Wikitravel uses a copyleft license for all text, images, and other content on the Web site. Anyone can use Wikitravel content according to the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 1.0 license. And anyone can contribute their own or other people's text and images, as long as the work is their own or available under a compatible license.
Things for users to know
Copyleft means that every single author, editor, illustrator, mapmaker, factchecker and photographer who puts their work into Wikitravel gives you the right to read, copy, print, save, download, read aloud, project, modify, email, distribute, sell, photocopy and correct their work however you want to.
The only restrictions are that if you distribute it, you must give attribution to the creators, and if you derive new work from it, you must give the same rights to users of that work.
In other words, we give you practically every freedom within the boundaries of the law to use the information in Wikitravel, except the freedom to take that freedom away from others.
The license we use is the Attribution-ShareAlike 1.0 license. It's a piece of legal documentation created by the great people at Creative Commons that basically says the same thing as above: give Wikitravellers credit for their work, and share with other people.
If you want you can read the full text of the Attribution-ShareAlike 1.0 license. For the purposes of the License, a Work is the formatted text that makes up a single Wikitravel article. Each image individually is also a Work for the purposes of the License.
In addition, there may be other restrictions on use or distribution based on law in your country or state; in particular, consider privacy rights for photographs of people, and publicity rights for photographs or representations of people and possibly famous sites.
Lastly, to the extent possible there is NO WARRANTY on any of the articles or images in Wikitravel. Hotels close; bars raise prices; train schedules change; earthquakes, mudslides, wars and lightning strikes destroy sights, statues and cities. People make mistakes. Wikitravellers try their best, but none of the creators of these pages are responsible to you in any way for any injury or discomfort you endure before, after, or during your travels. See the License above for details.
If you're setting up a mirror Web site, you might want to check out how to re-use Wikitravel guides.
Things for contributors to know
Copyleft means that every single yahoo, nutcase, screwjob, charlatan, shyster, weirdo, freakazoid, mouthbreather, goofball, lamer, cheater and jerk will have the right to read, copy, print, save, download, read aloud, project, modify, email, distribute, sell, photocopy and correct your work however they want to.
In particular, your work can be ruthlessly modified, edited, or cut from Wikitravel altogether by other Wikitravellers. It can be photocopied thousands of times and passed around as flyers by itinerant backpackers. It can be put in Hollywood movies, and it can be projected onto a screen at an outdoor rave. It can be used for commercial ventures, advertisements, or other purposes (with some restrictions -- see privacy rights and publicity rights) without your direct control.
In return for your incredible generosity, you will have the knowledge that you are helping travellers all over the world, and that all copies made of your work will be attributed to you, and that everyone who derives new works from yours will have to be just as generous as you are. And, of course, you get to use all the other work in Wikitravel the same way; but you don't need to contribute to do that.
You'll also get the pleasure of collaborating with hundreds of other Wikitravellers just like yourself. You'll get free spellcheck service from nit-picky folks you've never met. You'll work together with people you don't know to make better pictures, text, and maps than you've ever dreamed of. You still retain the copyright over your own work, and you can use it any other way you want (even if it's not compatible with our license!). By writing on Wikitravel, or uploading photos, you're using a license under which all our work is available -- making it simpler for everyone.
Now, the hard part: because of the Attribution-ShareAlike 1.0 license, you are legally responsible not to put other people's copyrighted work into Wikitravel without permission. (An Attribution-ShareAlike-compatible license counts as permission!) You are responsible for getting model releases from people you take pictures of, and you are responsible for any libel you include in your articles.
Before editing Wikitravel articles or uploading pictures, you should read very carefully the full text of the Attribution-ShareAlike 1.0 license, and make sure that you agree to it. For images, it's important to mark the image as either your own work, or give information on who made the picture and why you think it's compatible with our license. See Wikitravel:Image policy for more information.
We want to make the best possible travel guide, with the most brilliant writing, the most up-to-date info, the most awe-inspiring photos, the most detailed and readable maps. But no one item is worth putting yourself and this project in legal jeopardy. If you have any questions about the source of something you want to put in Wikitravel, ask about it first. When in doubt, leave it out.
Frequently asked questions
Can GFDL content be used on Wikitravel?
No! See Wikitravel:Why Wikitravel isn't GFDL. This means that most content from Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons cannot be directly copied to Wikitravel.
Can content from other sites be used on Wikitravel?
Maybe. Content from other sites can be used only when it has been explicitly licensed under the Attribution Share-Alike 1.0 license, a compatible license, or released into the public domain. When copying content from another site be sure to provide proper attribution, as required by the CC-SA license. This means citing the license, author and source of images on the image page, and noting the license, author and source of text content on the article talk page.
How can I license my own images for use on Wikitravel?
All images you upload that are your own original work must be licensed under the CC-SA 1.0 license, and you must add a comment to the image page indicating the author, license, and source of the image. An acceptable comment might be:
There are some additional restrictions in specific cases (such as when photographing people) so please also read Wikitravel:Image policy.
If content is available free-of-charge, can it be used here?
Probably not. Just because a map, brochure, or other item is given away for free does not mean that it has been freely licensed. For content to be usable on Wikitravel the content copyright owner must agree to license it under the CC-SA 1.0 or a compatible license.