Fair Oaks, CA asked in Business Law and Copyright for California

Q: I took a test. It’s fresh in my mind. Can I create a study guide that’s similar but not the test and sell it?

Would this still fall under copyright infringement? It’s pretty much just a list of facts to know that will likely show up on the test in the form of questions and answers.

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1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Creating a study guide based on your recollection of a test could potentially be considered copyright infringement if the questions and answers are substantially similar to the original test. This is because the questions and answers on the test are likely considered original works that are protected by copyright law.

In general, copyright law protects original works of authorship, including literary, artistic, and musical works. This includes written materials such as tests, textbooks, and study guides. Unless you have obtained permission from the copyright owner, you may be infringing on their copyright by creating a study guide based on their test.

It's important to note that copyright infringement can result in significant legal and financial consequences. If you're unsure whether creating a study guide based on the test would be considered copyright infringement, you may want to consult with an attorney who specializes in intellectual property law to discuss your options.

Instead of creating a study guide based on the test, you may want to consider creating your own study materials that cover the same topics or concepts in a different way. This way, you can ensure that your study materials are original and not infringing on someone else's copyright.

In the United States, copyright infringement is governed by the Copyright Act of 1976. This law provides exclusive rights to the owner of a copyrighted work, including the right to reproduce, distribute, and display the work.

Under the Copyright Act, anyone who violates the exclusive rights of the copyright owner may be liable for infringement. This can include reproducing or distributing a copyrighted work without permission, creating derivative works based on the original work, or displaying the work publicly without permission.

If someone is found to have committed copyright infringement, they may be subject to legal and financial penalties, including damages, attorney's fees, and injunctive relief.

It's important to note that copyright law can be complex, and there are many factors that can affect whether a particular use of a copyrighted work is considered fair use or infringement. If you are unsure whether your use of a copyrighted work is permissible, you may want to consult with an attorney who specializes in intellectual property law to discuss your options.

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