I'm writing a style guide for programming and one of the examples I'm providing for describing what it's like to read bad code is by comparing it to reading a bad novel.

I know through experience that typesetting can greatly benefit the comfort of the reader and I would like to provide actual examples of this from other works. Am I able to provide a picture of whole pages, portions or pages, does it have to be public domain work, etc.

The information I'm interested in is the typesetting and not the actual content. I believe that someone's presentation of even public domain work has rights, which is why this is questionable. It's not the content but that person's presentation that I want to provide an example of for critique.

  • If it is the typesetting and not the actual content, why not use Lorem Ipsum for text and layout? en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lorem_ipsum – BlueDogRanch Jul 9 at 3:25
  • This is an interesting suggestion. I'm afraid that this might make it more difficult for the reader to discern what has actually changed and otherwise "tone out" Lorem Ipsum where they would otherwise be able to differentiate between recognizable passages and layout. – Zhro Jul 9 at 3:37

You could create a page of simulated content, part of a fake novel or text, for the purpose. This would allow you to introduce exactly the errors or infelicities you like, and avoid distraction by the actual real content Creating one page of content shouldn't be an onerous burden.

If you really want to use images of existing book pages, and you are giving detailed comment on their formatting and typesetting, that is probably a "transformative use" and strengthens an argument for fair use under US law. But fair use is never guaranteed, and specific legal advice is generally advisable before relying on it. If this would not be in a US context, the rules/laws are different.

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