Quote starter verification

Hello, if someone comes up with a witty phrase/fancy quote etc. how can that person identify themselves with that quote/phrase so that no one can be identified with or claim it legitimatly?
virtually yours
Virtually Yours

You can trademark it:

Short answer: you can’t.

Longer answer: Quotes get attributed to people who are famous for quotes. The Internet’s habit of misattributing quotes is legend, and is the subject of dozens of threads here. A Doper is behind the fascinating site

[Quote Investigator]
(http://quoteinvestigator.com/) where you can see the problems involved with pinning a quote to its originator. Even if you somehow get people to notice your brilliance and quote you, dozens of other people will simply claim that they said it or said it first.

Or you could have the kind of luck better applied to winning the lottery.

[quote=“Exapno_Mapcase, post:3, topic:786622”]

Short answer: you can’t.

Longer answer: Quotes get attributed to people who are famous for quotes. The Internet’s habit of misattributing quotes is legend, and is the subject of dozens of threads here. A Doper is behind the fascinating site

Yes but if they do, in the crunch, you would have the trademark or copyright to prove that it was you, no?
virtually yours
Virtually Yours

This should actually be attributed to Ben Franklin, 1706-1790.

You don’t need a trademark or copyright to prove that. If you can produce a published work from (say) 1985 of which you are the author, that disproves any claim by them that they coined the phrase in (say) 1990.

On the other hand, if their claim is that they coined the phrase in 1980, your use of it in a work published in 1985 does not prove them wrong. But nor would a trademark registered by you in 1985 prove them wrong.

You can only trademark something to use commercially. And you probably can’t copyright it as it would likely be too short.

Now if you printed it on a T-shirt and offered them for sale you might be able to trademark it.

I came up with two quotes for my business. One in the late 70’s and the other in the early 80’s. Both became quite popular. " One call does it all" " One stop shopping"

I invented those in the 60’s and 70’s respectively.

For a trademark, you usually need a commercial product. You don’t trademark “VY’s phrase” but “VY’s phrase brand burgers.” If your come up with distinctive artwork, for example, containing the phrase then you can trademark and copyright that.

As noted, just a short phrase can’t be copyrighted.

To establish priority in a very legal way you can do this: Write up something non-trivial using the phrase. (A page or two about the phrase and why you luvz it, for example.) You then file a formal copyright on that. (Which costs money.)

If someone else later claims originating it, then you have your copyright filing to fall back on.

Technically, just posting it online and making sure the Internet Archive spiders it will legally protect you, people tend to downplay such documentation.

“One stop shop” is common and seems to have been around since the 1920s or 30s. I find it hard to believe that no one used “One stop shopping” prior to 1970.

If you have a witty quote that is so insanely memorable and quotable, why not just use it here in this thread? The Straight Dope ranks very high in Google searches. People will easily find it and see who originated it. As soon as you write it a copyright is attached. That doesn’t mean what people think it does. A copyright is attached to every word people put down in permanent form. This post is copyright by me as soon as I post it. Copyright doesn’t prevent others from quoting it.

Of course, you’ll have to tell us your real name, but you would have to attach the quote to your real name no matter what.

I’m not sure if this is meant as a serious claim, but if it is, it is unfounded. Newspapers.com has examples of “one call does it all” dating back to 1925. It has “one-stop shopping center” from 1923, and standalone “one-stop shopping” from 1932.

True. Abraham Lincoln actually famously said “Don’t believe everything you read on the Internet.”

There’s a very simple way to tie your quotes to your person, actually invented by the Chinese: for example -

“Confucius say… man who fight with wife all day get no piece at night.”

In reference to the economy I invented the phrase “Priming the pump” 3 days before Donald Trump so he must have been copying me.

Excellent! Excellent suggestion.
Best answer yet imo.
virtually yours
Virtually Yours

Excellent also. um, how you make "sure the Internet Archive spiders it?
virtually yours
Virtually Yours

Excellent, but, how would one know if the witty quote is insanely memorable and quotable? Maybe a specific site or page in a forum where one could put quotes and get feedback? hmm
virtually yours
Virtually Yours

Well, then. Put it on a t-shirt.

Here’s the page that show fees for trademarking.

How many do you think you’ll sell? This page shows a cost of about $3.00 each in bulk. Then you’ll have to consider the cost of setting up a store, processing payments, and shipping. You might try to contact established vendors to see if they’ll take them, but they can usually think of their own sayings.

BTW, you have done a thorough search on the Internet and in various databases to ensure that nobody thought of this before you. Haven’t you?

Why does the Internet Archive need to get involved? It is copyright anywhere on any site the instant it is posted. That’s why I suggested posting it here on the Dope.

Registration is separate and offers more protection. But that’s irrelevant. As everyone has said from the beginning, you can’t register a short phrase and have it enforced. You can register the copyright of the “expression” (the legal term) of a whole page or website, but everyone has free use to quote the short phrase within. They just can’t copy the entire page and pass it off as their work. And taking someone to court for passing off a phrase or quote as their own is insanity. The costs are stupendous. Even the largest companies try to never take a copyright infringement case to court except for the largest issues. That’s assuming registration. Without registration, a court case can only get you “actual damages.” In most cases legal actual damages are near zero.