YouTube link used for informative purposes only
I began this blog intending to lift the lid and take a peek at music lyrics and copyright issues in our writing. This first cropped up for me last year when I, in my innocence, used threads of lyrics from Carole King’s Will You Still Love Me in my short memoirish story, Tonight’s the Night, soon to be released (now minus the song lyrics) in an anthology by Bath Flash Fiction.
But you know me, I begin with one train of thought and then I start to wander, and wonder. So I wondered how other authors, well known authors especially, deal with the issue.
The author who comes immediately to mind is Louise Penny, successful crime writer of the Inspector Gamache novels. http://www.louisepenny.com/index.html. Her 9th novel in the Gamache series is titled: ‘How the Light Gets In.’ Such a familiar line from the Leonard Cohen song, Anthem.
Knowing that a few snatches of lyrics in my 300 word story would have cost in the region $500, I scratched my head and wondered how much it cost for Ms Penny’s publisher to obtain permission to use lines from the Cohen’s lyrics as her title and more lines from the song within the novel itself. Listen. Just like I did in 2013 - just 10 rows from the stage. The thought provoking and inspiring lyrics are provided with this YouTube clip:
(link used for informative purposes only)
It turns out our late dear clever poetic Mr. Cohen used lines from a very ancient Arabic poem for these lyrics (or so I understand) and, as the original words were written centuries ago Ms Penny probably didn’t need to get permission to use them (although I suspect her publisher did anyway.)
Thanks to Cohen, Penny and an Arabic poet, because of the lines: ‘forget your perfect offering, there is, there is, a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in’, my blog about copyright and music lyrics has gone its own way and turned into the topic of perfection in our writing - in fact perfection in all we do and why we think we need to strive for it.
So why don’t we forget about our perfect offerings, be true to ourselves, and let the light get in - for isn’t that what we really seek through our writing?
Music and lyrics will still follow me through my life and remind me of my times and experiences through the decades. But using them in my writing now has that extra level of challenge.
These might be useful links for you:
public domain listing http://www.pdinfo.com