View Full Version : quoting from news/TV shows

01-24-2008, 08:13 PM
I have a nonfiction book that includes several quotes from court documents, or documents that the prosecuting attorney made public to the media. I know those are public record and I should be able to quote whatever and as much as I want.

But some other quotes I want to do are from TV interviews or newscasts. For example, I want to quote a former political leader's statements he made on a network news show. I also want to quote an everyday joe who made some comments on a program being shown live by a national news network. Do I need special permission, or is footnoting their comments enough? There aren't a ton of comments I'm using, and the longest any one quote is would be about 50-100 words.

Anyone with experience in this?


02-12-2008, 08:40 AM
Someone wanted to quote material from my book and the publisher said that anything beyond 250 words the writer needed to pay. News and TV shows may have a different standard. I don't know so it's best to doublecheck.

02-13-2008, 05:14 AM
In my first book, I did that a lot, ie quoting TV shows (reporters and interviewees - everyday Joes and experts). All I did was footnote, and the legal department at the publisher vetted the whole thing and never raised it as an issue (ie no one ever suggested I had to get permissions).

Georganna Hancock
02-13-2008, 11:09 PM
Length, or number of words, does not qualify quotations for the fair use provision of copyright law. As long as you are using snippets and not reproducing full segments and diligently attribute, you should be O.K. Consult an IP attorney if you have questions.

02-14-2008, 08:08 AM
Three points on this subject in which I am deeply immersed this month:

1. I recently learned that a major difference exists between commercial and editorial re-use of information. So, if you are merely commenting on someone's quotes and can claim fair use that has different implications than trying to sell something using someone else's quotes.

2. My publisher gave me a handy "cheat sheet" to use as I wrote my non-fiction book. Do you already have a publisher? If so, they should provide some guidance. If you don't have a publisher yet, I think you can keep writing but know that you will have to face these issues once you get a publisher. As Georganna suggested, I hired an intellectual propery lawyer (after I got a book deal, though).

3. Lastly, if someone is interviewed, they may not hold the rights...it could actually be the producing agency (i.e. the show, program, website, etc).

If you want to PM me, I'd be happy to share the name of my lawyer who is an intellectual property guru (at least compared to the information and advice I've received elsewhere).

good luck