View Full Version : Quoting vs. Permission

04-01-2005, 05:18 AM
I am putting together my first non-fiction book. I am a good non-fiction writer in the academic sense and I've written many, many academic papers. However, I realize that the business world differs from college.

If I quote someone directly in my non-fiction book, do I have to ask for permission?

If I say something like ("many agents prefer authors not to use butterfly clips, including Andy Zack and George Silverstein...") do I need to do anything here?

In other words, MLA and APA are all commonly used in college and I can deal with those, but what do I do with 'real-life' (my St. Martin's guide to writing isn't helping much, lol)


Tish Davidson
04-01-2005, 10:04 AM
Decided what i wrote was stupid, so I deleted it

04-11-2005, 08:01 PM
It depends on what type of non-fiction it is really. Generally speaking, brief quotes don't need permission; longer ones may need permission. How you reference them will depend on the publisher, the subject, the market (most of all the publisher, though!). The best thing to do is keep detailed notes of where all quotes come from (which you will be used to doing already in academia) and then you will be in the position to provide what is required by the specific publisher, when it is accepted. (This is assuming that you're writing on spec and not to a commission - if you're writing to a commission, ask for the publisher's guidelines on how to reference material and what will or won't need permission.)

04-11-2005, 11:20 PM
well if they said it in public it's probably all good. For instance, if they say it on their website and it's their official position, you wouldn't need to ask I don't think. But if they say it here on this board, and they're not saying it under an official context, it might be good to ask.

I write about entertainment (films and tv) so I always ask. But actresses, directors and agents are very specific about their quotes. I've been asked not to print things they said to me in interviews. Also, if i did an interview for a specific publication then want to use it in my book, I ask the person again if it's alright to use it for the book (because they only agreed to the original article).

Better safe than sorry! But just be reasonable. You can tell when someone would mind and when they probably wouldn't.

04-12-2005, 06:02 PM
This question really bothered me when writing my first. No one gives you a direct answer, even the copyright office. I finally decided, even though it is not easy,that it was better to be safe than sorry. We seem to have a sue happy society. But in all honesty, I think most would be happy if prpoerly credited to have their name in print. At least if it is in a positive way.

Jackie Wellman
www.hoppy.bravehost.com (http://www.hoppy.bravehost.com)

04-13-2005, 06:09 AM
If there is a fraction of a doubt in my mind I write everyone associated with what I want to use. I don't use it at all if I get back a no or if I don't hear a thing. I'm safe than sorry.