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  1. #1
    Brady Boyd
    Guest

    Copyrighted lyrics in book

    I know we've discussed this before, but I'm a man, so I forgot.

    In my first novel, I include the entire lyrics of a Bob Dylan song. When this occurs, who has to get permission to use the lyrics? The author? Publisher? Does the inclusion of these lyrics make my book less attractive to agents wanting to avoid the legalities?

    Gary, this sounds like your expertise.

    Brady Boyd

  2. #2
    Gary Kessler
    Guest

    Re: Copyrighted lyrics in book

    The author has to get them. If you have them already in hand, the agent won't find the manuscript less attractive; if you don't, the agent will assume the worst case--that you will have to cut them out because you either can't get the permissions or can't afford them--in which case, they'll be looking for how important they were to the manuscript content in the first place.

  3. #3
    Brady Boyd
    Guest

    Re: Copyrighted lyrics in book

    Forgive the ignorance, but how would I go about getting permission to use these lyrics?

    Brady Boyd

  4. #4
    Debra
    Guest

    Re: Copyrighted lyrics in book

    FYI. I quoted 4 lines from a Robert Frost poem that my editor wants me to paraphrase instead, due to copyright issues.

  5. #5
    Brady Boyd
    Guest

    Re: Copyrighted lyrics in book

    And does it make any difference that I give credit to Bob Dylan for the lyrics?

    Brady Boyd

  6. #6
    Lois
    Guest

    Re: Copyrighted lyrics in book

    Brady -- Dylan will want money for the lyrics. The money will come out of your advance. Either paraphrase, use part of a line, or have your character think how the words reflect the situation or the thoughts in the character's head.

    I could be way off base here, but I think permission would come through both the writer and ASCAP. It can get expensive.

    Lois

  7. #7
    Jordie
    Guest

    Re: Oh, JOOOOOORDIEEEEEE...

    I have many many lyrics in my novel, which didn't dissuade any agents or editors from their enthusiasm. A good thing.

    But my editor just informed me that for any citation over 7 words or roughly one line would require permission and $$, to be paid by me, between $150-$300 per citation.

    I have to find the copyright holder through ASCAP.com and write them a letter. Then, I fill out a form and they tell me how much $$ they want. It is a big headache. I'm now trying to cut down as many as I can, but several scenes hinge on a song (The Sisters of Mercy's MARIAN is an example) and I will just have to suck it up, I guess.

    But it did NOT turn anyone off of my novel, Brady. So no fear.

    Jordie

  8. #8
    Gary Kessler
    Guest

    Re: Oh, JOOOOOORDIEEEEEE...

    Brady:

    The cost for permissions won't come out of the advance (which will come from the publisher long after you have to have permissions in hand). The cost for permissions will come directly out of your pocket before the publisher will send the book off to the printer. If I were you, I'd find out what they are before getting an agent (because chances are very good that will prompt you write them out of your book), but I wouldn't settle on them until I had a publisher (first, so I hadn't spent all that money on something that hadn't gotten a publisher yet, and, second, because the charge is usually attached to the number of copies being printed and whether it is going to be North America only or World in distribution).

    You can usually find out who owns a song or song lyrics composed in the United States through the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) at <http://www.ascap.com/index.html> or at the other major musicians’ union/association Web sites at <http://www.bmi.com> or <http://www.sesac.com>. The Public Domain Information Project (<http://www.pdinfo.com/faq.htm>) provides information on songs in the public domain (although a Bob Dylan song is most certainly not going to be in the public domain yet).

  9. #9
    Yvonne Oots
    Guest

    Re: Oh, JOOOOOORDIEEEEEE...

    Ladies and Gentleman.... or men... when you find out who the publisher is.... Then you can go through them.... that is who the fee will go through. You can of course go directly to the songwriter.... but their address is difficult to find.
    Yvonne

  10. #10
    Gary Kessler
    Guest

    Re: Oh, JOOOOOORDIEEEEEE...

    Sorry, Yvonne, few publishers are going to do that for you--and certainly not unless/until they define you as a hot property.

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