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Can You Legally Use Famous Quotes in Your Craft Business?

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Today, let’s take a few minutes to look at quotes. Included in this are quotes by celebrities, politicians, writers, and so on. Specifically, we are going to talk about using these quotes on products you sell in your Silhouette or Cricut based small business.

Can You Legally Use Quotes in Your Craft Business?

In general, you cannot use quotes in your craft business unless you have written permission from the person who said it or the quote is in public domain. To explain this better, let’s look at some examples:

  • Quote: “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” -Abraham Lincoln, 1858
    • Can you legally use this quote in a small business? YES. You can legally use quotes in small business that are in the public domain. Generally, quotes said before 1923 are in public domain because the protection on them is now expired. However, it is wise to check the TESS database to make sure that someone hasn’t come along since it entered public domain and somehow trademarked it.
  • Quote: “Memory… is the diary that we all carry about with us.” -Oscar Wilde
    • Can you legally use this quote in a small business? YES. While I couldn’t find the date for the quote, Oscar Wilde died in 1900. Since he said the quote before his death, it is in the public domain and is from before 1923. If you are looking for quotes that are safe to use from before 1923, do a search on Google for ‘Famous quotes before 1923″. You’ll have plenty to choose from.
  • Quote: “Together, we will make America strong again.” -President Donald Trump
    • Can you legally use this quote in a small business? NO. But, what if you attribute the quote to Donald Trump on the product? (Example: Put the quote on a shirt and add “-Donald Trump” after it.) It wouldn’t matter. You would still need to get written permission from Donald Trump to use the quote because it was said after 1923.

How Do You Get Permission to Use a Quote from after 1923?

If you’d like to use a quote said after 1923, you’ll need permission from the author of the quote. You can reach out to the author via mail, email, social media, and so on. A good place to find contact information for famous people is their website. The most important thing to remember is that you need written permission that includes your business name. You’ll want to keep this information on file in case anything comes up. If the author or speaker has passed, you can reach out to the estate, family members, or public relations departments.

Let’s sum it up:

  • Safe to use: Quotes before 1923. Quotes where you have permission from the author/speaker.
  • Not safe to use: Quotes from after 1923 without permission. Quotes even with an attribute from after 1923.

Remember, an informed business owner is a good business owner.

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Can You Legally Use Famous Quotes in Your Craft Business? - A good read for Silhouette Portrait or Cameo and Cricut Explore or Maker crafters. By cuttingforbusiness.com.

Kate

Friday 18th of February 2022

Who would need to make the request to if you are using a line in a television show or a movie? Is it possible (read:logical) to reach out tp, and get a blanket authorization from, the production company at large that would allow you to use any quotes from anything they produced?

Christine, Cutting for Business

Saturday 12th of March 2022

I highly doubt it, but I guess everything is available for a price. It'll depend on the production company.

debra

Saturday 29th of January 2022

Can you use the quote from Chanel that she said like I don't do fashion I am fashion on a t-shirt?

Gina

Monday 25th of October 2021

What about sayings that are all over the web? Example: Do I look like I rise and shine? I have not been able to locate a specific author, but I don't want to risk infringement. Thanks in advance for your help

Diane

Friday 15th of October 2021

Can you use a verse from a song? a poem or a book?

Christine, Cutting for Business

Monday 18th of October 2021

Head to this post: https://cuttingforbusiness.com/copyrights-song-lyrics/

Anonymous

Wednesday 15th of September 2021

Hi, I would like to point out that the quote by President Donald Trump, while made quite recently, is 100% in public domain.

From U.S. copyright law: Copyright protection “is not available for any work of the United States Government.”

This could include federal judicial decisions, speeches of governments officials (i.e. The President of the United States), census records, etc.

So even though the quote was said within the last 5 years, because Donald Trump was an elected government official when the quote was said, it is the in public domain. The quote by President Abraham Lincoln was always public domain from the time it was said as well. It should be noted that anything said by Donald Trump before or after Presidency is NOT in public domain. Speeches and words said during campaigning might be a grey area as well.