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WriteRead
06-27-2005, 11:04 PM
I want to use a piece of something which I found on the Internet.

The piece in q was an endless string of Forwardings. Following the list, I reached the first one in line and I PM'ed the person, asking him if he was the source of this piece, and if not, can he direct me to it, or down the line.

The msg wasn't even acknowledged.

Q - Can I use it anyhow? If not, can I use it thru a change in language?

Pls, answer the two q's, if possible.

Thanks,

Dan

Aconite
06-28-2005, 07:18 PM
No, you cannot use it. You don't have permission. Absence of a "no" does not equal a "yes."

As for using it if you change the language, that depends on so many different things that I'm not going to touch it. You'd have to ask a lawyer about your specific case, and you can't do that in a public forum.

WriteRead
06-28-2005, 08:06 PM
You're right, aconite. The absence of a "no" doesn't imply a "yes".

Dan

ideagirl
07-01-2005, 09:11 PM
Try doing a google search on part of the text. Just find a distinctive sentence and type it into google. This might help you track down other copies of the article on the web, which might help you find the source.

Legally speaking you can't use it by changing the words, but if you change it enough to make it hard to recognize, the author would probably have a pretty hard time suing you...

Aconite
07-01-2005, 09:27 PM
Legally speaking you can't use it by changing the words, but if you change it enough to make it hard to recognize, the author would probably have a pretty hard time suing you...
ideagirl, are you actually suggesting a writer illegally use someone else's intellectual property and just avoid being prosecuted for it? Because that's sleazy. Would you want someone to do that to your work?

ideagirl
07-02-2005, 01:20 AM
ideagirl, are you actually suggesting a writer illegally use someone else's intellectual property and just avoid being prosecuted for it? Because that's sleazy. Would you want someone to do that to your work?

I guess that did sound kind of sleazy, phrased that way. What I was trying to convey was that it is sometimes completely impossible to trace something back to its author when you found the thing on the internet. A lot of times, something on the web is the much-mangled end result of something else: person A might post something on a forum, then person B copies it into an email, rewrites it a little and forwards it to their friends, then one of their friends messes with it some more and posts it somewhere else, etc.... so by the time you get it, it's quite different than the thing that was originally posted, impossible to trace back.

So if googling it and trying again to contact the person who sent it lead the guy nowhere, if it is impossible to find the source but the material is so important to what he (she?) is writing that some form of it is really necessary, then it may be worth rewriting it to the point that it's basically unrecognizable. That may take it out of the realm of copyright--given that copyrights protect the expression of an idea, but not the idea itself (for a stupid example, you can't copyright the entire concept of napalm-breathing dragons from Mars, but you can copyright your particular story about a napalm-breathing dragon from Mars).

I dunno, maybe this still sounds sleazy, and in any case I wouldn't suggest it unless it was impossible to trace back AND the thing was somehow so crucial to what the person is writing that it HAS to be used. That's pretty unlikely, though. Most likely, all they need is one or two of the ideas in it... and that wouldn't raise a copyright issue. (It would still raise a plagiarism issue, but not a copyright issue; the plagiarism issue could be fixed by simply acknowledging that the ideas were not his/her own, but came from an anonymous posting on the internet).

Aconite
07-02-2005, 01:25 AM
Okay, that explanation sounds a little better. I'd still point out that no matter how much you may want to use the material -- even if it's perfect for what you need -- you may not be able to do it legally, and in that case, you simply have to accept that as bad fortune.

WriteRead
07-11-2005, 04:41 AM
Okay, suppose I mention that it's from an anonymous Internet source, it'll have the go?

PS - Sorry for not acknowledgeing your posts, people, but I just forgot all about it. Thank you for them.
Dan