Copyright regarding lyric extractions

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Copyright regarding lyric extractions

Post by Sharon78 »

I am working on a photographic project for which the opening lyrics of a Beatles song would be a perfect theme name for the project - just 5 words, not a song title.

The project has a charitable element so there is no commercial gain from this project, but I want to know where we stand as a company in using these lyrics for the project title. Would this fall under fair use? The project would be promoted in the public domain, it is not just for internal use.

Can you please advise?

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Post by CopyrightAid »

Deciding what is and is not fair use is one of the hardest areas of copyright law - in cases that have gone to court what is apparent is that it is not the quantity that has been copied, but the 'importance' and perceived damage.

Having said that, in this case, I can't imagine that there would be a problem, and doubt that it is even be a copyright issue - generally copyright will apply to work larger that a single phrase - it's is all a matter of uniqueness.

I think the heart of the issue really is:
1. Is the phrase just a natural description for the project, or
2. Is the use of this phrase an attempt to further your project by implying some association with or endorsement by the Beatles.

If statement 1. is true, I doubt that you would have any problems. If statement 2. is true, I suggest you think again.

On this topic, on the UKCS site I found a copyright factsheet which seems to covers this area in more detail - it may be worth a look.
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