Requests for comment/Use of Spam blacklist for links to copyright violations

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The following request for comments is closed. Closed as successful, with consensus to implement this change. Noting that I've modified the resulting text slightly so as not to lose the "or other legally problematic content" portion of the original verbage, which was not discussed here and for which there appears no consensus or justification to remove. See edit. Best regards, Vermont 🐿️ (talk) 03:35, 28 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Currently admins on the Spam blacklist abide by "Domains hosting copyright violations, or other legally problematic may be blacklisted on a case-by-case basis, provided there is strong justification and consensus to do so exists." (sic) (last sentence in the lede of Spam blacklist/About#Purpose). This means that websites (or specific links) require an independent consensus before a blacklisting request will be granted. I think this is at odds with most local wikis suggest: en:Wikipedia:External links#Restrictions on linking, es.wikipedia's es:Wikipedia:Enlaces_externos#Qué_no_debe_ser_enlazado, de.wikipedia's de:Wikipedia:Weblinks#Richtlinien, and it.wikipedia's it:Wikipedia:Collegamenti_esterni#Vietati prohibit linking to material that violates copyright, and hence that that is implicit consensus to blacklist websites (or specific documents on them) that violate copyright. Justification is that editors are (unknowingly) posting links to copyright violating material because the website is designed in such a way that misuse (editors who do not recognise that the site is actually carrying material in violation of copyright) is occurring regularly.

I suggest to adjust this complete paragraph to "URL redirection domains will be added uncontroversially, as they provide an exploit used to bypass the blacklist and serve no useful purpose on our projects. Domains hosting malware are also added uncontroversially. Specific links to material that is hosted in violation of copyright, or complete domains where the majority of hosted material is in violation of copyright, will also be added uncontroversially."

Collapsed list of policies on Mediawiki Wikis that explicitly disallow linking to content that is in violation of copyright


  • Support as proposer. --Dirk Beetstra T C (en: U, T) 06:22, 2 February 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    (Note: Where local wikis need specific pages on a website that are not (directly) violating copyright then local whitelisting can be used to allow those links - if there are specific sections on a website that are violating copyright, or specific sections that are not violating copyright the global blacklist rule can be adapted to blacklist those specific sections, or exclude specific sections.) Dirk Beetstra T C (en: U, T) 13:49, 17 February 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support No problem, and copyright violations are not acceptable in Wikipedia, and other projects. You might want to find the source for the website. Thingofme (talk) 10:36, 2 February 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I'm afraid that I am the first user to say Oppose Oppose, pan-wiki different judgements of copyvios make this proposal not really fair for every wikis, copyvios considered by a wiki can be however allowed by another wiki. --Liuxinyu970226 (talk) 03:56, 6 February 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Liuxinyu970226: In which jurisdiction is linking to copyright violations allowed? And does that even count with the servers hosting the material in America? Dirk Beetstra T C (en: U, T) 10:48, 6 February 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Beetstra e.g. Copy-pasting English Wikipedia contents to English Wikinews is clearly violating n:en:Wikinews:Copyright, but on Chinese Wikinews, they consider such behaviors are good. English Wikipedia consider CGTN contents as fake news, but on Chinese Wikipedia, they consider that some CGTN news are good. Also, I don't think that jurisdictions or count with the servers hosting the material in America are problemic. Liuxinyu970226 (talk) 02:54, 11 February 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    You mean that Chinese Wikinews is violating copyrights by copying material within Wikipedia (without attribution) in direct violation of the (global) Terms of Use?
    Now, linking TO copyright violations is a bit different than direct copyvio and I can see that some wikis are more lenient for that (or havent thought it through - note that my search of other languages is incomplete and sometimes hindered by wording lost in translation), but with en, de, es and it wikipedia I do show that a significant part of the mediawikiverse does not allow for this. That there are a handful of wikis (on the 800-odd) who encourage actively going against that movement (a better count would be ‘a percent or so of the wikis in terms of editing volume or edits a day’), possibly even in violation of the WMF defined Terms of Use, does not seem to be a reason to adopt this globally and let those Wikis handle it through whitelisting. Dirk Beetstra T C (en: U, T) 06:03, 11 February 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Beetstra: Yep, if you can have a look up at n:zh:Wikinews:茶馆#建议修订Wikinews:版权信息#说明, you may see how the "right to allow Chinese Wikinews to directly copy-paste Chinese Wikipedia contents, without any regards to the copyrights and licenses" is supported by Kitabc12345. --Liuxinyu970226 (talk) 00:21, 16 February 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    And Kitabc12345 is from WMF Legal and has actually the authority to allow this?
    Anyway, this is besides the point, we are talking here about linking TO copyright violations. Now I can see that it is useless for a, say, Spanish company who holds the copyright on something that is a copyvio on a website in, say, Denmark to sue the Chinese Wikipedia in front of a court in China … you may lose the Danish copy when that gets taken down under e.g. DMCA or a court ruling, you could link to the original from the first place, it looks bad on Wikipedia, and since the Chines Wikipedia is still under an American company it may have effects on the whole of Wikimedia. —Dirk Beetstra T C (en: U, T) 04:09, 16 February 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Even so, I would love to point one place where links to copyvio websites are really necessary: w:zh:WP:BD, on this page you can see how many Baidu Baike "articles" are copy-pasted from Wikipedias in several languages, but if one day you enforced using of SB-list just because of copyvio, then you're also enforcing zhwiki to no longer maintain this page in a good way, and start leading people to rather believe that "Wikipedias are copy-pasting Baidu Baike", oh god, what a shame and damn "believe" case we made by SB-list. Liuxinyu970226 (talk) 12:38, 17 February 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Liuxinyu970226: Nice, those three links are not to copyrighted content. The copyrighted content on is blacklisted on zh.wikipedia so you can't link to it, in line with zh:Wikipedia:外部链接: "由於方針規範或技術限制,編輯者不可建立通往以下內容的連結,並無例外。1. 侵犯版權或違反版權信息中規範的網站" ("due to policy specifications or technical limitations, editors may not establish links to the following without exception. 1) Websites that infringe copyright ..."). Dirk Beetstra T C (en: U, T) 13:28, 17 February 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    that rule is for Chinese Wikipedia, but how about Chinese Wikinews? Liuxinyu970226 (talk) 04:53, 23 February 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Liuxinyu970226: Do you understand that ALL wiki$$$$s have to follow the Terms of Use of Wikimedia, which (a.o.) says "You do not violate copyright or other laws." That WikiNews does not have that specific policy there does not mean that WikiNews can do whatever they want. They are still governed by the rules of Wikimedia (and WikiNews does recognise that they are governed by the rules of WikiMedia). Dirk Beetstra T C (en: U, T) 05:55, 23 February 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Beetstra I welcome you to participant zh:Wikipedia:互助客栈/求助#WP:BD是否违反Wikipedia:外部链接#連結上的限制? that discuss the mention behavior you did here. Liuxinyu970226 (talk) 04:13, 24 February 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Liuxinyu970226: I did to explain that you totally misunderstand what I suggest, and that your example is probably not even a right example: I see no case to blacklist ALL of baidu (at least not beyond what zh.wikipedia already blacklists), and for sites that do get blacklisted because all material on the site is copyvio there is still a local whitelist (or smart exclusion on meta) to allow certain documents which themselves are not copyvio. As I said a week ago, the links that are on zh:WP:BD are not directly linking to copyright. Dirk Beetstra T C (en: U, T) 12:45, 24 February 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Also, why you're still using the words "Spam blacklist"? Are we sure the "blacklisted" websites are maintained by blacks? Liuxinyu970226 (talk) 12:48, 17 February 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    That is nicely anachronistic and a total misunderstanding as usual. Anyway, you are right, it is better to rename it, and that discussion was long initiated, and the request already placed a long time ago. Again, that is not the subject here. Dirk Beetstra T C (en: U, T) 12:57, 17 February 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose per Liuxinyu970226. --SHB2000 (talk | contribs) 08:45, 6 February 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    For some extra clarification, I'm opposing because if an entire site is spam blacklisted, what if you want to use quotations from that site? SHB2000 (talk | contribs) 11:54, 11 February 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    You ask for it to be whitelisted, I guess. Although what I don't understand is that if there is material there that you want to use why you can't just cite the original? That way you know it hasn't been changed when added to the site. Doug Weller (talk) 16:55, 11 February 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Let's remind ourselves as what the spam blacklist was intended for. As the name says, it should only be used for spammers (or touts like what's done on Wikivoyage). Using it for copyvios is out of the scope of what it was intended for. SHB2000 (talk | contribs) 22:02, 11 February 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Now you've changed your rationale. Are you saying that there is another more appropriate blacklist? Because if their isn't, we should use the one we have rather than say there's no way we can do this because of the name of the blacklist. So far as I recall, it's used as a general purpose blacklist despite the name. Doug Weller (talk) 09:42, 12 February 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    And there you are wrong. It is intended for spam originally, but there is a lot of material on there that was not spammed, but which was added with community consensus. And some of those community consensus have turned into a general consensus. Blocking was originally also of a rather small scope, yet communities and meta/global have adapted to community wishes and now we block for way more than what was the original consensus. There is even a consensus to rename the spam blacklist to give it a name that better covers what it does (there is just no consensus which title it should have).
    Regarding your clarification: the site is blacklisted because it carries copyvio material. That means that there is a site, or at least a place, where the original material is as published by the copyright holder. That is what you cite. You do not cite the copyright violation. All the other material gets whitelisted as with any other spam material that however has a specific use somewhere. Dirk Beetstra T C (en: U, T) 10:21, 12 February 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I will oppose again for a different reason per Snævar. As you may have already seen from my comments about this being an absolutely Wikipedia-only oriented, giving little regard to Wikibooks, Wikimedia Commons, Wikinews, Wikiquote, Wikisource, Wikivoyage, Wikispecies, Wikiversity and Wiktionary (excluding Wikidata as that's a different case). Copyright problems are often a problem on an individual wiki, not a global problem. --SHB2000 (talk | contribs) 01:31, 19 February 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@SHB2000: And again, on which wiki is linking to copyright violations allowed? All wikis abide by terms of use, and you show no evidence that anything outside ‘wikipedia’ allows linking to copyright violations. Your argument is easily countered: “ Resources about any research topic may link to a website hosting a legally distributed copy of the work.” - that means that they may not link to a website that is hosting an illegally distributed copy of the work, hence may not link to material that is hosted in violation of copyright. Dirk Beetstra T C (en: U, T) 04:16, 19 February 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Okay, so you've convinced me, and I've struck my oppose vote.
  • Support Support If there really are problems on other language Wikipedias, can't they get the site whitelisted for them? Doug Weller (talk) 09:50, 6 February 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Doug Weller This is, unfortunatelly, impossible for Wikidata due to concerns regarding e.g. Pornhub (Q936394) (or you can claim that these websites listed by blacklist can't also have items, but that's another topic) Liuxinyu970226 (talk) 02:52, 11 February 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    WikiData is a completely different problem, and something that goes wrong for every single rule on the blacklist. We even get there the problem that if en.wikipedia doesn’t link to a copyright violation and blacklist it on en.wikipedia, that then we could possibly reuse an item from WikiData that is ‘reliably sourced’ to the same banned link. Dirk Beetstra T C (en: U, T) 05:51, 11 February 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    And the same way, every wiki has exceptions. Not convinced. Or whatever it is, this is an absolutely "Wikipedia-only" oriented giving little regard to other projects. SHB2000 (talk | contribs) 06:42, 15 February 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    The Wikidata problem is a technical problem, not a governance problem. En.wikipedia also links to, that is why we have a whitelist anyway. But then you get problems with how Wikidata is implemented on local wikis. Regardless, the pornhub/Wikidata problem is a false analogy under this discussion, we are not talking about websites that have a large abuse rate or are spam, we are talking about linking TO websites/pages which many wikis consider a legal issue, and where obviously alternatives exist.
    No, all Wikis follow the Terms of Use, and yes, some local wikis may have local policies/guidelines that do not necessarily disallow this, if they do actively allow this they are in violation of the Terms of Use. Dirk Beetstra T C (en: U, T) 04:19, 16 February 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Beetstra Some day ago, an IP address left a sentence contain "Black Lives Matter" via Special:Diff/23144699, but later removed by themselves, I wonder what's your opinion on such BLM-related claims? Liuxinyu970226 (talk) 05:03, 29 April 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Bumping, still waiting for this response. Liuxinyu970226 (talk) 02:59, 10 May 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Sorry, missed the ping (holidays). I feel to see what ‘black lives matter’ has to do with the point of linking to copyvio. And their remark also still does not substantiate which wikis allow linking to copright violating material. Dirk Beetstra T C (en: U, T) 04:46, 19 May 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Are you now saying that Wikibooks, Wikimedia Commons, Wikinews, Wikiquote, Wikisource, Wikivoyage, Wikispecies, Wikiversity and Wiktionary no longer exist based on "problems on other language Wikipedias"? SHB2000 (talk | contribs) 01:32, 19 February 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support I personally think that this is a fair idea in terms of bringing in an extra layer of defense against the insertion of material that is copyrighted, and would help to standardise the enforcement of links containing copyright violating material globally. While from a local viewpoint, Wikimedia projects have different levels of tolerances for copyvio, from a global standpoint, copyright violations are a big problem, as it can lead to legal lawsuits from copyright owners and can affect the Wikimedia Foundation reputationally. If there is a legitimate link on those blacklisted websites that isn't a copyvio, then those can be individually whitelisted. Hx7 (talk) 15:56, 9 February 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support * Pppery * it has begun 19:01, 12 February 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose Just because several wikis have an policy of not linking to copyvios, does not mean that should be the case globally. Each one of those wikis have their own Spam Blacklist they can use to their leisure. Also, I am waiting for this RFC to comply with the rule of notifying affected communities, as per RFC policy.--Snævar (talk) 16:52, 17 February 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I am yet to hear in which wiki linking to material that violates copyright is allowed, or how that is allowed per our Terms of Use. Please give examples of wikis that do explicitly allow it. Dirk Beetstra T C (en: U, T) 19:08, 17 February 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support --Novak Watchmen (talk) 16:24, 21 February 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support SCP-2000 12:35, 24 February 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support copyvio is a global problem, therefore it should be easier to deal with it globally. --Johannnes89 (talk) 13:41, 14 April 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support - How we enforce copyright policy is incredibly unequal across projects. It's best to align it wherever possible. Sennecaster (talk) 02:32, 31 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]