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What Are The Copyright Rules/Legal Rights For Songwriting?

.I'm specifically looking for a few clarifications, but it would be nice if someone could link me to a website or websites that have the laws for songwriting. So I have a couple of questions pertaining to the laws of songwriting: 1. Is it legitimately legal to write a song relating to a famous quote? Would you have to give them credit, unless you put it in your own words? 2. Would you have to get permission to write a song about someone (specifically someone famous rather than a friend or family member), or do you have to get permission if you include their name in the song? For instance, did Fly Leaf have to get permission to write the song Cassie? Thanks in advance!


  1. Angle isn't too bright when it come to matters of the law. Legal issues surrounding the copyrights for songs apply regardless of your popularity/fame/wealth. Copyright does not involve giving someone credit. Giving credit to the original artist/author is what you do to avoid plagiarism. Plagiarism is not a legal term, but doing it makes you look real bad. For instance, you could sell one of Shakespeare's plays as if you had written it yourself (put your name on it without mentioning ol' Bill even once). It would be perfectly legal since his works are in the public domain. It would just look real bad on your part if you did. Copyright violation is a whole different matter. If you illegally copy someone else's copyrighted work, they can sue you, if you're profiting from it, the government can also investigate your for potential criminal acts. If you're wanting to use someone else's quotation, you'd need to find out if it's protected under copyright. If it's a Benjamin Franklin quote, all those have fallen into the public domain and are free to use as you wish. Copyrights expire after a finite period of time. The lifespan has changed over time, so it all depends upon how old the quote is. Also, just because it's a newer quote still doesn't mean it's protected by copyright. The president's inauguration speech is free to use as well. If it's a slogan, then it's likely to be protected under trademark instead, which would have a whole different set of rules that would apply.
  2. U.S Copyright Office { Library Of Congress } Google that it should help you. I'm in the process of getting my Copyrights for my book. I read something about what your asking about. Can't tell you exactly what it was I read I wasn't looking for song writing. I wish you the best.