Selling printed lyrics

'Is it legal', 'can I do this' type questions and discussions.
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Strongcoffee
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Selling printed lyrics

Post by Strongcoffee » Mon May 01, 2017 11:08 pm

Thanks in advance.

Is it legal to print and frame lyrics? Instinct says no but I see a lot of sellers on reputable websites doing so.

I am a crafter. If I print a page of lyrics can I use the paper in my crafts? I'm thinking of anniversary gifts made from the printed lyrics of a couple's first dance.

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AndyJ
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Post by AndyJ » Tue May 02, 2017 7:33 am

Hi strongcoffee,

Your instinct is right. Lyrics are a form of literary work and therefore, assuming the work is still in copyright, printing them without permission would be an infringement. Copyright in the lyrics of more well-known songs will often be owned by a music publisher, so it might be possible to get a licence. Most music publishers will be members of the copyright collecting society PRS for music, so you could contact them to discuss your project. However since you do not want to 'perform' the music, it might be worth contacting the Music Publishers Association first to see if they offer licences for this purpose.
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

Strongcoffee
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Post by Strongcoffee » Wed May 03, 2017 11:43 am

Thanks, AndyJ

I'm confused how so many sellers are getting away with it then. It's pretty blatant, a search for 'first song' 'anniversary' 'print' etc brings up successful businesses printing lyrics of meaningful songs. They can't have licenses for each song.

What I plan(ned) to do was print the page then cut it up. Whole lines of text would not be visible then, just 2-3 words at a time. Imagine setting out the lyrics as prose, then cutting a vertical inch strip from the page of text. The recipient would know what the words were from but you couldn't read the piece as lyrics.

Oh, I don't know. Dodgy ground. It was such a nice idea.

Nick Cooper
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Post by Nick Cooper » Thu May 04, 2017 10:53 am

Just because lots of others are doing it, doesn't mean they are doing it legally.

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