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BizIPEsq.
BizIPEsq., Attorney
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 996
Experience:  I am a tech attorney and I represent clients with technology, internet and intellectual property matters
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I just found out that I might have violated copyright for using

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I just found out that I might have violated copyright for using lines in a few songs for a chapter of my book because I did not ask permission. My editor did not catch this and just found out a few mins ago and my book is already out as an ebook, no print copies. How can I rectify the situation

BizIPEsq. :

Hello, I will be assisting you

BizIPEsq. :

Let me try and help you.

Customer:

Ok, am waiting for your answer.

BizIPEsq. :

Copyright has a doctrine that is called "fair use". Fair use is a limitation and exception to the exclusive right of a copyright holder. The doctrine permits limited use of copyrighted material without acquiring permission from the rights holders

BizIPEsq. :

in addition, the extent of use is also a factor in whether fair use is recognized

BizIPEsq. :

what is your ebook about?

Customer:

It is a memoir and I used some lines of three songs in a scene where I'm listening to the radio and hearing these songs played. the songs evoked the memory of that period and I used these to help set the scene for the chapter. How do know that I am applying fair use in this instance?

BizIPEsq. :

Fair use does not generally apply to works of fiction. It is generally intended to facilitate criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, parody / comedy.

BizIPEsq. :

However you may be protected by another doctrine in copyright law that is called transformative use

Customer:

A memoir is not a work of fiction, my book is about an experience i had in my life when I was young. But I cannot say that the book is to facilitate all that you mentioned.

BizIPEsq. :

generally under transformative use so long as the copyright materials are used for a completely different purpose then then the new work is entitled to its own copyright protection. Here you used the lyrics not to be used in another song but rather to illustrate a certain point in the book.

BizIPEsq. :

In addition, the extent of use of the copyrighted work seems somewhat limited and I'm not sure what damages you would create

BizIPEsq. :

therefore if you are terribly concerned about this revise your ebook and edit the lyrics out (thank goodness there are no presses to stop...)

Customer:

I agree that because it is an ebook, I can revise it and glad that no hard copy currently exists.

BizIPEsq. :

otherwise my sense is that the use is de-minimis and that you will not get a push back though of course I cannot predict what the copyright holder will do

Customer:

What is the impact of already sold units to the copyright owner of these songs if they found out that I already sold a few (less than ten and mostly to family members and friends) without asking their permission?

Customer:

Also, I would have thought that my editor should have warned me or told me about this, isn't that so?

BizIPEsq. :

The impact is very little. As noted I can't imagine that because of the reference in your ebook the song sustained damages.

BizIPEsq. :

I would not worry about it

BizIPEsq. :

as far as your editor, no one is 100% and unless there is a contractual guarantee that the editor will be responsible for any missed copyright items I'm not sure there is a real issue here other than you may not want to work with this editor again

Customer:

Yes, I agree about what you wrote below.

Customer:

Can you pont me to legal references on transformative use?

BizIPEsq. :

wikipedia has good entries. Search for "copyright derivative use" and for "copyright transformative use"

Customer:

Ok, is there anything I should worry about with this issue? Would you strongly recommend my revising the ebook? The reason I asked is that the ebook is available in several ebook reader formats and I would need to contact each one (Kindle, ibook, Sony, etc)

BizIPEsq. :

Personally I don't think this is an issue but obviously I do not know the extent of zealousness with which the particular copyright owner pursues what they consider are copyright violations. If you had been selling hundreds of thousands of copies then I would most definitely recommend a comprehensive legal review, however since you will likely sell a few dozen / hundred copies and this is such a small part of your book (it's not like it is on the cover) and you used only several lines of the songs leads me to believe that nothing will come of it.

BizIPEsq. :

I trust I was able to resolve your issue. Please rate my answer. Without your rating I do not get compensated.

Customer:

Ok, thanks very much.

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