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Question
Is all information on the internet "public domain"?  May I quote information from websites without having prior written permission from the author? I not looking of pass their work off as my own. I am willing to give credit to my sources.          Thank you, Bookworm

Answer
Dear Bookworm,
Thank you for your letter. You can quote information as long as you attribute it to the source. So you might say:
In his report on important scientific trivia, Dr. X said, "Bla bla bla bla bla and bla bla."
Then in your end notes mention where your readers can find the quote. You can use up to several paragraphs like this and you don't need to seek permission.
You can also paraphrase, like you could say:
Leading scientists believe that bla bla etc.
Everything that's in print (paper or cyberspace) is copyrighted, unless the copyright has expired. There was recently a court battle to extend the copyright laws and the big corporations won. So Mickey Mouse's copyright remains in effect for at least another 25 years.
Generally, anything over 100 years old is in the public domain. So you could publish Mark Twain's books, Longfellow's poems, or the stories of Edgar Allen Poe. However, you could not say that those were your words.
I hope this helps.
Sincerely,
Nori

P.S. Here is my page for writers: http://steamboats.com/writing.html

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