If I’m creating an app in which users have to guess the name of a song after seeing one line of lyrics, do I need to get permission for using lyrics?

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If I’m creating an app in which users have to guess the name of a song after seeing one line of lyrics, do I need to get permission for using lyrics?

Would I have to get permission even though I’m only using one line of lyrics? What would you recommend I do?

Asked on January 17, 2011 under Business Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you would most likely have to get permission to use the lyrics on the site.  Unless the uses of a copyrighted work comes under one of the exceptions of use in copyright, the law would not permit you to use it without paying royalties to the copyright holder.  The exceptions, generally, are fair use, educational purposes, no longer under copyright, etc.  I would suggest that you seek help from an attorney who specializes in the area and bring with you your business plan.  Also seek help from a business attorney who can help you set the business aspect of it all correctly from the start.  Better to be safe than sorry. Good luck to you. 


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