1. hishighness
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    hishighness New Member

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    quoting a TV show

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by hishighness, Dec 14, 2012.

    I'm writing a science fiction novel and I'd like to take a quote from a TV show.

    Specifically the scientific method episode of Star Trek Voyager.

    The reason being not so much that I need the quote to help the story it's just this quote is from my favorite sequence of the entire series, and I'd like to pay homage to it in my book.

    The quote is "I don't think you realize that you are not in control here anymore."

    I have no problem asking permission, I'm just wondering if anybody could give me any idea whether I have a snowball's chance in the hell of actually obtaining it. Or, given that the quote is pretty non specific whether it would even be necessary as long as I cited my source.

    Also what about more iconic quotes like Star Wars' "You're all clear kid now let's blow this thing and go home." If I change the words around but keep the same meaning it would still be plagiarism correct?

    Thanks for your time.
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Why? You're much better off sticking to your own material.

    I'd say your chances are slim. Even if they are willing to discuss it, odds are they'll set an absurdly high royalty on it to discourage you.

    They gain nothing from an unknown writer's "product placement" in your writing. And they won't want you hitching a ride on their fame (and you would have agree in writing to identify the source clearly in your writing before they would even consider your request).
     
  3. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    Please read this recent thread.

    It will help clarify this point. These generic, short phrases are not copyrighted and won't get you in any sort of legal trouble.

    People think that any word that is said in a movie or show is untouchable and that's just not the case.
     
  4. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    This.

    My own view is that the best thing an aspiring writer can do is keep his/her writing free of any unnecessary baggage. You said yourself that you don't need the quote to move the story forward. I'd save the 13 words for something useful.
     
  5. mg357
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    mg357 Active Member

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    I recently had the same problem i wanted to use part of a quote said by a famous actress in a movie in one of my stories i used the part of the quote that i needed then in the bibliography i included the name of the actress and the name of the movie.
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    jj...
    the thread mentioned does not address this issue, as it was about paraphrasing a line from a song lyric, which would make the words used then be just a pretty common expression... it does not deal with the issue here, which is using a line of dialog from a tv show verbatim...

    and your first statement is simply not true, so will mislead unknowledgable writers... unless you are a literary attorney and can cite case law and statutes to prove it, you can't logically say it 'won't get you in any sort of legal trouble'...

    the op says he wants to 'pay homage' to the show, so the line won't be used as a common expression, but as a direct quote from the show that will also be named in the work... that puts it squarely in the 'need to get permission' box...

    mg...
    what you did should have had the permission of the movie's copyright holder... if you had a paying publisher, they should have told you that... if you self-published, you put yourself at risk legally...

    in all such cases, a literary attorney should be consulted... you should not rely solely on what is said by well-meaning by 'lay person' writing site members... and that includes me...
     
  7. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    It sounds like there's a confusion between plagiarism and copyright violation here. Yes, giving credit may save you from accusations of plagiarism, but it's not primarily plagiarism that will get you in legal trouble, it's copyright violation. And giving credit is essentially a confession to the copyright violation.
     
  8. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    Agreeing with the others that this is probably not a clever thing to do, I'd then have to ask the obvious question - if you're going to quote Star Trek couldn't you at least use a better known quote?!

    I mean come on, couldn't you work in "We are the Borg, resistance is futile." Or perhaps "It's life Jim, but not as we know it." Even a simple "Live long and prosper."

    Most of your readers would never even know the quote you chose.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  9. hishighness
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    hishighness New Member

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    Thanks for setting me straight on what my tastes should be.
     

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