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View Full Version : Is there copyright on personal revelations posted on message boards



Talia
01-18-2007, 03:30 AM
A friend mentioned to me that she composed a short story based around revelations in a message board. In her case the story was fiction and she was of the opinion that it was in the public domain so she could use it. I think that's probably fair.

However I was wondering what would happen if you quoted snippets from message boards, or blog comments in an article or book.

So for example if I read


"Growing up, the mentality in our household was if food is on your plate, you finish it."

what would be the legal issues of me quoting this in an article or book, and using the writer's first name?

I'm talking about using short quotes that would come within the fair use copyright guidelines...

Dawno
01-18-2007, 03:33 AM
Public Domain is a different thing, btw, than what you're asking about. A writers words, even on a message board, are his own. You need to get permission to use them. I've seen a number of posts about fair use, etc., but I think, bottom line, if you're going to profit from the use of someone elses work that has not fallen from copyright and is legally in the public domain, you should get their permission.

I hope that someone more expert at this topic will chime in (Oh Medievalist, where ya be??) and provide more exact info.

LloydBrown
01-18-2007, 03:43 AM
Here's how you can tell if something is in the public domain: it has "I place this work in the public domain" on it. Not much on the Internet will be entering the public domain by expiration of copyright for about 60 years or longer.

Read www.copyright.gov (http://www.copyright.gov) and http://www.templetons.com/brad/copymyths.html

Medievalist
01-18-2007, 04:08 AM
what would be the legal issues of me quoting this in an article or book, and using the writer's first name?

I'm talking about using short quotes that would come within the fair use copyright guidelines...[/SIZE]

It's definitely unethical. I'd get permission from the poster; people almost always say yes, and the publisher will expect it.

Judg
01-18-2007, 08:08 AM
A lot of message boards claim the copyright for everything posted on them. Maybe this one too. (No, I don't read the legalese when I sign up either. Some day this will come back and bite me.)

Talia
01-19-2007, 03:21 AM
Thanks everyone.

This has been an interesting question. I guess her situation is different because she wove the facts into a story (not sure if she quoted exact words).

I sometimes see people post things in messageboards or blog comments that I think, hmmm that would be a useful quote for my book so where I can trace the person I will email them. I plan to get most of my comments from interviews, however I think I will compose a standard email for anyone I see making relevant comments.