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This page documents an enforced policy on StrategyWiki. It has wide acceptance among editors and is a standard that everyone should follow. Except for minor edits, please make use of the discussion page to propose changes to this policy.

This page details the copyright specifics of various types of content, and their usability here. StrategyWiki's copyright guidelines are not quite the same as those of Wikipedia and other such sites, so you may wish to familiarise yourself with the specifics. StrategyWiki is hosted in the United States, and therefore United States law applies to content posted here.

Image use guidelines

Image licenses

Unlike sites such as Wikipedia, StrategyWiki does not have blanket fair use tags for copyrighted images used under fair use.

  • Untagged images that are not game assets are assumed to be licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike license. By uploading them here you acknowledge that your image is usable under these terms.
  • If an image you have created contains elements of a copyrighted work do not apply your own license to it.
  • You may append a different copyright if you wish (GFDL, etc.). Unless explicitly stated, it will be assumed that your image is under this license instead of the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike license.

Quantity and fair use

StrategyWiki has no restrictions on the quantity of fair use images. Strategy guides are complementary to the copyrighted video games they describe and thus do not harm or discredit the marketability of the games, and potentially even enhance it. In the case of Ty, Inc., vs. Publications International, Ltd. it was ruled that:

"copying that is complementary to the copyrighted work (in the sense that nails are complements of hammers) is fair use, but copying that is a substitute for the copyrighted work (in the sense that nails are substitutes for pegs or screws) ... is not fair use ... A photograph of a Beanie Baby is not a substitute for a Beanie Baby. No one who wants a Beanie Baby, whether a ... child who wants to play with it or ... [someone] who wants to collect Beanie Babies, would be tempted to substitute a photograph."
"the Copyright Act is clear. It defines a derivative work as "...any ... form in which a work may be recast, transformed, or adapted." ... A derivative work thus must either be in one of the forms named or be "recast, transformed, or adapted." ... The textual portions of a ... guide ... are not among the examples of derivative works listed ... and guides don't recast, transform, or adapt the things to which they are guides. A guide to Parisian restaurants is not a recasting, transforming, or adapting of Parisian restaurants."

In short, feel free to use as many screenshots and other copyrighted images as you feel you need, as long as they are being used objectively for "purposes such as criticism, comment ... teaching ... scholarship, or research".


While some sites and individuals claim ownership over screenshots and other images they host, according to U.S. copyright law screenshots are derivative works, and therefore belong solely to the copyright holder(s) of the graphic elements reproduced therein. In general, if you see a screenshot on another website that you like and it doesn't appear to have any special qualities it's probably OK to use it here. By doing so you may anger those who believe screenshots should be credited (or even used only with permission of the person who took the screenshot), but you will not be violating actual copyright laws by doing so. If you are still unsure you may prefer to take a comparable screenshot yourself, thereby ensuring there are no additional claims over the image beyond those of the game's copyright holder(s).


Watermarked images may not be used here, as the watermark is invariably a copyrighted logo. If you cannot find an unwatermarked equivalent you will need to cut it off if you still want to use the image. As established above, the presence of a watermark does not necessarily reflect the ownership of the image in question.

Boxes, artwork, maps, etc.

As with screenshots, the use of box and character artwork to illustrate a point in a guide is considered fair use. Maps, however, can sometimes be an exception; some companies (such as Bethesda Softworks) have objected to scanned maps at such a resolution that they could be used when playing unauthorised copies; because of this it is preferable that such scans are low-resolution or cropped to show only relevant details. If the game has an in-game map it is preferable to use that instead to avoid many potential problems.

Icon sets

The default StrategyWiki skin (Dolphin) uses icons from icon sets created by FamFamFam and Komodo Media. Both icon sets are licensed using Creative Commons licenses.

Cheats, codes, tricks, secrets, solutions, strategies, item lists, etc.

Some walkthrough writers claim that all information within their works is their legal property, and that using their ideas without consent would be illegal and plagiarism. Plagiarism is the use of someone else's original ideas/research/etc. without credit (sometimes word-for-word); while this is frowned upon in academic circles it is not legally recognised. United States copyright law only protects the expression of an idea/process/etc., not the idea/process/etc. itself.

Therefore, while copying specific wording or content presentation without permission is not allowed here it is quite acceptable to explain a commonly known concept in your own words (e.g. the best way to defeat a particular enemy). Generally speaking such details require very little research to discover and quickly become common knowledge, so there is little ground for pleas of plagiarism.

If someone has invested a large amount of time into discovering a particular thing (e.g. a way to glitch the player into a level the designers left out of the final game, the exact health values of enemies in a game that lacks actual health bars, and so forth) then giving them some credit using "<ref>Reference</ref>" may be considered the honorable thing to do, but this is not a legal requirement.

If you encounter StrategyWiki pages that make use of copyrighted text copied from another source, please use the {{Copyvio}} template (or if you have the URL {{Copyvio|src=URL}} ) to mark the page as a possible copyright violation. Note that this template should only be used for actual copyright violation; plagiarism is not a legally recognised concept, so claims of plagiarism (whether made with or without this template) for content that does not constitute a violation of copyright will be ignored.

Game scripts

All text content must be able to be reused under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License. Game scripts, in whole or in part, translated or verbatim, are still under copyright; they are believed to be substitute works rather than complementary ones as a player could simply read the script rather than buying the game to see it (see #Image use guidelines for more) and so do not fall within the fair use exceptions of U.S. copyright law. One example of suitable fair use of a game script is to briefly quote what the player has been told in the past to remind the player of what is going on. If the excerpt is not being referred to by the main text of the guide and is simply there for the sake of completeness it is probably not fair use, and thus such uses should be avoided.

Other FAQs/walkthroughs

In general, outside content cannot be used here word-for-word unless it has been released into the public domain (with no restrictions on derivative works or commercial use) or else are under the Creative Commons Attribution License (any version). You can of course write to the author of a copyrighted document to ask for their permission (reminding them that their work will be mercilessly edited and improved by others, and possibly reused commercially), however if you do so it's best to note successful permission on the talk page when you copy it here so that it isn't assumed to be a copyright violation.

External links

External links, indicated by the external link icon ( are outside the jurisdiction and responsibility of StrategyWiki; while StrategyWiki cannot be held responsible for the content of such sites it is best to ensure that the external links selected do not, at the date of initial retrieval, violate national or international laws including (but not limited to) copyright, intellectual property, and hate speech.