EDITING 101: 08 – Using Song Lyrics in your Manuscript…

A warning to all authors

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

Originally posted as the Dun Writin’—Now Whut? series on this blog, EDITING 101 is a weekly refresher series for some of you and brand new for others.

Courtesy of Adirondack Editing

Using Song Lyrics in your Manuscript

You’ve just written the most perfect restaurant love scene imaginable. As your two main characters unite on the dance floor, the haunting strains of “Unchained Melody” play in the background. The lovers gaze deeply into each other’s eyes as the song’s lyrics pass through their ears, melding their souls together in acoustical rapture:

Oh, my…”

Wait! Stop! Halt!! Turn off the radio, unplug the phonograph, and disconnect your online radio station! Are you crazy? Are you looking for a lawsuit?

<Author looks around incredulously>

Who, me? Now what does this woman want me to do? Eliminate the perfect words from this scene?”

Yep, that’s exactly what I want you to do. You’re not…

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6 thoughts on “EDITING 101: 08 – Using Song Lyrics in your Manuscript…

  1. Loved this. As a music librarian who deals with a lot of copyright queries, this was really useful. To me it always seems really strange that people who are well aware of copyright where it relates to literary works seem to assume that it doesn’t exist when it comes to music.

    There was a great example of this fairly recently when someone approached me wanting advice about how to get the rights in her new musical copyrighted. I was happy to help, but was astonished to discover that every song in the musical was actually the work of a VERY famous pop group. A quick lecture on copyright and the penalties of breaking it quickly followed 😦

    Liked by 1 person

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