One of the big consultancy firms has a really good methodology on company health evaluation. This methodology and their work is widely published on the internet and also in books.

Now I want to use this methodology, analysis in roughly the same way as the consultancy it presented in their book. Purpose is too slightly adapt it and make it available for the medium sized companies (not the big multinationals).

There are some deviations but roughly the figures and tables will be used. Also wording will be a bit different

Obviously in the books/websites it is stated that it is their copyright.

Is it allowed to make use of their methodology and analysis? What are the constraints?

  • It's perhaps worth noting that this is virtually identical to the landmark case Baker v. Selden.
    – apsillers
    Commented Aug 4, 2017 at 19:16

3 Answers 3


It is allowed to use their methodology and analysis, since copyright only protects expression, and not ideas. Tables and figures are a form of expression, though there are usually underlying facts (facts are also not subject to copyright protection). "Slight rewording" does not excuse copyright infringement. So you can read an article, understand it, even mention supporting facts cited in the original article, but you have to express these ideas yourself (rewrite from the ground up), not simply do a minor cut-and-paste with surgery. However, you are allowed to include limited direct quotations of the original, under "fair use".


Under the US copyright law,

In no case does copyright protection for an original work of authorship extend to any idea, procedure, process, system, method of operation, concept, principle, or discovery, regardless of the form in which it is described, explained, illustrated, or embodied in such work.

17 USC 102(b).


You can legally write your own book describing exactly the same ideas that the original expresses. You can not take the original book and modify it slightly. You have to write a new book.

The original author's ideas are not protected. The expression in their book is protected.

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