I am interested in taking excerpts from written works that may be copyrighted (such as poems or speeches or non-fiction works). Spevcifically, I wish to create posters by placing 2 or 3 lines from this material on a poster and creating a new work by adding a particular graphic background to the poster. Obviously, I do not want to infringe on anyone's rights. (In most cases, the works are pre-20th century). If for example, I take 2 or 3 lines from poets such as Poe, Dickinson, etc. or lines from non-fiction works (such as De Tocqueville) or speeches (by Lincoln) and place them (along with a background that I select) on a poster, am I acting properly or improperly?
State/Country relating to question: Florida
I've looked through your website, but am still uncertain as to the answer.
Thank you for the post, I am happy to assist you by answering your questions. Are you contemplating selling your posters for commercial profit?
Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX works are copyrighted you would be infringing upon the copyright protection of the copyright holder as you are essentially taking copyrighted work, placing a background behind it, and selling it. In order to use the copyrighted material, you need the consent of the copyright owner. Please let me know if you have any follow up questions.
if the writing is by famous people - shakespeare, etc. - there are many entries for all of his works: Hamlet, Macbeth, etc. Do I have to go through all of the copyright entries? My understanding is that older works (prior to the mid/late 19th century) were public domain and therefore not copyrightable., Is that accurate? If so, am I alright by using material from that era?
You only have to search for the work(s) that you want to use. Works that were first published more than 120 years ago are likely now in the public domain, but this is not necessarily the case (i.e. an absolute). For your reference, see http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-duration.html Please let me know if you have any follow up questions.
Regularly draft and negotiate IP contracts/deals.
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