Thursday, November 3, 2011

Can We Use 1920s Quotes from New York Times?

Dear Rich Staff Member Is Interviewed
for Saturday Morning Today Show.
Dear Rich: In a book I am writing I have used several lengthy quotes from news articles from the New York Times dated in 1921, 1922, and 1923. Actually, what I am using is the NYT quoting some individuals--I am not actually quoting the NYT, if this constitutes a difference. If published, I doubt that the book will be a commercial blockbuster. Am I protected by 'fair use' laws using material from the NYT that was published before 1923? The Dear Rich Staff chose your question for Thursday because that's the day we get the Nielsen sales numbers from Author Central at Amazon. What a sad day that has become. And because we're so depressed, we look for questions that we think won't take much time to answer. So the short answer to your question would be yes, you can use any authorized pre-1923 publication in the U.S. (because it's in the public domain). The quotation aspect --  that is whether an interviewee's statements become part of the intervier's copyright -- is a more complex subject and we think this article does a great job of summarizing this prickly issue.