All The Tropes:Copyrights

    Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

    All The Tropes uses a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license (CC-BY-SA). All text on the site is licensed under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted; images may or may not be under this license -- you'll have to check each image individually. This is part of our Terms of Service.

    All CC-BY-SA content is also available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license (ATT article on that here), i.e. the previous revision of the same license. This is a compatibility mode with Wikipedia and Wikia.

    What you can do with All The Tropes content

    In general, you can copy any text on the website, and use it for any purpose, so long as that part of the text uses a CC-BY-SA license. The Creative Commons website has more details on what you can and can't do.

    What can I add to All The Tropes?

    Anything you write, of course. You can also add any content that has the same license, CC-BY-SA, or a compatible license:

    • Public Domain
    • CC-Zero
    • CC-By
    • CC-By-SA
    • GNU Free Documentation License 1.3 (sometimes, see here for details)
    • Excerpts of works under fair use (see below)

    This includes Wikipedia pages, though we encourage coming up with content from a trope point of view, rather than just blindly copying The Other Wiki. Make sure you remember the "By" part of the license -- always attribute your source, in the page text or in the edit comment.

    Quotes from copyrighted works can be used under the United States' fair use law (U.S.C. § 107), so long as they're not trying to reproduce some huge or important chunk of the original work.[1] Just don't quote a whole scene or something, or what we'd "have here is a failure to communicate." See Wikipedia's fair use page for more details on how the law works, if you need to know.

    What images can I add to All The Tropes?

    When you add an image, you should look for an image that has a free license, like any Creative Commons or GFDL. Anything on the list above, plus CC-BY-SA, are preferred. Note that anything without a specified copyright is still under a copyright due to the Berne Convention.

    But if you can't find a libre image, that's okay -- under s30 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 of the UK, ATT can use images to represent a work, so long as we're using them for the purpose of criticism or review and we provide sufficient acknowledgement of the copyright.

    Yes, we are required by law to provide the sources of the copyrighted images we use. Failing to do so puts the entire wiki at risk, which is why Tropers can be tempbanned for failing to provide an image's source information.

    Under US law, we should not provide a big enough portion of the original content that it could affect the profits of the original work.[1] This is a necessary part of representing works in media, the vast majority of which are sold for profit. Remember, media companies often distribute publicity images that are meant to be shared for informative purposes.

    In any case, you should must always add the license for the work. Each image has a corresponding page in the "File:" namespace to store the metadata for the image. On this page, you should select the best template for the license, or otherwise describe our right to have it on our website. If the image does not have a free license, make sure to mark the image as fair dealing.

    Can I just copy over stuff from TV Tropes?

    In general, no -- you may not copy content from TV Tropes, since this might violate the CC-BY-NC-SA license. But there are exceptions -- see below.

    TV Tropes used to have a CC-BY-SA license, but they changed to a more restrictive license in July 2012. Since the change in license was done without the permission of some editors, it is unclear if they even have permission to distribute a large portion of their current content.[2] We don't want to get involved in distributing content with such questionable copyright status.


    Content you wrote
    Copying is allowed if you created (wrote) the portion you copied over.[3] It is also allowed if the author has given you permission, such as through a dual-license notice on the author's user page. When you do so, note in the edit summary that this is your own writing, so we don't just assume that you blindly copied content. Lines like "my own writing" or "copied edits by me from TVT" are sufficient.[4]
    TV Tropes as a reference
    You can, however, use TV Tropes as a reference to your own writing. Avoid paraphrasing; we want to come up with new content. The names of the tropes used in a work (or a list of works that make use of a trope) are raw data, and thus not subject to copyright. They are facts, and can be used on our wiki. However, any description of how a work qualifies for a trope (or vice-versa) is copyrightable; do not copy the context for examples from TV Tropes.
    Archival TVT content
    You can also add TVT content if it was created before July 2012, but more than likely, this site already has all of those pages. We might have lost some stuff in Main/, but you'd have to use a June 2012 version or earlier -- check (If you're interested in the foreign language page, we do have that data, but it's not imported. Message an admin if you're interested in doing a site in another language. MediaWiki is much better for that purpose.)
    Fair use exceptions
    Normal fair use exceptions apply, for the purpose of literary criticism of works hosted at TV Tropes. Images that TV Tropes uses on a fair use basis may be reused here in a similar context, because TV Tropes does not hold the copyright to those images. Those images will be tagged as a fair use, for the purpose of representing a copyrighted work for literary criticism.

    Please note that there is no amount of meaningful text "too small" to qualify as copyright violation. If it can be identified as originating from TV Tropes, it is a violation. Yes, this means something as small as replacing an image caption with one from TV Tropes counts. If there is any doubt or uncertainty about the attribution of a change, we will automatically err on the side of caution, to protect All The Tropes from legal liability.

    Finally, be aware that there is no excuse for plagiarism/copyright violation. Saying "I didn't know", "I didn't mean it", "I don't remember doing that" or the incredibly unlikely "I did it by accident" will not absolve you of your responsibility for violating the law and putting the wiki at risk, especially if it's not your first offense. The only thing such a claim will net you is a roll of the eyes from whichever administrator is handling your violation.[5]

    I want to reuse something from All The Tropes

    Great! You have to keep any derivative work under a CC-BY-SA license, or a least the portion of the work that you derived from this website. And then, you can cite either the original editor(s) who wrote the content, or All The Tropes. We'd like it if you also include a link back to our website,, but that's optional. That's all.

    You can sell it, do anything you want with it -- but anyone else can come along and make an even better work based on yours. Well, we hope it's better. If you're reusing images, be sure to check them individually, because they may be copyrighted content used under fair use. This is not legal advice, so use your best judgement.

    Can I copy something from this site to TV Tropes?

    No, you cannot. They use a Creative Commons license with a Non-Commercial clause added, and so the two licenses are completely incompatible. Distributing CC-BY-SA content as CC-BY-NC-SA content is copyright infringement, unless the permission of all previous editors was given for that page. You can feel free to ask those editors, though. Note, your own edits only are able to used on both sites, but it is recommended you make that clear in the edit reasons there (as you would here if reposting your own work from TV Tropes) you are porting your own work, as under Creative Commons you may resubmit your own work under whatever license you deem fit, but not anyone else's without permission.

    Do note failure to do so can be considered "self-plagiarism", and can cause copyright disputes if you do not make clear you are submitting work from sites with different copyright licenses as the same edits to one or more sites. To avoid this, use edit reasons on each to make clear your intentions.

    Hey, you infringed my (or my boss') copyright!

    If you have a complaint that one of our users submitted copyrighted matter, send an email to, and we'll try to respond as quickly as possible. This is where Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown requests go, too.

    All The Tropes will remove content if it has knowledge of a copyright violation, keeping in mind the "fair use" protections that reference works enjoy. All The Tropes will also respond to notice and take-down requests received in compliance with the DMCA (17 U.S.C. § 512(c)(3)), and all notices will be reported to

    Hey, I don't want you talking about my work that way!

    Oh, hi there, creator (or owner). It's nice to have such an esteemed person on our site. Why don't you come and see our All The Tropes:FAQ for Creators?

    1. 1.0 1.1 "Big enough" or "important chunk" in this case means "people won't want to read, watch, or listen to the work if they read the excerpt", so there's no hard-and-fast size here. "Big enough" could be as small as a character's name, if that name is "whodunnit" in The Mousetrap.
    2. See the Creative Commons FAQ here and here for more info on the problems of converting CC-BY-SA to CC-BY-NC-SA licensing.
    3. Only the exact edits made by you count. Anything added by other people is not allowed unless they permit you to resubmit it elsewhere, and you must have their permission
    4. Please note that lying about having the right to copy text from TV Tropes is one of the few ways to be banned from All The Tropes permanently and without warning.
    5. We've actually had former users whose entire defense boiled down to "I'm too immature, stupid and/or ignorant to be held responsible for my past and future acts of copyright violation". To which our response was, "Then you are too immature, stupid and/or ignorant to allow on the wiki."

    If you wish to see previous versions of this policy, or you want to know when this policy was last updated and what was changed, please review the page history by selecting "History" from the menu at the top of this page.