Netiquette Banner Netiquette, by Virginia Shea, page 138

Q. I've found a FAQ that covers a lot of the territory I'm writing about in this article. Can I use it?

You can certainly refer to the FAQ, cite facts from it, and quote it within reason. But you can't legally reproduce large parts of it without the author's permission. After all, the author may want to publish it himself or herself one day. Unfortunately, the legal limit on how large a part you can use is set only by the ill-defined doctrine of fair use. So you just have to use your best judgment.

Q. This FAQ is so great, I want to pass it on to my mom. Is that OK?

Yes, that's fine. FAQs are posted for everyone to use. But be sure to include the copyright notice in any copies you spread around, either on paper or electronically. (Endnote #38)

Q. In my research, I discovered that the FAQ contains some errors. Can I correct them in the copy I'm sending my mom?

No. It's very bad Netiquette to modify another person's work. Email a polite note to the author of the FAQ explaining the error you found. Chances are that if you're correct, the author will want to use your information. You can send a separate note to your mom, as well.

Q. I just got a scanner, and I want to give something back to the cyberspace community. Is it OK if I scan cartoons out of the New Yorker and upload them for others to enjoy?

No, no, no! Your desire to share is commendable. But either the New Yorker or the original artist owns the copyright to those cartoons, and whichever one of them owns it probably plans to keep it.


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