The Quoting Of An Old Famous Poem In A Book

Tracing copyright owners and asking permission.
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slider
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The Quoting Of An Old Famous Poem In A Book

Post by slider » Sat Jan 23, 2016 4:22 pm

Hello to the forum 8)

After reading nearly every post on this forum in an effort to fully understand 'where' I stand, I thought I'd better post the question and answer that I'm seeking as any informed replies will surely be most useful, both to myself and to others following along behind...

Question is: In a book am just about to self-publish, I'd like to quote, right at the end of the book as a complete non-sequitur, a short poem by Juan Ramón Jiménez called: Hora Inmensa:

Only a bell and a bird break the stillness...
It seems that the two talk with the setting sun.
Golden colored silence, the afternoon is made of crystals.
A roving purity sways the cool trees, and beyond all that,
a transparent river dreams of trampling over pearls
it breaks loose and flows into infinity...

--Juan Ramon Jiminez (1881–1958)

Unfortunately, I do not speak Spanish and nearly all references to him online are in only that language alone. And accordingly, I have absolutely no idea where to begin in seeking permission for its use...

I have seen this lovely poem quoted in other people's books and would dearly love to quote it too as a kind of gift to my (if any) readers. It's a beautiful poem, but as a debut publisher I really don't want to be treading an anyone's toes just yet if I can at all help it :roll: lol.

My many thanks in advance to 'anyone' who may be able to help shed a little light on this conundrum, especially as in regards to this particular poem.

Cheers.

Lumberjack
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Post by Lumberjack » Sat Jan 23, 2016 4:30 pm

Although I had never heard of him. A quick Google search revealed this website that apparentl tells you who to seek permission from:
https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=qQJ ... on&f=false
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Al

slider
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Post by slider » Sat Jan 23, 2016 5:59 pm

Wow, thank you for the amazingly rapid reply!

'Carmen Hernandez Pinzon' it is then...

Hmm, now how to contact her for permission tho', I wonder, hmmm

She seems very nice: there prolly wouldn't be any problem using it...

Short video on youtube about:

(oop's, being new here it wouldn't allow me to post the link directly, nor even include the link you posted :roll: )

Link + quote to follow in my next + 3rd post :)

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AndyJ
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Post by AndyJ » Sat Jan 23, 2016 7:30 pm

Hi slider,

This is quite a complicated answer, and once you have read it you may prefer to go down the path of trying to obtain permission anyway.

The actual copyright status of this poem today will depend on when it was written. Put simply, the copyright status of a work is determined by where it was written, as well as by whom it was written. Juan Ramón Jiménez Mantecón was born in Spain, but in 1916 at the age of 35 or thereabouts, he moved to Portugal. Then in 1946 he moved to Puerto Rico and lived there for the remainder of his life. Thus his poems could have been been originated under Spanish, Portuguese or American copyright law, depending on the date they were written. American law because Puerto Rico has, since 1901, been an American territory and US Federal law prevails there.

Each of these nations has or had a different length of copyright term. At the relevant times, Spain's copyright term was the lifetime of the author plus 80 years, Portugal's was the lifetime plus 50 years and the USA operated a system which relied on registration; if registration was carried out correctly, copyright could last for up to 56 years from the date the poem was written, but if the work was not correctly registered, it would get no copyright, and if the registration was not correctly renewed, it would only have lasted for 26 years from the date of creation. With some patience, you can check online to see if a work was registered and renewed, via the US Copyright Office website.

So, really messy. For example if this particular poem was written while Jiménez was in Portugal, the poem would now be out of copyright, since he died in 1958, but for the change in EU law which occurred in 1995. If it was written while he was living in Spain, copyright will continue to exist until 2029 (there were some special transitional arrangements when Spain had to fall in line with other EU countries and set their term at the current EU length of lifetime plus 70 years). And the US situation is too difficult to guess, not knowing when or if the work was registered.

The complications don't end there. You have quoted an English language version. If this is the language that Jiménez wrote it in, or he made this translation, then all of the above holds true. However, if someone else translated the work into English, then they are the owner of the copyright in the translation, and thus the term of the copyright for the English version has to be based on their lifetime and the country where they were when they made the translation, and it will be from the translator, or his/her heirs, that you need to get permission.

However help is at hand. The new section 30 (1ZA) of the UK Copyright Designs and Patents Act allows for the quotation of copyright works as long as the author is credited, and the amount quoted is fair. Given that this is a short poem, it is possible that quoting it in its entirety would be fair, and if so, then you would not need permission, assuming that the poem is still in copyright. The quotation exception applies equally to the English or Spanish versions.

Amended on 24 January to clarify the current law in Portugal
Last edited by AndyJ on Sun Jan 24, 2016 9:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
Advice or comment provided here is not and does not purport to be legal advice as defined by s.12 of Legal Services Act 2007

slider
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Post by slider » Sat Jan 23, 2016 8:39 pm

AndyJ wrote:However help is at hand. The new section 30 (1ZA) of the UK Copyright Designs and Patents Act allows for the quotation of copyright works as long as the author is credited, and the amount quoted is fair. Given that this is a short poem, it is possible that quoting it in its entirety would be fair, and if so, then you would not need permission, assuming that the poem is still in copyright. The quotation exception applies equally to the English or Spanish versions.
Hi Andy,

i think that's possibly really very good news for moi, and as such, think I'll take the risk...

Just to make sure, I'll also include a mention of her + thanks in the acknowledgements as being the holder (or one of 'em heh) just to cover as many bases as poss...

Thank you (and everyone) again for the speedy assist. I can now go ahead with publication - whoo-hoo! :D

Good luck to all!

with kindest regards,
from slider...

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