Discussing a few elements of a copyrighted list as part of a larger article on the subject of the list itself should also be comfortably within non-free content allowances, as currently practiced on Wikipedia.
Our claim to fair use in such cases is stronger the more critical commentary on the list itself that the article includes.
You are really only safe if the list is purely formulaic." In considering whether a list or compilation is copyrightable, we have to look first at its nature.
Are we talking about facts ("discovery") or opinion? Patry points out, the law protects "compilations of things expressed as a value judgment".
When we want to copy information from lists and compilations, we have to first figure out if they are protected by copyright.
Copyright in a list may exist in the content of the list or in the way that the content was selected and arranged.
The United States copyright law which governs Wikipedia (see Wikipedia: Copyrights) forbids Wikipedia contributors from copying information directly from other sources except in limited cases.
We can copy content that is public domain or that is properly licensed for our use (with any necessary attribution).
If selection and arrangement are creative, we cannot use the same selection and arrangement of our source, but might have to add or remove elements and rearrange content into a new work.
Wikipedia is legally bound by the copyright laws of the United States. § 102, copyright laws in the United States protect original works of authorship in any medium while leaving open to the public the ideas, procedures, processes, systems, methods of operation, concepts, principles and discoveries contained in such works.