1. Awz
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    Awz New Member

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    Quoting ancient texts.

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Awz, Oct 6, 2016.

    So I was doing some research just into general info for my WIP. It seems that Buddha had a lot of pertinent teachings that would apply to many of the events in my book. Could I use direct lines from his teachings? Or from others, Socrates. (HAHA So-Crates, I need to watch that movie again), Confucius, even Martin Luther King Jr? (not ancient I know). Or would I need to reword it and try to make it my own?
     
  2. izzybot
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    izzybot Human Disaster Contributor

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    Do you mean from a legal standpoint? I believe quotes like that would be considered public domain, but definitely something to research further (someone on here is quite knowledgeable about that kind of thing but I forget who. @Steerpike maybe?).

    Or do you mean is using them essentially ripping them off, and would be not great morally? I would think of it this way: do these figures exist in your world? Can they be quoted directly and attributed to? Then do that. It's also perfectly fine IMO to repackage the general ideas and philosophies into a fictional setting - there's a lot of cultural overlap when it comes to things like that (like the concept of an afterlife, or karma) and it makes sense that some fictional culture would have them too. But they wouldn't have the exact words. If you're going to use exact words, they should be credited to the real life people who said them.

    (Maybe something of a sidebar, but I used an excerpt from an ancient Nordic text in a short story of mine, and I also tried very hard to track down the most accurate and literal translation possible. If you're using something that's been translated to English, it's worth getting as close to the source material as you can.)
     
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  3. gibble410
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    gibble410 Active Member

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    If you are saying just for your writing, I reccomend NOT using the offical quotes or anything, take it and make it your own. But just be sure to give credit to those who deserve it. :)
     
  4. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    The original quotes are in the public domain. If you're using a translation, there may be an extant copyright in the translation.
     
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  5. hawls
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    hawls Active Member

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    If your story world is madey-uppy and you are attributing the quotes of real people to your made-up ones then try to reword them.

    If your story world is our world, the world in which Buddha and Socrates exists, then you should attribute it to them anyway.
     
  6. Awz
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    Awz New Member

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    Thank you guys. Looks like I'll be doing some creative rewording.
     
  7. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Except for the Martin Luther King quotes.
     
  8. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Yes. Dear lord, I hope those aren't considered ancient texts. It's like turning on a classic rock station! :D

    Could be fair use, depending on the facts, but King Jrs. texts are still under copyright.
     
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  9. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    As a side note, keep in mind that some of the quotes attributed to Buddha were never actually said by him. Apparently people love putting his name at the end of everything. :)
     
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  10. hawls
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    hawls Active Member

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    "Keep in mind that some of the quotes attributed to Buddha were never actually said by him."
    - Buddha
     

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