Hello. Thank you for coming to JustAnswer. I am Thoreau and I am sending this answer to you only a few minutes after you asked your question.
I'm sorry to hear about the situation. A copyright applies to the entire body of work as well as each portion within it. Using a substantial portion of another person's copyrighted work can constitute infringement. However, there is a doctrine called "fair use
" that allows reasonable use of a portion of an individual's copyrighted work, and that could potentially provide a defense if you are sued, depending on the extent and nature of the use. To quote the US Copyright Office: "Under the fair use
doctrine of the U.S. copyright statute, it is permissible to use limited portions of a work including quotes, for purposes such as commentary, criticism, news reporting, and scholarly reports. There are no legal rules permitting the use of a specific number of words, a certain number of musical notes, or percentage of a work. Whether a particular use qualifies as fair use depends on all the circumstances. See FL 102
, Fair Use, and Circular 21
, Reproductions of Copyrighted Works by Educators and Librarians
Again, I am sorry to hear about the situation and I hope that it can be resolved without further incident. Please remember that my job here is to provide accurate information about the law. Providing bad news is the hardest part of doing my job but it's a big part of doing my job well. If you feel that the law is wrong or unfair, I'd strongly encourage you to contact your legislators, as they are the only ones who can change it.