Manteca, CA asked in Copyright for California

Q: Is it necessary to ask permission first before I use facts that I learned from websites, books, or videos?

I'm making a website on animals. Each page will have basic information and facts about a particular animal. Obviously, to write about them, I need to learn about them first! So if I go and learn about them from other websites, books, or videos, can I write about what I learn without mentioning the sources, or is it necessary to ask permission first?

For example, if I learn that giraffes can run up to 35 mph, their lifespan is about 25 years, and that they only need 2 hours of sleep a day, do basic/common facts like these require permission to use?

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2 Lawyer Answers
Floyd Edwin Ivey
Floyd Edwin Ivey
Answered
  • Intellectual Property Lawyer
  • Kennewick, WA

A: If you are copying from a work of Authorship, e.g., a book chapter, then you must have permission unless your use is for "criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use) scholarship or research" where each of these are excluded from infringement by statute.

See an attorney familiar with Copyright Law.

Steve Charles Vondran
Steve Charles Vondran
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Intellectual Property Lawyer
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Facts cannot be copyrighted, they are free for the world to use so we can learn and teach each other new things. Generally speaking, what I would do is read up as much as I can on facts about each animal, and then try to put it in MY OWN WORDS (cut and paste can be seen as plagiarism), and tell the facts in a creative way. If you are still concerned, discuss with a copyright attorney. Best of luck!

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