Quoting external sources

I’ve noticed that moderators delete posts that contained entire copywrited articles and such. On the other hand, it’s pretty standard procedure to quote from a reference text on occasion (when one is backing up one’s argument, for example). What are the SDMB guidelines regarding quoted material? Can I quote a source as long as I give a reference? Is there a limit to the amount of text I can quote?

Generally, it’s the same rules you would follow if you were writing a paper, the laws of copyright. Generally speaking (he hedged), you may quote small selections (a sentence, a paragraph) from a source if you reference that source. You may also paraphrase a source, and reference that source. You may not quote “too much” – like, frinstance, a whole article.

It is also NOT OK to quote from something where you are making a profit. So, for instance, if you wrote a book that you were going to sell and you wanted to quote Cecil, you’d need to get permission.

So, bottom line, if you want to cite a line from an encyclopedia, that’s fine. If you cut and paste the whole article, we gonna shut it down.

These are basically the same rules that we want applied to ourselves. If some college newspaper in Texas (to pick a random example) wants to quote a few lines from Cecil or Staff Reports and mentions the reference, that’s fine. If someone takes a whole article, it’s plagiarism if he doesn’t mention us as the source, and it’s copyright infringement if he does.


Gotcha. Thanks.