More and more publishers are passing the job to authors to get the necessary permissions for using quotes in their text. This is also true if you want to reproduce illustrations. It is also true that for new editions of a previously published work you have to clear all permissions again. This is a difficult task when you consider that many publishers have merged or been taken over. The question is often who to contact.
The Society of Authors, recommend you approach quotes with caution and it is better to ask if you are unsure. Best endeavours will not cover you. They provide a quick guide to obtaining permissions for their members. They can also put you in touch with freelance permission people and are in the process of trying to get a permissions database up and running, which will also provide information on out of date books. There is already a US clearance website, which will search out copyright permissions in the US for you www.copyright.com
If you reference a website, officially you must put a date. If you quote a website you should remember the content of the site can easily change and may not be available next time you look.
It is possible to quote up to 200 words without permission for critiques or reviews. However, if you use a quote as an epigraph you must get permission, unless the person you have been quoting has been dead for over 70 years and the work you are quoting was written in their life-time.
If you think this sounds really complicated - you’re right - it is.