Caveat: This article is mine and mine alone. I the author of this article assure you, the reader, that any of the opinions expressed here are my own and are a result of the way in which my meandering mind interprets a particular situation and/or concept. The views expressed here are solely those of the author in his private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of other martial arts and/or conflict/violence professionals or authors of source materials. It should be quite obvious that the sources I used herein have not approved, endorsed, embraced, friended, liked, tweeted or authorized this article. (Everything I think and write is true, within the limits of my knowledge and understanding.)
Wow, like self-defense I never realized what I thought I knew along with that, “I don’t know what I don’t know” thing I am discovering fast just how much I don’t know in martial arts, self-defense and writing. This post is on writing. Writers already have a good idea on the subject simply because of the title, “Fair Use.”
I made assumptions about how I use materials from the sources I am studying. As I got closer to completing my effort to write a book on martial arts I started to research writing and publishing. Since I do use quotes, etc., from my sources books I realized that at a “minimum” I needed to give them credit but just found out that “may not” be enough.
Like the self-defense world, the world of writing is chock full of stuff that effects how you write especially when you publish. Note that publishing includes blogging and even FaceBool Wall posts. I will use one quote here for what I perceive is nonprofit educational purposes, i.e., mine and the readers who may want to write themselves. The quote is, “Fair Use is an “affirmative defense — the defendant copier has the burden of proof to show that Fair Use applies. Essentially he says, ‘Yes, I copied the work—but I am allowed to because my copying is Fair Use.’” - Excerpted/quoted from “What Every Writer Ought to Know about Fair Use and Copyright by JOEL FRIEDLANDER on FEBRUARY 8, 2010”
When I read the quote, it reminded me of all the quotes in all the books on self-defense where it is painfully and comprehensively explained that self-defense is an “affirmative defense.” Then upon considering all the ways one can find themselves outside the “Self-defense Square” I then realized that this is the same in the “Fair Use” arena. Granted, there is more and I have not researched it enough yet but it does make for a cautious approach to my writing especially if my book is going to be published for money.
What I am saying is that my book is going to take a great deal more time in the editing stage. I have used my references to learn and to pass along that learning in an attempt to educate other like minded folks but I NEED to make sure that I am well within the “Fair Use Square (to borrow a bit from Marc MacYoung’s version of SD Square).
My ultimate goal in writing the book may have been altruistic in nature but the fact that it might infringe on my reference/source authors does not sit well with me. I respect and admire their work and do not want to even hint at some infringement even if they don’t really care because all my efforts are toward “getting it right.” It is a slow learning process but that is what I intend.
The last thing I want to do is break copyright of these most excellent authors but that would include the fair use aspects in writing. I need to study about copyright and fair use then develop a check list to guide me toward creating a book that will, hopefully, provide some guidance to those martial artists out there who, like me, went so long training, practicing and teaching under a cloud of ignorance and misinformation with a strong emphasis toward the self-defense domain.
Stupid is as stupid does says Forrest Gump and like him, I need to not be stupid and not do stupid. In closing I would like to express the following, “If I have written anything that misuse your materials let me know the post/article with your concerns. I will do one of two things, first I will correct the mistake or, second I will remove the post/article completely.
Lessons learned: If you have a desire to write regardless of the venue, i.e., magazine articles, blogging, FB entries, books, etc., you really need to learn about writing completely, fully and as comprehensively as possible, i.e., start with copyright law along with fair use law and requirements so you don’t misuse and misrepresent what you write and what your sources “worked so damn hard and diligently to produce.” My mistake here comes under that misquote I use, “You need to learn what it is you don’t know you don’t know and DON’T MAKE ASSumptions!”
Thanks and have a great day!
Note: I immediately went to the Google images page to find a cool looking graphic to associate with this post then I stopped and asked, "Am I using this under a fair use thing? Is it copyright infringement? Do I need to ask permission? Does the use pass the four rules of fair use? Questions, questions, and more questions. I will use avoidance this instance until I acquire more knowledge on this fluid subject.