Thursday, May 26, 2016


The question that always arises with quotes, is how much can you quote without needing permission to include it. Unfortunately the copyright law does not give a definitive answer to that question. It basically comes down to how much is considered fair use. For example, if you are quoting a sentence or two that supports something you say in your piece, then you probably only need to give credit to the author and source. However, if you are writing on marriage and find a book on the ten steps to a happy marriage—and pull out those ten steps to list in your book—you are in essence pulling out the heart of the book and could only use them with permission. In other words, how important is the quote you are using in relation to the other book as a whole? Use your common sense and ask yourself if you would want to be asked for permission if you had written the quoted material.

If you need to ask permission, send a letter or email to the publisher of that author, and ask if they can forward your request to their author. They aren't likely to give out the author's contact information, but will be willing to forward your correspondence. In some cases, the publisher will control those rights and they are the ones who will have to grant permission. Your letter needs to indicate the exact passage quoted, listing page number, line number, starting with this phrase and ending with this one. If for a book, ask for permission to use it in this edition and any future editions (you don't want to have to go back for permission for every new edition.) The original author will want to know exactly what you are writing and how you will be using the quote, so be specific and show the quote in context. For more details on this issue, go to:

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