Is Wikipedia Becoming a Fence for Stolen Goods?

A scholar of Buddhism has written a post complaining about theft from edited, academic sites. He says that intellectual property is being stolen and it’s being fenced by Wikipedia.

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    Post authored by:

  • R. Scott Clark
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    R.Scott Clark is the President of the Heidelberg Reformation Association, the author and editor of, and contributor to several books and the author of many articles. He has taught church history and historical theology since 1997 at Westminster Seminary California. He has also taught at Wheaton College, Reformed Theological Seminary, and Concordia University. He has hosted the Heidelblog since 2007.

    More by R. Scott Clark ›

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  1. The article cited has a few errors including the “tidbit” at the bottom. The Author states

    “Another problem with Wikipedia entries and their anonynimity(sic) is that they we don’t know when they are authored by people with vested political, religious, or business interests.”

    It is simple to look at revisions of a Wikipedia article, from which you can glean who made the revision or the I.P. address it originated from. With that information it can be readily determined who made the revision or where it came from. Wikipedia has many flaws including the no experts clause but anonymity is rapidly becoming a non issue.

    The author is also free to log into Wikipedia create a free account and go to any work which he believes plagiarizes his work edit it to remove said work and list the edit as a copyright violation.

    Lastly, regarding Creative Commons: “When I tried the Creative Commons license, what ended up happening was that most people, without reading the fine print, just took it as a sign that they could copy anything they wanted from my web site”

    According to the creative commons family of licenses they certainly can copy anything from a site, it is what they then do with it that is the issue. CC licenses may require no changes to the material (no derivative), require citing the original source (attribution), be non-commercial (non -commercial) or lastly be viral and only included in other creative commons works (share alike). The license must contain one of the above mentioned clauses and can contain all 4 or any combination there of. Without the author stating which license he used and examples of how he believes the material was misused it is difficult to ascertain if the license was violated or if he simply used the wrong license for what he wanted.

    Again I do firmly believe Wikipedia has some significant errors in the way it is run and the way it functions, there are some very good wiki projects such as Theopedia

  2. I wonder what would have happened if copyright laws were in place during the times when people were blessed if they even lived in proximity to a copy.

  3. There are major problems with Wikipedia. It’s major problem is bias through omission due to hard to middle political left. This won’t be corrected until are universities are no longer intellectual ghettos driven far more by popularity than truth. All the same, plagiarism from the Internet doesn’t stick around too long on Wikipedia. Anyone can point it easily with a hyperlink. In fact, they do. Any rational observer has seen it happen time and again on Wikipedia. That’s about the only real fact one can take away from this “Wikipedia and the Matter of Accountability” blurb is that the blurb is crap, not worthy of anyone’s attention.

    • In slang and colloquial usage, a “fence” receives and retails stolen goods as in “Benny the fence bought the ring and sold it to a sucker the next day.”

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