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bethy85
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« on: June 29, 2006 09:55:59 PM »

I love decorating wooden boxes and picture frames. I'm also love poetry. Is it legal for me paint on poetry or lyrics as quote with the author's name?  I'm by no means trying to rip off someone's work. I also asked on the etsy boards. I just want to get a good understanding of what is and isn't ok. Its confussing because I'm required to use quotes in english papers, but when your profiting from it all the rules change.
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cinderly
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« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2006 10:14:43 AM »

I was hoping that one of our resident intellectual property expert craftsters would reply; as they haven't, here's my interested layman's understanding.

I have a similar product/idea and have done some rudimentary research into the issue.  From what I can tell, song titles, book titles, and phrases are not subject to copyright.  (Phrases CAN be trademarked.)  Song lyrics and poems are subject to copyright.  I haven't been able to find any resource that says one way or the other about quotations.

From my fairly limited research, I've concluded that Fair Use means that I am free to make all the quote- and lyric-embellished picture frames I want, so long as I choose to give away the finished product.  Were I to list those same items in my Etsy shop, my use may no longer be Fair because:

- the copywritten material is integral to my work
- my work would be for commercial instead of private use

Factors weighing in favor of Fair Use:

- I use only a portion of the original work
- my use is artistic and transformative (i.e., I'm not making copies of an original)

In short, I'm not sure and should probably get in touch with a copyright lawyer.  Sorry I can't offer a clearer response!
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batgirl
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« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2006 10:41:32 AM »

You should be fine using quotes whose authors have been dead for more than 70 years, making them public domain. But be careful with anything contemporary, such as popular song lyrics. Quoting Shakespeare should be fine, quoting Jeff Buckley could get you into hot water. The same thing applies to images.

my .02

Batgirl (librarian, not an attorney)
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bethy85
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« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2006 01:43:14 PM »

thank you both for your advice.
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girlypirate
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« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2006 01:50:38 PM »

as long as you credit the author, what you're doing is fine as long as you don't reproduce the entire work.  straight from my lawyer's mouth.
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cinderly
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« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2006 01:54:11 PM »

Sweeeeet.  Thanks, girlypirate!
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stereoette
« Reply #6 on: June 30, 2006 07:12:49 PM »

girlypirate, your lawyer is a liar (no offense to you, of course!)

crediting work will not alleviate copyright infringment, and neither will not copying the "whole" work.  The test for copyright infringment is "substiantial similarity" and you can be substiantially similar, even with copying only a part, and with giving credit.  Further, fair use is a pretty narrow exception and likely wouldn't be applicable in the case you've described.

Cinderly is correct, however, you should watch out for trademark violations as well, because even though you cant copyright titles and such, some of them may qualify as trademarks, as they signify a good in commerce. (ie, cant copyright the title of a harry potter book, but Harry Potter i believe is a valid US trademark)

However, Batgirl is also right, you should be pretty safe using works 70+ years old, *unless* you are using a newer translation of a work in a foreign language or something like that.

IP law has lots of little twist and turns, but thats what makes it fun (for lawyers, not for crafters, unfortunately)
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bethy85
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« Reply #7 on: July 02, 2006 07:52:59 PM »

Thanks for all you help. I'm still confused. I visited the copyright website and it was like reading japanesse to me, lol. I did find a website that has a list of poem that are public domain. If anyone else is interested it's -->  http://www.pddoc.com/poems/
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