Forum:Links in Update pages

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This thread was archived on 7 June 2010 by Aburnett.

OK, this is about consistency in pages under the Update namespace, which (as far as I know) are basically copied directly from the RuneScape website. The issue arose when I noticed that Update:RuneScape Q&A Schedule Changes included extra links not present in the original news post, and had failed to include at least one link that Jagex had put in. I changed the pages to be consistent with the original post, but Quarenon rightly raised the issue and I outlined a reply.

The style guide specifically says we should write article titles for NPCs, items, etc. exactly the way they are written in-game. I think by extension that our update pages should appear exactly how Jagex wrote the news post themselves, especially since the contents of these pages are lifted straight from the RuneScape website. This means that the content specifically belongs to Jagex, not us, and we are only including it on our site under a claim of fair use. To this end, we have a responsibility to quote the text as accurately as reasonably possible, so as not to misrepresent their content. I think this includes links.

Now you may argue that including extra internal links in these pages helps to improve the wiki (see RS:IAR), but we're only talking about pages under the Update namespace, and I think for the sake of not unduly altering Jagex's content, links should be consistent. Discuss.  :-) Leevclarke talk Max_logo_mini.png bulldog_puppy.png 19:21, January 12, 2010 (UTC)

Discussion

Only links from Jagex posts - I also wondered why this was the case. I think that, since these posts are pretty much copied from runescape.com, their layout should be the same too - links, bolds, italics and images at the same places.
Would this also apply to the Developers' Blogs? Ancient talisman.png Oil4 Talk 20:47, January 12, 2010 (UTC)

Yes, I think it should apply to pages that just lift content from Jagex's websites. Leevclarke talk Max_logo_mini.png bulldog_puppy.png 21:32, January 12, 2010 (UTC)
Okay, thanks for clearing that up. Ancient talisman.png Oil4 Talk 21:45, January 12, 2010 (UTC)

Neutral/Pending - I'm going to wait for a few more opinions. I think the links are very helpful, and I actually read the RuneScape updates on the wiki so I can click on the links, rather than on runescape.com. I'll change my vote later. Chicken7 >talk 01:41, January 13, 2010 (UTC)

Pending per Chicken. Also, what about dead links on RuneScape news posts? Should we include those? White partyhat old.png C Teng talk 01:57, January 13, 2010 (UTC)

We should get a bot to update those, we have done it once before with User:Richardbot. Although, the URL scheme may have changed too much by now for it to work. - TehKittyCatTalk Wikian-Book 02:29, January 13, 2010 (UTC)
Absolutely dead links should be included. If Jagex felt them important enough at the time, we should include them in our documentation of their news posts, especially as archived versions of "dead" links may yet be available (for example at the Internet Archive), either now or in the future. Ideally we should be archiving relevant links as we go along (e.g. through WebCite). Leevclarke talk Max_logo_mini.png bulldog_puppy.png 03:57, January 13, 2010 (UTC)

Link to our own articles too - If we only copied their version of the news post, there would be no purpose of having our own version here.

I believe that by adding wikilinks in their posts, and by changing the layout a bit, it would not diminish the value of their content, nor would it change the overall representation of their posts. In contrast, we are only improving them, making them more presentable and useful to everyone who reads these posts. We are not modifying the content.

I think own main purpose as a wiki is to be educational, and so having additional links, IMO, is FTW. For example:

  • If they misspell something, we should add {{sic}}.
  • If they refer to previous updates or news posts, we should link to it.
  • If we have an article on the subject, we should link to it using wikilinks.
  • If we don't have an article, and it is a notable subject, link to Wikipedia if it is available there.
  • If their "mis-format" their posts, we should format them according to our standards.

The "in-game name"-only rule is there to prevent confusion among players, and to create a standardised naming convention. If we didn't have this rule, our articles would be named haphazardly, and users may choose to rename "Dragon boots" as "D boots" since it is more commonly known as such. This rule does NOT apply for Jagex news posts...

IMO, adding links and modifying the layout is NOT a violation of fair use, but if it is, then we should ignore all rules.   az talk   05:22, January 13, 2010 (UTC)

One thing, RS:IAR does not, and cannot, apply to issues that are a legal matter, because it is the the equivlant of saying 'Let's ignore the laws because they interfere with us'. I'm not saying I disagree, I'm just saying that iar only applies within this wiki, and is not a legally binding contract. But with that said, I do Support linking to other articles and such, as long as it still falls under fair use. NFBOQLBucket detail.pngrwojy 05:28, January 13, 2010 (UTC)
In my mind, if we add links, they do not actually appear when visitors view them. What I mean is that it does not appear like: "The [[2009 Christmas Event]] event was released." but "The 2009 Christmas Event event was released." I'm trying to say that the actual writing hasn't been modified, only the coding. If changing coding is a violation, then you could say the background MediaWiki coding that displays the page is a violation. Chicken7 >talk 05:55, January 13, 2010 (UTC)
I'm not arguing what is/isn't fair use, I'm just saying that using RS:IAR to ignore it will not hold up in court. QXJPRBucket detail.pngrwojy 05:59, January 13, 2010 (UTC)
I highly doubt they would sue us for putting their news posts on the wiki. Ancient talisman.png Oil4 Talk 08:23, January 13, 2010 (UTC)
Jagex lawyer "We're suing you for adding square brackets in our news post!" ^_^ Wojwoj, I only indent-replied your post because we were talking about law Lol Chicken7 >talk 13:22, January 13, 2010 (UTC)
I highly doubt this would end up in court, especially over something relatively trivial like changing links. But these news posts are not like our other articles (which are written in our own words about their game), they are just text lifted directly from Jagex's websites, and therefore they own the content. In principle, it seems respectful, and demonstrates to Jagex and to ourselves that we are acting in good faith by quoting their news posts and not modifying them. I think that's my point well made, so I will see what other people think now.  :-) Leevclarke talk Max_logo_mini.png bulldog_puppy.png 19:29, January 13, 2010 (UTC)
We ARE quoting their news posts... but we are just adding some useful links for users to click on. I wouldn't consider that "modifying". Isn't this similar to how we "modify" (or "beutify") in-game screenshots? For example, in File:Ancient Cavern map.png, a screenshot is taken directly from Jagex's game and modified to include labels, arrows, etc. If this is an acceptable practice, then why is adding links to news post an issue?   az talk   07:10, January 14, 2010 (UTC)
In-game screenshots that we have created - a bit like taking a photograph in a virtual world. I know that doesn't mean we can do what we like with them (after all, the virtual world was created by Jagex), but even so I think that's different from what we're talking about here. Now I don't know whether changing links counts as "modifying" web-based content from a legal point of view, or whether Jagex would even object to it. But in my opinion, copying and pasting whole pages of text and using them as the basis for pages on our website (as opposed to simply quoting portions of it where appropriate, for example as a cited source of information) should be as true to the original as possible, without getting into such facetious things as fonts and formatting. To use a specific example, Jagex included a link to FunOrb in their original post (presumably to promote another of their websites), which was omitted when the page was transferred to our website. Can this be justified? Leevclarke talk Max_logo_mini.png bulldog_puppy.png 17:23, January 14, 2010 (UTC)
I think all content on Jagex products belong to them, and that includes data, text, photographs, and graphics. I can't understand how adding links to text is any different from adding text to graphics. Lol
I don't know which update you're referring to, but I usually include ALL their links. In addition to their links, I try to add other relevant wikilinks, and the occasional Wikipedia links. So, in your example, instead of omitting the link, I would have instead linked it FunOrb, and users would be taken to the section on FunOrb in the Jagex article. I think by doing this, we are informing users what FunOrb is, and they may choose to go to the FunOrb website if they want to. (The link to the FunOrb website is located at the end of the article, BTW.)   az talk   07:53, January 15, 2010 (UTC)
The omission of the FunOrb link was done in oversight, not intentionally. --Quarenon  Talk 12:38, January 15, 2010 (UTC)

Copyright Violations

The Updates are a copyright violation - Of anything that we do on this wiki that to me is a gross violation of copyright law, it is the "Update" and "News" articles that appear on this wiki. We are not "quoting" these news posts, but rather posting them in their entirety verbatim without additional commentary of any kind. Generally, the accepted "fair use" criteria is about 50-100 words, or less than 20% of the textual source... whichever is less. Posting 100% of the news post is a pure and simple copyright violation.

We can get away with the screen shots as we are doing additional commentary and critical analysis of those images in the context of the articles that display those images. This is legally permissible as it would apply to screen shots of any computer software for the purposes of documenting the interaction and usage of that software, so even the "virtual world" analogy really doesn't apply here. BTW, "decorative" use of those images including their use in signatures (to give an example) is also a gross violation of copyright, for the same reasons listed above.

There are a number of individuals who are concerned that this wiki is going to be shut down over uploads of the model viewer or if "confidential information" such as a detailed list of criteria and how far players can go before they are banned, muted, or receive black marks. I said before that all of that is perfectly legal... as long as you keep to fair-use criteria. On the other hand, these update "articles" may just very well be the final nail in the coffin in terms of shutting down this wiki. For the life of me, I can't believe the messages above claiming that we can ignore the law here and treat it like any other wiki policy. The law is clear, and our use of the updates is a violation of copyright.

As for if Jagex might come in and shut us down.... if there is any reason why they might dislike us, we need to have an otherwise clean nose. Flagrant violation of copyright in this manner can do nothing but harm for the wiki and this community, and it certainly would be used as legal ammo so to say if anything, anything at all ended up in court about conduct on this wiki.

As for what we should do about it? I haven't made an issue about this before mainly because it really is rocking the boat to get a whole category of content on this wiki to be deleted. As I said in another thread, there is a sort of weird sense of what is legal and what is not here when such attitudes are contradictory to the actual law. Some things are asserted to be illegal that aren't, but other, such as these update articles, clearly are illegal.

I don't care if these are prettied up. I suppose if some brave soul wants to get formal permission from Jagex so that we can post these updates and news articles on this wiki, that is a completely different issue. To the best of my knowledge, that permission has not been granted. I'm not here demanding that these get deleted, and I should also note another "escape clause" here too: If Jagex, with knowledge that these update articles exist, doesn't formally enforce their copyright and send a cease and desist letter within a certain amount of time (I think something between 5-7 years), a statute of limitations takes effect and their copyright claim is void. It is for this reason that I think sooner or later Jagex will act and force the removal of this content eventually. If these update messages are pervasive and used extensively in the wiki, it may even force the whole wiki to be shut down.

What the community wants to do here is besides the point. I've explained the law, and that it is illegal even having this here. If you want to educate me on how it is legal, or document that Jagex has formally given permission, please enlighten me. I really would like to know different. BTW, that permission should be compatable with the CC-by-SA license... if this wiki was still licensed under the GFDL it simply wouldn't be permitted unless Jagex's permission also made those update articles available under the GFDL. Every time you edit, there is a "disclaimer" at the bottom of each page as you edit:

All contributions to the RuneScape Wiki are considered to be released under the CC-BY-SA (see RuneScape:Copyrights for details).

Too bad that few people really take that seriously. --Robert Horning 20:18, January 14, 2010 (UTC)

I propose that an administrator or 'crat contact Jagex asking for express permission, per CC-by-SA. I understand that this process would take time so the news updates should be shortened to the size limit of Fair Use criteria, this way we are covering our backs incase Jagex says that we can't post their content onto the Wiki Veritas vos Liberabit 20:29, January 14, 2010 (UTC)
I support contacting Jagex, but a problem may be that they haven't noticed that we have "Update:" pages. They might see it all of a sudden and get pissed at us for breaking the law for years. I'm not sure... Chicken7 >talk 02:13, January 15, 2010 (UTC)
Wow, that is a radical and far-reaching reaction to what I had anticipated as a fairly trivial issue. Can I just point out that other fan sites have lifted the exact same content - for example, see RuneScape Q&A Schedule Changes at RuneHQ.net, which includes the disclaimer "Quotation taken directly from RuneScape.com", which is comparable to our own "This official RuneScape update is copyrighted by Jagex. It is a direct quote from the RuneScape website." Not only has RuneHQ not been taken to court by Jagex for copying the page verbatim (including links in all the right places, incidentally), but Jagex has cited them on their Recognised fansites list for doing good work in helping to promote RuneScape within the community. With all due respect, Robert's answer (whilst very serious and well meaning) is Armageddon-like in comparison to the reality of Jagex's response to fan sites spreading the word about RuneScape news. Leevclarke talk Max_logo_mini.png bulldog_puppy.png 05:38, January 15, 2010 (UTC)
And here are few other examples of other fansites: Tip.it (dissimilar formatting), Sal's Realm of RuneScape, and Zybez (they posted the entire Postbag; and with minimal formatting.)
All of these fansites (except Zybez) are recognised/endorsed by Jagex, but they have been doing this for a very long time, and as far as I know, Jagex have not contacted them for copyright violation. As opposed to model viewer images, Jagex have not commented officially on this, and IMHO, may choose to ignore this altogether. To them, it is a way for fan communities to "spread the news", and is not harmful to them in any way.
If you ask me, it does not matter if we posted the news post in its entirety since other fansites are doing it with Jagex's endorsement. And it also does not matter if we used additional formatting, or included additional links, as long as the content is credited to Jagex.   az talk   07:53, January 15, 2010 (UTC)
I suppose we could treat these updates like a press release. I'm not trying to nuke these updates, and I acknowledge that we and other fansites have been doing this for some time now. Jagex may not care here, but if you contacted one of their lawyers I'm sure they'd ask us to delete this stuff. All I'm trying to point out is that from a strictly technical reading of the law, this is illegal.
I also should note, even though the other fansites are also flagrantly violating copyright here, that doesn't change the fact that it still is being done without permission. I seriously don't see Jagex granting permission under the terms of CC-by-SA, and anything less than that would threaten the editorial independence of this wiki in some profound ways. I should also point out that one of the conditions that Wikia has for allowing us have this wiki hosted on this server is that the content must be available with a "free license", so changing the wiki licensing terms isn't an option for us either. --Robert Horning 13:12, January 15, 2010 (UTC)

Keep links per all - all we are changing is the format. White partyhat old.png C Teng talk 12:26, January 15, 2010 (UTC)

Also, I agree that we should check with Jagex to see if what we're doing is legal. White partyhat old.png C Teng talk 12:27, January 15, 2010 (UTC)
I would like to ask... why is it that Jagex is the source of the interpretation of the law here? Yes, contacting Jagex is useful so far as there might be a possibility that they might give us permission to republish the updates and developer diaries. I would put that possibility at slim to none given their track records, particular in giving us permission in a format that is compatible with the licensing terms of this wiki. Still, running to the official forums and asking for legal advise is not a good practice. If the j-mods that might respond to such a query had any brains, they would simply restate that all content on Jagex servers is copyrighted, "all rights reserved", meaning you can't copy that content. There is no compelling legal reason for them to say anything else. --Robert Horning 13:29, January 15, 2010 (UTC)
Sorry, what I meant was that we should ask for their permission so it will be legal. White partyhat old.png C Teng talk 01:33, January 17, 2010 (UTC)

Keep the wikilinks - I think it is important to preserve the text of the update, but I think that using internal links adds convenience and allows better use of the wiki. Air rune.png Tollerach hates SoF Fire rune.png 08:02, January 16, 2010 (UTC)

Have we gotten a response from Jagex about the update pages yet? White partyhat old.png C Teng talk 18:50, February 19, 2010 (UTC)

No, I still have not received a response from Jagex. AVRGEAZBucket detail.pngrwojy 22:33, February 19, 2010 (UTC)

What now?

I was monitoring talk pages and noticed that this letter has still been left unanswered after several weeks.

Obviously it is in the best interests of the wiki to comply with copyright laws and per the above discussion, the status quo would leave us in violation of those laws. So I think it might be time to discuss what type of actions need to be taken given that we still do not have explicit permission to reproduce the website content. --Quarenon  Talk 04:33, April 3, 2010 (UTC)

"If you contacted one of their lawyers I'm sure they'd ask us to delete this stuff." The fact that Jagex has not responded and has not told us to remove these pages tells me that while it may seem to be a violation of copyright laws, they just don't really care about it. If it was important enough to them, they would have responded by email promptly. We sent the email to the law team, didn't we?
I would prefer if we simply maintained status quo, and be among the countless other fansites who have been publishing these so-called copyrighted updates.
p.s. Is silence a form of consent in law?   az talk   19:49, April 3, 2010 (UTC)
I'm not an expert on law (not at all), but I do know that saying you don't know something is illegal, is not a good reason to do something. If my defence for killing someone is "I didn't know it's against the law!", the judge won't even listen. So saying they didn't respond wouldn't be a good reason to do this. Ancient talisman.png Oil4 Talk 20:43, April 3, 2010 (UTC)

Request for closure - Many other official fansites do it, and even the RuneScape Wiki has been recognized by Jagex. They have not complained, and would they really sue us for a thing like this? White partyhat old.png C Teng talk 20:58, May 6, 2010 (UTC)

Closed - Jagex has not contacted the wiki about this issue, suggesting that it does not concern them. This topic may be reopened if they do contact us. No changes will me made to linking within updates at this time. --Aburnett(Talk) 19:38, June 7, 2010 (UTC)