Usage of Copywrited artistic material in a different artistic domain

← Return to forum

  • Let me explain. I am writing a fiction novel in which the description of various music is needed. I am troubled by this issue though: is it alright to describe existing soundtracks, melodies or songs (which are copywrited) without permission? Does it request approval from its genuine author? How about if I credit the proper author? I also wanted to ask whether it is permitted to only use the copywrited sound as guideline and influence for describing ?And also, if you wouldn't mind, if it is allowed to have it that some of the characters in the novel contribued to it?

    I am sorry for my numerous- and I suppose odd- questions. I couldn't find answers elsewhere, though, and I wanted to have this clarified before publishing anything that might prove to come in contradiction with copywrites of the material I used.

    Thank you.
  • If you are describing the copyrighted music in your own original voice, then it sounds like any references to the song's title or composer do not implicate any of the copyright holder's rights. If you wish to include snippets of the music -- say a few lines of the lyrics -- in your novel, that would most likely qualify as a fair use. An analagous situation would be a book reviewer who includes in her review the citation of the reviewed book and quotes a few lines from it.

    With regard to your fictional scenario in which some of your characters contributed to the composition of the song, this does not seem to implicate copyright. As the novel's author, you are free to take 'artistic license' with historical facts. Unless you are copying, modifying, distributing or performing the musical work itself, your actions don't sound like they implicate copyright.
  • Thank you very much for the useful answer. I understand now.

    Thank you again.:)

Posting to the forum is only available to users who are logged in.

← Return to forum