Using quotes or anything to do with pop culture is always tricky to me. I have been dinged by a company who shall not be named for even suggesting that I was inspired by Harry Potter in one of my creations. Since then, I am cautious but I have thus read up on copyright law and researched what is and isn’t under public domain. Simple phrases can’t be copyrighted meaning Disney isn’t going to hunt you down for using the words, “Under the Sea,” but more specific things like “May the Force Be With You” is going to get flagged if someone wants to push that point. Considering all that, I’ve picked 10 phrases that I think would not only be safe from copyright law, but popular enough to sell.
9. “We’re all Mad Here.” ~ from Alice in Wonderland. The novel is in public domain so it’s free to use. The Disney movie in not public domain thus using their characters would be copyright infringement.
8. “The Game is Afoot.” ~ Sherlock Holmes (Again, the novels by Conan Doyle are in public domain. The Benedict Cumberbatch series is not. 🙂
7. “This too shall pass” ~quote from Sufi poetry long out of copyright law.
6. “Wait for it” ~ Hamilton, Psych, How I Met your Mother. Popular quote from several pop culture things right now and too simplistic to copyright.
5. “To Thine Ownself Be True.” ~Shakespeare’s Hamlet. The bard is open ground for anyone who needs a great Shakespearean quote.
4.”Just Keep Swimming” ~Made popular by Disney’s Finding Nemo. This one might be pushing things but hard to copyright this simple phrase.
3. “As you Wish” ~ the Princess Bride. Again, too simple a phrase.
2. “#Blessed” ~ As far as I know, no one owns the copyright to this yet. It is very difficult to copyright that.
1. “Not throwing away my shot!” ~ Hamilton Broadway Musical is SO popular right now. Again, this is a simple phrase and hard to copyright. I suspect Lin-Manuel Miranda could push this if he wanted to, but he seems like a really great guy and let’s face it, if he needs to have a dialog with me, I’d be happy to talk to him about ANYTHING he wants. 🙂
If you have any suggestions for other quotes, please add them to the comments because we would love your ideas! As always, let’s end with a little humor: I want to die peacefully in my sleep, like my grandfather.. Not screaming and yelling like the passengers in his car.
See you next time!