable laws (which may include the laws where you live or where you view or edit content);
- Soliciting personally identifiable information for the purposes of harassment, exploitation, or violation of privacy, or for any promotional or commercial purpose not explicitly approved by the Wikimedia Foundation; and
- Soliciting personally identifiable information from anyone under the age of 18 years, or under the age of majority where you are if higher than 18 years, for an illegal purpose or violating any applicable law regarding the health or well-being of minors.
- Engaging in False Statements, Impersonation, or Fraud
- Intentionally or knowingly posting content that constitutes libel or defamation under the laws of the United States of America;
- Posting or modifying content with the intent to deceive or mislead others;
- Attempting to impersonate another user or individual, misrepresenting your affiliation with any individual or entity, hiding your affiliation with any individual or entity when disclosure is required by these terms or local Project policy, or using the name or username of another person with the intent to deceive; and
- Engaging in fraud.
- Committing Infringement of Intellectual Property Rights
- Infringing copyrights, trademarks, patents, or other proprietary rights under the applicable law.
- Misusing Our Services for Other Illegal Purposes
- Posting child pornography or any other content that violates applicable law concerning child pornography or child sexual abuse material, or encouraging, grooming, or advocating for others to create or share such material;
- Posting or trafficking in obscene material that is unlawful under applicable law; and
- Using the services in a manner that is inconsistent with applicable law.
- Engaging in Disruptive and Illegal Misuse of Facilities
- Posting or distributing content that contains any viruses, malware, worms, Trojan horses, malicious code, or other device that could harm our technical infrastructure or system or that of other users;
- Engaging in automated uses of the Project Websites that are abusive or disruptive of the services, violate acceptable usage policies where available, or have not been approved by the Wikimedia community;
- Disrupting the services by placing an undue burden on an API, Project Website or the networks or servers connected with a particular Project Website;
- Disrupting the services by inundating any of the Project Websites with communications or other traffic that suggests no serious intent to use the Project website for its stated purpose;
- Knowingly accessing, tampering with, or using any of our non-public areas in our computer systems without authorization; and
- Probing, scanning, or testing the vulnerability of any of our technical systems or networks unless all the following conditions are met:
- such actions do not unduly abuse or disrupt our technical systems or networks;
- such actions are not for personal gain (except for credit for your work);
- you report any vulnerabilities to the relevant developers (or fix it yourself); and
- you do not undertake such actions with malicious or destructive intent.
- Paid Contributions Without Disclosure
- You must disclose each and any employer, client, intended beneficiary and affiliation with respect to any contribution for which you receive, or expect to receive, compensation. You must make that disclosure in at least one of the following ways:
- a statement on your user page,
- a statement on the talk page accompanying any paid contributions, or
- a statement in the edit summary accompanying any paid contributions.
- In addition, if you make a public posting off the Projects advertising editing services on Wikipedia in exchange for compensation of any kind, you must disclose all Wikipedia accounts you have used or will use for this service in the public posting on the third-party service.
- Applicable law, or Project-specific policies and Foundation policies and guidelines, such as those addressing conflicts of interest, may further limit paid contributions or require more detailed disclosure. For example, infringing Wikimedia Trademarks (defined hereinafter at Section 6) to advertise paid editing services, removing disclosures on previously adequately disclosed paid edits, or logged-out paid editing in a manner that makes adequate disclosure a practical impossibility violate this section.
- A Wikimedia Project community may adopt an alternative paid contribution disclosure policy which may supplement or replace this section. If a Project adopts an alternative disclosure policy, you may comply with that policy instead of the requirements in this section (titled "Paid Contributions Without Disclosure") when contributing to that particular Project.
- For more information, please read our FAQ on disclosure of paid contributions.
Marketing Company Mediations
5. Password Security
You are responsible for safeguarding your own password and other security credentials, and should never disclose them to any third party.
7. Licensing of Content
To grow the commons of free knowledge and free culture, all users contributing to the Projects or Project Websites are required to grant broad permissions to the general public to redistribute and reuse their contributions freely, so long as that use is properly attributed and the same freedom to reuse and redistribute is granted to any derivative works. In keeping with our goal of providing free information to the widest possible audience, we require that when necessary all submitted content be licensed so that it is freely reusable by anyone who may access it.
You agree to the following licensing requirements:
- Text to which you hold the copyright: When you submit text to which you hold the copyright, you agree to license it under:
- Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License ("CC BY-SA 4.0"), and
- GNU Free Documentation License ("GFDL") (unversioned, with no invariant sections, front-cover texts, or back-cover texts).
The only exception is if the Project edition or feature requires a different license. In that case, you agree to license any text you contribute under the particular license prescribed by the Project edition or the feature. Please note that these licenses do allow commercial uses of your contributions, as long as such uses are compliant with the terms of the respective licenses. Where you own Sui Generis Database Rights covered by CC BY-SA 4.0, you waive these rights. As an example, this means facts you contribute to the projects may be reused freely without attribution.
- Attribution: Attribution is an important part of these licenses. We consider it giving credit where credit is due – to authors like yourself. When you contribute text, you agree to be attributed in any of the following fashions:
- Through hyperlink (where possible) or URL to the article to which you contributed (since each article has a history page that lists all contributors, authors and editors);
- Through hyperlink (where possible) or URL to an alternative, stable online copy that is freely accessible, which conforms with the relevant license, and which provides credit to the authors in a manner equivalent to the credit given on the Project Website; or
- Through a list of all authors (but please note that any list of authors may be filtered to exclude very small or irrelevant contributions).
- Importing text: You may import text that you have found elsewhere or that you have co-authored with others, but in such case you represent and warrant that the text is available under terms that are compatible with CC BY-SA (or, as explained above, another license when exceptionally required by the Project edition or feature). For a list of compatible licenses, see Creative Commons. You shall not import content that is available solely under GFDL.
You agree that, if you import text under a CC license that requires attribution, you must credit the author(s) in a reasonable fashion. Where such credit is commonly given through page histories (such as Wikimedia-internal copying), it is sufficient to give attribution in the edit summary, which is recorded in the page history, when importing the text. The attribution requirements are sometimes too intrusive for particular circumstances (regardless of the license), and there may be instances where the Wikimedia community decides that imported text cannot be used for that reason.
- Non-text media: Non-text media on the Projects are available under a variety of different licenses that support the general goal of allowing unrestricted reuse and redistribution. When you contribute non-text media, you agree to comply with the requirements for such licenses as described in our Licensing Policy, and also comply with the requirements of the specific Project edition or feature to which you are contributing. Also see the Wikimedia Commons Licensing Policy for more information on contributing non-text media to Wikimedia Commons.
- Public domain content: Content that is in the public domain is welcome. It is important however that you confirm the public domain status of the content under the law of the United States of America as well as the laws of any other countries as required by the specific Project edition. When you contribute content that is in the public domain, you warrant that the material is actually in the public domain, and you agree to label it appropriately.
- Re-use: Reuse of content that we host is welcome, though exceptions exist for content contributed under "fair use" or similar exemptions under applicable copyright law. Any reuse must comply with the underlying license(s).
When you reuse or redistribute a text page developed by the Wikimedia community, you agree to attribute the authors in any of the following fashions:
- Through hyperlink (where possible) or URL to the page or pages that you are reusing (since each page has a history page that lists all contributors, authors and editors);
- Through hyperlink (where possible) or URL to an alternative, stable online copy that is freely accessible, which conforms with the license, and which provides credit to the authors in a manner equivalent to the credit given on the Project Website; or
- Through a list of all authors (but please note that any list of authors may be filtered to exclude very small or irrelevant contributions).
If the text content was imported from another source, it is possible that the content is licensed under a compatible CC BY-SA license but not GFDL (as described in "Importing text," above). In that case, you agree to comply with the compatible CC BY-SA license and do not have the option to relicense it under GFDL. To determine the license that applies to the content that you seek to reuse or redistribute, you should review the page footer, page history, and discussion page.
In addition, please be aware that text that originated from external sources and was imported into a Project may be under a license that attaches additional attribution requirements. Users agree to indicate these additional attribution requirements clearly. Depending on the Project, such requirements may appear, for example, in a banner or other notations pointing out that some or all of the content was originally published elsewhere. Where there are such visible notations, reusers should preserve them.For any non-text media, you agree to comply with the applicable license under which the work has been made available (which can be discovered by clicking on the work and looking at the licensing section on its description page or reviewing an applicable source page for that work). When reusing any content that we host, you agree to comply with the relevant attribution requirements as they pertain to the underlying license or licenses.
- Modifications or additions to material that you reuse: When modifying or making additions to text that you have obtained from a Project Website, you agree to license the modified or added content under CC BY-SA 4.0 or later (or, as explained above, another license when exceptionally required by the specific Project edition or feature).
When modifying or making additions to any non-text media that you have obtained from a Project website, you agree to license the modified or added content in accordance with whatever license under which the work has been made available.
With both text content and non-text media, you agree to clearly indicate that the original work has been modified. If you are reusing text content in a wiki, it is sufficient to indicate in the page history that you made a change to the imported text. For each copy or modified version that you distribute, you agree to include a licensing notice stating which license the work is released under, along with either a hyperlink or URL to the text of the license or a copy of the license itself.
8. DMCA Compliance
The Wikimedia Foundation wants to ensure that the content that we host can be reused by other users without fear of liability and that it is not infringing the proprietary rights of others. In fairness to our users, as well as to other creators and copyright holders, our policy is to respond to notices of alleged infringement that comply with the formalities of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Pursuant to the DMCA, we will terminate, in appropriate circumstances, users and account holders of our system and network who are repeat infringers on our Projects and services.
However, we also recognize that not every takedown notice is valid or in good faith. In such cases, we strongly encourage users to file counter-notifications when they appropriately believe a DMCA takedown demand is invalid or improper. For more information on what to do if you think a DMCA notice has been improperly filed, you may wish to consult the Lumen Database website.
If you are the owner of content that is being improperly used on one of the Projects without your permission, you may request that the content be removed by filing a notice under the DMCA. To make such a request, please email us at legalwikimediaorg or snail mail our designated agent.
Alternatively, you may make a request to our community, which often handles copyright issues faster and more effectively than the process prescribed under the DMCA. In that case, you can post a notice explaining your copyright concerns. For a non-exhaustive and non-authoritative list of the relevant processes for the different Project editions, visit the Copyright Problems page. Before filing a DMCA claim, you also have the option of sending an email to the community at infowikimediaorg.
9. Third-party Websites and Resources
You are solely responsible for your use of any third-party websites or resources. Although the Projects and Project Websites contain links to third-party websites and resources, we do not endorse and are not responsible or liable for their availability, accuracy, or the related content, products, or services (including, without limitation, any viruses or other disabling features), nor do we have any obligation to monitor such third-party content.
10. Management of Websites
The community has the primary role in creating and enforcing policies applying to the different Project editions. At the Wikimedia Foundation, we rarely intervene in community decisions about policy and its enforcement.
Each Project will usually provide "Help" or "Contact" pages for further guidance, or specific tools for reporting issues. Alternatively – if in doubt – you can ask members of the community for help, by sending an email to infowikimediaorg or a more language-specific address from the Volunteer Response Team page. Please note that these mailboxes are monitored by users of the Projects, not the Foundation. As a result, they should not be threatened or issued with legal demands.
If you contact the Foundation with a problem, we will typically explore whether and how existing community-led mechanisms can investigate and, where appropriate, resolve it.
In an unusual case, the need may arise, or the community may ask us, to address an especially problematic user or especially problematic content because of significant Project disturbance or dangerous behavior. In such cases, we reserve the right, at our sole discretion (or where legally compelled), to:
- Detect, prevent, or otherwise address fraud, false or unverifiable information, security, or technical issues or respond to user support requests;
- Manage otherwise the Project websites in a manner designed to facilitate their proper functioning and protect the rights, property, and safety of ourselves and our users, licensors, partners, and the public.
Those Foundation moderation activities may be informed or performed by software (such as traffic flood ("Denial of Service") protection). In those cases human review is normally available, upon request.
The Wikimedia community and its members may also take action when so allowed by the community or Foundation policies applicable to the specific Project edition, including but not limited to warning, investigating, blocking, or banning users who violate those policies. You agree to comply with the final decisions of dispute resolution bodies that are established by the community for the specific Project editions (such as arbitration committees); these decisions may include sanctions as set out by the policy of the specific Project edition.
If you believe we have not satisfactorily acted on a problematic content report, or if you have been subjected to a Foundation moderation action that you wish to challenge, you may be able to submit an appeal. Other information about routes of appeal may also be explained to you at the time, or in Project-specific help pages.
We reserve the right to suspend (temporarily, or permanently) our handling of reports or other correspondence from users or third parties, whether about allegedly illegal or otherwise problematic content or conduct, or requesting appeals against moderation actions, if such correspondence was made in bad faith, repetitive, unfounded, and/or abusive. In appropriate circumstances, your email address may even be blocked on our email system(s), and you will then need to contact us at our postal address if you wish to further correspond with us during that block. For less serious cases (e.g. up to three polite emails about one or more meritless complaints), this is likely to be temporary. More frequent or more abusive communications are more likely to lead to permanent measures.
11. Resolutions and Project Policies
The Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees releases official policies from time to time. Some of these policies may be mandatory for a particular Project or Project edition, and, when they are, you agree to abide by them as applicable.
12. API Terms
14. Disputes and Jurisdiction
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You agree, as part of a Marketing Company Mediation, to cooperate with the Foundation, including by timely providing any documentation in your possession relating to your undisclosed paid editing activities including the accounts used, articles affected, and clients who purchased such services.
Marketing Company Mediations are subject to and governed by the Federal Arbitration Act to the extent that the mediator becomes an arbitrator. The prevailing party shall be entitled to recover its attorneys' fees (including all fees necessary to determine the applicability of the Marketing Company Mediation and to enforce the binding result) and all costs relating to the investigation and enforcement of its rights. A party may be deemed "prevailing" even if it is not successful on every claim asserted.
If for some reason the entirety of these Marketing Company Mediation requirements are found to be unenforceable, you agree to resolve any disputes as described in the beginning of this section.
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At the Wikimedia Foundation, we do our best to provide educational and informational content to a very wide audience, but your use of our services is at your sole risk. We provide these services on an "as is" and "as available" basis, and we expressly disclaim all express or implied warranties of all kinds, including but not limited to the implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, and non-infringement. We make no warranty that our services will meet your requirements, be safe, secure, uninterrupted, timely, accurate, or error-free, or that your information will be secure.
Any material downloaded or otherwise obtained through your use of our services is done at your own discretion and risk, and you will be solely responsible for any damage to your computer system or loss of data that results from the download of any such material. You agree that we have no responsibility or liability for the deletion of, or the failure to store or to transmit, any content or communication maintained by the service. We retain the right to create limits on use and storage at our sole discretion at any time with or without notice.
Some states or jurisdictions do not allow the types of disclaimers in this section, so they may not apply to you either in part or in full depending on the law.
16. Limitation on Liability
Highlighted for emphasisThe Wikimedia Foundation will not be liable to you or to any other party for any direct, indirect, incidental, special, consequential or exemplary damages, including but not limited to, damages for loss of profits, goodwill, use, data, or other intangible losses, regardless of whether we were advised of the possibility of such damage. In no event shall our liability exceed one thousand U.S. dollars (USD 1000.00) in aggregate. In the case that applicable law may not allow the limitation or exclusion of liability or incidental or consequential damages, the above limitation or exclusion may not apply to you, although our liability will be limited to the fullest extent permitted by applicable law.
18. Other Terms
You understand that, unless otherwise agreed to in writing by us, you have no expectation of compensation for any activity, contribution, or idea that you provide to us, the community, or the Projects or Project editions.
Please note that in the event of any differences in meaning or interpretation between the original English version of this content and a translation, the original English version takes precedence.