I know that, when a work, person or thing is directly quoted, word for word, the author has to be cited, for example:

"It always seems impossible until it's done" - Nelson Mandela


"I think, therefore I am." – René Descartes

Or, if I was writing an essay and I used an excerpt from someone else's research paper, I would use the MLA format (Authors last name, pg #), For example:

As stated by report author Dr Kat Kramer from Christian Aid, "That's a huge human impact. Obviously, losing your home, your livelihoods, and everything, and not having the resources to rebuild that is incredibly tough. Whereas at least if you have insurance, you have some mechanism for building that back."

But what if I want to use something from another person and I scramble the words or swap some words for others, does it become mine, or do I still have to quote the original author?, for example:

Seeing monsters out your window Know you can't sleep, you pretend though You don't have to play the hero 'Cause I got you like you got me When the earth shakes When the bombs scream 'Till our last breath, every heartbeat You know I'll come running If you go to war then I'm going with you Pick up my sword, yeah, there's nothing I won't do When you sound the alarms and the chaos is rising Leading the charge, yeah, I'm coming out fighting Swear on the breath that I breathe I'll never retreat, yeah, I'll be your army - "Army" by Besomorph, Arcando, Neoni

And then I changed it...:

You see monsters at your window; you say you can't sleep, you still pretend, though. You don't have to play the hero, 'cause you and I got each others backs like sword and shield. When the earth shakes, when the bombs scream. 'Till our last breathe, our last heartbeat. you know I'll come running...

... and so on, such as adding some personal and possessive pronouns and determiners, as well as taking out unnecessary words like some of the "yeah"'s and so on. (This is roughly what it would be, but not quite) I would assume I don't because I'm basically putting it in my own words, but I just want to make sure.

  • Can you quote the original here and indicate words you have changed? YouTube links often disappear, and it's easier if all the information is here. (Also there are two separate issues with quoting: the legal matter of breach of copyright, where it doesn't matter if you cite sources if you don't have permission to reproduce others' words/stories/etc, and plagiarism, where you fail to cite sources; plagiarism isn't illegal but may be punished by school/college. What is your concern?)
    – Stuart F
    Dec 30, 2021 at 13:48
  • @StuartF Since I want to use the lyrics in a book, I'd say it's more "the legal matter of breach of copyright... reproduce others' words/stories/etc," as were your words. Dec 30, 2021 at 20:26
  • 1
    I’m voting to close this question because it seems more appropriate to Academia SE Jan 1, 2022 at 13:51


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