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Q: Copyrighted quote ( Answered,   4 Comments )
Subject: Copyrighted quote
Category: Business and Money > Consulting
Asked by: jan50-ga
List Price: $25.00
Posted: 08 Jan 2003 14:16 PST
Expires: 07 Feb 2003 14:16 PST
Question ID: 139473
Would like to use the following quote but do not know who said it and
if it is copyrighted.  Also need to know the source of the quote. The
quote is "If you can't measure it, you can't manager it".  I think it
was Peter Drucker.

Request for Question Clarification by jbf777-ga on 08 Jan 2003 14:50 PST
Is that "manage" or "manager?"


GA Researcher

Request for Question Clarification by librariankt-ga on 06 Feb 2003 10:57 PST
Hi jan50,

I did a search of the US Patent & Trademark Office's web database and
found that the phrase "If you can measure it, you can manage it" was
registered under trademark protection by the Kinex AHA Corporation in
March of 2000.  I'm no trademarks lawyer, but I would assume that
changing the "can" to "can't" would not make much of a difference to
the PTO if you were to be challenged for use of the quote.  And since
it is protected under trademark, not copyright, using the phrase would
be regulated by different rules.

I'd be happy to get you the contact information and further details on
this corporation if you'd like.  Otherwise, if this answers your
question, please let me know.

Subject: Re: Copyrighted quote
Answered By: librariankt-ga on 07 Feb 2003 08:16 PST
Hi jan50,

I have a more complete picture of this particular quote for you now,
but I also want to preface my answer by stating that I am NOT a
lawyer, and I am NOT authorized to give legal advice.  Note the
following from the Google Answers Terms of Service: "We will provide
background information and links to other sources for questions of a
professional nature, but Google Answers is not a substitute for
professional advice and counsel. If you have a question of this
nature, we strongly recommend you consult a professional."

So, that said, I conferred with a lawyer who specializes in
intellectual property.  He said that, while the similar statement (to
which I referred above) is protected by trademark registration, it is
unlikely that the company would be able to also protect the "can't"
version of the quotation.  This is because, in his opinion, the
company that registered the statement probably was aware of the other
one, which is why they registered the "can" version.  Also, the test
of whether something violates trademark is whether it "confuses the
marketplace" (his words).  So, if you are planning to use the "can't"
quotation as a slogan to sell something, you might have some legal
issues.  If you're just using it in a paper or presentation, you're
okay under trademark.

Then there's copyright law.  According to my lawyer friend, quotations
aren't copyrightable, in general (also see blader and kriswrite's
comments below).  This holds true particularly in this case, where the
quotation is not attributable to any one person or source (see lists
of citations given by other researchers).  My friend referred to this
as being part of "common knowledge" at this point.  Again, one of the
four tests of fair use is whether you harm the market for sale of a
copyrighted piece.  Your use of this quotation clearly won't harm
anyone's sales - particularly since there doesn't seem to be a defined
source for the quotation.

Which gets to the question of the source of the quotation.  It looks
like this has become what my friend calls a "meme" - a concept that
perpetuates itself across a community without any one person really
knowing where it came from.  In this case, I would take pafalafa's
advice and attribute the quotation as coming from an "undeterminable"
source.  Or call it the "popular quotation" or the "well-known
quotation" or something like that.

Please let us know if there's more clarification we can give you on
this or any other topic!

Subject: Re: Copyrighted quote
From: blader-ga on 08 Jan 2003 17:20 PST
I believe a single quotation is covered under fair use rights. I tried
finding a source for the quotation, but the best I could come up with
is "a remark made by Peter Drucker." Hope another research has better
Subject: Re: Copyrighted quote
From: kriswrite-ga on 08 Jan 2003 17:22 PST
A short quotation, such as the one mentioned here, is indeed
permissible to use without permission from the copyright holder.
Subject: Re: Copyrighted quote
From: pafalafa-ga on 08 Jan 2003 17:45 PST
Take your pick, from assorted and sundry places around the web:

As W. Edwards Deming says with regard to quality, "if you can't
measure it, you can't manage it ...

"If you can't measure it, you can't manage it!", is a famous
quote of Robert Kaplan, the founder of the BSC

as Floyd said, if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it ... 

Remember Gordon Baskerville's famous forest management dictum: "If you
can't measure it, you can't manage it ...

a quote from George Webster that says "If you can't measure it, you
can't manage it ...

Grove is known for an almost ruthless analytic zeal (at Intel, one of
his best-known maxims is "If you can't measure it, you can't manage

The cardinal rule of telecommunications: If you can't measure it, you
manage it." T. TRAVERS WALTRIP 

... as Peter Drucker is noted for saying, ‘if you can’t measure it,
you can’t manage it ...

... If you can't measure it, you can't manage it," Sugrue says

... The famous quote attributed to Frederick W. Smith, the founder of
Federal Express-"if you can't measure it, you can't manage it"


... If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” The author of this
is unknown, but it is quoted all the time.

Good luck in your work, and I must say, I agree with the other
comments...a single quotation should not run afoul of copyright
Subject: Re: Copyrighted quote
From: rico-ga on 09 Jan 2003 06:44 PST
Just to add to Researcher pafalafa's list (which I thought was great,

From the "Xtaq Management Systems" site...

"If you can't measure it, you can't manage it " - simple but true.

It comes from a remark attributed to GALILEO, who said 'Count what is
countable, measure what is measurable. What is not measurable, make

Note that Xtaq claims to have registered the phrase. However, even if
they indeed have, which I think is problematic, I tend to agree with
my fellow researchers that it could be used without issue. Otherwise,
Xtaq's lawyers must be furiously busy, as the quote appear under
various attributions (most commonly Drucker's, in my research)in
literally dozens of pages and presentations throughout the Web.

For a small fee, I'd be happy to claim that *I* originated the quote,
and you could use it without further charge. :-) "As rico-ga once said
in Google Answers..."



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