1. afinemess
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    afinemess Active Member

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    song lyrics in novel

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by afinemess, Jun 1, 2009.

    I have added some song lyrics in my novel at two points. It really adds to the story nicely, and its obviously fine for now. Either before or after using them (like 2/3 lines each) I put the artists name. If I were to ever finish and get published, would I have to omit them? The two scenes they are in would have to be altered a little, as a mention of the lyrics will pop back up in the end. just wondering!!
     
  2. Gallowglass
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    Gallowglass Contributing Member Contributor

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    Only if you've said something bad about them. Names aren't copyright.
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    You need to get written permission from the copyright owner before including lyrics in a published piece.
     
  4. Primitive
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    Primitive Member

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    Is this the same if you mention the band and say, the name of a hit single, or is it only for lyrics?
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Titleas and artist names are not copyrighted. Lyrics are copyrighted, so you need to get permission to include them, which may involve a transfer of money. But titles and artists' names can be used freely.
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ...as cog has noted, YES!... unless you got permission and paid for the right to use them...

    ...study up on copyright law here: www.copyright.gov
     
  7. afinemess
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    afinemess Active Member

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    Hmmmmmmmm....that puts me in a pickle. Its the lyrics I'm wanting more than the title or artist. I guess I'll attempt to come up with my own lyrics or something until i figure out what to do. I'll just leave them for now.

    Thank you bunches!!!!:D
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    if you can use old-timey songs, anything written more than 70 years ago will probably be in the public domain, so don't need to have the permission of the lyricist...
     
  9. love2listen
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    love2listen Member

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    on the publisher page of books (the one with Library Of Congress number, summary, copyright etc) sometimes you see "an excerpt of............was used with permission"

    clear the copyright and its fine. you need permission from the song publishing company and record label I think
     
  10. love2listen
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    love2listen Member

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    I believe it goes if it has been 75 years since the death of the author of a work

    but someone else could always have the rights. Tolkien's son and daughter hold the copyrights now.
     
  11. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    not unless that's who holds the copyright... it could be the lyricist, or if s/he's deceased, the heirs...

    as i said, in the us it's 70 years after the death of the author, for all work completed after 1978... see the official copyright laws/info on www.copyright.gov :


    as for tolien's works, his estate holds the copyright on them, but it's not as simple as that seems... you can study the ins and outs of the labyrinthian tolkien estate maze here:
    http://books.google.com/books?id=B0loOBA3ejIC&pg=PA175&lpg=PA175&dq=who+holds+tolkien+copyrights%3F&source=bl&ots=hgFD6KcgWk&sig=JOZDy4JmLWEh2CMWWwNwW4xKlDc&hl=en&ei=R8woStHZNZH6tgORx8X0Cg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1#PPA175,M1
     
  12. afinemess
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    afinemess Active Member

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    If I want to keep them, should I try working on this myself now? Or is this something the agent/publisher would work on? I will not hesitate to start a letter writing campaign. LOL I'm going to take one completely out, but the other is so perfect, I'm wanting to keep it.

    See, I'm saying all this like I'm already so sure I'm going to even get published. I'm not cocky, I'm just hopeful with an "I think I can" attitude. Call me the little train that could. haha Thanks for the help!!
     
  13. CharlieVer
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    CharlieVer New Member Contributor

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    Some months ago, I posted the same question as the OP. Got the same answer, but it lead to other questions what I can and can't reference.

    As a result of that discussion, I bought and read a book on the subject.

    First, what I'm about to say applies to U.S. law. For works copyrighted in the U.K. or any other country, the laws of the individual country apply.

    The answer is that you're both right, because of a change in copyright law. I had to look some of this up, and you may want to check my facts as I'm quickly scanning and summarizing. The applicable laws are the Copyright Act of 1909, the Copyright Act of 1976, and Public Law 105 passed in 1998.

    As I understand it, this is how it works:

    1. Anything copyrighted before January 1, 1978, currently becomes public domain 75 years after the publication date.

    2. Anything copyrighted on or after January 1, 1978, becomes public domain 70 years after the death of the author.

    There is a calculation formula (see Copyright.gov website) for works created before that date, but not copyrighted until after that date.

    This has not always been the case. The law in 1909 actually only allowed works to be copyrighted for 28 years, and then you had to apply for an extension to 47 tears. The 1976 law extended this to 75 years. A law passed in 1992 made the extension automatic, and registration of the extension optional.

    There are many more details, but that's the basic jist.

    For more information, http://www.copyright.gov/


    Edit: I just noticed someone posted some of the same information I just posted, plus a little more!
     
  14. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ...definitely...

    ...for you, as an unknown new writer, to expect the publisher to do it for you would result in neither you nor your work being taken seriously...
     

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