Songs in comics : A Legal question

General Discussion
Post Reply
User avatar
Azzamckazza
Posts: 324
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2004 9:38 pm
Location: Australia
Contact:

Songs in comics : A Legal question

Post by Azzamckazza » Mon Dec 08, 2008 4:30 pm

Thought there might be at least one person on the board that may be able to help me with a question I have.

So I'm writing a comic that is based on a song. I'm basically putting images to the lyrics so I'm not writing or adding any text to the piece. I'm planing to release it in a mini-comic in the near-future.

My question is - am I able to publish this piece? Full credit will be given to the artist for the lyrics and I'll honour them in the fine print. Do I need to get their permission?
ImageImage

User avatar
jdalton
Posts: 698
Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2005 4:06 pm
Location: 1 hr east of Vancouver (currently)
Contact:

Post by jdalton » Tue Dec 09, 2008 1:33 pm

Personally I would stay far, far away from using song lyrics without permission. I don't have any personal experience to refer to, but from what I've heard music-types are the most litigious of all copyright holders. I remember reading a Neil Gaiman novel that, in the end credits, he took some time to express his frustration at failing to get the rights to quote popular songs in his book. If Neil Gaiman can't manage to get the rights to song lyrics, I'm sure I couldn't.
Jonathon Dalton
Image Image

User avatar
wendy w
Posts: 476
Joined: Tue Jul 19, 2005 4:39 pm
Location: Nowhere, England

Post by wendy w » Tue Dec 09, 2008 4:38 pm

I'd say it depends on who it is.

If it's someone whose easy to get hold of, whose management is easy to get hold of or are on a small indie label that might actually pass stuff on then by all means contact them to explain what you want to do and ask for permission. There's a good chance you'll get a no or no answer at all, but you might get permission and if you do then hooray for you.

Otherwise I'd follow jdalton's advice and not bother. : /
(\__/)
(O.o )
(> < ) Bunny says you need to read
Image

Cities
Posts: 16
Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2007 1:21 pm
Location: Boston, MA

Post by Cities » Sat Jan 10, 2009 9:28 pm

Not to revive a dead thread, but I study copyright law, specifically with music. Yes, definitely get their permission.

Their copyright on the song/lyrics covers what are called "derivative works," meaning any artistic works that make use of the content of the copyrighted song/lyrics. This isn't to say don't publish it, or even that it's unlikely that you'll be able to get permission, just to say that permission is required. Hope that helps :)

User avatar
Blom
Posts: 1534
Joined: Sun Sep 11, 2005 3:01 pm
Location: Norway
Contact:

Post by Blom » Sun Jan 11, 2009 7:53 am

Cities wrote:Not to revive a dead thread, but I study copyright law, specifically with music. Yes, definitely get their permission.

Their copyright on the song/lyrics covers what are called "derivative works," meaning any artistic works that make use of the content of the copyrighted song/lyrics. This isn't to say don't publish it, or even that it's unlikely that you'll be able to get permission, just to say that permission is required. Hope that helps :)
It is the same copyright that protect your art, so that it not will be printed everywhere. If your using lyrics from music and nothing else, then the artist is the writer of the story, and is getting the same as an author.
Tor Harald Blom

User avatar
dave roman
Posts: 549
Joined: Thu Aug 05, 2004 9:04 am
Contact:

Post by dave roman » Fri Jan 23, 2009 2:40 pm

You should read this just for context:

http://www.questioncopyright.org/nina_p ... _interview

User avatar
Kazu
Site Admin
Posts: 9337
Joined: Tue Aug 19, 2003 8:59 pm
Location: Seattle, WA
Contact:

Post by Kazu » Fri Jan 23, 2009 2:56 pm

I was actually going to use lyrics from a Bob Marley song in Amulet, and I had to contact the Marley family about using them (through my friend Adam Wolfson, a lawyer in New York). They agreed on a 1 cent per copy royalty for usage of the lyrics. In the end, after discussing it with my agent and editor, we decided not to do it, mainly due to the complications that might arise.
Image
Image

User avatar
thedeafguy
Posts: 139
Joined: Wed Oct 19, 2005 4:40 pm
Contact:

Post by thedeafguy » Mon Feb 02, 2009 11:28 pm

however, if you're doing an autobiography story, then you are allowed to use lyrics from a song. But you must incorporate the lyrics in a way that's in the background.

For example, you're drawing a story about your experience in a bar or at a concert, then you can use the lyrics.

You cannot, however, use it to further the storyline. You cannot, use the lyrics, as the caption boxes to tell how the author or character feels at the moment.

There's alot of loopholes. Autobiography just means, you can write whatever happened to you in regards to people, events, or sounds. Its your life and you're drawing about it. Also, satire laws, allow you to use lyrics. Think MAD comics, they make fun of everything. You're then allowed to use lyrics.

It's a touchy fine gray line, I know. Be sure to give credit, though, to cover your bases. Last thing you want is to make some reader think the lyrics are yours...when it's not.
Image

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 13 guests