1. prowriter9
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    prowriter9 New Member

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    on how to aviod plagiarism when rewritting articles to use in a book?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by prowriter9, Aug 23, 2009.

    Can you be sued if you just rewrite paragraphs and sentences that sound similar to a self-development self-help articles from a book

    if they were the first one to write about it?
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Depends on how similar.

    If you lifted the text from said self-help book, or paraphrased it and passed it off as your own writing, you are guilty of plagiarism, whether or not you could be successfully sued.
     
  3. Rumpole40k
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    Rumpole40k Banned

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    I think someone would honestly need to see both works to judge, but if you are having these doubts, it might be telling you something.
     
  4. bluebell80
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    bluebell80 Contributing Member

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    Yes you can be. For non-fiction you are supposed to cite any source material which may not be directly quoted, but used as inspiration for theories or points of view in the piece of non-fiction.

    For example, if I read Dr. Laura's books on marriage and Dr. William Glassers books on choice theory and reality therapy, then wrote an article based on their ideas, I would have to cite the books as source material at the end of the paper or book. If I didn't I could be sued for stealing their ideas and theories even if what I have written doesn't resemble a single passage of their work, but instills their same ideas, solutions, and theories.

    That is a basic thing taught in school in English Comp classes (both high school and college.) Very little written today is based solely on personal observations when it comes to non-fiction self help. Most of it is based on previous theories. Look in the back of most self-help books, unless written by a professional in an unexplored region of the field, there will be many works cited for reference, even if they weren't quoted directly in the text.

    You are supposed to cite your research. Depending on the field (though most self-help books use APA style) will dictate your citations (MLA and Chicago styles differ from APA.)

    If you are taking a few paragraphs of someone else's work and rewording it in your own language, then you still have to cite your source of the idea. Otherwise it is plagiarism.
     
  5. Eddyz Aquila
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    Eddyz Aquila Member

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    Just in case you don't know about it, I recommend purchasing the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. You can find it at most bookshops and even second hand, older editions are good.
     
  6. prowriter9
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    prowriter9 New Member

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    Okay. What if i do cite the source and lets suppose it is the bible because I would be talking about God. However, their is another book that actually sounds and matches more the sentences I will be using in my book. So will that still be called palagerism since they cannot really support their argument that I got it from their book (even though it does sound similar) as I will do cite that I recieved the information from bible but not the exact quotes on what it being said, but from my own interpretation of the bible verses?
     
  7. CharlieVer
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    CharlieVer New Member Contributor

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    You can quote the King James Version. It's not registered under copyright law...and is hundreds of years old, so it in public domain.

    Versions not in the public domain require that you ask permission of the copyright owner to include quotes.

    I'm not following...the quotes from the Bible match what you've quoted, or the theological discussion matches what another person has written?

    If you're using another's writing to do your writing, don't, not without following all the rules, citing the source if this is a research paper, etc. If you take, say, a pastor's sermon, or a writer's theological analysis of the Bible, and change some words around and publish it as your own or try to represent it as your own writing, you're committing plagiarism.

    You can quote the King James Version of the Bible, but don't quote, paraphrase, use, misuse, alter or otherwise swipe someone else's discussions, unless those discussions are in public domain, or unless you cite the source and, when necessary and when "fair use" rules do not apply, obtain permission from the copyright owner, or consult a lawyer.

    See http://copyright.gov/ for more information on the rules governing public domain and fair use.

    From a legal perspective, if you're committing plagiarism, you can face some pretty touch ramifications, including lawsuit.

    From a moral perspective, it's just plain wrong. Since you're writing about religion, let me point out that plagiarism is stealing, and more than one religion views stealing in a negative light. Some religions even put it on a list as a commandment, and suggest warm, uncomfortable places much worse than getting sued. Other religions and secularists suggest that such acts of theft are personally reprehensible and will lower your self-esteem in ways that are also worse than getting sued.

    If you are writing your own interpretations, using your own words, without swiping, paraphrasing, quoting, misquoting or altering someone else's words, then you can do so with a free conscience, not worry about religious or ethical ramifications and also not worry about legal ramifications.

    Charlie
     
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  8. bluebell80
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    bluebell80 Contributing Member

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    If you are quoting biblical text, obviously citing the chapter and verse and which version you are using (king James or the new standard) should be done.

    Exactly what type of book are you writing, something about theology? If you are using sources of other theological books or writings, even if you aren't directly quoting them, they should be listed in your references section as something you read to gain information from. If you are writing something that sounds similar to someone else's writing, sentences, paragraphs, you should probably reconsider how you are writing them and change it so that it doesn't sound exactly the same, otherwise quote from your source material. Either way, in non-fiction, you should be citing all source material you used to gain anything other than common knowledge and your own theories. This means anything you have read to get you to the point you are at, should be cited.
     
  9. Fish
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    Fish New Member

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    Wait. So does this mean i can not quote God's words from the Bible? Like in the story of Moses. Does it mean that i can not quote Prayers from a Cathelic Prayer book? or re tell Bible stories?
     
  10. CharlieVer
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    CharlieVer New Member Contributor

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    You cannot quote English translations of the Bible that are protected by copyright laws without written permission from the copyright owners. You may quote a translation in public domain, such as the King James Version.

    In this case, it's the translation that's protected, not the original inscription, whoever you think the author of the papyrus scrolls might be.

    You cannot quote from any prayer book (Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, Mormon, Hindu, Buddhist or any other) that is protected under copyright law, unless that work is in the public domain, or the quote falls under "fair use" rules

    In fact... you cannot quote any writing unless it is in the public domain, or unless under "fair use" rules http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html, or you obtain the written permission of the copyright owner.

    Please refer to www.copyright.gov, or seek a copyright attorney for further information.
     
  11. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    You can quote directly from the King James bible without any permission or infringement of copyright--and writers frequently do, e.g the words of the Wedding or Christening Service. You don't have to cite or give the verse numbers, whatever--it's usually obvious anyway from the context that you are quoting the Bible.
     
  12. Fish
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    Fish New Member

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    So can i re tell bible stories? How the heck do you put prayers into a story, like the Our Father? Say a class is saying prayers can they? or a parent is telling the story of Moses can i put that in? Can i mention saints? or what the Saints did? Re tell there stories or use what happened to them as basis for an event for a character?
     
  13. CharlieVer
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    CharlieVer New Member Contributor

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    Yes.

    For the umpteenth time, you can do this by using a translation in the public domain, like the King James Version. Or by getting permission from the copyright owner, if you prefer a newer, copyright protected translation.

    You can mention anything you want in your writing, as long as you do not copy someone else's work which is protected under copyright law. You can list a hundred billion things...saints, angels, arks, animals, Moses, Noah...but we'd prefer if you didn't...there's no need to say, "What about John the Baptist, can I mention him?"...the answer is always the same.

    Write what you want. Feel free to mention historic and religous figures in your own words. Ideas aren't copyright-protected, nor are Biblical characters. Writing is copyright-protected, unless in public domain, according to the public domain rules outlined at www.copyright.gov. Don't copy someone else's copyright-protected material, including original writings not in public domain.

    Charlie
     
  14. Fish
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    Fish New Member

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    Right so i can re tell bible stories and i can use the names of saints and re tell there stories and use them as inspiration, as long as it is in my own words. The names and stories are not copyrighted, only the way they are written in the book? OK.

    I'm really thick with copyright stuff.

    As for the prayers, I can use them if there public domain, how do i know there public domain? If it is a prayer book and not the King Johns bible? Is there such a thing?
     
  15. CharlieVer
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    CharlieVer New Member Contributor

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    It depends on when the book you want to quote was written, and whether you're talking about US law or elsewhere.

    Read the website I linked you to, www.copyright.gov.

    If you read that entire site and you're still not sure, I'd suggest, before you publish a book, talk to a copyright attorney.
     
  16. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    pay attention to all that charlie says, as he's clearly knowledgeable on the subject and has said all i would have, had he not gotten to it first...
     
  17. prowriter9
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    prowriter9 New Member

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    okay i understand I will not try anything illegal. Just want to clarify what was premissible and what was not. So thank you for all your help!
     

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