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Writer's Room => Picture Books (PB) => Topic started by: lisa-virtue on October 05, 2020, 07:49 AM

Title: Referencing songs in picture books
Post by: lisa-virtue on October 05, 2020, 07:49 AM
Hi Everyone,
I am entering the world of creating children's books and appreciate your advice so much. I have a question regarding referencing songs in children's picture books. When creating new lyrics for an established children's song, is it possible to reference a song that is currently copyrighted as long as I am not using the music composition myself? For instance, telling parents to "sing this song to the tune of...[song]"? Would I need to license that song from the original songwriter, even though I am not using the composition or the original lyrics?
Thanks for your help!
Title: Re: Referencing songs in picture books
Post by: David Wright on October 05, 2020, 08:31 AM
From what I've read your song title will not be protected by copyright law, but part or all of a song title may be protected by trademark law.

There's a good article on this here: https://www.thelaw.com/law/are-song-titles-lyrics-protected-by-copyright-or-trademark-law.317/

Generally, if it's just the one song title, and the title is not Trademarked, it's probably not an issue. But I'm not a lawyer.
Title: Re: Referencing songs in picture books
Post by: Debbie Vilardi on October 05, 2020, 06:19 PM
You are better off using a song in the public domain.  That removes any doubt.
Title: Re: Referencing songs in picture books
Post by: Anne Marie on October 06, 2020, 11:53 AM
You'll remember that among other examples George Harrison got in trouble for using the melody of He's So Fine for his My Sweet Lord. Melodies are protected. It's not quite the same issue, but I wouldn't want to open that can of worms.
Title: Re: Referencing songs in picture books
Post by: lisa-virtue on October 08, 2020, 11:15 PM
Thank you David!
Title: Re: Referencing songs in picture books
Post by: lisa-virtue on October 08, 2020, 11:16 PM
Thank you Debbie!
Title: Re: Referencing songs in picture books
Post by: lisa-virtue on October 08, 2020, 11:16 PM
Thank you Anne Marie!