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Submission query: quotation usage

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Jennifer L Smith
Posted on Monday, May 24, 2004 - 09:27 pm:   

I am wondering what the procedure is when you wish to start your story with a quotation. Specifically, I would like to use some lyrics from a Sam Phillips song.

I figure I need to contact the rights-owning personages listed on the album liner, but what sort of proof of permission do I need to send with my manuscript? Do most magazines take stories with quotations, or are they rejected because of potential rights issues?
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Thomas R
Posted on Monday, May 24, 2004 - 09:39 pm:   

I recommend not quoting a song at all. From what I've heard getting the rights are tremendously hard. If you must, there are a few SF/F friendly musicians who might allow it without a fee so high it'd make it a wash. Or you can use a song in the Public Domain in some cases.

Otherwise everything I've ever read or heard says avoid quoting a song. (This is part of why SF characters seem to inordinately love classical music, the rights to later music are a bear)
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Rob Darnell
Posted on Tuesday, May 25, 2004 - 12:30 am:   

Or you can write your own song by a fictional band.
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mike bishop
Posted on Tuesday, May 25, 2004 - 06:02 am:   

That last is a good idea. In No Enemy But Time years ago, having heard about the troubles George R. R. Martin had getting permissions to quote dozens of songs in The Armageddon Rag, I gave up and wrote parody lyrics of the Beatles' "Yesterday," without of course attributing my "song" to Lennon and McCartney or any other rock band.
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Jeffrey J. Lyons
Posted on Saturday, October 23, 2004 - 05:20 pm:   

I asked about lyrics in another thread. I am not expert but my understandin of the basic procedure is that you have to write the songwriter and ask permission. You have to be able to guarantee a certain amount of sales or books published. You will probably have to pay some kind of royalties based on sales.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Sunday, October 24, 2004 - 12:41 pm:   

You can find out who owns permissions by writing ASCAP or BMI (if they still exist under those names). No you don't have to pay royalties or guarantee a specific number of sales,but you very likely may have to pay a fee.
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TCO
Posted on Tuesday, October 26, 2004 - 03:22 pm:   

Is that the Jeffrey Lyons that does movie criticism?
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Yoon Ha Lee
Posted on Saturday, October 30, 2004 - 06:28 pm:   

I won't touch song lyrics because of concerns like those noted above, but I have actually gotten, for no fee, permission to use a quote from a Fuchsian differential equation math text. (The story is Out At A Market right now. What the hey, it amused me to write it.)

...okay, I suppose math textbooks are not popular sources of quotes in science fiction. I can't imagine why...:-)

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