non fiction book collating

'Is it legal', 'can I do this' type questions and discussions.
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non fiction book collating

Post by curious1 »

I am writing a short nonfiction book about a topic that was in the news media/current affairs a few years ago. There is no other book on the topic and I am therefore gathering most of my information from court documents/judgements, online articles and news media/press articles.

I am collating all of this information into book format ie chronicling several years of events pulling it all together, 'sifting through' a lot of articles/data, 100% using own prose and wording. But I am now concerned about copyright as obviously many of the "facts" of the case are sourced from press articles. I don't feel I am "stealing" anyones work as I have for example taken perhaps only one fact from one specific article. theres no extensive extracting from a single source, BUT most of the individual facts in my book will have came from a widr range of international press sources (and its impossible to know who originally discovered the fact as its been used by dozens of writers) and are widely known in public domain.

Am i covered by fair use?

I did look at but this just seems to relate to businesses copying/distributing articles.

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Post by AndyJ »

Hi curious1
It is worth bearing in mind that facts are not subject to copyright, therefore irrespective of the source, if you are re-telling the story in your own words then there should be very few problems over other people's copyright, even if they are the only source of a particular piece of information.

What you are doing is exactly the reason for section 29 CDPA which permits the limited use of quotations from other people's work within a work of research. Very many works of non-fiction will have been put together on this basis. Where you do need to quote very long passages from another work, then it might be sensible to seek permission on a individual basis (say from a publisher or the author themself). But it sounds as if this will be rare as long as you re-tell the story in your own words.
Advice or comment provided here is not and does not purport to be legal advice as defined by s.12 of Legal Services Act 2007
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