The facts on Plagiarism and Permissions

Copyright occurs as soon as a writer finishes writing an original thought on paper.
Effectively once written, it becomes the property of the author and no one can copy it without the author’s permission. Unfortunately, this goes two ways, as the same is true of any other writer, and if you want to quote them you cannot do so without first clearing it with whoever orchestrated the writing in the first instance. Failing to do so sets you up for a charge of plagiarism.

In a nutshell, plagiarism equates to stealing, which means that you have effectively taken another’s work and called it your own. Even the task of copying the artistic style of another writer, or taking a direct quote from another writer is plagiarism. This is why you must always acknowledge your sources. Acknowledgement comes in the form of posting credit to the author by noting their name and the name of the work from which the quotation was taken from. If this is a published work then acknowledgement should be given accordingly.

For those authors’ works that have extended the limitations of copyright (varies with locales) there is no need to provide copyright.

Notably, a few authors and even fewer publishers will allow use of their work if it means utilizing short quotations only. Most writers know that quoting a very short sentence (2-5 words) will not necessarily land you in trouble, however quoting more may.
To this end, it is advisable for authors to always check first with the Publisher who will contact the copyright owner to grant same permission, provide you with any relevant fees and any conditions of use.

There will be occasions where the copyright material you wish to use is unable to be obtained. If this is ever the case, due diligence dictates that you insert a note in your book clearly outlining your attempts to contact and work with the publisher or author of the work and your unsuccessful attempts to do so. A notation inviting the author to get in touch with you to clear up the issue is appropriate.

The more famous the quotation (especially musical lyrics) the greater the fee charged for its use.

Inevitably, getting a publisher to offer a contractual transaction, is best prior to quoting another’s work within your work. Through this you will be able to ascertain costs and know if you can afford the payment of the fees to use another writer’s work.