Using songs by famous artists on the story

Is it ok if I used songs by artists(like Bebe Rexha's, Demi's, etc...) even if I don't have their permission? Like let's say, in the story it's their own song or saying that it's their favorite song.

Comments

  • Ron MillerRon Miller Bibliophile

    CE_RoseQuartzRe wrote:

    Is it ok if I used songs by artists(like Bebe Rexha's, Demi's, etc...) even if I don't have their permission? Like let's say, in the story it's their own song or saying that it's their favorite song.


    The answer is an easy one: No.

     

    You cannot use song lyrics (or, for that matter, any copyrighted material) without obtaining explicit permission from the copyright owner.

     

    You can mention a song title if you wish. For instance you could write "That's What I Like is Bruno Mars' favorite song." That's OK. But you cannot use any of the music or lyrics.

     

    R

  • Skoob_ymSkoob_ym Librarian

    Ron is exactly right, and with that said, some publishers will go even further and will get permission even to mention a song title. If you ask ASCAP, the very idea that a song exists should cause you to have to pay royalties, but that's because ASCAP is a bit overzealous.

     

    Titles are not copyrighted nor copyrightable. That doesn't mean that someone won't "Try it on." For example, there was an "Artist" in the San Francisco area, working under the name Ashleigh Brilliant, who used to copyright books of aphorisms, and then try to sue anyone who used one of the aphorisms. You cannot copyright a remark or an aphorism, but he tried.

     

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ashleigh_Brilliant#criticism

     

    So to make a long story short, the more that you avoid using anything that is even loosely connected to a copyright, the better your lawyers will sleep at night.

  • I'm so glad I saw this thread, can I hijack it? I hadn't even realized that my little bit could be copyright infringement. What if the character tries to quote song lyrics, but gets them wrong?
    From my story POW

    -The cd player randomly cycled on to the Peter Tosh hit ‘Legalize it’ and began to play, the boys grooved on the mellow beat and familiar scratch guitar. Sid spoke up, interrupting the chorus, “This song starts out strong, but then it kinda falls apart at the end.”

    ”What do ya’ mean?” asked Joneser.

    “The goats and the ants,” answered Cliff knowingly.

    “Yeah, exactly,” continued Sid nodding at Cliff, “It’s like Tosh set out to create the anthem that would lead the revolution to legalize ganja, this song was going to be the rallying cry for millions, so he comes up with all these legitimate reasons to legalize.”

                The others shifted their gaze to Sid as they recognized a great stoner brainstorm forming before them. Johnny kept poking into his pipe, pulling out the spoke and wiping sticky resin on a paper towel. Sid went on, “first he explains that everyone in these important jobs, doctors, lawyers and judges all smoke it. Then he lists medical conditions that can be treated with THC like flu and asthma, whatever the f*** ‘Thrombosis’ is. Then just like that, he goes off the rails, and is like...” Sid adopted a bad Jamaican accent “I dunno mon, I can’t tink of anytin else.” “So he comes up with ‘ants like it, goats like to play in it’?  Sid stopped for a moment and the song finished a chorus then went on to the verse he had just described.

    Johnny listened to the line and agreed, “Yeah, that’s kinda dumb.”

    Cliffy thought for a moment then said, “Maybe he smoked a spliff after he finished each verse, and by the time he got to that one he was just blazed out of his gourd.” Sid relaxed and sat back in the chair, feeling a sense of accomplishment for presenting his observation to the others. -

    I'm pretty sure I know what you guys are going to say...



  • SphinxCameronSphinxCameron Southern Escarpment Hill Country Librarian
    A short deliberate misquote of lyrics, you might not catch any flak.

    Consider 'Weird' Al Yankovic who does such a wonderful job at musical parody. Many people think he's abusing 'fair use' but he actually asks permission and licenses his parodies. After seeking permission to do parodies from Prince and Lady Gaga he was refused though Lady Gaga later granted permission. Michael Jackson granted him permission to parody two different works while refusing a third.

    Safest bet is to seek permission first.
  • I guess it wouldn't hurt to try, I'll submit a request. Now I'm starting to consider dropping the whole piece of dialog all together, I was only using it to give an idea of who my characters are,but, it really doesn't add to the story line at all.. 

    If I use a piece of pop culture trivia, maybe it will make sense to a few readers who know the song, but  do you think it will isolate readers who have no idea what I'm talking about?

  • SphinxCameronSphinxCameron Southern Escarpment Hill Country Librarian
    Okay, I had to look up who Peter Tosh was to get the context. That said, if the dialog gives an idea of who the characters are, it lends some depth. While I was an adult at the time Tosh was murdered, I had other things going on. What you might want to do is have the characters give a little detail on who they're talking about, which will help readers who haven't heard of the 'Wailers' or Bob Marley, or who aren't very familiar with reggae.
    Seamus said:
    I guess it wouldn't hurt to try, I'll submit a request. Now I'm starting to consider dropping the whole piece of dialog all together, I was only using it to give an idea of who my characters are,but, it really doesn't add to the story line at all.. 

    If I use a piece of pop culture trivia, maybe it will make sense to a few readers who know the song, but  do you think it will isolate readers who have no idea what I'm talking about?


  • Sphinx thank you so much for your input, I'll take another look at my work.I'm really looking forward to spending more time on this great forum.
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