Monday, August 31, 2015
Wants to Create a Book Using Onstage Banter
We don't think you have much to worry about. As we've indicated before, short phrases are usually not protected under copyright law. So, copying and reproducing one, two or even three line quotes typically won't cause a problem.
Fair use? Longer quotes -- say four or five lines or more -- may be excused under fair use principles. Even though you are not providing commentary, we think the act of curating these quotes may be transformative (and it's hard to imagine that you are depriving the musician of any income by reproducing onstage banter). By the way, when you pull quotes from recordings, you are not infringing the sound recording copyright (unless you copied the recording, not the text) and you're not infringing the song copyright either.
What about libel? It's unlikely you're libeling anyone by reproducing onstage banter. You certainly wouldn't be libeling the musician who made the statement (there's no such thing as "self-libeling"). As for third parties, it's always possible that a musician's blathering may libel a third party but we imagine that these statements have already been published somewhere and nobody's objected. So that shouldn't be an issue. Misattribution may be a problem if you are attributing an awful statement to a musician who didn't make it. But that's an issue for your fact-checking department.
The photos. You should be fine using Creative Commons licensed photos assuming you abide by license conditions. You don't need a model release (or property rights permission from the venue) as your uses within your book are for editorial purposes. To sidestep all right of publicity issues, avoid using photos of celebrities in the advertising and packaging (the cover) for your book.
P.S. Hope you included Lou Reed!