1. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    Update

    Discussion in 'Research' started by cutecat22, Aug 6, 2015.

    I do apologise but I can't, for the life of me, remember where I posted about copyright and getting permission to use song lyrics in a novel.

    Anyway, I have been granted permissions - had to go through three different publishers - so after I pay, I will receive licencing to use the lyrics.

    The only downside, is that there are three different sets of rules I have to adhere to where the copyright is concerned. Mainly because number 1 will let me sell unlimited books but only for a set number of years, whereas the others are a set number of units in a set number of years.

    They have also given me a word for word entry of what needs to appear on the copyright page.

    It's taken a while but we are getting there!
     
  2. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    Man that sounds like a lot of work for just a few words.
     
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  3. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    How much of the lyrics are you using?
     
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  4. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    It is, but in the world of copyright, you can't plead ignorant when something goes wrong and as I am dealing with a well known band with one of the biggest music publishers in the world - who no doubt have very expensive lawyers working for them 24/7, I didn't want to take any chances.

    The cost is covered by book sales for this first trial so we will see what happens with further sales as by doing it the legal way, I can also use it in advertising ...
     
  5. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    About 8 lines. And it's not something heard on a radio, it's something one of my characters actually sings.
     
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  6. JLT
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    JLT Active Member

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    Old thread, I know, but ...

    I'd like to use two lines of a Greatful Dead song ... all of fourteen words ... in a non-fiction book I'm writing. I've done the courteous thing of writing the publishers for permission, but it's got me wondering what sort of limits there are on how long a quotation has to be before permissions become necessary. Could you point me in the direction of whomever you used as a source for this information?
     
  7. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    I went to the company who owns the copyright on the song (which you should be able to find out from the internet or by contacting copyright companies themselves to see if they hold the rights on the material you want to use). One of the companies I dealt with, is called Hal Leonard, and the other one is Universal. I had to deal with two because different companies held the rights to the song in different parts of the world, and as I have wordwide publishing rights for my book, it seemed common sense to have the words in books available worldwide.

    As part of the application, you will be asked to fill in a form which shows how and why you want to use the lyrics you choose, so I think each application will be looked at on it's own merits and in the context of how it's used. I don't think they have a tarif, as such, of x amount of words for x amount of £/$'s. You will also have to attach a copy of the excerpt of your WIP where the words are used. If permission is then given and fees are paid, and you deviate at all from the excerpt without telling them, they can sue you. You may also be asked to send a copy of the completed/published book to the company, at your own expense.

    The amount you will be asked to pay, and the terms of the permission will be determined by the company who owns the copyright, so take time to read the offer they come back with.

    And if they say "no", then you can still include the title of the song, and the group's name (Grateful Dead) as these are not copyrighted, although if you are derogatising them in any way, they will come after you from a legal point of view.

    (I know derogatising is not a word but I just can't think of the word I want to use)
     
  8. JLT
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    JLT Active Member

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    Thanks for your reply. At this point, it seems to me that it's simply not worth the trouble to ask permission for a direct quote. I think I'll just paraphrase it and note the source and let it go at that.
     
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  9. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    The problem with this sort of thing is that while you might be able to make a Fair Use argument, taking the position that you don't need permission, if the rights owner comes after you it is going to cost you a lot of money to fight them, even if you end up winning.
     
  10. JLT
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    JLT Active Member

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    I agree. But I think I'm on safe ground here. The original lyric, from Bob Weir's "The Other One" was "The bus came by and I got on, that's when it all began."

    As it appears in my manuscript, it becomes: "It all began, Bob Weir sang, when the bus came by and he got on. His bus was Ken Kesey's Further, of Electric Kool-aid Acid Test fame, while mine was a Volkswagen camper that pulled up to our house on Dwight Way in Berkeley at ten in the evening. When I got on that bus, the adventure began."

    Do you think that Hal Leonard would have a problem with that?
     
  11. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    Hmmm.
    I would say that's not actually a direct quote but more of a paraphrase, an I'm not sure of the copyright law of paraphrasing.
    This is how I used lyrics: (just a small section)

    “And somehow growing old feels fine …”

    By the third line, I know the song but not the artist, until Gabriel pulls me back toward him. I meet his gaze and I realize it’s Gabriel himself who’s singing the song to me.

    I turn in a circle as I step close to him and he twirls me at the last minute, so that I end up with my back against his chest and our arms linked across the front of my body.

    “I may not have the softest touch …” he sings, takes hold of my hand, drops his other to my hip and pushes me away, spinning me in the opposite direction.

    “I may not say the words as such …” he continues and pulls me back again, holding me firm and steady in his arms, taking a second to search my eyes with his before smiling and leading me on another tour around the dancefloor.

    So not only is it a direct quote, it's the character actually singing the song, so there's no doubt what it is.
    To be on the safe side, I would ask the advice of a copyright lawyer, if you can find one who will give you ten minutes of free advice.
     

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