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montysimmons, Patent Prosecutor
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 328
Experience:  Electrical Engineer, South Carolina Attorney, Member of US Patent Bar
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Hello: I wanted to get permission to use the lyrics to the

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Hello: I wanted to get permission to use the lyrics to the Bob Dylan song, A HARD RAIN'S A GONNA FALL for a book of short stories. How might I proceed?

Thank you,
Michael Hyman
The information provided on this website is general information, not individualized legal advice. Your use of this information is not intended to create, and does not create, an attorney-client relationship with the site or any associated attorney. This website is not an offer to represent you. Further, my comments are not an offer to practice in a jurisdiction, in which I am not admitted.

Hello. I will help you. A good process to follow would be:

(a) Determine if material in public domain or covered by copyright;

(b) If covered by copyright, identify the owner of the copyright.

(c) Identify scope of permission desired and required;

(d) Negotiate with owner for permission and get any agreement in writing.

(a) Permission Needed? : "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall" is a song written by Bob Dylan in the summer of 1962. Enters public domain on 15 February 2067.

Thus, work likely covered by copyright. Unless your use falls under an exception (such as fair use, parody, etc.) permission is needed.

(b) Rights likely owed by Columbia Records which is an American record label, owned by Sony Music Entertainment, operating under the Columbia Music Group.

(c) Scope of Rights need: You will need to have a description of the rights you need when you ask for permission. Do this by simply stating your intended use. You may need to also consider issues such as territory, term, and exclusivity. Exclusivity for your purpose does not seem to be an issue - you will likely ask for and get non-exclusive rights to use.

(d) Negotiate : You may not have to pay for permission if the amount of protected work you will use is small. Lots of factors can affect price.

And remember to get the deal in writing.

If you have more questions, please ask. If I have answered your question, please rate my answer and give feedback.


montysimmons and 2 other Intellectual Property Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

what is fair use?

See Copyright Act of 1976, 17 U.S.C. § 107


§107 Factors


  • 1. Market effect factor
  • 2. Purpose and Character
  • 3. Amount of copying
  • 4. Nature of the Work


Traditional Concept of Fair Use


Excuses reasonable unauthorized appropriations from a first work, when the use to which the second author put the appropriated material in some way advanced the public benefit, without substantially impairing the present or potential economic value of the first work.


Fair Use Example: If you wish to criticize a novelist, you can quote portions of such novelist's work without permission for such purpose.


UnFair Use Example: Coping the work of another for commercial purposes for your personal benefit is presumably unfair use. (but not always)


The issue is determined on a case by case basis using the four factors identified above and there is no bright line rule and such analysis is very subjective.


Thus, depending on fair use as one's only defense is very risky.


Wikipedia has a good article on Fair use.

Let me know if you need more information.

And please remember to rate my answer and give feedback.


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