1. izzywizzy
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    izzywizzy New Member

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    Avoiding copyright infringement

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by izzywizzy, Oct 15, 2009.

    Hi everyone,

    I'm writing a book about my experiences with an illness, I'm hoping it may be of interest to others with the same illness, I'd really like to include a couple of stories which have been published in the press, some scientific information and the statement from the World Health Organization about the disease.

    I would like to also include my medical test result figures and doctors recommendations. Can I do this or does the doctor own copyright?

    Could anyone give me advice on how to refer to this information without infringing copyright? Can I write an overall couple of lines summarising the newpaper reports and reference them or would that be infringing?

    Can I say that certain Scientific studies have found so and so and reference them fully? Or do I need to exact copy thier text and get their permission?

    It would be very useful to be able to include the WHO statement on the illness - how can I include their statement, do I have to use their exact words or conclude what they say and reference?

    I'm finding this all so very difficult to get my head around - any advice would be very gratefully received!
     
  2. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    You don't need an author's permission to reference their work. Same for the WHO statement and any newspaper reports, but you do need to know how to reference correctly.
    As for your own test results, copyright wouldn't apply to them, but I'm not sure about the law when it comes to publishing private medical documents. I guess if you're the patient they refer to it would be fine, but obviously you need to double check. Its not really a question about literary law, its medical law.
     
  3. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    as arron noted above, if you're only referencing/paraphrasing them and not quoting them directly, you don't need permission, but must cite the source...

    of course you can include test results and doctor's recommendations that were told/given to you in the course of dealing with your case... you can even quote the doctors, as long as you quote them accurately... if you've done your homework and researched similar books, you'll have seen this is done all the time, in memoirs that deal with a person's illness...

    you need to study the copyright laws and what is covered, what is not... you'll find it all here: www.copyright.gov

    not a problem, as long as you cite the sources...

    'yes, you can,' to the first question... and 'no, you don't have to,' to the second, and don't need permission unless you want to use their exact wording... but if it's a public statement, you probably don't need to ask, as long as you quote it exactly and cite the source properly...

    answered above... the choice is yours...
     
  4. izzywizzy
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    izzywizzy New Member

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    Hi Arron and Mammamia, thanks for your replies - I forgot to mention that I'm in the UK, it seems that there are much stricter rules here regarding copyright - fair dealing here appears to cover non commercial research and private study, along with criticism, review and reporting of current events. Is that what I would be doing?

    could you let me know - do your replies relate to the UK copyright laws or USA?
     
  5. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    Their replies relate to the US, though the Berne Convention means that for the most part it is the same as in the UK. But you'd do well to consult domestic sources of copyright legislation, and case law.

    (I believe that the copyright law here is still dictated by the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, but unless you have some form of legal experience, deciphering it might be difficult)
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Medical records come under HIPAA in the US, not copyright law. Under HIPAA, you can choose to reveal information from your own medical records, but not anyone else's without a specific release. I don't know whether there would be corresponding laws in the UK, or what they would be.
     
  7. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    My reply is from NZ actually. But I'm pretty sure no matter where you are you don't need to obtain permission to reference journals, articles and documents for your own academic writing...if you do, there must be a whole lot of copyright infringement going on in the world right now...
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ...no, since you are writing a personal account of your illness that is intended to be sold as a book, and are not studying, critiquing, reviewing or reporting...

    applies to both us and uk, as well as most [if not all] signatories to the berne convention...

    just go to your nearest book shop or library and take a look at all the similar books in the non-fiction section... you'll find what you're doing has been done and is being done all the time...

    so, go ahead and write your book... if you're lucky enough to interest a publisher in it, they'll let you know if anything along those lines needs changing, or permission obtained...
     

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