Never, Never, Never Use Song Lyrics without Getting Written Permission
Songwriters and musicians don’t give their words away. You may have a favorite line from Yesterday by Paul McCartney … but you will be “yesterday” if you don’t get written permission to use them. You would have to pony up some bucks to use anything from his or the Beatles’ work in your book. As you read this, Sir Paul McCartney is aggressively seeking the rights back for all the songs he created and co-created with fellow Beatle John Lennon via the courts. Years ago, Michael Jackson had picked them up and the landed in his estate. Now that 56 years have passed (copyright related), the avenues open to McCartney.
To obtain permissions, you can seek out someone who specializes in tracking down the rightful owners and get a price for you. You can also spend some time in a search engine doing the same thing. One of my clients wanted to use a few lines from the song Monday Monday by the Mamas and Papas. I was able to nail down the true owner and location within two hours—sent a letter with an exact copy of how the lines would be used in two chapters. Within a few weeks, a response came in with a fee of $150 for up to 10,000 copies of the book. Worked for the author.
Tip: Misusing any musical lyrics without permission is a lawsuit waiting to happen. Don’t go down this path without everything signed off. The grantor of the lyrics, if he or she chooses to, will send you a letter with specific copy as how to acknowledge the lyrics and the grantor. You don’t need one.
Judith Briles is a book publishing expert and coach. She empowers authors and is the Founder of Author U, a membership organization created for the serious author who wants to be seriously successful. She’s been writing about and conducting workshops on publishing since the 80s. Judith is the author of 34 books including Author YOU: Creating and Building Your Author and Book Platforms (ForeWord IndieFab Book of the Year), Snappy Sassy Salty: Wise Words for Authors and Writers and a speaker at publishing conferences. Book #34 was published this summer: The CrowdFunding Guide for Authors & Writers. Get your copy.
Become part of her inner circle by joining the Author’s Ark and exclusive monthly webinar and coaching event. Each summer, she holds Judith Briles Book Publishing Unplugged, a three day intensive limited to a small group of authors who want to be seriously successful. In 2015, the dates are August 27-29th. Her audio and workbook series, Creating Your Book and Author Platform is now available. Join Judith live on Thursdays at 6 p.m. EST for Author U – Your Guide to Book Publishing on the Toginet Network at bit.ly/PublishingShow .
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Author U is a non-profit membership organization dedicated to the author who wants to be seriously successful. Monthly education programs delivered face-to-face and online, The Author Resource ezine, BookCamps and the annual Author U Extravaganza are tools designed for authors pre, during and post publishing of their books. Join AuthorU.org today.
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