1. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Using Quotes in Novels

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by psychotick, Jan 23, 2013.

    Hi guys,

    I asked this a year or so ago and got some rather concerning replies about copyright on quotations. But I made some changes and think I've dealt with the matter. (I hope). But just wanted to check.

    Ok so this year one of my projects has been to re-edit, recover and remarket some of my older books on the kindle in an effort to improves sales and get some of them ready to go out as paperbacks on CreateSpace. And the one I just finished which set me off on this question again is Thief. (By the way this also almost set me off on another tangent thread - creating the 'I really, really hate editing' thread, but I decided to spare you all the abuse to your sensibilities!)

    Anyway in Thief I've used quotes as hopefully interesting snippets at the start of each chapter. Now when last I asked this there was some concern that using quotes could breach copyright. So my solution was to change the quotes and treat them as if they were actual novels, and follow the rules of copyright as if they were novels. And one of the commonly accepted rules of copyright is that there's a time limit.

    So my solution was to only use quotes that were at least a hundred years old. I don't think for example, that Keats will be getting up out of his grave any time soon to protest / sue.

    So what are your thoughts on this? Any legal issues remaining?

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  2. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    using quotes from works no longer under copyright without permission is perfectly legal... but it's not the number of years since the work was published that counts... the copyright remains in force for 70 years after the death of the author...

    you need to study the copyright basics... here is where they're found in re the US:

    www.copyright.gov

    the laws in NZ will be similar, but may differ in some respects, so you need to check out the laws in the country where you are publishing your books... if they're self-published and available online, then you will also have to go by the US rules 'n regs... all countries that are signatories of the berne convention will be similar, if not identical, however...
     
  3. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thanks MM,

    I think my rather simple plan covers that as well. And luckily there were some quite clever / witty people back then.

    Though I still have to say I really don't understand the fuss over quotes. They aren't written for money after all, and as long as they're correctly attributed / written I think most people would be happy for their quotes to be used. I'm happy enough for others to use mine.

    Cheers, Greg.
     

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