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Anyone with knowledge in law, music, copyright, and/or intellectual rights out there? For I have a question.

I have a new idea for a novel turning about in my head. It would center around a theatre production of a musical, though would really be about the interactions between some of the participants. I was thinking of a play by Sondheim in particular. I wouldn't make fun of the play; I like it, and would represent it in a flattering light. There would be rampant use of character names and lines and lyrics. I'd mention Sondheim by name; there would be no question that he wrote it, not me. So, do I need permission to use it, or is it decidedly "fair use" to do something like this? If I do need permission, who do I ask? Would I have to pay for it?

If I have to pay, then really, I'm just going to scrap the whole idea.

Comments

celtic4
Jul. 26th, 2004 11:34 am (UTC)
Well, a lot of it depends on how much of Sondheim's work you use, and how integral the work is to your story.

Unfortunately, if you were making fun of or satirizing Sondheim's play, you would have a LOT more leeway in this...but since you're not, your position is decidedly murkier.

At the very minimum, you should ask permission and see what the copyright holder requires of you. Hopefully they won't ask for a licensing fee. You'll have to do a little research as to who holds the copyright for the work in question...it could be Sondheim, it could be a publisher, it could be someone else entirely.

Hope that helped a bit. ^_^
mollyringle
Jul. 26th, 2004 12:32 pm (UTC)
Heh, yeah...
It would be integral in that the play is what the characters are involved in, and it's how they meet. But the story wouldn't really be about Sondheim or about the play's plot; it would just be the platform from which to launch the rest of the story...though since I haven't actually mapped it out yet, let alone started writing it, I guess I'm not sure how much I'd involve it. :)

Probably worth asking, yes.