Posts Tagged With: Chicago Manual of Style

ARTICLE: Plagiarism, Copyright, & Fair Use Irene Watson @BLOGGINGAUTHORS #mwn

Expert Author Irene Watson

You love a poem you saw on the Internet and want to quote it in your book. But is that plagiarism? You want to quote a passage in a book but you’re not sure whether you need to ask permission or not. What counts as fair use and when do you need permission to use a copyrighted work?

All the time I see people stealing from other people on the Internet by reposting their articles, stories, or photographs. Before you post anyone else’s information on your website or use it in your book, you need to get permission. Yes, there are such things as public domain and fair use, but it’s always best to be safe regardless. Before you decide to use something that belongs to someone else and risk angering that person and facing a potential lawsuit, ask yourself a few questions:

1. Do I really need this piece of information, poem, cartoon, or whatever it is? Will my book or website be okay without it?
2. Is this item in the public domain?
3. If it’s not in the public domain, can I use part of it under the fair use laws?
4. Can I rewrite or reword the work and then reprint it?
5. Is giving credit enough?

Let’s look at each of these questions in detail.

Do I really need this piece of information? Will my book or website be okay without it?

I can almost guarantee that in every situation the information, document, poem, cartoon, or whatever it is, is something you can do without. Why use someone else’s property to illustrate your own? Hire your own cartoonist, artist, or write your own poem. If you can’t do that, then look for one in the public domain. If you, however, absolutely want to include something that is copyrighted, then be prepared to pay for it. You will need to contact the owner or his or her heir for permission, and you will doubtless have to sign some sort of document promising you will only use it as you are given permission to do so. You will also usually have to pay to use it, especially if it is for commercial purposes, such as in a book you plan to sell, and you’ll usually pay dear for it-in the hundreds of dollars or more is not uncommon. At that price, do you really need to include it in your book or on your website?

Is this item in the public domain?

Just what constitutes public domain? It varies by country and by the kind of work it is. Today for authors, copyright in the United States is for life plus 70 years, so if I were to die tomorrow, it being the year 2012, anything I write would be copyrighted until 2082. However, copyright laws were less stringent in the past so some works may have shorter copyrights that have expired. As a rule, if an author or artist has been dead since 1941 or earlier, you’re probably safe, but it still never hurts to investigate. Furthermore, while an old work like “Don Quixote” may be in the public domain, that doesn’t mean a modern translation of it is.

What counts as fair use?

If a work is not in the public domain, a lot of the time you can still use a small part of it if appropriate, such as a quote or passage, usually not to exceed a page. That said, a short work like a poem cannot be used in its entirety despite its short length because you will be using the whole work, but you might be able to quote a verse or stanza from it. Even so, in such cases it is best to play it safe and ask for permission to quote from the work in your book or on your website. What constitutes fair use depends on many circumstances including: the purpose of its usage, whether it is commercial or charitable, whether the quote is used to promote the work such as in a book review, or whether your use of it will harm sales of someone else’s book because you provide too much information from it.

To go direct to the source, here is what the 1961 Report of the Register of Copyrights on the General Revision of the U.S. Copyright Law cites as examples of fair use:

“quotation of excerpts in a review or criticism for purposes of illustration or comment; quotation of short passages in a scholarly or technical work, for illustration or clarification of the author’s observations; use in a parody of some of the content of the work parodied; summary of an address or article, with brief quotations, in a news report; reproduction by a library of a portion of a work to replace part of a damaged copy; reproduction by a teacher or student of a small part of a work to illustrate a lesson; reproduction of a work in legislative or judicial proceedings or reports; incidental and fortuitous reproduction, in a newsreel or broadcast, of a work located in the scene of an event being reported.” (source: http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html )

There are always fine lines that exist in using someone else’s work. Even if you are sure it falls under fair use laws, if it’s not in the public domain, it’s best to ask for permission to use the work, and if that seems impractical, it is always best to consult an attorney.

Can I rewrite or reword the work and then reprint it?

You may paraphrase a work by giving a summary of a basic idea, provided you give credit to the source, but you may never rewrite someone else’s work and pass it off as your own, or even as theirs when it is rewritten. And even when you paraphrase an idea, it is still someone else’s idea (intellectual property) so you must give credit where it is due.

Is giving credit enough?

No, it’s not enough to give credit. You need permission to reprint as well, unless as noted above, it is in the public domain. You must always give credit to the owner, whether it be an author, publication, artist, another website, etc. It is usually sufficient to state who is the original creator or copyright holder of the work. For a poem, provide the title and the author’s name. For a passage from a book, you can state, “George Smith states in his book ‘My Brilliant Ideas,’ that:” Depending on your own book or website, you may want to consult a style manual for how best to cite a source. “The Chicago Manual of Style” is the preferred style manual to use for most books, although others exist depending on the kind of book you are writing, such as the “Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association” (APA style) or the “Christian Writers Manual of Style.” If you do receive permission to reproduce copyrighted material, make sure you ask the owner how you are to cite that permission to reprint the work.

Always find out if a work is copyrighted and always give credit where it is due. Then you will avoid issues of fair use violation, copyright infringements, and plagiarism that can later come back to haunt you.

Irene Watson is the Managing Editor of Reader Views, http://www.readerviews.com, where avid readers can find reviews of recently published books as well as read interviews with authors. Her team also provides author publicity and a variety of other services specific to writing and publishing books.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Irene_Watson

Categories: Article, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Scheduling Your Book Project via @bloggingauthors

Expert Author Irene Watson

“Where will I ever find the time to write my book?” or simply, “How long does it take to write a book?” is a good question authors often ask themselves. The first-time author may feel overwhelmed just trying to decide where to begin, and even the seasoned author can find beginning each new book to be a challenge.

First of all, let me say that I know hardly any author who has not found that writing a book ends up taking a lot longer than was initially planned, but I also know that few things can leave a person with such a sense of accomplishment as writing a book. However long the writing and production take, it will be worth it if you spend the time being serious about the process, you allow yourself to be inspired, and you produce a quality product in the end.

To make what feels overwhelming seem more manageable, we can break down writing and producing a book into a series of steps that give an idea of the order and time needed for each step in the process.

Come Up with an Idea (a few minutes to a few years): Coming up with a good idea for a book is easier said than done. Usually good ideas just come to us rather than our going out looking for them. But even after you have the idea, you need to refine it. You’ll want to play around with it for several days, weeks, or even months. Look around for books that might have similar ideas. Read them so you can see whether your idea has been done before or you have something new you can say on the topic. Be sure not to steal ideas from other authors; you don’t want to plagiarize, but you can cite other sources in your book.

Research (one month to a few years): Even if you are going to write a novel, you will find aspects of research you will need to do. Sometimes the research is just simple fact-checking. For example, if your novel is set in Atlanta, it might just require double-checking the name of a restaurant or a street for accuracy in your book. If you’re writing a non-fiction book, it might require months of research to assemble your information. In my opinion, research is often the most exciting part of writing the book. It’s when you gather and discover new information, which can cause your idea to expand and change, become stronger and more refined. Let yourself go crazy with the research and read everything on the topic that you can. Take notes and make sure you write down the sources for all your notes-the authors, books, page numbers, etc. Look at some other nonfiction books to see how they are arranged with notes, footnotes, and bibliography pages. You will want to use “The Chicago Manual of Style” or some other style manual to make sure you incorporate your research properly into your book.

Write the Book (weeks to years): According to a study done by the Brenner Information Group, it takes 475 hours to write a fiction book and 725 to write a nonfiction book. Of course, those numbers are averages. It depends on how long you want your book to be, what your topic is, and what your goals are. If you’re writing a long scholarly work, it’s going to take longer than it does to write a thirty-two page children’s book, although both will be time-consuming. I’m sure many of you are thinking, “Where am I going to find 475 hours?” Truthfully, it’s not that hard to find. I’m a firm believer in “steady wins the race.” I frequently tell people that if they just write a page a day, they will have written a book by the end of the year. If you can find just an hour a day, or even half an hour, you can do it. If you can block out two or three hours every Sunday, you can do it. And besides, writing a book is not a race. It’s more important that you take your time and create a quality product than that you rush it.

Revising the Book (days to months): Again, the amount of time needed for revision depends on the book. I should point out that none of the steps in this process to this point have to be done in specific order. You might start writing your book, realize you have to stop and do some research, then go back to writing, then realize you need to do some more research, which could mean finding out something new that causes you to go back and revise what you have already written before you go on to write the next part. It’s a constant back and forth process when you write a book, and you will find yourself revising as you go. You might get frustrated that writing is not really a linear process, but try to enjoy the process anyway and realize that however long it takes, you are getting closer to your goal. The main thing is that once you have a complete rough draft, you sit down and revise the entire book. That means more than proofreading. It means seeing the big picture, making sure the book is organized properly, that the arguments make sense, that the sentences flow, that there are no inconsistencies, and looking for places where you may need to remove something that is irrelevant, or expand something that needs more explanation.

Editing (two weeks to two months): I have editor friends who complain that every author thinks the editor can start working on the book the day the author calls. Editing a book can actually be time-consuming; the editor will usually go through the book several times and send the book back to the author with revision suggestions. It usually takes several weeks to do an editing job, so authors should schedule plenty of time for the editing and for doing more of their own revisions. Don’t put the cart before the horse and plan your book signing for one month after you send the editor the book. Wait until you know the books are being printed. Plan for the worst case scenario-that the editor will discover a lot of work still needs to be done on the book. Call the editor a few weeks before you finish writing the book so he or she knows the book is coming and can plan accordingly so you don’t have to wait weeks for the editor to get to it.

Proofreading (one to two weeks): If you and your editor have done a good job, the proofreader should not take too long on the book, but again, your book is not the only one the proofreader has to proofread so plan to give yourself plenty of time.

Cover Design and Layout (one week to one month): A cover design can take little or a lot of time, depending on whether you have artwork or a photograph you want to use for your cover or you need to hire an artist to create a cover for you. Be thinking about your cover as you work on your book so you’re prepared for this step. As for layout of the book, if you’ve written a short novel with no pictures, the layout person might be able to have it done in a day or two (but again, remember you are not the layout person’s only customer). If your book has a lot of graphics, charts, or photographs, it could be weeks or even months before the layout is done. Remember, you will need to look over the proofs to make sure photographs are in the right places, and there are no typos. However, now is not the time to rewrite sentences or paragraphs. Only minor changes should be made at this point. Anything major should have been caught before the book went to the proofreader, and the layout person is likely to charge you extra for any corrections.

Printing (four to six weeks): Four to six weeks is standard for the printing. You will be sent a paper proof copy (different from the pdf file the layout person previously sent you), and a copy of the cover to look over and approve. Again, any corrections needed will slow down the process and the printer will charge you for changes. The four to six weeks should include the shipment of the books to your door.

Pre-Marketing (four to six weeks): If you haven’t started already, then while the book is at the printer is the time to begin marketing your book. It’s when you can build your website, make up your business cards, brochures, fliers, and arrange for placement in stores and to hold book signings. Be cautious here-if your book is supposed to arrive on March 20th, don’t schedule your book signing for March 21st, only to end up with the books not coming until March 22nd. Plan your book signing for a few weeks after the books arrive so you have time to get them in local stores and to list them at online stores. Then you will feel prepared when the truck with all those books shows up at your door. Make sure you have cleared a place to put all those books!

While writing your book, you will experience hang-ups, frustrations, and moments of triumph, all of which may alter your schedule, but if you plan it out, you should be able to produce a book in the given timeframe above for each step. At the very least, plan for writing and production to take you a year. It will probably take you two. But we all know how fast time passes-so you will have that book in hand before you know it, and then you will feel that all that hard work was well worth it.

Irene Watson is the Managing Editor of Reader Views, where avid readers can find reviews of recently published books as well as read interviews with authors. Her team also provides author publicity and a variety of other services specific to writing and publishing books.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Irene_Watson

Categories: Article, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 12,864 other followers