After some hectic months packed to the gills and then some, I suddenly find myself with more time available than I’m used to. I feel like a goldfish who suddenly has an ocean’s worth of water in which to move, and the magical ability to live in saltwater.
Last night, for the first time in weeks, I opened my Sacred Blood book file to reread a chapter that has some copyrighted song lyrics in it. I’d really rather not change this chapter, though the lyrics are in only a couple pages. Contrary to popular belief, fair use does extend to song lyrics, but there are strict rules to be followed. I’ve researched to the best of my ability and believe my use to fall under fair use, but to be on the safe side, I’ve been trying to track down the copyright holder anyway. What a headache that has been? A supposedly owns the rights and directs you to request permission through B, who claims C owns it. Meanwhile you go through the official page and D tells you to try contacting E in another country. Now you know F holds the performance rights, but that doesn’t apply since this isn’t performance. Still you try F, who says try G. Insert names into those letter placeholders and you have the real situation I’m in.
So VIP, which Sacred Blood will be published through, is in Canada while I’m in the US, and copyright holders can be in the US or Europe. While I could change that scene, I don’t think it would be quite as good. So I’m hedging on the side of having a notice on the copyright page with a disclaimer that every effort has been made to track down copyright holders despite fair use, and to properly attribute the lyrics to who I know wrote them and list who I think the copyright holders may be on both sides of the pond. It shouldn’t be this hard. It really shouldn’t. Frankly I think some people are just so money-hungry that they would go after people merely for breathing if they could (hello, Monsanto), and the US government actually had to pass a law that mere titles couldn’t be copyrighted.
So I don’t know. I’m still debating whether to press forward with the book as-is and hold the claim of trying, or to edit it, heavily in some scenes.