1. Birmingham
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    Birmingham Active Member

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    Quotes and fair use

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Birmingham, Mar 8, 2013.

    There are many books in which chapters and/or segments begin with quotes from outside sources. You can see it in nonfiction as well as in fiction. Usually it's some quote by Shakespeare or Rumsfeld, or someone who will not otherwise sue you.

    Is it okay to use the lyrics of, say, a comtemporary song in the beginning of a chapter, while fully crediting it? To me, it feels like fair use (I recently began reading a fictional book that begins even with a quote from another nonfictionbook, crediting the author).

    So, if I quote 3 lines from Foo Fighters or Garbage, to get people into the right mood, is that okay?
     
  2. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    I hope so... I name a whole area after one of my favourite songs and scatter some references to the song within a chapter.

    I like to think only fans of that particular pop group would piece it together but it did occur to me it may not be 100% with the copyright police...
     
  3. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    Is it okay to use the lyrics of, say, a comtemporary song in the beginning of a chapter, while fully crediting it?

    ...absolutely NOT, unless you have permission in writing to do so...

    ...the 'fair use' exception only applies to educational or criitcal works, never for fiction... learn the rules:
    www.copyright.gov


    ...sure, if you don't mind being sued for all you have or ever will have...

    ...titles can be used w/o permission, as can simple 'references'... but not significant amounts of the actual lyrics... the amount allowable is not specified, so it's best to not do it at all, unless you can afford to be sued...
     
  4. Birmingham
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    Birmingham Active Member

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    So I guess I should stick with quoting poems by Hillaire Belloc and William Shakespeare. They're not "Garbage", but they'll do.
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Unless you're willing to contact lyricists and sign contracts for royalties for the use of their lyrics. Or wait until you're famous enough that they are happy to sign at no cost because of the boost THEY will get as a result.
     

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