Let’s Talk About Writing: Using Lyrics – by Judy Penz Sheluk…

Yes, I know, Stephen King makes it look so easy with his habit of using song lyrics in his novels. But here’s a head’s up: He’s a bestselling author, so most musicians are going to be more than okay with granting permission. And he’s got money, and plenty of it, if he needs to pony up some cash. Odds are if you’re reading this you don’t fall under either category. I know I don’t.

So…can you quote song lyrics in your novel or short story? The short answer is “No.” Song lyrics are copyrighted. Quoting any copyrighted material requires permission, though there is something called the “fair use” clause.

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