Authors have been quoting song lyrics in their academic presentations for a long, but if you intend to quote lyrics for a song written after 1923, be ready to conduct some research. Among other issues, authors have to grapple with the issue of copyrights and the Fair Use Policy.
But, you don’t have to worry if you’re not familiar with copyrights issues because this article goal is to remind you that there are laws guiding copyrights—and you should learn some critical issues regarding before you embark on using songs, your narratives, and other forms of academic writing because that could amount to plagiarism.
Fair Use Policy
Whenever the lyrics you wish to quote are not in the public domain, you can use them in cases where it is deemed Fair Use.
Fair use refers to using copyrighted materials for limited purposes such as criticism, commentary, education, or transformative purposes such as when creating a parody.
The fair use policy allows limited use of copyrighted material without permission from the artist for parody, criticism, teaching, news reporting, research, and scholarship.
However, just because of educational use does not automatically guarantee that the material guarantees fair use.
Below are four factors that you can use to determine whether unauthorized use of copyrighted material is fair use.
- What is the purpose and the character of the use: Is the music being used for criticism, commentary, or education purposes. Has wok been transformed to add new meaning or reach a new target audience
- What the nature of the original work? It’s no fair use to use unpublished works since it is hard to determine the effect on the original value of the work.
- The substantially and amount of the portion of work you intend to use. The more work you include in your criticism or in academic writing, the less likely it will be considered fair use. Yet, there is no safe amount of words you may use without being considered unwanted attention. This is depended on the owner’s aggressiveness when copyrighting their original work.
- The implication for sue is the value of or potential market for the copyrighted work. If your intention is to reduce the work’s value, then your usage cannot be considered fair use.
What if the Intended use is Fair Use?
If the intended use of the materials is not fair, you must request permission from the copyright holder. Once you acquire the permission, don’t copy word for word or reproduce it and claim the work is yours.
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