We need to develop our copyright skills to understand what we can and can't use. It is very easy to make the mistake of using someone else's words without having permission or properly giving credit to the author.
Copyright laws do not cover everything. The following are categories of things not protected:
- Ideas, procedures, methods, systems, processes, concepts, principles, discoveries, or devices, (but written or recorded descriptions, explanations, or illustrations of such things are protected copyright);
- Titles, names, short phrases, and slogans; mere listings of ingredients or contents (but some titles and words might be protected under trademark law if their use is associated with a particular product or service);
- Works that are not fixed in a tangible form of expression, such as an improvised speech or performance that is not written down or otherwise recorded;
- Works consisting entirely of information that is commonly available and contains no originality (for example, standard calendars, standard measures and rulers, lists or tables compiled from public documents or other common sources); and
- Works by the US government.
This is a link to the University of Arkansas for medical science that was created by a librarian, Jan Hart. It is very educational. http://www.library.uams.edu/policy/copyright/index.html