“Don’t pull quotes off the internet because we can’t confirm anyone ever said anything.”
It is common practice to use quotes in our blog posts and books. They are used to embellish the overall message, trigger an emotional response, reinforce content (show evidence) and provide a perspective to the narrative.
Some things to consider: Did the person being quoted actually say those words? Do you have permission to quote the individual?
Are you aware that Aristotle did not say, “To avoid criticism, say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.” This quote is often misattributed to Aristotle, but is actually by writer Elbert Hubbard. It didn’t take me long to find multiple versions of the well-used quote. Following is a link to an article written by Garson O’Toole that provides a powerful set of examples: https://quoteinvestigator.com/2015/01/09/say-nothing/
Something to consider, and goes hand-in-hand with using quotes, is copyright laws. As you already know, copyright laws are designed to protect the author (or intellectual property creator) from others using and profiting their work without permission. The idea is that the author (or creator) owns the rights to the work and can decide if and how others use his or her creation.
“As a general matter, copyright infringement occurs when a copyrighted work is reproduced, distributed, performed, publicly displayed, or made into a derivative work without the permission of the copyright owner.”
-**US Copyright Office (https://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-definitions.html)
Examples of copyright infringement pertaining to writers, bloggers and authors include:
- Using images and/or photographs for a blog without permission
- Creating videos with unlicensed music clips
- Copying book, blog or podcast content without permission
- Anything where you are copying someone else’s original work without an agreement
Over the years, I have been surprised to find out how many bloggers unintentionally infringe on copyright laws. They were not aware that by using random photographs via a Google search to adorn, as an example, their top ten beaches article was copyright infringement. They thought the images were public property and available for use.
On the flip side, it’s important to note that copyright protection may not be extended for the following:
- Titles, slogans and taglines
- Ideas and concepts
- Procedures, methods, and systems
- List of ingredients (example: recipes)
- Standard information (example: height or weight charts, measurements, calendars)
I highly recommend doing your research before adding intellectual property (including quotes and images) to your blog posts, articles and books. I’ve included several links below to get you started on your research.
A good rule of thumb to use is – if you intend to earn money on the project (blog, article, book), then you must have the author’s written permission.
Links to information I found insightful:
- *Marie Forleo – 3 Secrets I Wish I Knew Before Writing “Everything Is Figureoutable” (feat. Jersey: Marie)https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oppZxl9RAQU
- Jane Friedman – A Writer’s Guide to Fair Use and Permissions + Sample Permissions Letter https://www.janefriedman.com/sample-permission-letter/
- New York Public Library – How To Research Quotations: https://www.nypl.org/blog/2013/11/22/how-to-research-quotations
- Quote Investigator – To Avoid Criticism, Say Nothing, Do Nothing, Be Nothing
- **US Copyright Office(https://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-definitions.html)
- Wikipedia definition: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright_infringement
- Writers Digest – What Materials Are You Legally Allowed to Use in Your Book: http://www.writersdigest.com/wp-content/uploads/What_Materials.pdf