Certain Things I Didn’t Realize About Quoting People

I’m learning so much as I get ready to self-publish Live with Flair: Seasons of Worship and Wonder. I thought I’d make a little list of what I’m learning in case you’re thinking of self-publishing anything (or writing blogs where you quote people).

1. Publishers actually own the rights to certain Bible translations. You must get permission, for example, to use the NIV 1984 edition in your published writings.

2. You must request permission from publishers to quote from material to which they own the rights because there’s no set rule on “Fair Use.” It’s really debatable, and unless you’re an expert on copyright law, I wouldn’t risk it. Some publishers said, “Yes, this is Fair Use, but please cite it this way.” Other publishers said, “You must pay us $ to use this quote.” Believe it or not, the C.S. Lewis estate charges you to quote C.S. Lewis. I didn’t realize this.

3. Poetry and music lyrics don’t follow the same “Fair Use” laws. You need permission for every word you want to quote.

4. It might take several weeks to hear back from publishers about whether or not you have permission.

5. Do not trust that someone’s copyright has expired. For example, Walt Whitman’s poems are out of copyright and can be quoted without permission. However, W.B. Yeats is a poet whose copyright has just been extended to 2021.

Copyright law suddenly seems so interesting (and strange) to me. It’s been fun talking to publishers all about Rights and Permissions.

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  1. I just quoted a Scripture verse and thought I was ok with the citation. I knew about music and I check on poetry. “Always do your own research, Elaine or ask Heather!”