SCBWI's Blueboard - A Message & Chat Board

PB Idea...copyright question???

Discussion started on

aodle

Guest
A question for you seasoned writers...can I use lyrics from a girl scout song in my picture book?  I'm writing a story about my grandmother who used to sing it to me.  I don't know if this involves some sort of copyright infringement since the lyrics are not my original words.
#1 - March 17, 2013, 12:54 PM

Books for Kids and Teens
Member
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region oregon
I'm pretty sure you can not use the lyrics without permission.
#2 - March 17, 2013, 01:13 PM

Member
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region rmc
What Ann said.  And from what I've heard, it's harder to obtain permission to use lyrics than just about anything else that's copyright protected.
#3 - March 17, 2013, 01:21 PM
AN EYEBALL IN MY GARDEN, Marshall Cavendish Children's Books
www.LauraWynkoop.com

Emeritus
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region newengland
Try Googling the song; if it was published before 1923, there's some chance it might be in the public domain...but maybe not. Here's an interesting article on copyright law involving a very well-known song: http://blog.librarylaw.com/librarylaw/2009/07/the-myth-of-the-pre1923-public-domain.html
#4 - March 17, 2013, 01:57 PM
The Leland Sisters series: Courtship and Curses, Bewitching Season, Betraying Season (Holt BYR/Macmillan)
www.marissadoyle.com
www.nineteenteen.com

Sounds like it's probably the kind of traditional song that may be in the public domain - the author may even be unknown. I'm using lyrics from some popular 60s songs in my upcoming MG novel, and it cost between $65 and $150 for permission to use a couple of lines. It did take some digging to track down the rights holders.
#5 - March 17, 2013, 05:02 PM
www.jancoates.ca
2019, Dancing with Daisy (PB)
2019, Say What You Mean (MG)
2018, Talking to the Moon (MG)
2018, A Halifax Time-Travelling Tune (PB)

Children's Book Editor
Member
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region nymetro
You should do some research to determine if it really IS in the public domain--and if it's not, do NOT approach the Girl Scouts yet. Proceed with the project but understand that if you are offered a contract by a publisher, or decide to self-publish, you will then have to approach them. Some kind of mutually beneficial arrangement might be possible. Or they might demand a share of the royalties.

Don't be too encouraged by Jan's experience--it's one thing to use a lyric as one small part of a novel, and quite another to build an entire text around it. But in any case, don't seek permission NOW.
#6 - March 17, 2013, 05:13 PM
Harold Underdown

The Purple Crayon, a children's book editor's site: http://www.underdown.org/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/HUnderdown

Member
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI RAE
  • SCBWI Region arizona
Can you tell your story without using the actual lyrics? For example, you could have Grandma singing, have yourself recognize the song from Girl Scouts and then use a line of context to imply the lyrics. Suddenly I realized what Grandma was trying to tell me. Lydia would always be my gold friend, but I could make silver friends at my new school.
#7 - March 17, 2013, 10:04 PM
Regional Advisor Emeritus

www.bobimartin.com
Organisms That Glow
Theme Parks
What Are Gems?

Members:

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.