Do you know what is the process of publishing quotes with copyright?

In the vibrant world of written and spoken words, the wisdom, wit, and eloquence of others often inspire us, and we find ourselves itching to share their quotable insights.

The process of publishing copyrighted quotes may seem wrapped in legal complexities, but the maze is not impassable.

It involves understanding what copyright is, recognising its boundaries, seeking permissions when necessary, and maintaining ethical practices in the use of other people’s work.

Over the course of this article, we’ll untangle the knotted strands of law as it applies to quotes, exploring its corners and crevices.

We’ll guide you through the nuanced process of publishing quotes within the lines of  law.

So let’s embark on this journey, navigating the fine balance between fair use and infringement, as we delve into the fascinating world of copyright and quotes.

What is the Process of publishing quotes with copyright?

In simple terms, yes. Laws typically protect original works of authorship, including literature.

In most jurisdictions, copyright is automatically attached to a creative work as soon as it’s put in a tangible form.

This means that, when an author pens a book, the contents — including any quotes within it — are generally protected by laws.

This protection usually covers the book for the duration of the author’s life, plus an additional 70 years (though this can vary depending on the jurisdiction).

Fair use often includes activities such as commentary, criticism, news reporting, research, and teaching.

So, when considering using quotes from books, it’s essential to understand the bounds of law and fair use.

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Rights of Copyright Holders in Protecting Book Quotes

Copyright laws bestow a specific set of rights to the holders in order to protect their original works of authorship, such as books, which includes all the quotes contained therein.

These rights empower authors and creators to control how their work is used, reproduced, and disseminated. Let’s delve into these exclusive rights:

Reproduction Right: This is the holder’s right to reproduce, copy, or duplicate their work.

Anyone who wishes to reproduce the work in any manner would need to seek the  holder’s permission unless the usage falls within the ambit of ‘fair use’.

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Distribution Right: This right allows the holder to distribute their work to the public by sale, rental, lease, or lending.

Right to Prepare Derivative Works: The  holder has the exclusive right to transform the work or create new work based on the original.

This includes any form that recasts or adapts the original work, such as translations, dramatisations, or adaptations into another format.

Public Performance and Display Right: This right involves the presentation of a work directly or by means of film, slide, television image, or any other device or process. This can include anything from a digital transmission to displaying a work in public.

For book quotes specifically, these rights mean that anyone wanting to use a quote from a book in a way that infringes on these rights would generally need to get permission from the holder.

This is particularly the case if the quote is being used in a way that could affect the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

Suggested Reading: How to copyright a quote

How to Get Legal Permission from Authors to Publish a Quote?

Identify the Copyright Holder: The first step is to identify who holds the copyright. It may be the author, their estate, or the publishing company.

Draft a Request Letter: Write a formal letter of request. This letter should include who you are, why you want to use the quote, where it will be published, and any other relevant details.

Send the Request: Send your letter to the identified copyright holder. This could be via email, regular mail, or sometimes through a form on the publisher’s website.

Await Approval: Once the copyright holder receives your request, they may grant permission, deny it, or not respond.

If they grant permission, they may require a fee, and they might specify how they want to be credited. Always follow their instructions.

Document the Permission: Keep a copy of the permission for your records in case of future disputes. If permission is not granted, do not use the quote as it may lead to legal issues.

Creative Commons in Copyright Violation

When you want to use the creative works of others without committing any infringement, you can obtain creative commons license.

This license is provided by a non profit organisation that helps people use the creative cards with the permission of author

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Violating License Conditions: Creators can use the works without violating the license.

For instance, the conditions can be crediting the writer, non revenue generating work, not creating derivatives etc.

When someone uses the work by creating derivatives and the doing above activities which are banned, it is violating the license.

Termination of Rights: The copyright infringement can also violate the exclusive rights.

Legal Consequences: Copyright violation can have serious legal consequences. The original copyright holder can bring a lawsuit against the violator for damages.


In conclusion, the process of publishing quotes with copyright involves identifying the copyright holder, requesting permission through a detailed letter, awaiting approval, and documenting any permission granted.

It’s a necessary procedure to respect and protect intellectual property rights. Failing to obtain proper authorisation can lead to legal consequences including copyright infringement.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the process of publishing quotes with copyright?

Not necessarily. Some uses of quotes might fall under the “fair use” doctrine, which doesn’t require permission.

It’s always best to seek legal advice when in doubt.

Who holds the copyright of a quote?

The copyright of a quote is usually held by the author of the work or their estate. In some cases, the copyright might be held by the publishing company.

How do I request permission to use a quote?

You can request permission by writing a formal letter to the copyright holder.

This letter should state who you are, why you want to use the quote, where it will be published, and any other relevant details.

What happens if I use a quote without permission?

If you use a copyrighted quote without permission and it doesn’t fall under fair use, you could be sued for copyright infringement.

This can lead to monetary damages and/or an injunction against your use of the quote.

What if the author of the quote is deceased?

If the author is deceased, the copyright might be held by their estate or the publishing company.

You would still need to seek permission from the current copyright holder to use the quote.

Remember, copyright protection lasts for the author’s life plus 70 years in most jurisdictions.