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Referencing songs in picture books

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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!
#1 - October 05, 2020, 07:49 AM
« Last Edit: October 05, 2020, 10:03 AM by lisa-virtue »

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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.
#2 - October 05, 2020, 08:31 AM

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You are better off using a song in the public domain.  That removes any doubt.
#3 - October 05, 2020, 06:19 PM
Website: http://www.debbievilardi.com/
Twitter: @dvilardi1

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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.
#4 - October 06, 2020, 11:53 AM
VAMPIRINA BALLERINA series (Disney-Hyperion)
SUNNY'S TOW TRUCK SAVES THE DAY (Abrams)
GROUNDHUG DAY (Disney-Hyperion, 2017)
among others

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Thank you David!
#5 - October 08, 2020, 11:15 PM

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Thank you Debbie!
#6 - October 08, 2020, 11:16 PM

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Thank you Anne Marie!

#7 - October 08, 2020, 11:16 PM

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