“Anyone who must declare themselves evil has not witnessed true horror. Anyone who must shout their hatred from the rooftops has not witnessed gazed into hate’s wide, empty, soulless eyes; like the eyes of an animal. Hate does not roar. It simply stares.”

I’d like to use this in my WiP. It’s (in my opinion) a pretty damn good quote. But I can’t find it anywhere to give credit to the original author. I found it in a YouTube comment section which is all that’s appearing at the moment related to it when I google it.

I mean, it could just originate from that random person in a Youtube comment section. It’s not exactly something you need a literature degree to write, not that any string of three or four sentences is.

Which is also why quotes are not subject to copyright and you should not feel obliged, or even particularly compelled to give credit if you can’t identify the original author.


Did you read the comments on that comment? I did, and the guy who posted the comment claims he made it up himself.


I did. I must have missed that.

“Anyone who must declare themselves evil has not witnessed true horror. Anyone who must shout their hatred from the rooftops has not witnessed gazed into hate’s wide, empty, soulless eyes; like the eyes of an animal. Hate does not roar. It simply stares.”
– A random guy in YouTube



This is actually not true!

librarian nerd warning signal flashes brightly

US copyright law grants copyright to any fixed work, which it defines as follows:

An original work of authorship is a work that is independently created by a human author and possesses at least some minimal degree of creativity. A work is “fixed” when it is captured (either by or under the authority of an author) in a sufficiently permanent medium such that the work can be perceived, reproduced, or communicated for more than a short time.

In other words, a comment that has been “fixed” by appearing on YouTube and that was written by a human with some amount of creativity (which this one definitely does) is definitely covered by copyright. Something like “lol” would not be, but this one for sure meets a reasonable definition of “creativity.” Or, if you prefer, originality. (source)

There are some things that can’t be copyrighted, which you can see listed here, but this isn’t one of them. (Incidentally one thing that can’t be copyrighted is recipes, which is why most recipe blogs are so dang hard to use. They add all that nonsensical, non-recipe blather in front of the actual recipes so they can protect the blog post under copyright.)

Of course, it’s highly unlikely a random YouTube commentor will sue you for quoting them in a choicescript game. So, really, you probably still aren’t under any real obligation to cite your source (although from a legal standpoint it would be safer to get permission).

But if, for instance, you were to print that quote on a t-shirt and make ten million dollars off it, the YouTube commentor could sue you and probably win–so long as they can prove that the quote is their intellectual property (which it was as soon as they posted it to YouTube, since YouTube’s TOS makes it very clear they do not own the copyright of content on their platform). Basically, they’d just have to have some kind of convincing proof that the quote is their intellectual property, and that you made money off it without their permission.

@RascaldeesV2, this is the commentor’s profile, which lists their name. Since the comment is pretty recent (3 weeks ago), it doesn’t seem like it would be too hard to reach out by replying to the comment where you saw it and asking for permission to quote it in a game you’re writing, with credit to whatever name the commentor prefers. (Or they might just say you don’t need to credit them, but then you’ve done your due diligence!)

Honestly, even if it’s not legally required, crediting people is polite and not that hard to do most of the time. But obviously I’m a librarian, so it stands to reason I would have, uh, opinions about things like accurate citations. :joy:

(@void_mermaid’s suggestion is pretty funny, too, though!)

((PS note that “by a human author” thing? That’s why anything generated by AI is probably going to end up not covered by copyright, although I think this is still an active discussion.))


Thanks. I try to give credit where I can. It’s not always possible though. You wouldn’t (or actually you probably would) believe how many quotes I remember that I eventually google because I want to use them only to find the source as ‘Anonymous’.

Interestingly, I don’t remember which quote but a few years back I found a quote from Elie Wiesel that was listed as ‘anonymous’. So, I’m ten thousand percent paranoid about giving proper credit.

After I make $5 off my WiP, I don’t want someone to sue me and take that hard, cold cash. It’s my barely functional story after all!


That’s the spirit! :joy:

Practically speaking, the only time you really need to be paranoid is if it’s someone who has a lot of money, or the backing of a giant corporation. It takes a lot of money to sue people, after all, or to retain lawyers who can threaten them with scary-sounding lawsuits.

This is why the common advice about quoting song lyrics is “don’t ever use them”–it’s probably not technically illegal, but recording companies will sue you into oblivion anyway and normal people can’t afford that kind of thing.

A quote from a longer work like a novel is most likely covered by fair use–although citing things is still a good idea and it’s always safer to get permission!

Yeah, I totally believe that! It’s harder online, where there is a thriving cottage industry of fake quotes. lol

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The best news is that no one can scare me with lawsuits because I don’t have enough money to pay even if the court orders me to.


That’s a mood! Why is this actually inspiring??!?


It’s more than just giving credit. You have to be really careful about using other’s work without permission, especially if you plan to publish and make money from it. There is a fine line between fair use and copyright infringement. Given you’re using the entire quote without permission I’d worry it would fall into the latter. I try not to use anything as start of chapter quotes that isn’t covered under an appropriate CC (like public domain.)

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Just rephrase it lol

“Hate isn’t loud. It’s quiet.”

“Hate’s not a lion. It’s a snake.”

“There is no hatred like a spider feels for a butterfly.”

“The sound of hatred isn’t a roar. It’s silence.”

“That dude really hates your guts man, he’s been staring at you all day like a maniac, I think he wants to eat you or something, you should punch him in the face right now”


I think it would fall under something like a speech since it was said in a public space. I forget what that’s called but YouTube isn’t exactly private.

Doesn’t matter if it was in a public space IP is IP.

Edit- Unfortunately looks like that blog is defunct. You’ll need to look it up elsewhere.

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IP is IP but I do remember that speeches and public works are covered differently. For example, if the President said X in a speech, then he cannot sue you for using it. If it was put in a newspaper, you can’t be sued for using it.

You still have to credit them, but you do not need permission anymore.


I’d like to just point out this debate was caused by finding a comment that I thought was an actual quote and it has spiraled out of control.

It shows up on web archive :slight_smile:

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Pretty sure that’s not true. It has to do with fair use. If you are a news outlet and want to quote the president that’s one thing. If you want to sell a bunch of mugs with the same quote for example that’s another.

Anyway, are you likely to get sued for using it? No. (Worst is likely to be a takedown notice unless you’re really unlucky.) Is it uncool to use someone else’s writing as your own without permission? Maybe. Have you already decided to use it before this post? Doesn’t really need any further discussion then.


Well if I knew if it were true or not I wouldn’t be here. I’d by a lawyer. Probably.

I’m also not a lawyer, but a written statement is clearly not an act of speech, even if YouTube’s comment section counts as being public.

From the perspective of copyright law, it’s not speech vs text that matters, it’s whether the original use is “fixed” in some format. (“Fixed,” as a reminder, is part of what determines whether something is copyrightable, along with human authorship and creativity/originality. Basically, this just means it has to be recorded in some kind of way that it lasts for more than a very short time.)

I reviewed a few legal sites and scholarly articles and here are some examples of things that aren’t fixed:

  • A line of dialogue someone makes up and says aloud in a conversation
  • The content of a lecture that isn’t recorded

Here are some things that are fixed, and thus covered by copyright:

  • A line of dialogue someone made up and wrote down
  • The contents of a lecture that is recorded
  • A short story posted to a website
  • A clever joke someone makes up and posts on social media
  • TikTok videos

Where this quote is concerned, since it was written and posted to YouTube it is “fixed,” which means it is covered by copyright.

I agree with @Jacic though–it’s pretty unlikely the writer will sue you for using it, if they even find out it’s being used in a game in the first place.


Better safe than sorry.

Also, darn. Does this mean I have to stop using those jokes I see in places like reddit or ifunny?