Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Wants to Use Beatles Lyrics as Wall Art

Dear Rich Staff "comes together" on Abbey Road
Dear Rich: If I used a line in a Beatles song or other artist - painted on a wooden slats to hang on the wall - and sold it for like 30.00 at a local shop, would I need to get permission? For example if I painted the words "You may say I'm a dreamer but I'm not the only one" from the song "Imagine" on the boards which would essentially be art - how would I make sure I am not doing something horribly wrong? Because copyright law does not protect short phrases, taking one line from a song and painting it on a piece of wood should not create any legal problems for you (regardless of whether it is art). That's especially true if you avoid mentioning the source -- for example, "the Beatles" or "Lennon and McCartney," or any other reference to the artist that implies endorsement. It's always possible that if your artwork becomes popular, a music publisher may hassle you, and if you're concerned about that, you can review the nuanced rules for short phrases in an article we posted.

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