I'm developing a website that displays quotes, similar to brainyquote.com

All the quotes (around 10,000) are also displayed on different websites.

So how do copyright laws affect me in this situation?


1 Answer 1


It depends on the nature of the quote. Quotes from Buddha, Aristotle and Lincoln are out of copyright. Otherwise, the two basic questions are: who put that quote in fixed form, and is copying it "fair use"? If for example you happen to be at a political rally where a politician makes a noteworthy extemporaneous quote, you could be the copyright holder, because copyright law protects the person who first puts the work into fixed form. (If he's reading from prepared text, the speech writer or his employer would hold copyright). You can also quote small bits from any source, such as "Don't think about your errors or failures; otherwise, you'll never do a thing". It would not be "fair use" to chop up a novel into a sequence of 2-3 sentence quotes.

This assumes that you manually assemble the quotes from legal sources, such as a print copy of "The Martian". Whether or not you can legally pull the data from an online source depends on the terms of service for that site. That lets out brainyquote as a source, so check the TOS for whatever source you get the material from.

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