I have seen a couple comments on copyright issues in the last couple days
so I thought I'd share some information that I think may be not well-known
by everyone.

Very roughly, copyright issues (text) can be viewed in three categories:
1. Addition of copyrighted material to articles in years past, not yet
removed (one-off)
2. Same as above, except by a serial violator
3. Close to real-time edits which may include copyrighted material

The reason for distinguishing these three categories is that our approach
and success rates are very different.

In case 1, an editor identifies what they believe to be a copyright issue
in an existing article. They can report it to Wikipedia:Copyright_problems.
In the case of a single issue or a very small handful of issues, those
items are identified and taken care of by volunteers. (I think this aspect
is handled adequately — I used to be active there but haven't been recently)

The second case arises when a potential violation is identified. An
examination of the editors contributions reveals many examples (typically
five or more). If this occurs, it is referred to Wikipedia:Contributor
copyright investigations. A CCI is opened, and the intent is to examine
every single edit by that editor. This aspect is extremely backlogged. I've
spent many hours working on CCI's, but it isn't easy, it isn't rewarding,
and it is discouraging because I think the backlog is increasing rather
than decreasing. (This isn't due to newly created copyright issues but
newly found ones.)

The third case is handled by Copy Patrol, a  foundation created tool that
examines all new edits in close to real time and generates a report, which
is handled by volunteers.

I want to emphasize this third aspect for multiple reasons. I think it is
one of the least known tools. Some of the prior emails on the subject leave
the impression that the authors are unaware of the existence of this tool.
On the one hand, it works very well, as almost all of the several hundred
reports each week are reviewed, most within 24 hours.

Good news:
* Copy Patrol is working, so my guess is that the growth in true copyright
issues is close to nonexistent.

Bad news:
* Copy Patrol is adequately staffed but just barely. One editor is
responsible for the handling of far more than half of all of these reports
(major kudos to Diannaa), but that much reliance on a single volunteer is
not good for the long-term health of the project.

* The copy patrol tool is pretty good, and was being improved for a while,
but I've identified some desirable improvements and my sense is that it's a
very back burner project in terms of additional enhancements.

* CCI clearance is going to take many years

Phil (Sphilbrick)
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