Colorado Springs, CO asked in Copyright and Intellectual Property for Colorado

Q: What kind of Permission do I need to use a song as the outline of my novel?

I just finished my first draft. To compose the climax of the story I used one of my favorite songs as an outline, as it fit perfectly with my tale. I did not use exact lyrics at all, and significantly expanded the story of the song. The narrative flow and sequence of events is the same, however. The major points, and imagery of the song are there, and identifiable to those with knowledge of the song, even if the song is about 400 words and the portion of my story in question is over 15,000 words. Do I need permission in order to use a song this way?

1 Lawyer Answer
Benton R Patterson III
Benton R Patterson III
  • Intellectual Property Lawyer
  • Dallas, TX

A: An attorney would need to review the song and the story to determine if one infringes the other. If so, you would need a license to create derivative works.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.