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Munkapedia, the Alvin and the Chipmunks Wiki is the franchise's largest and most diverse community information site that continues to grow with the addition of fan-generated content. Wikis generally seek to cover every aspect of the subject they are about though some restraint is necessary in order to respect the rights of the franchise owners and provide content that falls within the wiki's licensing.

The Wiki's Licensing

Most wiki's on FANDOM are given, by default, the CC BY-SA copyright licensing. The short explanation of the license is to fulfill one of the primary functions of a wiki - provide free content to the public.

CC BY-SA stands for Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike. Creative Commons (CC) is a group of public copyright licensing meaning that content contributed by fans under one of these permanent licenses is intended to be shared, used, and/or modified by anyone, given they follow specific conditions outlined by the license. In this case, those conditions are attribution (BY) and share-alike (SA). In order for anyone to use, copy, or change the content of a wiki with this license they must credit the authors of that content in the appropriate manner. Additionally, someone cannot use and modify content, in any way, and change the licensing to be more restrictive than it is currently.

The wiki's licensing only applies, by default, to text contributions and not images or videos, which retain the copyright given to them by the owner of that content (these can be given the CC BY-SA licensing if the uploading user is the owner of the content and releases their copyright claim to it).

The Franchise's Legal Background

Cquote1 There's creating what you do and there's continuing to own what you do. Cquote2

Encouraged to go to law school not to be a lawyer but to protect the franchise, Ross Bagdasarian, Jr. took his father's advice and passed the bar. Over the years Ross Jr. and his wife, Janice Karman, have been very protective of their property as a family business as evident in multiple lawsuits, one of which they fought to regain control over the chipmunks after a deal went bad.

Unlike some franchises, the Alvin and the Chipmunks fandom has experienced multiple purges of content over multiple websites in an effort to control unauthorized use. This includes past and present episodes, songs, and clips used in fan videos. Fully within their rights, such actions by the productions company constrains the sharing of information further given the limited legal availability and use of the franchise's content.

Balancing Wiki and Copyright

There's a fine line between providing plentiful information under a public license and respecting the rights of content that is copyrighted and cannot be shared freely. A wiki should seek to complement the work it represents and not attempt to be a replacement for it (why the wiki does not allow episode transcripts). We, as editors, should provide enough information to educate fans and encourage them to view the official media instead of substituting the media with text alone.

Some copyrighted content can be used in a way that falls under Fair Use, a legal doctrine that takes into account how the content is being use, how much is used, and how that use may affect the owner's profitability. Fair Use is typically used on the wiki for files such as images. These files maintain their copyright, thus can be a problem if copied and misused elsewhere. Given the definition of Fair Use, large galleries, such as episode or film galleries, are much more likely to violate copyright than that of a few images used in an infobox or besides text so the wiki prohibits the creation of these as well. Typically an image in a gallery should be used elsewhere on the wiki and all images should be used somewhere constructively.

The wiki has strengthened its stance on respecting the copyright owners as it's aged through use restrictions. Other than episode transcript and large gallery prohibitions, the wiki does not allow the upload of episodes or clips. Instead focus is given to using officially released content from film and production companies as well as television networks. Fan-distributed audio/visual media is slowly being phased off of the wiki in favor of that shared officially.


Disclaimer: This article was not written by a lawyer and should not be taken as legal advice.

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.