I am a teacher. My students want to self publish their work as a collection of poetry and short stories. Some of their assignments were to allude to other works and authors—like Wordsworth or Shakespeare’s sonnets.

Would I be able to include the inspirational texts, without violating copyright laws?

I don’t want to “not” include them if they “should” be included. And I don’t want to break any copyright laws either.

Help appreciated.


1 Answer 1


Shakespeare's works will be in the public domain. For other authors, you'll probably need to research each one. @user482877's comment gives you a good link for understanding how it works.

You'll want to check each one. If something is under copyright, contacting the copyright holder to ask for permission (in writing) is very appropriate. I suspect a lot of them would give their permission for a student publication.

  • Thank you!!! So grateful for your input!
    – Sgriggs
    Commented Sep 11, 2023 at 20:06
  • @Sgriggs Be careful: While Shakespeare's works are most certainly in the public domain, recent editions of his works may not be. The work of a scholarly editor who prepares an old text for a new publication may be protected by copyright itself. If you want to use a public domain work, make sure you cite it from a public domain publication or you get written permission from the publisher.
    – Ben
    Commented Sep 12, 2023 at 10:09

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