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I'm writing a book and I need information about copyright.

Would it be considered fraud if I were to name and quote the source from which I got a scientific idea? The source is another book that I didn't write.

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No ... In fact, it would only be plagiarism if you did NOT give the other person credit.

Though scientific discoveries are a "gray area" ... you can use a scientific idea in a fiction book, without giving credit to the scientist or any publication.

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No as long as you cite the person that said it and the book it's from then it's not fraud.

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If you put the scientific idea into your own words, it's not a copyright violation. Also if you cite the source, that would not be plagiarism.

Even if you directly quote the book, as long as it's not a significant part of the book, it could be fine under fair use.

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What's considered a significant part and what's considered fair use?
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Fair Use according to the US Copyright office. http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html

Basically if you quote enough to the point that people can read your stuff instead of the book, you'll looking at a copyright violation. If you quote just a sentence or line, maybe even a paragraph, from the book, the odds are it would not violate copyright.
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Thanks, Bubalu!
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