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cagri
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breach of copyright
« on: Jan 2nd, 2007, 5:29am »
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Hello, I have written a screenplay but I am quite inspired by a song.  
In fact I have used some of the lyrics (about %30) as narration. The  
storyline is totally different but some of the lyrics fits perfectly with  
my story so I used them.  The song is about mexican immigrants trying to pass the US borders, my screenplay is about a race in the desert. Environment expressions in the song was so powerful that I couldn't stop myself using some of the lyrics. The screenplay is for a no-budget short film  
which will only (most probably) be shown in film festivals. I will  
mention the song and the artist in the credits - screenplay written by X,  
inspired by song Y performed by Z. The song will not be played in the  
film. But is this a breach of copyright? Thank you.
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JSonnabend
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Re: breach of copyright
« Reply #1 on: Jan 2nd, 2007, 8:28am »
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First off, attributing the lines to the original author, while nice, is of no legal consequence.  That is, it wouldn't excuse any infringement.
 
Second, depending on the details of your use of the lyrics, you may be infringing.  It's impossible to give you any substantive guidance without having all the details.
 
- Jeff
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SonnabendLaw
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cagri
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Re: breach of copyright
« Reply #2 on: Jan 2nd, 2007, 8:46am »
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I see. I knew that crediting the author was of no use unless I got the rights.
 
I wanted to use the song "then came the last days of may" performed by "blue oyster cult" (I wanted to put a url for the lyrics but I'm not a long time registered member so system won't allow)
 
I used the lines "parched land, no desert sand. the sun is just a dot and a little bit of water goes a long way ícause itís hot" as the opening naration.
 
"wasnít until the car suddenly stopped in the middle of a cold and barren plain" and "they couldnít know they werenít going far" is also used as naration in the middle somewhere.
 
I know that it's ok to quote people and books and plays as long as they are credited. but is this "quoting" what I did? or is it considered as "stealing" ? it's very unlikely that I will get a lawsuit for it but I don't want to steal anything anyway.
 
thank you for the response by the way.
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JSonnabend
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Re: breach of copyright
« Reply #3 on: Jan 2nd, 2007, 11:50am »
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Quote:
I know that it's ok to quote people and books and plays as long as they are credited.

That's false as far as copyright is concerned.  Whether or not you "credit" someone does not affect infringement.  Either your use is considered "fair use" and thus allowed or it's not, regardless of whether you credit anyone or not.
 
I won't undertake a fair use analysis here, as that's probably not wise.  If hiring an attorney is not within your budget, you should Google on "fair use" to try to educate yourself on how to analyze your situation yourself.
 
- Jeff
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SonnabendLaw
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cagri
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Re: breach of copyright
« Reply #4 on: Jan 2nd, 2007, 1:19pm »
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ok Jeff, thank you. I'll simply remove the "quotes" as I won't be finding any online (free) advice and I can't afford lawyers.
 
happy new year
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