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talkwrite
11-08-2007, 01:48 AM
I want to include less than 10 definitions from a legal dictionary I own, in a terminology exercise on my website.I will add a link to the publishers website and name the book as my reference. I am not making any money off this. The dictionary publisher tells me that there is a fee they charge to be cited.
Is this standard?
The other publishers of books used in reference were grateful for the promotion of their books.

job
11-08-2007, 04:37 AM
Under US Copyright law, everyone has the right to 'Fair Use' of a copyright work.

If you are making no money from your site,
and the matter quoted is a small portion of the total copyright work,
and the quote is for educational or review purposes,

it sounds to me as if you are well within 'Fair Use'.

Basic def of Fair Use here (http://fairuse.stanford.edu/) and here (http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html)

ResearchGuy
11-08-2007, 07:45 PM
I want to include less than 10 definitions from a legal dictionary I own, in a terminology exercise on my website. . . The dictionary publisher tells me that there is a fee they charge to be cited.
Is this standard?. . . .

The fee is not for being cited, but for quotation of the copyrighted matter. It is their copyright and their requirement. I am guessing that you are probably referring to Black's Law Dictionary. I would not be surprised if the publisher jealously guards that. I would recommend that you honor their requirements. They have put you on notice.

Recommendation: do a thorough search of reference books and other sources (periodical articles, Web pages) for definitions of the terms. Find several sources for each. Then write your own definition of each, drawing from the whole array, in your own words or using words that are common to many sources. Do not quote or cite any one specific source.

--Ken

Maryn
11-08-2007, 08:56 PM
Mr. Maryn works for the publishers of Black's Law Dictionary (and a slew of other legal reference works). They're quite zealous about copyright infringement. If that is indeed the book you wished to quote from, I'd recommend reconsidering.

Fair use is limited to purposes of commentary and criticism, per these guys (http://fairuse.stanford.edu/Copyright_and_Fair_Use_Overview/chapter9/index.html), who ought to know. There are exceptions made for academic purposes in classes taught within an accredited educational institution.

However, a person's website where Black's Law is being quoted because it's the gold standard in legal definitions is not critique, commentary, or authorized academic use. I agree with ResearchGuy: you've been warned. Either pay for the use or expect a lawsuit.

(Legal publishers have scads of attorneys on payroll...)

Maryn, hoping this is helpful

Tish Davidson
11-08-2007, 10:14 PM
Under US Copyright law, everyone has the right to 'Fair Use' of a copyright work.

If you are making no money from your site,
and the matter quoted is a small portion of the total copyright work,
and the quote is for educational or review purposes,

it sounds to me as if you are well within 'Fair Use'.

Basic def of Fair Use here (http://fairuse.stanford.edu/) and here (http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html)


Fair use has nothing to do with whether you are making any money from quoting copyrighted material. This seems to be a common misconception. Educational use does not extend to an individual's website.

talkwrite
11-09-2007, 01:08 AM
Thanks all.
Actually, I was going to cite Barron's Law Dictionary and post a link to their website and book. I did ask permission and they responded referencing a totally different book and without including my message.
That red flag and your responses helped me move to a completely different publisher who was happy for the promotion of their book. Plus I can reword the exercises and avoid the whole problem.
I do understand and respect copyright laws - they are a good thing.
Thanks for all the insight and expertise!

job
11-09-2007, 02:09 AM
Fair use has nothing to do with whether you are making any money from quoting copyrighted material. This seems to be a common misconception.


From the Library of Congress Copyright Office info page here (http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html)...

"Section 107 also sets out four factors to be considered in determining whether or not a particular use is fair:

the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;"

Section 107 -- that's what's being quoted above -- is the key section in the law defining Fair Use.

I do not say that a non-commercial use is necessarily 'Fair Use' ...
but the commercial or non-commercial nature of use is a factor in determining whether the particular use is 'Fair Use'. This isn't a common misconception.




Educational use does not extend to an individual's website.

Ummm ... why not?

There are hundreds of thousands of websites, individual and institutional, whose purpose is wholly critical, commentary or educational.

I know of no reason why electronic format, as such, should affect the 'Fair Use' provisions of the law or keep the matter posted from being 'educational' in intent.

As a simple example ... would you argue that literary critics cannot quote from copyright works because they are speaking on their 'individual websites'?

job
11-09-2007, 02:12 AM
Thanks all.
Actually, I was going to cite Barron's Law Dictionary and post a link to their website and book. I did ask permission and they responded referencing a totally different book and without including my message.
That red flag and your responses helped me move to a completely different publisher who was happy for the promotion of their book.

What a happy solution.

I hope you generate dozens of sales for the cooperating text.

I was pretty sure you did understand the copyright situation, since you were so meticulous in seeking permission. I just posted on the off-chance.

KCH
11-09-2007, 08:39 PM
Great that you've resolved the issue. Just want to point out for others who might wrestle with a similar problem in the future...

"Fair use" is a defense against claims of infringement in a court of law, not an absolute right. The burden of proof for Fair Use is on the alleged infringer, not the copyright holder. No one aspect of the 4-factor considerations in section 107 carries more weight than the others in a court of law, except in determining damages for awarding judgment.

In a practical sense, whether one feels justified in claiming fair use of material has to be balanced against the costs of attorneys. If, in the end, you prevail but lose your house, it's rather a Phyrric victory.

talkwrite
11-09-2007, 08:48 PM
What a happy solution.

I hope you generate dozens of sales for the cooperating text.

I was pretty sure you did understand the copyright situation, since you were so meticulous in seeking permission. I just posted on the off-chance.
I was just a bit thrown by Barron's lack of desire to cooperate and I wondered if I had misunderstood. Your explanation made it clear to me that any interpretation of citation without permission can open the doors to problems. So, thank you.
I also am a series editor (acquisitions and content) and know the value of the integrity of a book- and as a published writer I know the sting of someone capitalizing off of your work without either permission or paying a fee. That is why I offered the dictionary publisher the benefit of my using the text as the source of answers in the exercises and posting a link for people to buy it for themselves. Apparently publishers are most accustomed to people trying to rip them off rather than cooperate.
And the cooperating publisher told me it would boost their status with Google.
Fairy tale ending.

ResearchGuy
11-09-2007, 09:28 PM
. . . any interpretation of citation without permission . . . Apparently publishers are most accustomed to people trying to rip them off rather than cooperate. . . .
Couple of comments:

1. Again, citation is NOT the same thing as quotation. You wanted to quote, not merely to cite.

2. The risk from the publisher's point of view, esp. with respect to a specialty reference book, is that piecemeal a large part of the entire book could be made available free on the Web, a dozen definitions here, a couple dozen there, another dozen in another place, and so on. From their point of view, your interpretation of "cooperation" means free use of copyrighted material with significant commercial value. Yes, a rip-off. (Some publishers might be comfortable with granting permission to quote specified passages with credit AND with inclusion of explicit notice that the material is quoted by permission of the publisher, say, Whosis & Jones Publishing Co. That would put everyone else on notice that the material is copyrighted and to be used only by prior permission.)

3. I stand by my previous advice as to how to entirely eliminate any potential infringment (although if another publisher was willing to grant free use of their material and you are taking them up on the offer, then everyone should be happy).

--Ken

job
11-10-2007, 03:06 AM
2. The risk from the publisher's point of view, esp. with respect to a specialty reference book, is that piecemeal a large part of the entire book could be made available free on the Web

I hadn't seen this from the publishers point of view. You're certainly right.

Avoiding the problem, as you say, is the best solution. Best not to poke a stick down holes with lawyers at the bottom. What's the quote about not tangling with wizards because they are powerful and quick to anger ...?

LloydBrown
11-12-2007, 07:16 PM
What's the quote about not tangling with wizards because they are powerful and quick to anger ...?

"Do not meddle in the affairs of wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger."

Medievalist
11-12-2007, 07:21 PM
Under US Copyright law, everyone has the right to 'Fair Use' of a copyright work.

If you are making no money from your site,
and the matter quoted is a small portion of the total copyright work,
and the quote is for educational or review purposes,

it sounds to me as if you are well within 'Fair Use'.

Basic def of Fair Use here (http://fairuse.stanford.edu/) and here (http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html)

Fair Use is decided by a judge and jury; don't play if you can't afford to pay an attorney.

Medievalist
11-12-2007, 07:24 PM
I know of no reason why electronic format, as such, should affect the 'Fair Use' provisions of the law or keep the matter posted from being 'educational' in intent.

Here's one; it's covered by a different set of laws, the DMCA which covers digital rights.

talkwrite
11-12-2007, 08:55 PM
Research Guy et al;
Please forgive my misuse of citation V quoting, you are so right. Two of the authors who write for my series are lawyers and I work with lawyers so I never feared treading across judicial barbed wire...
As I have resolved this issue easily enough, I am glad to see this discussion going forward. I will say this- non fiction publishers benefit from their books being cited- especially as reference material, naturally with appropriate permissions secured.