Re: Quoting copyrighted material in a tech manual?

Subject: Re: Quoting copyrighted material in a tech manual?
From: Lauren <lauren -at- writeco -dot- net>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Tue, 17 Jun 2014 15:10:27 -0700

On 6/17/2014 7:51 AM, Tony Chung wrote:

On Tuesday, June 17, 2014, Dan Goldstein <DGoldstein -at- cytomedix -dot- com> wrote:
[TECHWR-L conundrum #237: Nobody on TECHR-L is a lawyer; nearly everybody
on TECHWR-L is willing to offer legal advice.]
Technically, Lauren is a lawyer (state of California) but companies should
have legal counsel who can address this.

I'm not a licensed attorney. I have a law degree. There was at least one technical writer on this list who did become an attorney in another state. I have some funding issues concerning bar review and other things before I can get a license.

I doubt any lawyer would admit to being one on this list because of the requests for "pro bono" help that would arise.

Regarding copyrighted material, quotes of one sentence or two or summaries with proper attribution are generally permitted.

If an entire passage must be quoted, then leave out the quote and refer the reader to work that will provide necessary information. Like saying, "refer to IEEE Citation Reference for how to format citations."
http://www.ieee.org/documents/ieeecitationref.pdf

IEEE uses CMOS which states, "Ethics, copyright laws, and courtesy to readers require authors to identify the sources of direct quotations and of any facts or opinions not generally known or easily checked."
Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, p. 594.
http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/instruct/guides/citations.html

There is a bigger question here in why excerpts from a scientific book would be preferred over synthesis of subject matter and written for the reader to understand. A technical writer's job is to synthesize complex information and write for a specific audience but not to refer readers to other works as a librarian would.

Lauren



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References:
Quoting copyrighted material in a tech manual?: From: Jim Witkin
RE: Quoting copyrighted material in a tech manual?: From: Dan Goldstein
Re: Quoting copyrighted material in a tech manual?: From: Tony Chung

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