Quoting from a poem

'Is it legal', 'can I do this' type questions and discussions.
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Quoting from a poem

Post by Quirine » Wed Apr 16, 2008 2:14 pm


I'm currently working as a Trainee Producer for a small film company in Britain. One of the projects I'm working on has a title which is taken from one of the lines of a famous poem. The poem is still in copyright.

Do I have to contact the copyright holders in order to get permission to use a line of their poem as the title for my film?

At the moment, we are just promoting the script with the hope of raising finance to make the film - we are not making any money from the film or using the title in anything other than promotional material (like brochures) intended to raise financial interest in the project.

Also, I am compiling a brochure about the script - to give out to potential financiers. I would like to quote a few lines from this poem in the brochure. Would this also require me to clear copyright with the owners?

At we are still only developing the script, there is no money to pay for the use of the line of the poem as a title to our film. But I do not want to use this title (or quote from the poem) in promotional material for our script, if this is not legal.

Any help you could give would be very much appreciated!

Many thanks,


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Post by CopyrightAid » Wed Apr 16, 2008 7:16 pm

I doubt that there is much risk of complaint, but if the title is recognizably copied from the poem (i.e. it is unique - not a phrase readily used in day to day language), then I would err on the side of caution and recommend that you get permission (just to be on the safe side).

There is no problem at this point, but you should look into this before you publish the film - you publisher can probably take care of this for you.

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