Jump to content

Welcome to Christian Writers!

We are a friendly community built around Christian writing, publishing, reading and fellowship. Register or sign in today to join in the fun!
Johne

Don't Quote Lyrics Under Copyright

Recommended Posts

My friend Grace Brooks posted this today on Facebook.

Quote

 

Friendly reminder: Your story can't quote song lyrics that are under copyright.

I just started reading an ebook I picked up somewhere along the way, and I realised there's something that not all writers are aware of.

You can name the song title, and refer obliquely to the content of it as your character hums the tune.

But you cannot quote the actual lines and verses of it. This can get you in serious trouble. No matter how much you love that song and want to pay tribute to it. It's not allowed (unless you have permission from the copyright holder / music label, in which case, go ahead! I hear that can be a little hard to get, though...)

It's actually a good book and I'm enjoying it, but I feel really bad for that writer. I don't know them personally so it's not likely to be well received if I point it out. I just hope one of their friends does, and that they listen. And that you tell your mates if you catch them doing this. Friends don't let friends break laws unknowing.

This isn't a rant, but let's keep spreading knowledge, people, because knowledge prevents lawsuits. Here endeth the lesson...

Gold stars if you knew this already, AND extra points if you're just now learning it!

 

image.png.eb662bae76e6131c156b7bbd027182b3.png

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, I've mentioned this several times. You can't even use them in graphics without permission. Some have gotten fined big time. :oops:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, lynnmosher said:

graphics without permission

Graphics... For songs? I don't know if I know what that is. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Johne said:

"...I don't know them personally so it's not likely to be well received if I point it out..."

I've done that twice to writers I didn't know. (Let them know something they didn't catch in their work.) I email/PM them and ask if they would mind a heads up from me. It eases them into listening without the feeling I'm being obno.

 

Both were receptive, and then thankful. One became a friend. Since this is your friend let her know she can do it quietly, and it is often appreciated by the author.

 

What we really don't like is when someone makes a public spectacle over something dumb we've done. Everyone likes help. No one likes to be embarrassed publicly.

Edited by Spaulding
Fixed typos.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
27 minutes ago, lynnmosher said:

But I use public domain hymns. Like this...

Oh! That makes sense. Hey, how do people get away with making cover songs then? 

 

(Definition in case someone doesn't know: In popular music, a cover version, remake, cover song, revival, or simply cover, is a new performance or recording by someone other than the original artist or composer of a previously recorded song.) 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I once wanted to use some song lyrics in a book of mine. I wrote the copyright holder’s agency to inquire the cost. For the songs I chose, it was about $2,000 per song, so I decided not to use them. (And we are not talking major hits!)

 

There is one tack you can take, but it bears some risk. You can include a parody of a song, since parody is allowed under copyright law as a transformative use, but there are subtle parameters you need to be aware of, so do your homework.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I once wrote a Christian play about the birth of Jesus. As a way for the cast to change scenes, I wanted to have the congregation sing Christmas carols.  I knew I wanted some modern carols that spoke of His birth in a slightly different way. I wrote the publisher of the hymnal we used at my church (at that time.)  One of my resource books told me there were certain questions I needed to ask that publisher.  The response I received from the firm asked me the very same questions: How many copies would be printed? (I did not know, I wanted to try to sell it to a Christian publisher.) I don't remember the other questions. But I do remember that they had a price they charged for any use of their copyrighted work. Someone suggested I use hyms in public domain. I did.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/8/2020 at 5:15 PM, Alley said:

how do people get away with making cover songs?

License, permission, and royalty agreements. 

 

A general rule is that you need to pay for intellectual property used for commercial purposes. If you release a live album with a cover of another band's song, you pay a royalty to the songwriter, not the band, and credit it accordingly. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.