Copyright Problems When Writing

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by RdAdr, Mar 26, 2016.

  1. RdAdr

    Thread Starter Member

    May 19, 2013
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    Is it allowed to take entire fragments from different books and bring them all in one book?

    This new book will have a bibliography stating the sources and will be used only for educational purposes. It will not be sold.

    Is it allowed to do that?
     
  2. recklessrog

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    May 23, 2013
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    I would be cautious of plagiarism, but, seeing as most publications state that "no part can be used or copied with permission" etc, then even writing Ohms law is committing an offence against many thousands of authors. Obviously common sense has to prevail.
    Recently I read a reply to a thread that was word for word the exact text from a reference book. I had no problem with that as it answered the question.
    What i did object to though, was that the respondent made no reference to the source and it appeared that he was claiming it was his own thought.
    But on the other hand, this puts us in a difficult position, If I need to know something and look it up in some reference book, then some time later someone else asks the same question and I then give the information that I had learned, ( may not even remember from where I read it) then am I committing Plagiarism??
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2016
  3. jpanhalt

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    Jan 18, 2008
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    You are asking legal advice, and none of us are qualified to give such advice, particularly since we do not know in what country you are planning to publish this work.

    However, based on my experience in the US, what you are asking is NOT allowed without permission of the copyright owner(s). Whether you sell the book or use it as educational material does not really change that answer. There is an exception for "fair use," e.g., your own use or use in review of the parent book, but it does not sound like your plan would fall under that exemption.

    For example, I wanted to use an illustration I had designed and published under my name in a scientific journal in an educational seminar held a year later. Not only was the illustration done by the graphics department of the company for which I worked, but the seminar was being sponsored by and held at that same company. Nevertheless, I had to write the publisher of the journal and get its permission to use the illustration. Typically, in such cases, there is no charge, but there could have been.

    John
     
  4. wayneh

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    Sep 9, 2010
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    No, unless it's only for your personal use. You're enabling people to easily avoid paying for the works you've copied from. Without permission, that's theft. Merely announcing where you stole from (in the bibliography) doesn't change that.
     
  5. DickCappels

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    Aug 21, 2008
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    It is only plagiarism is he tries to pass it off as his own work.

    Copyright laws vary from nation to nation. If you are considering U.S. copyright law, there is a provision called fair use. It might or might not allow what you want to do.

    Here are the details:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_use
     
  6. jpanhalt

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    @DickCappels You are correct. It is not plagiarism, but copyright infringement, as I described. In fact, in the example I gave, I was the author, but that did not solve the copyright problem.

    I am fairly certain that the fair use doctrine (as interpreted in the US, EU) does not apply in this case.

    John
     
  7. RdAdr

    Thread Starter Member

    May 19, 2013
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    I thought plagiarism is when you write something that is someone else's work and do not say that. But I would write something and state in the bibliography who the author is. I would also put in the quotes the fragment.

    Ok. Now someone could go ahead and put in quotes the whole book. And this is bad.

    I don't know. It is a sword with two edges. Copyright is both good and bad. It is good for the authors.

    But it is bad for the advancement of civilization. For example, you encounter a good book on some topic. And you can go ahead and improve that book and make it excellent. And to make it excellent maybe you need material from some other books as well. Also the way the author expressed his ideas is maybe excellent in some parts of the book and you want to leave that unchanged.

    The point is that books can be improved, but you can not improve them unless you speak with the author and hope that he agrees with your ideas.
     
  8. jpanhalt

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    Here is your original statement, "Is it allowed to take entire fragments from different books and bring them all in one book?"

    I read those two statements differently. Again, the issue here is not plagiarism, but copyright. One type of "fair-use" can be described as the use of small portions of other works to support your arguments in something you write. That is extremely common. I am doing that here and now. However, when the number and length of such quotations reach the point that your work becomes more a compilation than an original work, you run afoul of the fair-use exception. Another example is if you are reviewing a book and quote from the copyrighted book to support your opinions. Again, the material you use is in support of your work, it is not the majority of your work.


    For technical and scientific works, that is not usually the case. Copyright protects the publisher, who is often the owner, not the author.

    I disagree pretty strongly with that. An alternative to copyright is to keep written information proprietary. Would you like all technical publications to be proprietary so you had to sign a non-disclosure agreement and pay to access them? Copyright does not prevent your access to or use of the information. It simply prevents your copying, except for the exclusions already mentioned.

    John
     
  9. JoeJester

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    Apr 26, 2005
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    There are works in the public domain. Your intent in the opening post was to patchwork a book using various authors writings. What is your contribution to the book other than "copy and paste"?

    Stanford University has a good overview of copyright.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2016
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  10. GopherT

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    Nov 23, 2012
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    You can feel free to read any electronics book you want and, after you read each page (or paragraph), close the book and write a summary or even your best attempt at recreating each page or paragraph. Unless you have a photographic memory, your book will be different.

    Then, make your own graphics and - even is based on damages or photographs of similar objects to communicate your point.

    That is no different from me righting a book about a wizard boy who goes to a school for witches and wizards with his mates. Copyright only goes so far and breadth of "originality" goes so far.

    On the other hand, if you insist on taking section from existing books and machine them together, you have created a "derivative work" and all pre-existing phrases and paragraphs and chapters remain under the control of the copywrith owner and you must obtain some agreement before you republish it.

    If you insert some if your own glue between section of pre-existing copyrighted works, only the glue can be copyrighted. You must still get permission from the copyright owner.

    Using small sections of other works is clarified under fair use as stated above.
     
  11. GopherT

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    Also, writing a text book is a waste of time. It is easier to go to a forum and ask a question. I can prove myself right with a recent example. Let me know if you want to see it, I will dig it up.
     
  12. atferrari

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    You seem to offer one as an alternative to the other. Albeit both dealing with knowledge they are rather different actions, far from equivalent.

    EDIT

    Hola Gopher, forget the above. I understand now, what you wanted to say.

    EDIT/
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2016
  13. jpanhalt

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    @GopherT
    When you say writing a textbook is a waste of time, is that true even when one's purpose in writing the textbook is accomplished? So, the first question is why should one write a textbook?

    John
     
  14. GopherT

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    I was trying to be funny by noting the fact that the OP posted a question about copyright law on a forum instead of looking it up in a legal textbook.
     
  15. jpanhalt

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    OK, now I see. I thought you were being serious. Some people think writing or contributing to a textbook is an easy way to get rich. It is not. That does not mean it is worthless.

    I agree with you completely on the legal advice thing. In my experience, getting permission to use graphics is relatively easy and cost free. I have never wanted to use large portions of text and suspect that might be a little more problematic.

    John
     
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  16. GopherT

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    The easiest way to carry out the OP's plan would be to select a collection of books from the same publisher and compile a new text from those. Then offer the recompiled text to that publisher. I'm fairly certain the publisher will consider publishing the book as a "Best of" edition if the benefits are clearly sold.
     
  17. DickCappels

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    Aug 21, 2008
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    I have been approached by a few book authors and some magazines seeking permission to use some of my material and I have always given it with few requirements ("Send a copy of your book to me please."). Apparently getting permission is no big deal because they sent books and magazines full of things collected from all over.

    If you get permission you will automatically be "covered".
     
  18. kubeek

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    Is there a difference in the US and or UK between using the pragraphs cited from other sources in such a publication (not public, non-profit...), and paragraphs cited in a thesis or similar "researchy" publication? Do wannabe graduates need to ask permissions to have citations from publications made by others?
     
  19. JoeJester

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    @kubeek

    In the U.S. there are a couple of citing standards, MLA is one used typically by those who study humanities while APA is used more for those studying Education, Psychology, and Sciences.

    APA citation guide from Purdue University.

    MLA citation guide from Purdue University.

    When one doesn't provide the citation, then they run afoul of their university's policy.

    Copyright infringement, which may be the intent of the TS, is discussed under this U.S. Law.
     
  20. jpanhalt

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    @JoeJester
    Those are policies for Purdue and may or may not be correct with regard to copyright law. For example, this policy is wrong:
    Copyright permission can only be given by the copyright owner or its agent. The author(s) may or may not be the owner and frequently is not the owner of materials published in scholarly journals, textbooks, works for hire, datasheets, and so forth. Just look at the copyright notice, which is usually on one of the pages just inside the cover of bound material and before the beginning of the text.

    Also, the 500-word criterion is completely arbitrary. This discussion is probably a bit more reliable: http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/fair-use-the-four-factors.html

    John
     
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