Is it possible to copy Multiple choice questions from different sources to make a compiled book without violating copyright laws. If one modify few options, in that case still copyright law violated? For example here is a question

1) Which country to host the 2017 Arctic Energy Summit (AES)? [A] Uruguay [B] Finland [C] Ireland [D] Zambia

Now if one changed it to

1) Which country to host the 2017 Arctic Energy Summit (AES)? [A] Uruguay [B] Finland [C] Ireland [D] USA

Still it is under copyright? Please let me know

  • If you want to avoid problems you should reduce this question (and all such questions) to the essential facts (e.g. "Finland hosted the 2017 Arctic Energy Summit (AES).") and then ask someone else who has not seen the original quiz to transform those facts into multiple choice/matching/etc. quiz questions.
    – Brandin
    Nov 20, 2017 at 17:01

3 Answers 3


Generally, it is normal form to quote sections, and include an attribution to your original source. In this example you don't. So it comes across as if this work is yours, not derived from someone else's effort.

Accepted transformative uses for which attribution is normally not required include:

  1. Review
  2. satire, parody
  3. critique, correction

Having said all that, the Fair Use criteria are generally: the purpose and character of your use. the nature of the copyrighted work. the amount and substantiality of the portion taken, and. the effect of the use upon the potential market.

So are you trying to create a study guide, using other's original material? Are you trying to create a competing publication which might detract from sales of the original work? Are you taking 80% of each question, or are you taking 20% in some and 50% in others?

So to really create a better answer, it is necessary to know more about the nature of your use.


In the case you provided, it comes off as a general question rather than a devious act of plagiarism that should be punished. I'm no master lawyer, especially when it comes to the grey area of copyrights, trademarks, and patents, but I do know that for the purpose of education, copyright law is excused. If you intended to publish a large compilation of questions I don't know what would happen exactly, but it wouldn't hurt to show credit of the original author where it is deserved.

  • 1
    It's excused in certain circumstances in certain jurisdictions. In many commonwealth countries there are much more restrictive laws on when copyrighted material may be reproduced without permission, even for educational purposes.
    – jimsug
    May 23, 2017 at 1:27
  • 1
    This is definitely not correct for several jurisdictions, where works produced explicitly for education use remain strictly under copyright and cannot e.g. be photocopied or scanned and shared to a department.
    – user4657
    Jul 22, 2017 at 1:58

From what I understand of copyright law (I am not a lawyer) is that facts are not able to be copyrighted. I think this came from a case where a paper town was copied or where a quiz was using false facts that had been added to a source as a copyright trap.

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