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Writing Books/Permission-copyrights


I have spent so much time researching for the owners of copyrights that I am removing all such references in my book (to be published later this year). Only two things remain:
1) Rene Descartes "cogito ergo sum"
2) Photo of the Rodin "Thinker" statue.
Can you guide me in this area, please? I would think that Descatres' maxim has been written of many times (public domain?) And the photo is of a small replica of the real statue and I have permission from the owner of the photo. How far does this search have to go? I'm keeping my sense of humor and I promise to be a good sport about it. Any help is appreciated - Thank you.
Gene Ciliberti (amateur writer)

Hello Gene!

I have never heard of copyright law applying to statues. I suppose it does: if you stole the statue and displayed it as your own and made money from it, there might be some question, but a photo, and especially a photo of a replica? No. And to anyone who tells you you are violating copyright by quoting Descartes, tell them when Mr. Descartes approaches you with a complaint, you will work it out with him. Such an accusation would stretch the bounds of credulity.

In my book about England, I quoted extensively from another book about England, careful to give credit with the quote. To my staggering surprise, the author's son stumbled upon my website and emailed me. His father, far from being angry, was flattered, and said I could quote him as often and to whatever length I wanted.

Please, Gene, put these ridiculous fears out of your mind and don't spend any more time researching them. I would say put the others back in but I suppose each one should be handled seperately, on its merits. Your publisher may want to discuss some of them with their attorneys to make sure, but that's ok. Believe me, you face a gigantic task just in writing the book, so turn your attention that way, and don't sweat - you know the rest.

I hope this has helped. If it has, a nice rating would be greatly appreciated. I am proud of my high score over 200+ questions.

And good luck with your book!

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Susan Rand


I can answer questions about the elements of fiction and non-fiction writing: how to get started, writing techniques, re-writing, etc. I will NOT write for you, do critiques except from my website at, or give you ideas. I will not answer home-or-schoolwork questions in any category. If English is your second language, please say so, and I will make an exception. Please submit no more than one or two questions at once, as I tend to go into detail in my answers.


I wrote my first book in 1957 and have been writing and studying writing since. I have a BA in Written Communications, and have taught writing both privately and through adult education for 15 years. Have also edited (fiction books) for an online publisher and edited/wrote more than 100 articles for a teen sex education site. Currently writing web content and mentoring beginning writers.

BA degree in Written Communication

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