Quoting music lyrics

Reply Sat 23 Apr, 2016 02:57 am
I am writing a book about Depression and there are several songs that have helped me in my struggle with Depression that I would like to quote and use in the book. Is it legal to do so or it it a copyright infringement. If it is a copyright infringement how can I get permission to use them?
Reply Sat 23 Apr, 2016 07:52 am
It is infringement although it may fall under fair use in the United States.

HOWEVER - this answer is FAR from definitive. Best to consult with a lawyer.

You can cite a title and say a song helped you, and even tell your readers to listen closely to the lyrics. But actually printing the lyrics, even just a few lines of them, is far trickier as this book is probably not just for educational purposes (even then, it still might not fall under fair use) because it is for profit. Even if you give all your profits to charity, you might still not be in the clear.

American copyright law (I cannot comment on the law in other countries) falls under Federal and is constantly changing. If you really want permission, you'll need to get it from whoever owns the copyright. E. g. the writer(s), the record label, etc. In the case of an artist who has died, you may need to deal with their estate. Complicated but not impossible.

I don't want to discourage you from writing, but I also don't want you to get sued.
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Reply Sat 23 Apr, 2016 07:57 am
To quote the lyrics of a song, just consider it like any other direct quote you would be using. You must cite the source.

Do you know about footnotes and how to list a source?

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