Saturday, July 30, 2011


Every author wonders what names of famous persons he can use and what quotes are allowed without infringing on copyright laws. The Fair Use doctrine below answers the question well, but here is a link to a good discussion of copyright laws that I came across,

Another question concerns the use of old photographs - when can they be used?

1. Virtually all photographs published in the US before January 1923 are now in the public domain.

2. Fair Use generally allows the use of quotes for specific purposes. But as for novels and such, the discussion above notes that copyright laws do apply.

Specifically, the government says:
How much of someone else's work can I use without getting permission?
Under the fair use doctrine of the U.S. copyright statute, it is permissible to use limited portions of a work including quotes, for purposes such as commentary, criticism, news reporting, and scholarly reports. There are no legal rules permitting the use of a specific number of words, a certain number of musical notes, or percentage of a work. Whether a particular use qualifies as fair use depends on all the circumstances. See FL 102, Fair Use, and Circular 21, Reproductions of Copyrighted Works by Educators and Librarians.

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