1. Ryan524
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    Ryan524 New Member

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    Can anyone explain the process of publishing a book using other publications from someone else?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Ryan524, May 15, 2015.

    I'm not really sure about the process as this is the first book I plan to write. I am writing a book based on an illness I've had and got over as well as what I have learned through the process. The question I have is that I plan to use other publications (journal articles, etc) to back up my story which I will obviously site but how does this process work when publishing a book? I am only using small bits of info from various sources but am I able to publish the book with this information as long as I source everything? Or is there something else I am missing. I am under the impression that I don't need to get permission as long as I am not using a lot of someone's work or negatively impacting their work.

    If any of you have advice or can point me into the right direction, I would greatly appreciate it.

    Thanks a lot
     
  2. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    You will usually find the copyright page at the beginning of any publication which states something along the lines of "no part of this publication my be reproduced in any form without prior permission ..."

    Which means exactly that - regardless of whether or not you cite the original author and are planning to big them up, you still need permission to reproduce. So you would need to find out how to contact the person/company who represents the author or, in the case of self publishers, the author them self.

    If it's the same as reproducing music lyrics (I am in the middle of this myself) then as part of the application process, you may have to provide the copyright holder with a copy of the section of your book where you intend to cite other work. If you are given permission based on that application, you will need to make sure that nothing is changed between the application and then publication of your work. Any change would leave you open to being sued!

    If in doubt about copyright, always, ALWAYS, ask a solicitor or at least, go to the publisher or author who can point you in the right direction.

    Good Luck x
     
  3. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Except that in the U.S. there is Fair Use (and similar concepts in other countries) that allow you the reproduce certain portions of works in various instances regardless of whether the copyright owner says you can reproduce it or not.
     
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  4. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    As long as you're gonna profit from it financially, which you would if you're publishing it as then it becomes a business, then you're gonna need the rights from the publication you're citing I imagine.

    But seriously, this isn't the kinda thing you wanna trust a bunch of forum users on. Consult a literary lawyer. (Steerpike above is a lawyer - my post wasn't directed at him lol. It's just smart to actually consult a lawyer with these things)
     
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  5. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    No point taking chances and getting it wrong and with something like this, you can't plead ignorant. Do you have enough money to defend a copyright case in court?
     
  6. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I was just addressing the categorical assertion that just because a copyright owner says you can't reproduce it means that you can't. That isn't the case. You have to go in making a rational decision, but I have clients who go forward on the basis of Fair Use all the time. Just had one yesterday, in fact.
     
  7. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    It's just not something I would risk. Unless you are a solicitor advising your client to do it, which you might well be but from the point of view of the OP, I wouldn't take that chance.
     
  8. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Whether i would chance it depends on the specific facts of any given use. But there's no harm in telling people it exists as an option. They can research it further from there or seek counsel.
     
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  9. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    You absolutely need a lawyer. Citing everything isn't enough. Using only a small portion isn't necessarily enough; to use ANY, I believe that you also need another fair use defense. It's a tangled messy issue and you need a lawyer.
     
  10. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    The amount alone can be enough. If it is insignificant enough (measured in a few different ways) you may never even have to make a Fair Use argument because it could be a de minimis use, which is allowed outside of even the Fair Use doctrine (again, U.S. law only).
     
  11. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    Regardless of which way the OP goes, the general consensus is to ask, even you @Steerpike say If it is insignificant enough (measured in a few different ways) you may never even have to make a Fair Use argument because it could be a de minimis use, which is allowed outside of even the Fair Use doctrine which is information only a lawyer/solicitor/legal person would be able to advise on so the answer would be, ask someone who knows, don't leave it to chance.
     
  12. matwoolf
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    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    Why don't you listen to the lawyer on the forum? Or, why chuck half a pop song into a novel? This 'enigma of law' stuff is dumb.
     
  13. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    We are - but there are boundaries which the author will have to discuss with said lawyer to know if he's within the fair use etc etc boundaries.

    And on the pop song - Because I can.
     
  14. matwoolf
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    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    yeah, I was being a bully, soz.
     
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  15. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I'm not advising the OP what to do. No one here, including me, is equipped to do that, because we don't have enough information. I'm simply in favor of providing accurate information to people when they pose these kinds of questions. It was stated above that if a copyright owner posts some notice saying no part of a work can be reproduced, then that's the end of it and you need permission. That's simply false. That statement by an owner has no bearing on your Fair Use argument. It's like people who post copyrighted material on YouTube posting a disclaimer saying they don't claim any rights in the work. So what? It's a meaningless disclaimer.

    You may have a de minimis use or a Fair Use, but the only way you're going to find out for certain, ultimately, is from a judge or jury. But that doesn't mean you can't get some guidance going forward. There are all kinds of myths around Fair Use, such as the idea that if you're making money on something Fair Use is no longer available as a defense. That's not true. There are four Fair Use factors in the U.S., none are dispositive, and you have to look at them all.

    Even after you've done that, the question of whether or not to move forward still isn't answered. How risk averse are you? To answer that, you need to know something about what the risk might be.

    How likely is it that your use will come to the attention of the copyright owner? Contrary to some of the above, there are cases where you're better off not asking permission. I've had a few cases where we felt pretty good about a Fair Use defense, and where the chances of the copyright owner discovering the use were very slim. In such cases, asking permission may serve to do nothing more than put yourself on the copyright owner's radar and make things worse for you. In those situations, clients have moved forward and the copyright owner never found out (or if they did, they never objected).

    You also might look at the identity of the copyright owner. There are some entities who I know will send cease and desist letters and even litigate over very minor uses. They have a lot of money and they're willing to use it on enforcement. When someone wants to use a property belonging to such an entity I advise a lot more caution than when they want to excerpt something from a work published by some guy who makes $50K a year and published his book through a small independent press.

    You could also look to see if the work in question was ever registered. That can affect your damages.

    And so on. There is a lot more to such issues than can be answered one way or another through quick forum responses.

    It should also be noted that if you're going with a traditional publisher, the publisher should be taking care of this stuff for you.
     
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  16. daemon
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    daemon Contributing Member Contributor

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    There are at least two very different things this could mean:
    • "I plan to quote small parts of other publications word for word."
    • "I plan to paraphrase the thoughts expressed in other publications."
    And the answer is very different depending on what you mean. Copyright law does not treat a thought and an expression of that thought in the same way.
     
  17. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hmm. Yes, I assumed that the OP was referring to word-for-word quotes, as opposed to just using the information gathered from these publications. I think that everyone assumed that. If we're just talking about research the answers would be very different.
     
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  18. Ryan524
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    Ryan524 New Member

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    Thanks everyone for all of the advice. I will try to explain a bit better what I intend to do. Basically, I was diagnosed with a bunch of diseases in college, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, various autoimmune diseases, etc for 5 years. It got to the point where I reacted to 95% of all foods which caused a majority of my symptoms. It turned out to be lyme disease and there are probably thousands of people out there that are diagnosed with these incurable diseases. And I am sure that in many cases it could be lyme disease or another type of infection (which is curable with the right medication). I'm not giving medical advice but ideas of how I figured out the cause of many diseases and to back up these ideas with research articles. Like, according to XYZ it was statistically significant that X% of patients who had fibromyalgia were found to have lyme disease, etc. Or X strain of bacteria found in X patients caused X symptoms in ZYX article.

    Basically, not copying they're work just using it for some validity to back up my reasoning and of course sourcing everything. Not sure if that is clearer or you can advise me on what to do based on that.

    Thanks again
     

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