How to Remove Copyright Violations from wikiHow

Two Methods:Finding copyright violations from scratchDealing with copyvio bot messages on articles from RC Patrol

In order to respect the intellectual property of others and to remain legal, wikiHow does not allow copyrighted work to be shown on wikiHow without the explicit permission of the copyright holder. To make sure this policy is upheld, volunteer wikiHow editors patrol suspected copyright violations and when necessary remove them from wikiHow.

Method 1
Finding copyright violations from scratch

  1. 1
    Assume good faith.
    • It may be that the copyright holder of the content is trying to share their content with us. If their wikiHow username matches with the author or webmaster name on the linked website, or if the contributor's wikiHow profile states that they are the owner of the copied website, it's safe to assume that the person who put up the content is the copyright holder. Move the link down to the "Sources and Citations" section, write "Original source, shared with permission" after the URL, and leave a note for the contributor such as this one:
      • I'm assuming the link you put in [[Name of Article]] is to your website. If that's the case, don't forget to write "Original source, shared with permission" right after the link. This tells our editors that you are deliberately sharing the content on wikiHow. Otherwise, they might think it was copied without permission, or that it's a spam link (both of which could get the page deleted). Now, if that link isn't from your site, you might want to glance over our external links policy to see how we handle external links.
    • It's also worth looking to see if the information copied is already under a compatible license, such as public domain or CC-BY (note that GFDL is not a compatible license).
    • Sometimes other websites take our content and put it on their own websites (which we allow under the terms of our Creative Commons license) without linking back to us. It is imperative that we not delete content from wikiHow in these circumstances. However this typically only happens to established wikiHow pages. If the wikiHow article is new and has duplicates on other websites, it was almost certainly not taken from us.
  2. 2
    If you still suspect the person copied the content from another source without permission, apply the {{notifiedcopyvio|URL of copied site}} tag. This tag will tell the reader that the content is under investigation for copyright issues, and will also put the article in a category of potential copyright violations to be reviewed by any administrator.
    • Only use the {{notifiedcopyvio}} template if you are in fact notifying the author. If for some reason you don't, use the {{copyvio}} so that other users still know the author needs to be notified.
  3. 3
    Write {{copyvior|URL of suspected source website}} on the talk page of the person who posted the suspected content.
    • If the editor is not a registered user, contact the original website, via e-mail, to confirm permission. E.g. "Someone posted content on wikiHow that is very similar to yours: (URL) Was it you, or someone you gave permission to do this?"
  4. 4
    Wait for a response. If the contributor has permission from the copyright holder, ask them to forward it to then remove the {{copyvio}} tag and post a comment on the discussion page stating that you confirmed copyright status. If you receive no response, or if the copyright holder informs you that the content was posted without permission, make note of that on the discussion page and, if you are an admin, delete the article. If you are not an admin, just leave a discussion page comment and the page will get deleted when it gets reviewed by an admin who reviews the category of potential copyright violations.

Method 2
Dealing with copyvio bot messages on articles from RC Patrol

  1. 1
    When you come across a {{copyviobot}} notice on an article in RC Patrol or elsewhere, first determine whether or not the article has been blanked. If it has been blanked, the author will have most likely already been notified and you can mark as patrolled and moved on.
  2. 2
    If the article has the bot's template on it but has not been blanked, edit the page and remove all the content except the template. Since you will also be notifying the contributor, adjust the {{copyviobot}} by adding the word "notified" into it, so that it reads {{notifiedcopyviobot}} or {{notifiedcopyvio}}. Leave the match % in tact in the template. Leave an informative edit summary behind so that other patrollers will know what you have done and not revert your change such as “Blanking possible copyvio. Author notified.”
  3. 3
    Copy the {{copyviobot}} or {{notifiedcopyviobot}}) notice and go to the author's userpage and paste the template on their talk-page. This will notify them that their article might be coming from a copyrighted source.
  4. 4
    Mark the article as patrolled and move on.
  5. 5
    Wait for the author’s reply. Most often, you will not get a reply as many copyvio articles are once-off additions and the editors in question often don’t come back to wikiHow.
  6. 6
    If you get a reply on your talk page from the author about their article either apologising for using copyrighted material or asserting that it is their content and they are sharing with permission, ensure you leave the ‘diff’ message from your Talk Page on the article in questions’ discussion page so that the copyright reviewer can easily process the article when it is checked a week later.
    • To find the ‘diff’ link for the message the author left on your talk page, go to your talk page history and scroll down until you find the name of the editor who left the message.
    • Click on ‘diff’ and this will bring up the message.
    • Copy the diff link from your browser and find the article in question by locating it from the author’s user page or contributions.
    • Navigate to the article’s discussion page and paste the link in the discussion page. This makes it easy for the reviewer to see the reply when they review the article.
  7. 7
    Alternatively if you know how and you are an admin, you can read the message sent to you and verify if the author has given permission for their content and that they actually own it, in which case it is perfectly okay to go to the article, remove the copyvio template and restore the information that was blanked originally.
    • Some common things to look for in order to verify validity includes checking to see if the author has the same username as the website the bot identifies as a source to begin with.
    • The editor might also clearly state that the article content copied from the website is their own content and/or they own the website (in many cases a blog) in question.
    • Ensure you leave a detailed edit summary such as “Copyvio removed – Copyright status confirmed” when you remove the {{copyviobot}} or {{notifiedcopyvio}} template. It is also good practice to leave the same edit summary in the discussion page of the article so that it is clear from there onwards that the article is shared with permission.


  • New "copy and paste jobs" generally tend to stick out like a sore thumb on wikiHow as they will almost completely disregard our formatting guidelines. If you come across an article that sounds like it was just copied and pasted, do a Google Test to confirm your suspicion.
  • The above steps are for copyrighted text articles, for images read how to Patrol Unlicensed Images on wikiHow.
  • Wikipedia articles can not be used on wikiHow due to license incompatibility.


  • Proceed carefully when deleting content from wikiHow. There are many reasons that articles can legally be on wikihow and other websites. Try to avoid deleting legally shared wikiHow content by accident.

Article Info

Categories: Patrolling