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Writing Books/Quoting another author in your own work


I am working on a manuscript of poetry and I want to add a quote at the beginning from another author, and from a song. Do I need to get permission from both the author's estate and the band to use them or can I just give them credit? In the crediting, what needs to be included?

Hi Delaney,

Thanks for writing. You can use quotes from any other author who has published a work and from any song that has been "published." Because these words, etc., are in the public domain, you do not need to get permission to use them -- the authors have already established their copyright and own the intellectual property to the words. Just make sure you give appropriate attribution, i.e., "Wisdom is learning what to overlook." -- William James; or "But it's me she was foolin/'cause she knew what she was doing/and she told me/'walk this way' -- Joe Perry, Steven Tyler, Aerosmith (but you don't have to go into detail about which book, which album, etc., and in the case of a song, you can just use whatever looks better and will still be representative of whomever you want to quote, from Ira Gershwin to Benny Goodman to Nirvana to Wynton Marsalis!

Hope that helps!

All Best,
Catherine Van Herrin  

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Catherine Van Herrin


I am an American-born, native English speaker with a BA in English and more than 26 years of professional editing, writing, and proofreading experience. I have edited several books and book-length manuscripts. References and titles available upon request.

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I can use British-English or American-English, and I am very familiar with Chicago and AP style.


More than 26 years' U.S. publishing industry experience, editorial (print). I provide crystal-clear, clean grammar; strict attention to style, consistency, flow, logic, accuracy, and spelling, and I work quickly and efficiently.

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AA, Liberal Arts, Anderson College, Anderson, South Carolina. BA, English, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia. Post-graduate concentration: Post-war Irish poetry and early 18th century English fiction, Angelo State University, San Angelo, Texas.

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