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What's involved? : Conversation question • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com

What's involved?

Every month in Writer's Digest's InkWell section, we pose a question related to the writing life. Tell us your thoughts.
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Loretta Green
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What's involved?

Postby Loretta Green » Tue Sep 02, 2014 11:07 pm

I am writing a love story and I want to be able to quote from the song that I am going to have my main character play on her keyboard. I believe, that I can Name the song and singer without getting permission, but if I actually want to quote the lyrics I need to get written permission? Is that hard to do? How do you go about it? It's just a thought, because my main character is trying to get her husband to remember their life together after he had a brain cancer and she plays this song on her keyboard. It's "their" song. Anyway, does anyone know if this is even a feasible thing to do?

thanks,
Loretta Green

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robjvargas
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Re: What's involved?

Postby robjvargas » Wed Sep 03, 2014 7:25 am

Slowly putting together a "replacement" forum at http://writerswriting.proboards.com.

It's still under construction, but come take a look.

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Oldtimer
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Re: What's involved?

Postby Oldtimer » Wed Sep 03, 2014 8:21 am

Read samples of my Martian series (by Dorothy Piper) and two romances (by Joni Havel) on Smashwords.
Hard copies of all are on Amazon.

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Loretta Green
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Re: What's involved?

Postby Loretta Green » Wed Sep 03, 2014 11:11 am

thank you Rob, that answers my question. thank you for looking up that info for me.

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mammamaia
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Re: What's involved?

Postby mammamaia » Wed Sep 03, 2014 11:20 am

I believe, that I can Name the song and singer without getting permission, but if I actually want to quote the lyrics I need to get written permission?

...yes...

Is that hard to do?

...can be hard to impossible... or surprisingly easy... depends on who owns it...

How do you go about it?

...start with googling to find out who wrote the lyrics... then write/call/email and ask...

It's just a thought, because my main character is trying to get her husband to remember their life together after he had a brain cancer and she plays this song on her keyboard. It's "their" song. Anyway, does anyone know if this is even a feasible thing to do?

...it's done all the time... but most of the time only after paying what can be a hefty price for the privilege... although i have heard of a couple of writers who got permission gratis, from generous and kind lyricists...

...btw, that licensing site linked to above only applies to its own copyrighted songs and the company is 'capitol christian music group'... so it won't help you any if the song you want to use isn't one of theirs...

...and permission to use popular song lyrics probably won't come anywhere near that cheap...
Last edited by mammamaia on Wed Sep 03, 2014 11:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
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mammamaia
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Re: What's involved?

Postby mammamaia » Wed Sep 03, 2014 11:23 am

deleted... posts merged...
Last edited by mammamaia on Wed Sep 03, 2014 11:26 am, edited 2 times in total.
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James A. Ritchie
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Re: What's involved?

Postby James A. Ritchie » Wed Sep 03, 2014 11:25 am

Regrettably, it's rarely that simple. First, you must know who owns copyright of the song you want to use. Second, "reprint in a book" doesn't always mean, 'reprint in a novel". Third, even when it does, chances are no publisher will go near it. Fourth, just because a music publish says they own a song does not always mean they own a song. It often means they own only part of a song, or don't own the song at all, but think they do, either of which can land you in court. This from Capitol

Why does Capitol only cover a Percentage?

There are some songs that Capitol CMG does own 100% of the publishing rights to. There are also thousands of songs where we only have publishing rights to a portion of the song. Once you have a copy of the Capitol CMG license please take note of the list of songs you have requested. The license will list what percentage we own and also give you the other publishers, not affiliated with Capitol CMG, that also need to license their portion of the song. Please note, that you do not have full rights to use or record any song until you have received licenses to cover 100% of the song.


By and large, using actual song lyrics is never worth it, unless you're Stephen King, and have a huge publisher with a fistful of hundred dollar bills backing you up.

James A. Ritchie
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Re: What's involved?

Postby James A. Ritchie » Wed Sep 03, 2014 11:26 am


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mammamaia
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Re: What's involved?

Postby mammamaia » Wed Sep 03, 2014 11:27 am

yes, that, too...
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Loretta Green
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Re: What's involved?

Postby Loretta Green » Wed Sep 03, 2014 11:39 am

Thank you all for this very important info. I guess I will have to be happy with just mentioning the the song title and the singer. Perhaps that's all I really need anyway.

thanks,
Loretta Green

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