East End Work – Texts, copyright and books

Posted on November 15, 2013


I have been quoting texts from work by other authors to set alongside my images for the Always Follow Ur Dreams!! In fact, I have been considering whether to use only quotations rather than text I have written. I thought it would be wise to check on copyright restrictions and how this might affect my plans.

The short answer is that it is a significant problem. Short quotations can generally be used in critical texts for educational purposes without concerns over copyright. However, since I would wish my work to be able to be published, I would need to gain permissions to publish any quotations in my work. Quotations from authors who have been dead for 70 years are outside of copyright. I checked on the Random House Website (they are the publishers of Monica Ali’s Brick Lane) to see what their policy on this is. They state that they require people to apply for permission and that as a minimum they would charge £75 if they decide to agree.

The reality is that this is a minefield and unless the quotations were an absolutely critical element of my work I would be better off avoiding them. So with this in mind I have drafted my own texts based on the research I have done to date. The language is not so colourful, but I have borrowed phrases from my source texts which give a flavour of the times I am referring to. For example I have referred to Lascar sailors as ‘sons of India’ as per the text by Joseph Salter. In a way I think I prefer the new approach. I found the repetition of references to third parties quite distracting to the flow of piece.

I have also been  trying out how the work would look in book format. Click on the image below to see a pdf file of a draft Blurb book.

AFUD Book Cover

©Keith Greenough 2013

Afterthought Friday 15th : The book pdf has been updated in the light of the comments received and to correct a couple of spelling mistakes.