Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Wants to Quote Vintage Clothing Ads in Song

Dear Rich: I have a song, part of a musical project, within which I'm quoting vintage clothing ads from the '60's. HIS, LEVIS, Dexter Shoes, Danskin, etc. Am I correct in assuming I can't do this or do you think claiming ' Fair Use' might allow it? It's possible that a company may complain but we don't imagine that quoting 50-year old clothing ads will cause much problem. First, there's the issue of whether copyright still protects many of these ads. Ads published before 1964 would have to have been renewed (and only a small percentage were). Even if renewal were not required, there might be some issue as to who owns copyright (and can prove it). Finally, there's the issue of whether the owner will hear your song and choose to do anything about it -- that is, is it worth it financially and from a public relations POV to pursue you. So, we think the coast is relatively clear. Who knows ... your potential pursuers may even coopt your use?