Page 1 of 1

Can I reproduce in a book forum material?

Posted: Thu Jul 25, 2019 5:34 pm
by ferguson1951
I am 68 Italian, writing from Genoa (Italy).
Fiscal and bureaucratic procedures run me down because I am more art-oriented and do not handle rational and complicated rules easily.
My problem is this: I had a long argument with some people on a forum which I am unable to say where it was from. Maybe the US.
I would like to reproduce the whole thread in the form of a book and self-publish it with Blurb. Again I cannot tell whether Blurb is American or English.
All this is too confusing for a simple guy like me who has never handled that sort of language in a convenient way.
How should I go about deciding whether I can publish the thread or whether I should give up for fear of copyright infringement?
Appreciate your simple, clear answers.
Thanks a lot and best regards

Re: Can I reproduce in a book forum material?

Posted: Thu Jul 25, 2019 8:11 pm
by AndyJ
Hi ferguson

I will try and keep things as simple as I can.

I will assume that although you want to self-publish your book using a service like Blurb (which is an American company, by the way), you yourself will be in Italy. The place of publication will then be Italy, irrespective of the fact that Blurb is a US company. It doesn't matter what language the book is in, but if it is to be Italian, then this strengthens the fact that publication is in Italy. This will mean that the starting point should be Italian law. If you would like to read what the Italian law says (in Italian) on the subject of copyright then you can find it in this link. However it really isn't necessary to read the law in order to understand a few basic concepts.

Perhaps I should start by saying that you may make a complete copy of the whole of the forum discussion by saving it on your computer so that you can access it even if you are not on the forum at the time. This is just for the purpose of your own private study, and the legal permission for this is derived from Article 69 of the law quoted above.

Next I need to make it clear that you own the copyright in everything that you have written on the forum, so there is no problem with you publishing those postings in your book. However for the same reason, the other people on the forum will own the copyright in what they have written and this means that you may not reproduce their words verbatim (by which I mean using exactly the same words that they wrote), without getting their permission. However your postings will make no sense if you can't include the other postings. You could ask your fellow posters for their permission. That may or may not be granted. Or you may be able to quote small pieces of their postings if this is sufficient to give the context of your replies. The legal exception for this purpose is contained in Article 70 of the Law no. 633 of 22 April 1941
Art. 70. 1. Il riassunto, la citazione o la riproduzione di brani o di parti di opera e la loro comunicazione al pubblico sono liberi se effettuati per uso di critica o di discussione, nei limiti giustificati da tali fini e purche' non costituiscano concorrenza all'utilizzazione economica dell'opera; se effettuati a fini di insegnamento o di ricerca scientifica l'utilizzo deve inoltre avvenire per finalita' illustrative e per fini non commerciali. ((1-bis. E' consentita la libera pubblicazione attraverso la rete internet, a titolo gratuito, di immagini e musiche a bassa risoluzione o degradate, per uso didattico o scientifico e solo nel caso in cui tale utilizzo non sia a scopo di lucro. Con decreto del Ministro per i beni e le attivita' culturali, sentiti il Ministro della pubblica istruzione e il Ministro dell'universita' e della ricerca, previo parere delle Commissioni parlamentari competenti, sono definiti i limiti all'uso didattico o scientifico di cui al presente comma)). 2. Nelle antologie ad uso scolastico la riproduzione non puo' superare la misura determinata dal regolamento, il quale fissa la modalita' per la determinazione dell'equo compenso. 3. Il riassunto, la citazione o la riproduzione debbono essere sempre accompagnati dalla menzione del titolo dell'opera, dei nomi dell'autore, dell'editore e, se si tratti di traduzione, del traduttore, qualora tali indicazioni figurino sull'opera riprodotta.
However as you can see this exception cannot be used where the purpose is commercial, and so unless you want to give your books away for free, this exception is not going to be much help to you. That leaves you with one other option which is to paraphrase the contributions of the other posters in a way that does not use their exact words, but still conveys the same meaning within the overall discussion.

Clearly the best option from your point of view is the first one, that is to say, getting permission from the other contributors. It may be that some contributors will agree and others will not and so you may need to combine the direct quotations which have permission together with paraphrasing for those who refuse permission.

I hope this is helpful. If you would like me to expand on anything, please feel free to come back with more questions.

Re: Can I reproduce in a book forum material?

Posted: Thu Jul 25, 2019 8:31 pm
by ferguson1951
Thanks a lot.
Your explanation was perfectly clear.
On the basis of your explanation I now understand that I should have clarified that I would be publishing the book in the English language (but this does not matter) while I am a resident in Ireland. But I suppose this will not make any difference because Ireland too is a Euopean Union country and I suspect that copyright rules are decided by the EU government and are equal for all EU countries.

Re: Can I reproduce in a book forum material?

Posted: Thu Jul 25, 2019 8:53 pm
by AndyJ
Hi ferguson,

Sorry, I should have clarified both those points. No, the language doesn't matter, and the basic principles are the same where ever you are based within the EU as the overall law is that of the EU, although each member state applies its own nuances. As it happens, Irish copyright law is very similar to the UK's, but that doesn't really alter the need either to get permission from the other contributors or to paraphrase their words. The advantage of operating under Irish copyright law is that the equivalent of Article 70 which I quoted before is much less restrictive. Here's what section 51 of the Irish Copyright Act 2000 says:
51.—(1) Fair dealing with a work for the purposes of criticism or review of that or another work or of a performance of a work shall not infringe any copyright in the work where the criticism or review is accompanied by a sufficient acknowledgement.

(2) Fair dealing with a work (other than a photograph) for the purpose of reporting current events shall not infringe copyright in that work, where the report is accompanied by a sufficient acknowledgement.

(3) In this Part, “sufficient acknowledgement” means an acknowledgement identifying the work concerned by its title or other description and identifying the author unless—
  • (a) in the case of a work which has been lawfully made available to the public, it was so made available anonymously, or

    (b) in the case of a work which has not been made available to the public, it is not possible for a person without previous knowledge of the facts to ascertain the identity of the author of the work by reasonable enquiry.
As the other contributors will not doubt have been using login names or pseudonyms, those will suffice for the purpose of 'sufficient acknowledgement'