1. nettkkr
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    nettkkr Member

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    Question in reguards to quoting blocks of text from other books

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by nettkkr, Mar 7, 2010.

    In my novel I take a block of text from another book in existence. Before I even copy the text over I give rightful credit that it is NOT my work and the work of someone else. My first question is, is this plagiarism or is this sufficient to keep the copyright laws against me. Secondly how to do I introduce the text within my own. Do I keep it in line with my text and simply quotation mark it or do I quotation mark it and indent it?

    Thanks for the help.
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    If it's a novel, you MUST get written permission. There is no "fair use" clause for including an excerpt in fiction. It would not be plagiarism, but it would be a copyright violation (subtle distinction - you are acknowledging the source, but still do not have the owner's permission to use it).

    If it is a block of text, and you have secured the necessary permissions, you should probably use a block quote, i.e. an indented block with no enclosing quote marks.
     
  3. Nobeler Than Lettuce
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    Nobeler Than Lettuce Contributing Member

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    Also remember, some items, namely all the old great books and poems, are public domain and can be freely quoted as long as you don't go overboard and piss off the estate.
     
  4. Gallowglass
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    Gallowglass Contributing Member Contributor

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    The maximum length of time that something is copyrighted is up to eighty years after the person who it is attributed to - in most western countries, it's seventy. A few, such as El Salvador, have a hundred years. But anything after that is in the public domain. Many of them don't actually have legal representation, but there's no reason to offend the descendants, anyway, so that shouldn't be a significant problem.
     
  5. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    There is a complication in the UK that copyright on material that is Crown Copyright never expires, because the notional author is the monarchy, not the monarch. Presumably it would expire x years after we became a republic, but I don't see that happening any time soon. I don't think many other countries recognise Crown Copyright, but in the UK we have to be careful with things like the King James Bible and the 1662 Book of Common Prayer. Considering the number of common phrases and sayings from those sources alone, that is potentially a serious problem, although if I were just to quote a line from the marriage service here I doubt anybody would be bothered (and what country's copyright law would apply, anyway?)

    Copyright is a really really complex issue.
     
  6. Gallowglass
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    Gallowglass Contributing Member Contributor

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    Crown Copyright is generally something that most authors won't have that much of a problem with. If everyone was tried with treason (which probably won't happen even if you did copy and paste an entire chapter from a Crown Copyright document) because they quoted from the most published Bible in the world...

    It only really applies to professional documents and pictures, not the sort of thing that would interest most authors.
     
  7. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't think a breach of Crown Copyright amounts to treason. I agree that in practice they don't bother prosecuting every unauthorised KJV quote, but in theory they could. What does it take to appear on their radar?
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    gg... you seem to have left out the most important word [in italics]: '...after the person... dies'!

    net... cog is right, but it doesn't just apply to novels... it applies to any written work, which includes dialog from a movie or a tv show...
     

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