Copyright is a type of intellectual property law. It protects "artistic expression" from being used without the permission of the person who created it. Copyright is distinct from trademark and patent protection, because it covers works of authorship instead of identifying the source of goods or useful inventions.
Copyright applies to a creative work as soon as the author fixes it in a non-transitory medium. This means that an article qualifies for copyright protection as soon as you write it. It also means that there is no publishing or registration requirement. A work qualifies for copyright automatically without the need for publication or special effort from the author.
Copyright protection applies to literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works. There is a minimal standard for creativity, so even minor edits are eligible for copyright protection. In the internet context, copyright law is governed by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) . The DMCA governs copyright issues unique to an internet setting.
Owning the copyright to a work means that you have the exclusive ability to do the following:
Distribute the work.
Make derivatives of the work.
Reproduce (copy) the work.
Perform the work.
Display the work.
You also have the ability to sell or give these rights way and keep anyone from doing any of these things without your permission. If someone does any of these things without the permission of the copyright owner, then they have infringed the owner's copyright.
Your Copyright on Wikia
When you contribute to Wikia, you retain the copyright to your edits although you agree to license them under the terms of the CC-BY-SA license. New wikis and the vast majority of existing wikis use the CC-BY-SA. The license used by an individual wiki is made clear in the footer and/or on the edit page of that wiki. This means that although you are the owner of the copyright, you have given blanket permission to the world at large to reuse, remix, and transform your work as long as you are attributed as the author. Please note that images are not automatically released under the CC-BY-SA license.
If you believe someone has violated your copyright, a good first step is to approach an Admin or similarly situated user on the offending site and explain the attribution requirement to them. Often, the failure to attribute is an oversight and an authority there will fix it by adding attribution.
If that does not work, your next step is to send a Takedown Notice. Under the DMCA, copyright infringements are subject to a notice and takedown procedure. This involves sending a notice to the host of the infringing content and informing them of the infringement.
When a copyright owner discovers a possible infringement on Wikia, they send a Takedown Notice. As a host for user-generated content, Wikia is obligated to remove any infringing material that we receive notice of. Repeated copyright violations can lead to blocking, the loss of your account, or even the closure of your wiki. If you feel that your copyright is currently being infringed on Wikia, please contact our designated agent under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act:
Attn: Copyright Agent
500 Third Street
San Francisco, CA 94107
You may email the designated agent via email@example.com. Please include "Claim of copyright infringement" in the subject of your email.
Adding Copyrighted Content to your Wiki
Your community may want to include copyrighted material from outside sources on the wiki. This is only allowed under one or more of the following conditions:
Your use of the material will be likely to qualify as a fair use or similar exception.
You have the permission of the copyright holder.
The material you want to use is licensed under a Creative Commons or other open license that permits free reuse.
The material is in the public domain.
You have created the material yourself.