Monday, August 20, 2012

Wants to Use Quotes About God

"God the Father" by Pompeo Girolamo Batoni
Dear Rich: Question No. 1 - If one is writing a book on quotations arranged by topic/subject, does the author need to get the permission for the quotations. Question No. 2 - I am writing a non-fiction book about the variety of human thoughts on God. My book will contain a lots of quotation from old and new ages about God. Do I need to get permission to use the quotations from different people.  Question No. 3 - My book has a section on how children think about God and I want to use about six independent short quotes from a book called "Children's Letters to God." I am referencing this book and other books on the same topic and using 4-5 quotes from each book as illustrative examples for my chapter on how children think about God. We sought divine advice on your questions but none has arrived as of time of our publication. So, we're forced to spout some time-honored copyright rules. Your ability to use quotations and short phrases is partially based on fair use, partially based on the fact that copyright doesn't protect short phrases, and partially based on the fact that many quotes are so short as to qualify as being "trivial" or "de minimis" uses. In addition, you don't need to worry about using quotes that were published before 1923 (see this chart for more details). As for using several quotes culled from a book that features quotations from children's letters, the rules may be a little different, depending on how long the quotes are, how many are taken, and whether your use qualifies as a fair use. In addition you need to avoid taking so many that you are stepping on the other author's compilation copyright.