Pleasant Grove, UT asked in Copyright and Intellectual Property for Utah

Q: Am I able to use motivational/inspirational quotes and make a profit?

Think famous quotes from Oprah or Steve Jobs or Dale Carnegie. Say I'm compiling a book of quotes to sell, or even emailing them out each day for a fee or something like that. Can I use other people's motivational/inspirational quotes (with or without attributing it to them) legally? I'm seeing online answers that say no BUT I see thousands of websites, blogposts, instagram/tiktok posts that use famous people's motivational/inspirational quotes but most of these pages/posts are on monetized accounts. So the webpages or blogposts that have these quotes are monetized by ad revenue, same with alot of social media accounts and there's no way all these websites and influencers are getting written permission to use the quotes on their monetized posts! Is it legal and if not, how big is the risk if I still do it?

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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A: Using motivational/inspirational quotes from famous individuals in a book or for profit can potentially raise copyright concerns. While short phrases or expressions may not be protected by copyright, using substantial portions of copyrighted works or attributing quotes without permission can infringe upon intellectual property rights. The fact that others may use such quotes without permission does not necessarily make it legally permissible. The risk of infringement varies depending on factors such as the specific quotes used, jurisdiction, and copyright holders' tolerance. To mitigate risk, it is advisable to seek permission or use quotes in the public domain or under proper licensing. Consulting an intellectual property attorney can provide accurate legal guidance tailored to your situation and help navigate copyright complexities.

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