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  Home . Content Library . FAQs . Quotes - I'd like to know what the rules are regarding using well known short quotes on our website

Quotes - I'd like to know what the rules are regarding using well known short quotes on our website

Whether or not you need permission to use quotes or short extracts generally depends on a number of factors.
Infringement of copyright will generally occur where the whole or a “substantial part” of a “work” is used in one of the ways exclusively reserved to the copyright owner. A part may be considered “substantial” if it is important or distinctive.

If the quote you propose to use is not an extract from a longer work, but stands alone as a short phrase, it may be too small or unoriginal to be a “work” and thus not protected by copyright. For example, single words and short combinations of words such as names, titles, slogans and headlines are generally too short to be works.

If the quote you propose to use is part of a larger work, such as a poem, novel or song, there is no standard percentage of a work or number of words that you are allowed to use without infringing copyright. In every case, the question of “substantiality” depends on whether an important, rather than a large part of the work has been used. Clearly this will differ in every case. The part may be “substantial” even if it is a small proportion of the whole work, particularly if it has resulted from a high degree of skill and labour.

If copyright in the work has expired, you do not need permission to use a quote or extract from it.

If a work is anonymous or has no copyright notice, it may still be protected. The absence of a copyright notice or the author’s name may of course make it more difficult to obtain permission.

You don’t need permission if a special exception applies, such as fair dealing for research or private study or fair dealing for criticism, review or news reporting.




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