There is an examination which contains multiple choice test questions.

These test questions aren't published anywhere (only the official test company has access to them). We have a licence from this official company to publish their practice questions, but only the ones they give us.

The official authority also has the official website with the same questions (but they don't include the ones in the official exam).

Basically the official questions and the practice questions are 2 different sets. I can see that since the practice ones are published on their website, we need a licence from them (which we do have). But what about the exam questions that aren't published? Can we add them to our website and say that "we came up with them ourselves?" Also, what if we advertise them as real test questions?


2 Answers 2


No. You can’t steal their test questions and claim you “came up with them yourselves.”

That’s copyright infringement.

The ownership of a copyright does not depend on whether the copyrighted material is published or not. The creator of the material owns the copyright the moment they create it.[1]


Copyright ownership is instantaneous, when a work is created and it is in fixed form its author immediately becomes the copyright owner and is afforded copyright protection.

Read more here.

  • Thanks, since the questions are based on some book. Why can't I come up with the same question myself? Would that be infringement? I came up with questions (some of them happen to match while others don't). Just to add, we are based in the UK
    – GRS
    Dec 11, 2015 at 18:05
  • Now, this is a different question. The original question said "add them." The "them" being the questions written by someone else. Now you are asking whether you can come up with the same questions. Again, if you are copying no. If you are creating a derivative work, no. Derivative works are also protected. If you are creating them independently. Maybe. A judge or jury will determine that if you are sued. Part of the evidence they will show is that you had access and likely read their questions before making "your own questions." If they are similar enough, brace yourself to lose. Dec 11, 2015 at 18:18
  • @HeavyWeight, yes but if the copyright holder takes you to court, it will be up to the judge and/or jury to decide whether your claim to have come up with the same questions independently is credible. One or two questions with similar wording might be believable, ten questions with identical wording not so much. Dec 11, 2015 at 18:20
  • @HeavyWeight: You should look up the case of George Harrison (of the Beatles) and the song "My Sweet Lord." Long story short, he lost a claim of copyright infringement by the writer of the song "He's So Fine" (performed by the Chiffons). The judge concluded Harrison didn't intend to steal the music, it was just somewhere in his subconscious because he had heard it before; and when it was time to write his song, it just came out. Nevertheless, Harrison lost. And had to pay. Infringement claims can carry treble damages in the U.S. Dec 11, 2015 at 18:23

If you "come up with the same question yourself", you will probably be accused of copyright infringement, and may end up in court. And in court, you would have to convince a judge that it is more likely you came up with the same questions yourself than that you copied them.

So how many questions do you intend to "come up with yourself"? If you had 100 test questions, and some were the same, you would likely be believed. If 100 of your test questions are the same as those published elsewhere, no court on earth will believe you, and you will be convicted.

In the end, you expressed quite clearly that you are intending to copy and then come up with a lame excuse. It's not going to work. (Just watch Judge Judy and think what she would say about your claim :-) Judges are not stupid, and they have seen every excuse you can imagine and some more.

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