Fair Use of Quotations

I have no idea if I’m asking this in the right place on your blog, but I’m going to ask it anyway. I have written a novel and in that novel I quote one line from Anne of Green Gables. I’m a first timer and though I’ve tried to figure out exactly what I need to do, I can’t find a specific guideline on if I need to cite this, and more importantly, how to do that. I do have the address of the Heirs of L.M. Montgomery and can use that address if I need to do so. My only fear is that they will laugh in my face since it’s only one line. Any suggestions?

This is always a tricky path and I prefer to be safe and not sorry. I generally go for the permission when I can find ownership.

Generally, quoting one line of a much larger source is considered “fair use”—under certain conditions. You can read the official U.S. Copyright definition HERE and Wikipedia has a discussion of it HERE.

However, according to Project Gutenberg, Anne of Green Gables is not under copyright protection here in the U.S. so you would be free to use that line without fear.

Author: LDS Publisher

I am an anonymous blogger who works in the LDS publishing industry. I blog about topics that help authors seeking publication and about published fiction by LDS authors.

5 thoughts on “Fair Use of Quotations”

  1. One of the conditions for fair use is that the work is not for commercial purposes. Novels are definitely commercial, so any quotes are NOT fair use and need permissions.

    A good resource is The Permission Seeker's Guide Through the Legal Jungle by Joy Butler.

  2. Does it work the same for quotes from songs? I know I will have to get some sort of permission, but not sure how to go about it.

  3. Quotes from songs are especially hard to get unless you are willing to pay. A lot. Same kind of process, though. See the book I mentioned in the first comment. The subtitle is "Clearing Copyrights, Trademarks and Other Rights for Entertainment and Media Productions" so it's good for books, songs, and lots more.

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