Credit Where Credit is Due
April 14, 2007 3:12 PM   Subscribe

I'm considering a web project that would be a day-by-day chronicle of a historical period. My primary sources would be 2-3 books that are day-by-day accounts of the period. Can I use the facts from the books if I use my own words? I would list the books as references on the site.
posted by kirkaracha to Writing & Language (10 answers total)
Sounds to me that what you're doing is called "research", and should be completely okay, although stating your original source material in a bibliography on the site somewhere would probably be the proper thing to do.
posted by Jimbob at 3:24 PM on April 14, 2007

extensive quoting of text can be considered an example of copyright infringement, even if quotations marks are used - or if the original text is paraphrased.

even in the spirit of academic "fair use", it appears that more brazen forms of copying from books - say in a xeroxed coursepack, or access to online copies - is also not allowed.
posted by phaedon at 3:25 PM on April 14, 2007

(Oh, and obviously referencing direct quotes etc. if you choose to use them.)
posted by Jimbob at 3:25 PM on April 14, 2007

Can I use the facts from the books if I use my own words?

posted by Mr. Gunn at 4:38 PM on April 14, 2007

Yes. If you are using your own words, you don't even need to list your sources, although it's certainly good manners to do so.
posted by ikkyu2 at 5:17 PM on April 14, 2007

What everyone else said.

If it's possible to supplement the information with some interviews or other original research, that may make your site more interesting.
posted by roll truck roll at 6:06 PM on April 14, 2007

Also, if the historical books are pre-1923, they're fair game. But you probably already knew that.
posted by Alt F4 at 6:38 PM on April 14, 2007

Re: Alt F4, the books may not be under copyright, but the reason you cite is not because you are using copyrighted material from another source, but because you are using ideas from the other source. The "crime" you commit by not citing is plagiarism, not copyright infringement.
posted by jbb7 at 6:59 PM on April 14, 2007

"M. smith, Holder of my bond of term of servitude heere in the New England of Maffachuffetts, fed to me and hith other sthervants and all thofe endentured unto him once again this week Lobfter four tiemes. Prithee iF thee getseth these letters comme thee not to thesef shorres! They sucketh ath.
posted by longsleeves at 10:26 PM on April 14, 2007

jbb7 - right. But he said in his question that he'd be "list[ing] the books as references on the site." So the citation's covered. I was simply addressing his concern about fair use.
posted by Alt F4 at 1:14 PM on April 16, 2007

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