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Can I use quotations in my writing?

When writing it is sometimes necessary to use other writers’ quotations in your work to back up facts or as an example to illustrate a point. Many writers do this and have done for several years. The main rule before quoting another writers work is if the writer has been dead for a long time (over one hundred years) then you shouldn’t have any problems. If you are unsure as to if the writer is alive or dead, check before going ahead and always acknowledge the writers work at the end of the piece.

Using quotations in your own work can be a confusing business. The questions and answers below should answer all your queries:

Can I include a line from a song in my work?
This depends upon how old the song is. If it was written a substantial time ago then there shouldn’t be a problem. However if a song is still covered by copyright law, you should ask for permission first.

If a writer has been dead for over eighty years, can I quote a line of his fiction in my work?
You must acknowledge the line somewhere in the book or piece of writing. If you are sure that the writer is dead you needn’t get permission. Check your facts before proceeding.

I’m thinking of producing an anthology, do I need permission from the writers?
Yes. For each piece of writing, you need the permission of the writers. If they refuse, you cannot publish their work.

In all instances it is wise to first obtain the permission from whoever wrote the piece – no matter how small the piece you’d like to reprint. This will save you any legal action later down the road and any disputes likely to arise.