View Full Version : Am I allowed to do this?

Mr. Anonymous
08-17-2008, 10:49 PM
Thanks for the suggestions guys.

08-17-2008, 10:53 PM
As long as you're citing the source you should be fine.

08-17-2008, 11:02 PM
As long as you're citing the source you should be fine.

I agree. I think if you cite the source where you obtained the information you should be ok. Good luck on your book.

08-17-2008, 11:21 PM
I disagree, but will bow to the knowledge of an attorney. (I'm not one, and the one I live with is working today, and doing a little swearing, so I'm not all that keen on asking.) Here's my understanding:

You can quote other works as part of Fair Use only when your purpose is criticism or parody of those works. Whether you give full credit or attribution to the author or source is not at issue. Using the work within an educational context differs from using it in a context in which the author hopes or expects to make a profit.

Says the Stanford Copyright and Fair Use website (http://fairuse.stanford.edu/Copyright_and_Fair_Use_Overview/index.html):
What If You Acknowledge the Source Material?

Some people mistakenly believe it's permissible to use a work (or portion of it) if an acknowledgment is provided. For example, they believe it's okay to use a photograph in a magazine as long as the name of the photographer is included. This is not true. Acknowledgment of the source material (such as citing the photographer) may be a consideration in a fair use determination, but it will not protect against a claim of infringement. In some cases, such as advertisements, acknowledgments can backfire and create additional legal claims, such as a violation of the right of publicity. When in doubt as to the right to use or acknowledge a source, the most prudent course may be to seek permission of the copyright owner.

Maryn, who would not presume those questions are open to her use

08-17-2008, 11:26 PM
You should ask the source first. Even if something is readily available and you give proper credit, you still should not use it without permission. If they say yes, all is well; if they say no, then you have possibly saved yourself a lot of conflict in the future.

08-17-2008, 11:28 PM
I side with Maryn on this. I believe SAT questions and answers are copyrighted. If they are then you need permision to use them. Citing a source, whether it is an open source (computer website) or not does not give you permission to use it. Check if the material is copyright or not. Then ask a lawyer which I am not.


08-17-2008, 11:50 PM
I think you have to get official permission from the source before you use it (even if you plan to cite the source). The source could require you pay a fee to use the information, or they could allow you to use it for free on the assumption that this will benefit them in the end (in this case, referrals for more site traffic, so it'll be lucrative for them in the long run). But you need permission first.

However, I'm pretty sure permissions are something that come up in the copyediting process, so presumably you don't need to get the permission right now. Just write it, make yourself a note that you'll need to address this issue later, and then worry about legal issues when it comes time to publish.

08-18-2008, 12:11 AM
I agree with all who believe you need to seek and get permissions. However, being a writer of nonfiction books this entire subject always makes me a bit nutty, and has for years (laws change). If it's at all possible speak with an intellectual rights attorney -- I always do, but again, I'm nuts when it comes to permissions and such.

08-18-2008, 01:57 AM
There are lots of sites onlione that list actual SAT questions. How about emailing them and asking how they did it?

Mr. Anonymous
08-18-2008, 02:12 AM
Thanks for all the input guys! I figure I'll ask around. Worst case scenario, I can just create my own, though that would be a royal pain as I'd have to redo all the problem solving work I've already done...

08-18-2008, 03:17 AM
I have little doubt you have to get permission, and no doubt you SHOULD get permission. Quoting one question just might be "Fair Use," but the only way to be sure of that is for "The College Board" to take you to court for infringement, you defend yourself saying it's Fair Use, and the judge rules in your favor.

IANAL, and IMHO it would be a waste of money to ask one - it's a lot cheaper and more straightforward to just ask for permission.

Do you already have a publisher for this book? Even if you don't, I recall that it's often the Publisher that gets these permissions (or else edits the questions out of the book - can you write your own questions? It seems writing your own wouldn't be too hard, and would get by this question.

Oh, and here's a little free research I just did for you. I went to this page:
"Site Terms and Conditions"
and under "Proprietary Rights of collegeboard.com" I found this link:
"Permission Request Form"
You might want to fill that out.

Mr. Anonymous
08-18-2008, 03:43 AM
Nah, no publisher yet. Haven't looked into it as the book's not done yet.

If the publisher wants me to make my own, I'd manage. The only annoyance is I've already solved and explained the ones I used, so I'd have to do that all over again. Still, if the publisher is supposed to handle this then I guess I'll worry about it when and if I get to it.

EDIT: Ah, thanks for linking that for me! That helps a ton.

08-18-2008, 04:12 AM
Thanks for all the input guys! I figure I'll ask around. Worst case scenario, I can just create my own, though that would be a royal pain as I'd have to redo all the problem solving work I've already done...

For your own and the book's credibility, I suggest you find a way to use SAT-certified questions through permission. I'd be wary of a book that discusses the SAT with made up questions, and I fear an editor might, too, regardless of how accurate they are to the real thing.

This may vary greatly on your background, however.

08-18-2008, 04:58 AM
The ETS is pretty rabid about their test questions, so you definitely need permission. And although it's true that you don't need to have obtained permission before submitting (or selling) your manuscript, it's technically the author's responsibility, not the publisher's. Many publishers will help their authors, or even submit the permissions requests for them, but the key element of "responsibility" is that you'll be expected to pay any fees the sources require. (The publisher is sometimes willing to take that money out of your advance, but it's still your money that's paying for it.)

08-18-2008, 05:05 AM
Citing sources sounds okay to me! (On the other hand: what Maryn said.) If you want any input from someone who gets kids into college for a living, then let me know! I send kids to great places every year. (I don't want to brag, cough, cough, but they get into really great places.)

Your publisher will sort it out.

08-18-2008, 05:13 AM
With so many different opinions don't you think the best thing to do is get the advice of an intellectual rights attorney?