Visualisation of short phrases from music and fiction

'Is it legal', 'can I do this' type questions and discussions.
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MrsTwosheds
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Visualisation of short phrases from music and fiction

Post by MrsTwosheds » Thu Oct 27, 2016 7:21 pm

Hi again guys

Sorry - I have another question, too, if I may, and one which I have been pondering over for some time. It is linked (loosely) to one posed on a recent link connected with the visualisation of music.

Whereas the original enquiry referred to an artist's own visual interpretation of a complete song, my query relates to specific short phrases and recognisable ideas in song lyrics, fiction, etc, the complete works of which are still in copyright - i.e., am I permitted to visualise and paint/draw/stitch a specific idea generated by someone else's creative or poetic use of words (e.g., 'A Beard of Stars', 'Time in a Bottle', or someone with 'kaleidoscope eyes') as part of a larger pictorial work of my own, without risking a metaphorical bop on the nose?

Would I be, technically, 'including the lyrics' of a song, even if my work is only a visual interpretation of a few distinctive interconnected words, completely divorced from the writer's original context or piece of work, and without reference to it (as a purely pictorial piece, I wouldn't be quoting lyrics or using associated text, although the actual words - which I wouldn't be using, of course - may be familiar to many). Hmmm.....

Sorry if this is such a muddle - hope that you can glean some meaning from it! Thank you again.

Best regards

Sally

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AndyJ
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Post by AndyJ » Thu Oct 27, 2016 8:18 pm

Hi again Sally,

Good to see you are keeping the forums alive!

I am pretty confident that the sort of visualisations you describe would not infringe any underlying copyright. It's the classic example of the idea and the expression, in which the former is not protected by copyright but the latter is (assuming that it's original).

You would be illustrating the idea but your form of expression would be utterly different to the lyricist's. Indeed many viewers might not make the connection at all.
Advice or comment provided here is not and does not purport to be legal advice as defined by s.12 of Legal Services Act 2007

MrsTwosheds
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Post by MrsTwosheds » Thu Oct 27, 2016 8:56 pm

Hi again Andy

Yes, so sorry to keep bombarding you with stuff!

This one is good news indeed - will start work at once.

Thank you so much again for your assistance, your helpful answers and your unfailing good humour. Will try to avoid being a pain for a month or two now!

Best regards

Sally

MrsTwosheds
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Re: Visualisation of short phrases from music and fiction

Post by MrsTwosheds » Fri Sep 21, 2018 7:31 am

Hi again guys

Sorry to go back to this one again! Was wondering..........as part of a local carnival group, have now been asked to produce a piece of costume depicting a Beatles’ song from around the Yellow Submarine era.

I’d like to do ‘Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds’. I remembered that you thought an abstract visualisation of a very short description or phrase within a song was probably OK, but am not too sure about the whole song title (particularly as it’s a very distinctive one and not the sort of word arrangement that might have been used at any other time or in any other context). A neutral image of a woman shimmying around amongst the stars (which might be acceptable, I guess?) is probably a bit vague for my purposes and I risk the reference being so obscure that no-one will guess it! I was wondering about additional clues. If I add ‘kaleidoscope eyes’ to my visuals and embroider the random words ‘Lucy.....Kaleidoscope......Diamond’, have I overstepped the mark?

Looking forward to your reply, guys. Thank you so much!

Sally

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AndyJ
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Re: Visualisation of short phrases from music and fiction

Post by AndyJ » Fri Sep 21, 2018 8:28 am

Hi Sally,

Perhaps my earlier reply was couched in terms which were too cautious. But really, you can be quite clear and deliberate in the way you express your interpretation of the words of the song without risking infringement. The song is an expression of an idea (reputedly based on a picture painted by John Lennon's son Julian). When you hear the words they conjure up new images in your mind which you can freely express because those images come, uniquely, from your mind, not Lennon or McCartney's. Even though the lyrics are quite descriptive, there is ample room for every listener to form their own visualisation of what the words mean.

I don't know if there was ever an official video of the song, but if there was then that would be the sort of visual representation which you would need to avoid copying.
Advice or comment provided here is not and does not purport to be legal advice as defined by s.12 of Legal Services Act 2007

MrsTwosheds
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Re: Visualisation of short phrases from music and fiction

Post by MrsTwosheds » Fri Sep 21, 2018 8:55 am

Hi Andy

Thank you so much for your superfast and helpful reply, as always - I shall get designing forthwith.

I love this forum!

Best regards

Sally

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