Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Some advice about using song lyrics

The short version of my advice: Write your own song and quote that.

The long version.
If you wish to quote from books and movies, you are allowed to use a small portion as long as you reference your source. It’s called “fair use”. But “fair use” doesn’t apply to song titles. Even quoting just a few words can get an author into trouble as a well-known author found out a few weeks ago after her book was pulled off Amazon overnight until she’d paid a hefty sum for the right to use the words in her story.

The rights to some songs, especially very old songs, are in the public domain. You could check carefully then use one of them. Or you could get permission from the writer of the song you wish to use and pay the fee to use it. It will most likely cost you somewhere between a few hundred and a few thousand dollars.

Both of these courses leave you open to getting it wrong, making a mistake and ending up with a nasty fine. I suggest you write your own song. That’s the only guaranteed way of not making a mistake.

But if you still want to use someone else’s song, please read this article first: http://annerallen.blogspot.com.au/2013/03/so-you-want-to-use-song-lyrics-in-your.html

Helen Woodall

Helen is available to line edit and/ or content edit fiction and non-fiction. Rates on application.

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