Topic: Do not copy text straight from Wikipedia
Please do not copy text straight from Wikipedia into descriptions on The Athenaeum. Wikipedia is a wonderful resource, and you should absolutely use it as a tool when researching and writing text. However, there are two very important reasons not to directly copy text from Wikipedia:
1. We are trying to build original content: The Athenaeum is trying to add original content to the web, not just be "another Wikipedia clone". Many people will go directly to Wikipedia for research, and hence it does not add much to the available knowledge to copy what they will find through a Wikipedia search. It's more work to write original content, but it's worth it!
2. Using Wikipedia content affects the legal status of Athenaeum content: It's a little complicated, but the text on Wikipedia is licensed under what is called a "Creative Commons Attribution Sharealike" license (see here. This means we have certain legal requirements regarding how such text is displayed.
More importantly, by using Wikipedia text, our "derived work" is automatically placed under the same license. This means that we lose the right to claim our text under an Athenaeum copyright. See here for more details.
This may not seem a big deal - after all, doesn't The Athenaeum thrive on sharing public domain art for free? Yes, we do, but the text entries accompanying the public domain content need to be protected. It's one of the things that separates us from copycat web sites. Many sites already "harvest" the artworks form The Athenaeum, and we can't do much to stop that. But if they also copy our text, we needs tools such as copyright to try to stop them.
Also, The Athenaeum may one day need or want to commission original articles and other paid content to support its operations. The vast majority of our content (the "encyclopedia" content) will always be free, but we don't need Wikipedia text to tie everything down to a Wikipedia license.
If you have questions, ask them below, but please refrain from direct copies of Wikipedia text or articles.