Struggling Writers discussion

27 views
Discussions > Copyright for Song Titles and Content?

Comments Showing 1-20 of 20 (20 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Jasmin (new)

Jasmin (sakuchu) | 1 comments Hi,

recently I saw a lot of authors use Song titles in their book or claim afterwards something like "That song inspired me for my story".

I wonder though, if this might be a copyright infringement. Are people allowed to copy part of a song's lyric and use as their own story?(As a side note: I even heard of a genre called songfic!)

Hopefully I posted this in the right topic. (LOL)


message 2: by Irene (new)

Irene (wingdesilverii) | 2500 comments Jasmin wrote: "Hi,

recently I saw a lot of authors use Song titles in their book or claim afterwards something like "That song inspired me for my story".

I wonder though, if this might be a copyright infringeme..."


Any book I have ever read gives credit at some point to the artist. I know in her Infernal Devices series Cassandra Clare uses a lot of literature excerpts from the time period the books are in, but she always gives credit either directly on the page or at the end of the book (that's the most recent thing I have read with what you are talking about).

I can't name any off the top of my head but I know I have read books that have song excerpts in them and the artist is always given credit (either right there in the text or at the very end of the book).


message 3: by Philip (new)

Philip (phenweb) | 75 comments I used lyrics from My Way as the chapter titles in my book, I was going to put the lyrics of the song written by Paul Anka at the start but decided after research that that needed full (c). With just the chapter titles instead I acknowledge source material at the start and then it is treated like any other quote - attribute and don't use too much.


message 4: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Weldon (sarahrweldon-author) | 6045 comments Submit at Write Now have a piece on this subject, and even after reading the article it's no clearer! Should we not quote, do we need permission?

If I use quotes I always acknowledge the author of the piece in the following sentence. This I think puts me in the clear...Other than that use only quotes pre-1920 they aren't covered by copyright. Lucky us that means we get to quote Shakespeare to the winter of our discontent!


message 5: by Irene (new)

Irene (wingdesilverii) | 2500 comments Sarah wrote: "Submit at Write Now have a piece on this subject, and even after reading the article it's no clearer! Should we not quote, do we need permission?

If I use quotes I always acknowledge the author ..."


That's how Cassandra Clare does hers. One of her main character's quotes from poetic pieces on a regular basis and she never fails to mention the book/poem/author within the next sentence or so.


message 6: by Emma (new)

Emma Iadanza (emmaiadanza) If you claim that it's your inspiration, I don't think it's copyright infringement. But if you quote it it might be. Although, I'm not entirely sure because most stuff I use is public domain since it's pretty old.


message 7: by Irene (new)

Irene (wingdesilverii) | 2500 comments Emma wrote: "If you claim that it's your inspiration, I don't think it's copyright infringement. But if you quote it it might be. Although, I'm not entirely sure because most stuff I use is public domain since ..."

As long as you are not reproducing ideas, which I realize is a very thin line in literature, then I am pretty sure you are right about the inspiration bit.


message 8: by Emma (new)

Emma Iadanza (emmaiadanza) Since were on the topic:

If I have a score for some piece if music and it has a copyright, but I found another version that isn't copyrighted, does that count as copyright infringement?


message 9: by Irene (new)

Irene (wingdesilverii) | 2500 comments Emma wrote: "Since were on the topic:

If I have a score for some piece if music and it has a copyright, but I found another version that isn't copyrighted, does that count as copyright infringement?"


It would count as plagiarism instead (I think).


message 10: by Emma (last edited Feb 06, 2014 05:02PM) (new)

Emma Iadanza (emmaiadanza) Even if it's on a public domain website? (imslp.org)

Because I have a score - copyrighted 1983, but online there's a public domain version that printed before copyright existed. And in Germany. Published in 1791.


message 11: by Tara ♪ (new)

 Tara ♪ | 445 comments Hmm...


message 12: by Irene (new)

Irene (wingdesilverii) | 2500 comments Emma wrote: "Even if it's on a public domain website? (imslp.org)

Because I have a score - copyrighted 1983, but online there's a public domain version that printed before copyright existed. And in Germany. ..."


Not sure on that, you would have to look into it.


message 13: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jessicalynxo) Irene wrote: "Emma wrote: "Even if it's on a public domain website? (imslp.org)

Because I have a score - copyrighted 1983, but online there's a public domain version that printed before copyright existed. And ..."


I agree. I have a feeling that also the infringement business would have to depend on the artist of the song. Certain artists are more than willing to have their songs featured in books, but others require a full ten-page contract of approval.


message 14: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Weldon (sarahrweldon-author) | 6045 comments Jessica wrote: "Irene wrote: "Emma wrote: "Even if it's on a public domain website? (imslp.org)

Because I have a score - copyrighted 1983, but online there's a public domain version that printed before copyright ..."


Personally I can't see why anyone would object providing you clearly state the extract is the work of A N other-it's free publicity, and all publicity is good publicity!


message 15: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jessicalynxo) That's exactly what I think about it, but some people are just difficult!


message 16: by Irene (new)

Irene (wingdesilverii) | 2500 comments Jessica wrote: "That's exactly what I think about it, but some people are just difficult!"

Some people are "difficult" because they have been screwed over in the past, and they don't have the legal funds to fight a breach of contract, so they don't sign anything like. that.

Just something to think about, I know someone who signed such a contract (that had things clearly stated) for an art piece of hers and the person using her work broke the contract. She didn't have the funds to take them to court so her work was basically stolen from her. It ended up being printed and sold on postcards, which was not a use agreed to in the contract she signed, so she was not acknowledged as the artist nor given any payment.


message 17: by Marc (new)

Marc Nash (sulci) You cannot copyright any title, be it book or song or anything, so you are free to use that and don't even have to credit it.

However quoting lyrics is a no-no, because the music publisher who own the publishing rights will come after you for royalties and it's not cheap. Even if you seek permission to quote the lyrics from the music publishing company, they will likely charge you for it. Just avoid.


message 18: by G (new)

G (gcunha) So does that mean that if I want to name my book or chapter after the title of a song (even extremely, uh, specific titles, like, say, Panic! At The Disco's Lying Is The Most Fun A Girl Can Have Without Taking Her Clothes Off, there isn't any problem and I don't have to pay anything?


message 19: by Marc (new)

Marc Nash (sulci) G wrote: "So does that mean that if I want to name my book or chapter after the title of a song (even extremely, uh, specific titles, like, say, Panic! At The Disco's Lying Is The Most Fun A Girl Can Have Wi..."

correct, though why anyone would want to name a book after a Morrisey song is beyond me :-)


message 20: by G (new)

G (gcunha) Oohhh cool. Thanks a lot for the heads-up!


back to top