Quotations and Literature Forum

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 01, 2006 1:00 pm 
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I am a small business start up and would like to use QUOTATIONS from various authors - foreign and domestic, famous and not so famous. What is important to me is the power of the quote rather than the author. For example, If would like to seek permission to use a quotation by Henry Kissinger "Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac" or a portion of another by Winston Churchill "We shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills, we shall never surrender" should I seek permission? Just because they were said are they copyrighted? I have done some research and from what I have gathered, their is no cut and dry answer particularly with my situation. I can say that my quotes will all be short (one to three lines) as I plan to screen them on tshirts in support of my local baseball team this will probably not fall under "fair use" even if I do it with a positive intention.

I also understand that anything prior to 1923 is fair game and this helps but some of thge greatest quotes i.e. Winston Churchill and FDR were largely authored after that time.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2006 8:41 am 

Joined: Thu Apr 04, 2002 3:01 pm
Posts: 1681
You would do well to review this information:
Copyright Law of the United States of America and Related Laws Contained in Title 17 of the United States Code
107. Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair use
Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include —
(1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
(2) the nature of the copyrighted work;
(3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
(4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors.

The 1961 Report of the Register of Copyrights on the General Revision of the U.S. Copyright Law cites examples of activities that courts have regarded as fair use: “quotation of excerpts in a review or criticism for purposes of illustration or comment; quotation of short passages in a scholarly or technical work, for illustration or clarification of the author's observations; use in a parody of some of the content of the work parodied; summary of an address or article, with brief quotations, in a news report; reproduction by a library of a portion of a work to replace part of a damaged copy; reproduction by a teacher or student of a small part of a work to illustrate a lesson; reproduction of a work in legislative or judicial proceedings or reports; incidental and fortuitous reproduction, in a newsreel or broadcast, of a work located in the scene of an event being reported.”
Copyright protects the particular way an author has expressed himself; it does not extend to any ideas, systems, or factual information conveyed in the work.
The safest course is always to get permission from the copyright owner before using copyrighted material. The Copyright Office cannot give this permission.
When it is impracticable to obtain permission, use of copyrighted material should be avoided unless the doctrine of “fair use” would clearly apply to the situation. The Copyright Office can neither determine if a certain use may be considered “fair” nor advise on possible copyright violations. If there is any doubt, it is advisable to consult an attorney.
FL-102, Revised December 2005

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