Quoting or Naming People and Songs

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CommMayo
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Quoting or Naming People and Songs

Post by CommMayo » 16 Nov 2017, 13:41

I'm getting ready to start a book where music plays a large roll for all of the characters. I would like to have some scenes where the family is sitting around playing bluegrass music together. I would like to say that they are playing "X" song by "Y" band and maybe include a few words of the song or paraphrase the meaning of the song. Each particular song is important to the story line and character development.

Do you think I should:
A: Just go for it (ask for forgiveness, not permission if it becomes an issue)
B: Mention the artist and song but not quote any lyrics
C: Mention the artist and describe the song enough that the reader could find it
D: Contact the artists for permission to use them in the book

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Post by CatInTheHat » 16 Nov 2017, 22:10

D- ask for permission.... Just going for it could have legal ramifications.
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Post by miracleugochukwu » 17 Nov 2017, 02:44

C- I know the artist will be grateful

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Post by CommMayo » 17 Nov 2017, 10:01

Thanks for the feedback. Looking at a lot of other websites about this, there seems to be a lot of gray area around this subject. Some copyright folks say mentioning an artist in the public sphere is okay as long as you aren't denigrating them. For example:
"As we were driving down the road, my favorite Toby Keith song came on the radio." <--This would be okay

"Toby Keith is an uneducated, redneck asshole who needs to stay out of politics and stick to poorly playing his guitar." <--This would not be okay.

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Post by Rebeccaej » 19 Nov 2017, 15:11

I'm pretty sure there are strict and specific laws around song lyrics in particular, unless they're in public domain.

And actually, I'd bet there are a fair number of bluegrass folk songs in public domain, so you might just go looking for those and avoid the whole issue.
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Post by CommMayo » 19 Nov 2017, 21:42

Yes, I have looked into public domain bluegrass songs. My problem is that I already have my heart set on a few certain songs. Some of them have been sung by many different singers with different arrangements. I guess I would have to go to the original singer and any more modern arranger...so I could end up needing to contact two people for each song.

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Post by ReyvrexQuestor Reyes » 19 Nov 2017, 23:13

I guess it will be okay to quote or write even the lyrics of a song, provided you accredit it to whomever credit is due. Nobody arrests you for singing any song by any artist. What is prohibited is to reproduce and distribute the same for pecuniary gains. And as a business entity, anybody who does this will be denied business permit or license. Even patented inventions, if you could make it yourself and use it at home, no issue will be raised against you. But once you sell and mass produce, that will be an infringement on intellectual property rights.
As I understand it, any song once out in the air becomes public domain, it is like you being quoted without you even knowing where and when it occurred.

I am an inventor of a patented item. But I think it is imperative I have to reread on Copyright Laws.
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Post by Lincolnshirelass » 20 Nov 2017, 06:04

I always thought you should never quote the lyrics of 'Happy Birthday to You' in a book, film, etc, as it was technically still in copyright, but someone has recently told me this is a fallacy ...
An Eye for an Eye only ends up making the whole world blind.

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Post by CommMayo » 20 Nov 2017, 09:18

You are correct that Happy Birthday was copyrighted. It wasn't until 2016 that the rights to the song were successfully challenged and it entered the public domain.

That being said, I am under the impression that an author have been allowed to write, "...and then they all sang Happy Birthday to their little sister." They would not have been allowed to actually write out the lyrics to the song.

*I think it is really important to note that the majority of songs and other intellectual works are not part of the public domain, unlike what was previously stated on this forum.

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Post by Sushan » 19 Jun 2018, 14:41

Just refer the book Trip to Adele (You can find it in my book shelf). This book is written quoting Adele's songs. It will help you to gen an idea how your book should be
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Post by jjmainor » 01 Sep 2018, 01:08

Lincolnshirelass wrote:
20 Nov 2017, 06:04
I always thought you should never quote the lyrics of 'Happy Birthday to You' in a book, film, etc, as it was technically still in copyright, but someone has recently told me this is a fallacy ...
It used to be, but the courts recently invalidated the copyright...

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Post by jjmainor » 01 Sep 2018, 01:13

Song lyrics are generally under copyright, and the RIAA is super-aggressive when it comes to enforcing their copyrights. Titles however cannot be copyrighted...I've used a few for the titles of some of my own books.

On a side note, something to think about: when it comes to recorded music, the record companies only hold the copyrights to the specific recordings they've released. Live versions of the songs are owned by the artists unless it was commercially released. Bootlegging is entirely legal as long the particular artist is okay with it, and a lot are (just don't bootleg Metallica :D )

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