Forums: Helping Hand > Loremaps, copypasta, and copyright

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I came across this cool map at which is basically an interactive map of Faerun, but have some potential issues. The map is pulled from the 3rd edition source, which was made available by Wizards of the Coast, but all the content, when clicking on a map pin, is a straight copy/paste from this wiki.

There are some problems with this:

  • It doesn't get updated when the wiki gets updated.
  • Although references are pasted in, the numbering system is gone so numbers don't appear next to statements in the article, so the referencing loses meaning.
  • It doesn't mention Forgotten Realms Wiki on any of these articles, except a tiny link in the corner of the main map.

On the copyright issue, this person really shouldn't be claiming copyright. The map is copyright Wizards of the Coast, and the content on this wiki is Creative Commons sharealike.

I guess my question is whether we care about this and want to perhaps reach out to this person in an attempt to fix these issues.

My primary concern is one of knowledge spread. The knowledge on the map is going to get outdated quickly, and it's actively preventing people from acquiring further or more up to date knowledge by not providing (except one tiny one) link to the original.

 Fw190a8 (talk · contr) 07:06, December 13, 2016 (UTC)

The map itself is most likely borrowed from the wiki, using the same code, but at least the person behind it added some more pins. (I do not like these maps.)

Unfortunately, there is a cottage industry in ripping off wikis like us: there are whole sites that simply repeat articles from wikis, and there's even a publishing service that claims to print up and deliver books of articles and lists of categories and random stuff, all automatically generated by computer. I imagine they all exploit the Creative Commons license. Some copies are valid: role-players copy our content to their sites as background for their personal games, but I wish they'd at least link back to us. Others are scurrilous attempts to muscle in and even profit off Wikia and our hobbies.

But I'm not sure what if anything we can do, or should do. It's possibly legal by the Creative Commons license. I imagine Wikipedia and Wikia are aware of it and can put better legal minds than ours to if they think it's a problem. I don't care about money, since I'm not getting paid. It may eat into a wiki's readership and ability to attract users, but I imagine the vast majority of fans know to go to the source. Google any Realms topic, and we'll be among the top three, even the very first, so we will dominate the competition. It's the noise and detritus of the Internet, and I imagine very few people go to these sites.

I doubt we can watermark all our pages, but that would be a clever way of retaining authorship.
— BadCatMan (talk) 09:18, December 13, 2016 (UTC)

We could at least point it out to the Wikia/Fandom admins.
~ Lhynard (talk) 00:01, December 20, 2016 (UTC)

For better or worse, I believe repackaging wikia content is made possible by the Creative Commons license, but I'm not an expert. I would rather ignore the copiers and just make our wiki the best it can be: "Build it and they will come." We could have an interactive map just like the Loremaps one, if we wanted to put forth the effort. Unfortunately, the Maps feature was released in an unrefined state; it feels like a working beta that has been abandoned. I complained about some of its shortcomings shortly after it was released and they basically said thanks for the great feedback and did nothing (as far as I know; I haven't messed with them much since). I would rather add map galleries to our pages (it's on my to-do list). That said, I'm okay with reaching out to the Loremaps site owner and ask for links back here to the original articles. I'm not optimistic that anything will come of it, but ya never know; they are fans of the setting, just like us, right?
Moviesign (talk) 05:12, December 20, 2016 (UTC)

This has gotten posted to several major roleplaying forums but he also posted the source code to github. Most folk reacting to it appear to believe it's entirely his work and are trying to get him to do a 5e version. This is definitely something that requires our attention because at the moment it's one guy and a few curious watchers but it's been gradually gaining traction over the past few months and none of those involved now appear to be holding themselves to the rules that we enforce here. Finding methods of contacting this guy apart from on the forums he advertises on looks tricky too.
-hashtalk 01:56, December 28, 2016 (UTC)

If he posted the source on github, it should be possible to make contact via github I think?

Would it be possible for you to collect the links that you have to people discussing this on various forums or places online, of which you are aware, so that we can have a look and get a sense of the scale of the "problem" if that's what it is?

Here's the text of the license:

all users editing or otherwise contributing to wikis that use the CC BY-SA license agree to grant broad permissions to the general public to re-distribute and re-use their contributions freely for any purpose, including commercial use, in accordance with the CC BY-SA license. Such use is allowed where attribution is given and the same freedom to re-use and re-distribute applies to any derivative works of the contributions.

Note that it does not specify the type of attribution. A really small link somewhere hard to find is still classified as attribution.

Also, I'm not sure on the status of a retroactive change to licensing. Assuming that we agreed the wiki would be better under a different Creative Commons license, my instinct tells me that all edits and information up to that point would be classified under the existing license.

I think the good faith strategy is a better one. If there's people discussing it on various forums, we can always put in a quick post and say "hey, did you know that all the content on that map is powered by a wiki that has been working at this for 10 years?"

Fw190a8 01:56, December 30, 2016 (UTC)

I agree with that 100%. It's easier to attract flies with honey than with vinegar. ;-)
Moviesign (talk) 04:02, December 30, 2016 (UTC)

First of all, I would like to congratulate everyone here for your awesome work in this wiki! It is by far the most complete source of information for forgotten realms. Regarding Loremaps please allow me to clarify a few points. The content is directly retrieved from this wiki on-the-fly and not copy/pasted into Loremaps. This was intentional to prevent content from being outdated as one person cannot provide good quality content as this community here. If you have observed delays on the content being updated after a page is edited, that would be due to this wiki's publicly available API. The numbering system of the references was removed due to technical difficulties with formatting properly the responses of this Wiki. I did not release it is an important aspect, but I can look into it and address it. Loremaps is built using Leaflet maps framework. The placeholder for attributions is the default one provided by the framework. It is quite small especially on lager screens and I am not sure if this can be overridden. I will have to look and get back to you with this. Finally, regarding licenses and copyrights and basically the main concern I think of this page. I understand that provided attribution is enough regarding licenses and legal matters. However, I do not attempt to benefit for other people work. If you guys believe there are not enough references and visual (or otherwise) links back here I am more than happy to address that. If you do not wish any of the contents of this wiki to be shared in Loremaps also please let me know and I will address it as well. Loremaps is a hobby project to help people with fantasy maps and provide some good tools (searching, measure distances, overlay hexes and export portions of the maps), not to offend them. Sorry for the lengthy reply. I am looking forward to receiving an email from you (you can find it on the home page of loremaps). Keep up the good work!

I appreciate Loremaps' response and I am glad to know that the content presented is pulled from here on-the-fly. I think we should embrace this portal into our wiki and ask Loremaps to either provide links to our pages, or make a bigger link on the main page that states content comes from FRW. Since all the map provides is locations, I would like this more-visible link include an invitation to visit us for canon info about items, spells, NPCs, timeline, cosmology, deities, organizations, etc. I would also like to know if a pull from the Loremaps site counts as a 'hit' on the wiki, or if there is a way to measure the traffic that passes through the API.
Moviesign (talk) 18:39, February 8, 2017 (UTC)
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