Permissions: Use of Song Lyrics in Your Writing

You are at a pivotal point in your novel where it would be truly amazing if only you could add just a line or two or three from a song.

The question is, can you?

I have read a lot about this and I definitely have come across a lot of conflicting answers. That in and of itself is frustrating with a capital F! In my quest for the answer, I came across some legitimate resources to share with all of you.

To get started, HERE is an article I found to be worth your time.

And, I hate to rain on anyone's parade, but HERE is a good reason why you need to be sure you can use the song first. OOPSIES.

I have read in many places that you CAN use the title (and don't quote me on that, I am, after all, no lawyer) but I have seen this at least twenty times in my searches.

Hopefully this article won't be too much of a downer to you all. As for me, I am currently writing a novel where I wanted to use bits and pieces of a song as the opener to the book. Looks like I might need to rethink that idea.


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Comment by Dana King on April 4, 2011 at 1:00am

Good post, with things we should all be aware of.

I found the following at the Copyright office web site:

How do I copyright a name, title, slogan or logo?
Copyright does not protect names, titles, slogans, or short phrases. In some cases, these things may be protected as trademarks. Contact the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, 800-786-9199, for further information. However, copyright protection may be available for logo artwork that contains sufficient authorship. In some circumstances, an artistic logo may also be protected as a trademark. 

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