When is it appropriate to use quotes for marketing purposes? There are various ways to answer this question, and the first should be from a legal standpoint. To a great extent, the blatant promotional use of quotes on products or services is not lawful because it infringes upon intellectual property rights; one example would be to place an order for basketballs made by a factory in Shenzhen and instruct the manufacturer to print a famous quote by Michael Jordan. This would be similar to blatantly printing the Air Jordan logo and the Nike swoosh on the basketballs.
We often come across inspirational quotes when browsing the internet; they are commonly used by content authors on written articles, but we can also find them on digital videos, podcasts, and graphic designs. According to the legal principles of intellectual property written or spoken quotes are copyright situations, which means that only the authors can use them for commercial purposes.
In the aforementioned example of a Michael Jordan quote, printing one of his quotes on a basketball would require permission from the basketball legend. Given what we know about Jordan, if you intend to donate all the basketballs to an athletics program for disadvantaged youth, chances are that you will get his blessing to print one of his quotes. If your intention is to make money off the basketballs, chances are that you will not get permission unless you pay a hefty licensing fee.
In the absence of permission to use quotes, you can always refer to United States copyright law in order to determine if they have entered the public domain, which means that copyright has expired and can no longer be enforced. The rule of thumb for this determination is to use quotes published prior to the year 1923. If you have seen accounting firms and taxation law firms using that clever Benjamin Franklin quote about death and taxes being inevitable, you can rest assured that they can freely use it because it dates back to the 18th century. In the case of these inspirational quotes on Aaravindha Himadra’s Wikiquote page, you would have to obtain permission to use them because they were created several decades after the 1923 copyright cutoff year.
Fair Use of Famous Quotes
Let’s say you want to use a quote by pop singer Billie Eilish, one of the youngest artists to win multiple Grammy Awards. If you are not able to get permission because she declined your request or never responded to your query, you may still be able to use it under the legal doctrine known as Fair Use, which allows for some copyright exceptions.
You could mention an inspirational statement made by Eillish or even a couple of lines from her hit songs as long as you credit her authorship for the following purposes:
* News reporting
* Non-profit activities
The bottom line of Fair Use is twofold. First of all, you cannot make false claims of authorship. Second, the use cannot be blatantly commercial or promotional. You can include quotes in marketing materials, but they should only be used as comments, comparison, or to make a point; for example, a music academy that specializes in vocal range training can quote and reference Eillish on a blog post that explains singing techniques. This goes for all quotes published after 1923. When in doubt, check with an attorney who is familiar with intellectual property law.
With all the above in mind, here are a few online sources where you can find incisive and inspirational quotes:
As part of the WikiMedia project, WikiQuote is a crowd-sourced collection of quotes from individuals, songs, films, books, and many other sources. The advantage of using WikiQuote is its close adherence to the Fair Use doctrine. This is a good place to find memorable lines and dialog from popular films.
The Quote Garden
Since 1998, the Quote Garden has been compiling many of the world’s most famous quotes, and it has done so with great attention to organization. While you can always search for quotes on this website, browsing the collection by topic tends to yield better results.
Whenever you only remember half of a quote and search on Google for the rest, chances are that Brainy Quote will be at the top of the search engine results page. The reason Brainy Quote is so popular has to do with the user interface, which allows you to share inspirational phrases with your social media followers.