Using multimedia and a book quote in a poem

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  • Hello, I am an MLIS student and poet who enjoys working with multimedia. I have 3 Q’s regarding a multimedia poem. I recently wrote a multimedia poem where I'm using quoted material for which I obtained copyright permission for already from an NPR article, but there are three other sources I'm trying to get permission for and even wondering if I need to or if citing their sources is enough.


    1. I used an introductory quote from a 1983 book by author Paul Arnold titled __El Libro Maya de los Muertos__ (trans. in English would be __The Mayan Book of the Dead__). The quote is 23 words long or 1 sentence. I translated it into English in the poem and provided a note and citation at the end and placed in quotes in the poem. I tried to find contact info. on the author but haven't been able to. I contacted the publishing house in Mexico but they don't have rights to the book anymore nor contact info. for the author. If it's a quote and I'm citing it, I wonder if I need to pursue permission from the author to cite it in a poem if I am submitting the poem for publication in a literary magazine. Especially if I attempted to get permission by multiple means.


    2. The poem contains a picture from Saturn (that Cassini's spacecraft took), it was in the NPR article, and they already gave me copyright permission to use it, but in the NPR article, the photo is attributed to NASA, so I'm wondering if I have to get permission from NASA too. I tried to contact them also just in case, but they haven't replied to my query and it's been a few months. I read their copyright terms, which have guidelines for content used for non-commercial vs. commercial purposes. However, after reading them, I’m not sure if a poem written with the intent for submission to a literary magazine is considered commercial or non-commerical, and if it is considered commercial, how do I proceed?



    3. And finally, I’m including the link to a Youtube song from a band named Helios. I’m not quoting any material from the song, but I’d like to include the link because I would like it to be part of the experience (among my inspiration for the poem is the NPR article and the Helios song). As an intro to the poem, I write: “Listen to the Helios song as you read the NPR article. Stare at the gif while listening to the music for a while. Then make your way to the poem on the next page.”


    I tried contacting the songwriter but haven't heard from him either but also not sure if I even need to since I'm not quoting material from the song. I also thought of simply referencing the song without the link but also not sure if this is acceptable.


    I appreciate any feedback! Thank you.


    P.S. In most situations, poets are not compensated for their work when submitting to a literary magazine, unless the magazine is holding a contest that involves a cash prize. Would one or the other make any difference since the magazine may be considered a commercial venture?

  • First quote:  I think its fair use. But do properly cite

    NASA My first thought would be that this is in the public domain as a government work.  Looking at the link this appears to be true. But do properly cite.

    The link: it's okay to link, not a copyright issue


    Good luck!


  • I agree with everything Carrie said! I don't think you need permission for any of them. You sound like you have proper citations, so I would not pursue the permissions.

  • Thanks, Carrie & williamsonl! 

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