Movie Quote and Theme

Home Forums Writer’s Digest Forum Tips and Advice Movie Quote and Theme

This topic contains 3 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  TheContemplativeWordsmith 2 months, 1 week ago.

  • Author
  • #346973

    Jack Taylor

    There is a 12 word quote from a recent movie character that I am using as the theme of my book. I would like to print that quote in the beginning of the book somewhere – you know, a standalone line – don’t know the official term for it. My question is: Do I have to get permission from the movie company to do that? It’s not a quote that you’d be able to identify the movie with, you’d not know where it’s from if you read it. Just concerned about some big movie corporation threatening a lawsuit.


  • #655979


    Quotes are generally acceptable to use as part of the “Fair Use” rules of copyright:

    “How much of someone else’s work can I use without getting permission?

    Under the fair use doctrine of the U.S. copyright statute, it is permissible to use limited portions of a work including quotes, for purposes such as commentary, criticism, news reporting, and scholarly reports. There are no legal rules permitting the use of a specific number of words, a certain number of musical notes, or percentage of a work. Whether a particular use qualifies as fair use depends on all the circumstances. See, Fair Use Index, and Circular 21, Reproductions of Copyrighted Works by Educators and Librarians.”


    Bear in mind you must include where the quote came from.

  • #655980


    This is best discussed with a lawyer specializing in intellectual property. For example:

    > May the force be with you

    That phrase is only six words, and maybe Fair Use/copyright is okay. Maybe not. Copyright, however, isn’t the only concern. Is the phrase trademarked? I’m not enough of a legal expert to be able to answer those questions.

    I *think* you’re okay for the same reasons @ostarella has already given. But my legal advice is worth exactly as much as you paid me for it should the holders of rights to that quote come to collect.

  • #656782

    I agree – always best to consult intellectual property counsel.

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.