I asked a question on Academia.SE,

"Does copying the book's figure for my dissertation fits the copyright?"

I changed it several times, but I think there is still something strange. How does it sound when I say "copying the book's figure for my dissertation"? Is that correct? Should I rephrase it to "copying the book's figure to my dissertation"? I feel the latter sounds like I'm copying and pasting the image directly into my dissertation, while the former seems that I'm copying the image for the purpose of my dissertation, not telling what I'm exactly doing with the image. Hence, the question, are both acceptable? Am I correct about the differences between them?

Finally, I've wrote "Does copying the book's figure [...]". Well, using the here seems that I'm talking about a specific figure of my book. As in StackExchange we want questions that helps everybody, if I used an indefinite article it would sound more generic for everybody?

  • 2
    Here is what I might say: Does the reproduction of figures from other books in my dissertation comply with copyrights? --Please note that this might not be 100% correct; I'm a non-native English speaker. Commented Jan 24, 2014 at 17:24
  • Yours sounds much better!
    – Yamaneko
    Commented Jan 24, 2014 at 17:31
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    Is copying the book's figure allowed by copyright? Would copying the book's figure break copyright law? (Two alternatives)
    – J.R.
    Commented Jan 24, 2014 at 17:35

1 Answer 1


Firstly, you should say "Does ... fit", not "Does ... fits". (assuming it's not a typo).

Secondly, I'd personally say

"Does copying the book's illustration for my dissertation breach the copyright?"

or perhaps

"Would copying the book's illustration for my dissertation breach the copyright?"

Copyright is nearing legal language/terminology, and breach seems severe enough to fit.

You're correct about the usage of for and to, however I'm not quite sure what you mean by "copying the book's figure". Could you elaborate that please?

  • Oh, I didn't see the first error. Thanks for correcting me. Breach or the alternatives presented in the comments seem better. About "copying the book's figure", maybe it is better if I give the context. I have illustrated a concept from a paper that I'm reviewing. Then, I saw a book with the same illustration, but much better than mine. Hence, I was asking if I could reproduce the figure from the book on my review, instead of using my illustration.
    – Yamaneko
    Commented Jan 24, 2014 at 18:47
  • Ah okay, it makes sense now. Although it's probably called "Figure 1" or something in the book, it'd be much more helpful to whoever you were posing this question is you said "copying the book's illustration" Commented Jan 24, 2014 at 18:57
  • Oh, I didn't know that "figure" could lead to ambiguity. Thanks for the tip. What is the other possible interpretation that "figure" could have?
    – Yamaneko
    Commented Jan 24, 2014 at 19:04
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    It's more that it wouldn't be interpreted as what you meant it to. "Figure" can mean many things, but the most likely option in this context is numbers, ie. 1, 2, 3. For example, "Can I have a look at your figures?" could mean that I was asking to see numbers you had calculated, or statistics in a book. This meaning, however, would always be plural (except in weird circumstances), so your usage of singular "figure" is what confused me. Commented Jan 24, 2014 at 19:28
  • @stackUnderflow I don't think there'd be any ambiguity about "figure". Sure, it can mean a diagram or a number but it seems unlikely that somebody would be asking about copying a number. Commented Jun 2, 2014 at 0:08

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