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.


  1. Thanks so much for this blog. It answered my question.