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Writing Books/Collecting information for a book

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Question
I am planning on writing a short book that is actually a collection of unique things or sayings in our culture today.  Think along the lines of the book collection by H. Jackson Brown, with a slight twist.  To collect additional material, I would like to start a website and/or blog where people solicit items that they think would or should be included.  My question is, does each person submitting something that is used need to be cited?  I'm not looking to take somebody's personal work or property.  These submissions would be quotes or descriptions that are not necessarily credited to one person.  Sorry if I'm being vague.

Answer
Hello Steve:

As I understand your question, you have a concern about plagiarism. Whether each contribution would have to be cited (with the submitter's name, I assume you mean), I do not know. You can go to http://www.copyright.gov/ (You will have to cut and paste as this site does not support hyperlinks) to read up on the law if you like.

Generally, I can say this: you may put on your site a statement such as:

"By contributing to this (project/book, whatever) contributer grants (author or author's name) all rights to subject material."

You can put this on the page where they will type their contribution. You might also list the contributors on a separate page. I suggest this because I have often seen such statements on websites before, but only an attorney can tell you whether this will protect you sufficiently.

As you say, chances are that 90% of what is submitted will have been passed around the culture for years anyway, but no one can guarantee that.

Here are some other sites you might want to look at:

http://www.gardendigest.com/cliche.htm

http://www.corsinet.com/braincandy/proverb.html

http://www.quotegarden.com/writing.html

I hope this helps. If it does, a nice rating would be greatly appreciated. I am proud of my high score over 1,000 questions.

And good luck with your writing!

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Susan Rand

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I can answer questions about the elements of fiction and non-fiction writing: how to get started, writing techniques, re-writing, etc. I will NOT write for you, do critiques except from my website at http://pygmypress.com, or give you ideas. I will not answer home-or-schoolwork questions in any category. If English is your second language, please say so, and I will make an exception. Please submit no more than one or two questions at once, as I tend to go into detail in my answers.

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I wrote my first book in 1957 and have been writing and studying writing since. I have a BA in Written Communications, and have taught writing both privately and through adult education for 15 years. Have also edited (fiction books) for an online publisher and edited/wrote more than 100 articles for a teen sex education site. Currently writing web content and mentoring beginning writers.

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BA degree in Written Communication

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