Can my company copy a ‘Rules’ document from another site?

Can my business copy a Rules document from a similar business and then edit it to meet our business requirement, we can’t create one from scratch so were wondering if this would be alright. It would be remade specifics changed and dates and names.

Asked on August 30, 2016 under Business Law, North Carolina


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

No, you may not. Any original written work--like the Rules document--is copyrighted; there's not even any need to apply for or register copyright (though doing so enhances the protection), since the very act of creating a new written work gives the creator (or the company he/she is working for at the time) copyright. Copyright includes the right to control adaptations or derivations ofthe work; that is, you cannot use the copyrighted material as the basis for your own document without the permission of the copyright holder, even if you change specifics such as dates, names, etc. Copying and adapting the other business's Rules document would be a breach of copyright; if the become aware of what you have done, they could sue you.

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