View Full Version : Using a quote in a self published poetry book

09-07-2006, 01:06 AM
Hi. :) I'm going to be POD self publishing a collection of my poetry, and in it I'll be including some photos that I've snapped. Below a couple of the photos I want to include a quote or two that speak of the symbolism in the photos. For instance, beneath a photo I snapped of a rushing river, I'd like to include this quote:

“Some people spend their entire lives reading but never get beyond reading the words on the page, they don't understand that the words are merely stepping stones placed across a fast-flowing river, and the reason they're there is so that we can reach the farther shore, it's the other side that matters.” --Jose Saramago

Are there any legal reasons that I cannot use a quote like that? Do I need to have a bibliography to state the sources of these quotes? If anyone has any information to share on this, I would be deeply appreciative. I did a Google search but I'm coming up empty. Thanks!

Anthony Ravenscroft
09-07-2006, 01:40 AM
Technically, yes, there are good reasons. You're essentially, of course, trying to capitalise on someone else's writing.

Here's what I mean. Why don't you write the same thoughts yourself? You are, after all, a poet.

Unless, of course, Saramago is endorsing your collection.

If not, then you should get written permission from him &/or his publisher. It probably won't cost you anything, though they might limit you to a certain number of published books.

No, the credit wouldn't be in the bibliography; it'd be on the copyright page. Then again, your POD vendor might refuse to use the piece at all, rather than risk participating in copyright violation.

Tsu Dho Nimh
09-15-2006, 12:25 AM
Saramago is alive and writing! You have to get permission to publish poetry quotes or risk being sued for copyright infringement.

Check the poetry collections at Project Gutenberg for really dead poets.

09-17-2006, 08:45 AM
They're not poetry quotes, just ordinary quotes. The poetry in the book would be my own. I definitely wasn't trying to capitalize on someone else's work -- rather pay tribute to the things that they have brought to this world. I'm leaning towards leaving the quotes out to avoid the hassle. I assume that when I see quotes in books that I buy at, say, Borders or Barnes & Noble, the authors went through some type of clearance process with the whole copyright issue?

Cathy C
09-17-2006, 08:27 PM
You assume correctly. They all have (or SHOULD have) received permission. But there are lawsuits every day that says not everybody vets books to ensure that permission was given. Definitely save yourself the hassle and write something equally moving that someone, someday will want to ask YOUR permission to reprint! :)

09-19-2006, 07:29 PM
Thank you Cathy, you definitely convinced me once and for all. Thanks to everyone for your replies and your time! :)