Is it legal to use quotes on my product?

Discussion in 'Legal and HR' started by PremaMeansLove, Jan 19, 2011.

  1. PremaMeansLove

    PremaMeansLove
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    I'm thinking about having quotes integrated into some printed material that I'm selling. Is it legal to do this? For example, the quotes would appear like this:

    "A lie cannot live."
    -Martin Luther King Jr.

    My business operates out of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

    Looking forward to hearing back from those in the know and thank you so much! I really appreciate any help on this...
     
  2. Fergal

    Fergal
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    Welcome to our Business Forum PremaMeansLove. People use quotes like that all the time so I really can't see that there would be any difficulty with it. When people say things in public there is nothing to prevent us from quoting what they said. When it comes to written material we can quote a small amount of the text without running into legal difficulties.

    If possible it would be good to have the permission of the person being quoted, however in many cases such as in your Martin Luther King example, this will obviously not be possible.
     
  3. DavidL

    DavidL
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    Say you write a book and you quote someone else and cite them, and even sell that book, you are generally in the clear. I don't see how that is any different from your case. You have some product, you quote and cite and then sell it. I think you should be fine so long as you cite the author/original person and are not using it to negatively impact the person you quote from.

    This is a touchy subject though. You have four words "A lie cannot live." which is supposedly now owned by someone, whereas adding one extra word or removing one would be normal to use. Who owns the English language? Who has the right to claim a sentence of English? Such things shouldn't be free to use in my opinion.
     
  4. NamcoStar

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    As long as what the individual said was in public domain, you should not have problem using the quote.

    For example, if Martin Luther King wrote a book -- you probably cannot use the quote and slap it onto your product. However, if he said something in a speech in front of public then you can probably use it. If you are writing a research paper (non-profit activity) then you can certainly use it.

    That's my understanding.
     
    #4 NamcoStar, Jan 22, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2011

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