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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.


Jul. 28th, 2004 08:23 pm (UTC)
Ok, firstly: People continue to mention Shakespeare's plays as examples for not needing copyright permission. That's because they're not copyrighted. Also, copyright protection runs out on all creative works after a set period ... something like thirty or fifty years after the creator's death. This is why, for example, Picasso's works can be reprinted in art history textbooks without raising a fuss. I would agree with the general idea of pokeystar in that you're more likely to get a positive "yes" or "no" after at least a draft of the novel is written, but that could be a ton of work to result in a "no".

I guess, ultimately, you won't know anything until you find the people to contact and ask ... they can only say, "no", "yes" or conditionally yes ...