I read a book that answers one of my questions, and I would like to quote it as an answer. Is that illegal?


  • 2
    In any question where you ask about the legality of anything you should probably include your location in the question otherwise people reading your question might make incorrect assumptions.
    – ho1
    Sep 15, 2010 at 17:34
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    @ho: ..Which leads to another question: Am I accountable for my content or is SO accountable for it?
    – Oren A
    Sep 15, 2010 at 22:59

2 Answers 2


See this article on Fair Use, which describes the ways copyrighted materials can be freely used without infringing.

The line between fair use and copyright infringement is a fuzzy one but, in general, if the amount of copied text is small, and you cite the original author, it shouldn't be a problem.

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    The Wikipedia entry goes into detail on Fair Use in the US, says that Israel is the only other country with a fully developed legal concept of Fair Use, and gives quick summaries of the law in France, Israel, and South Korea. It seems likely that Oren A is in an English-speaking country, but that doesn't mean one under US law. Sep 15, 2010 at 20:03
  • @David: Thanks for the compliment on my English skills, but as you can see at my profile, I'm actually from Israel.
    – Oren A
    Sep 15, 2010 at 23:39

IANAL, but generally speaking and in most countries, quoting a few paragraphs from a book constitutes fair use as long as you provide a citation.

Reproducing several pages or an entire chapter would be outside the bounds of fair use.

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