Maybe someone knows the answer about using quotations from other work, books, blogs, songs, particularly song lyrics – to what extent are you allowed to quote from others? If I use anything here on my blog from other sources, I always make it clear, I always attribute it and put a link where possible; I am not trying to plagiarise, copy, or pass someone’s work off as my own… and if ever I unintentionally used something from someone else and they didn’t like it, I would delete it immediately.

What I am particularly interested in at the moment, is whether you can quote lyrics from a song… as I seem to remember hearing about an author who got into terrible trouble with a record label or company because s/he used a lyric in a novel s/he had published. In a previous novel, ‘Loving Judah’, in the aftermath of her stepson’s death, the main character, Aislin, keeps hearing songs from her own past, they seem lodged in her brain… but I was so anxious about somehow breeching copyright that I paraphrased the lines, which rather lost the impact.

In my latest novel, Radwinter, the main character Thomas finds a sudden relevance to his own life in the lyric from the song ‘Human’ by the Killers, written by the band. The song is available to view on many  youtube videos, there are many web-sites which have the lyrics open for anyone to see… But if I use a couple of lines, even if I clearly attribute them, am I infringing some copyright law?

With this book I am going to try and find a publisher – after many, many, countless rejections for my previous novels which led to me self-publishing on Kindle, I think this one may have more potential… so once again, I will be ringing up, submitting sample chapters, trying to get Radwinter out there on the bookshelves… so I want to make sure I don’t then get sued!

Maybe I should just write to The Killers… what do you think?



    1. Lois

      Thanks… I mean it as a compliment to them, not trying to trade on their inspiration! Thanks for the advice! Is it snowy or sunny with you? Sunny for us today… for the moment!


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