1. Sky
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    Sky New Member

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    Quoting lines from other books in your story

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Sky, Jan 16, 2010.

    Hi,

    I want to quote a few lines from a classic in my story. If I ever got my story published, would I encounter any problems for having done this? Do I need to seek copyright permission or do I just make sure it is clear where I am quoting from in my story?

    I'm all :confused:.
     
  2. InkDream
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    InkDream Senior Member

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    I'm not sure, I think it depends on the particular copyrights of the piece you're quoting. I've been wondering the same thing, actually.
     
  3. Sky
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    Sky New Member

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    Nice username. :)

    I guess I'll have to research into that particular books copyright conditions then, it's quite important to my story.
     
  4. ManhattanMss
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    ManhattanMss Contributing Member

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    A royalty publisher will let you know if there's any legal infringement. But until and unless you arrive at that point, you can quote whomever you like. If it's a classic, it'll probably fall into the realm of public domain, anyway. You can check out the general idea and parameters of "public domain" by Googling it. (Even copyrighted material has some latitude in terms of being quoted for various reasons.) In any case, cite your sources (lest you open yourself to the impression or consequences of plagiarism) and don't use the quoted material in connection with anything that could be seen as a distortion of intent on the part of the original author (like some moral conclusion or religious agenda).

    I am not an attorney and my opinion is you probably won't need one to figure out how what freedom you have to use published works in this way. But it's worth looking into so you can get a sense of how this is typically viewed in terms of what's acceptable and what isn't. Might also check out "libel" as a completley different but sometimes related potential problem.
     
  5. Sky
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    Sky New Member

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    ^ Thank you for giving me a guiding point, it's much appreciated. I will follow your advice and seeing as I won't be distorting the views of the author, I'm sure it will go okay.
     
  6. DvnMrtn
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    DvnMrtn Contributing Member

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    Kind of random, but I just finished reading Fahrenheit 451 and nearer the end there is a section where Beatty the fire cheif is quoting a whole range of literature from Poe, to Edgar Rice Burroughs. Although in the story he mentions the authors name and that might be key.

    I would just write it how it sounds best and if the day ever comes where you are to get it published I'm sure the publisher will make you fully aware of any changes that need to be made.
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    it depends on whether the work you're quoting from is still under copyright... if it's in the public domain, you can quote it all you want...

    but if it's not, you'll have to get the permission of the copyright holder, regardless of how it's being used, since your work of fiction does not fall under the 'fair use' exception...

    do NOT rely on advice from site members [including me], since none of us here are literary attorneys... go to the source and study up on what you can and can't do legally [in the us, at least]: www.copyright.gov

    and if still in doubt, consult a literary attorney...
     

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