Belleville, MI asked in Copyright and Intellectual Property for Michigan

Q: Is a short quote (7 words) from a published book copyrighted? I have a small shop on Etsy.

- I’ve searched and it is not trademarked.

- The quote from the book is only 7 words and I am looking to sell my own artwork inspired by the book with the quote on it.

-the book was independently published

- I was under the assumption that short phrases cannot be copyrighted.

The quote: “We love rainy days, don’t we baby?”

1 Lawyer Answer
Brent T. Geers
Brent T. Geers
  • Grand Rapids, MI
  • Licensed in Michigan

A: You really need to speak with a copyright attorney. It would seem that quote is quite generic. But most of the exceptions to use of copyrighted material revolve around non-commercial activity; your proposed use would be commercial, so you definitely will want to check into it before moving forward.

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