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Advice > Using quotes in a book

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message 1: by Laurette (new)

Laurette Long | 211 comments Hi everyone, I've just finished the manuscript for my new book. There are a few poetry quotes in it, none by living authors, but I'm not sure about copyright issues. Any advice please?
Thanks in advance Laurette


message 2: by Tito (new)

Tito Athano (bobspringett) | 19 comments Laurette wrote: "Hi everyone, I've just finished the manuscript for my new book. There are a few poetry quotes in it, none by living authors, but I'm not sure about copyright issues. Any advice please?
Thanks in ad..."


Even without copyright, it is both courteous and wise to acknowledge quotes. An allegation of plagiarism is a stain nobody needs!

Perhaps you could mention the source in dialogue, such as one character saying to another 'As Kipling says...'. Failing all else, put your source on the Dedication page at the front.

In one of my books I have a character quote almost a whole page from Olaf Stapledon, mentioning him by name, as well as acknowledging another novella which provides a large part of the conceptual background of my main plot and a research paper by Robert Zubrin (even though I have only picked up parts of his thesis).

Don't let anyone accuse you of even a hint of intellectual theft!


message 3: by Laurette (new)

Laurette Long | 211 comments Tito wrote: "Laurette wrote: "Hi everyone, I've just finished the manuscript for my new book. There are a few poetry quotes in it, none by living authors, but I'm not sure about copyright issues. Any advice ple..."
Thanks Tito! If fact most of my quotes are from the 'classics' so I usually put 'as Shakespeare (etc) said. But I take your point, there are some occasions where characters just lauch into short wellknown quotes (eg 'once more unto the breach') so I'll add something in the front matter to cover those. BTW did you have to get permission to quote the people you mention above, as they are presumably still alive?


message 4: by Tito (new)

Tito Athano (bobspringett) | 19 comments Good questions, Laurette!

I didn't get permission from Stapledon because he died in 1950. I know that's still within the 'lifetime plus seventy years' deadline, but acknowledged quotes from someone else's work 'for the purposes of review' is permissible, and that is the context of my quote.

I don't quote any of Ted Chiang's 'Story of your Life', but I acknowledged it in the dedication page because it because it contributed to my thinking when planning my novel. Likewise, I used some of the concepts proposed by Robert Zubrin's brilliant article ('Technological Requirements for Terraforming Mars' c 1993) but they were not used in a way recommended by Zubrin. Acknowledgement is enough in such cases.

And quoting someone more than seventy years dead is always legal, but ethically you should not make the claim or implication that you are the originator.


message 5: by Laurette (new)

Laurette Long | 211 comments Tito wrote: "Good questions, Laurette!

I didn't get permission from Stapledon because he died in 1950. I know that's still within the 'lifetime plus seventy years' deadline, but acknowledged quotes from someon..."

Right, good to have clarification, Tito. I was going to start researching on Internet but I think you've answered everything, in particular the 'more than seventy years dead' clause, my quoted authors all fall under that stipulation but as you say, there's the question of ethics/ courtesy too. Of course I would have loved to have pretended to be the originator of 'Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow'...but nobody would have believed me anyway ;-) Thanks again and happy writing!


message 6: by Aitch (new)

Aitch Diamond | 28 comments I have lines from films in my novel, a portion of the last words of the dying replicant in Bladerunner, 'lost like tears in the rain (but she is actually watching the film in this one) in the sequel, I have lines from Lord of the rings, Gladiator and Henry V. My MC is a film buff, so in times of stress she reverts back to memories of films she has seen. Does anyone know how I should handle these? Do I need permissions or would it be acceptable to list them in the references?
Thanks


message 7: by Tito (new)

Tito Athano (bobspringett) | 19 comments Aitch wrote: "I have lines from films in my novel, a portion of the last words of the dying replicant in Bladerunner, 'lost like tears in the rain (but she is actually watching the film in this one) in the seque..."

G'day, Aitch,

I'm not an Intellectual Property Rights lawyer, so I don't want to be relied upon as if I am. My earlier answer was repeating the general guidelines from my own research, but I wouldn't pretend to know how far they extend into your circumstance.

My expectation is that clear acknowledgement is sufficient, but you would do well to make your own enquiries. It is possible that different jurisdictions have slightly different rules.


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