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Member # 9151

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So here's the question.

How does a writer get around talking about music playing in for example a romance scene. What if the character puts a specific song on and is quietly singing some of the lyrics into the ear of a lover. You get the gist. Does a writer always have to invent his own lyrics, or by/ask copyright permission to any modern song to even mention it even if credit is given to the artist?

Second. What about quoting lyrics. Example: You know I can't help but feel the Beatles said it best, "All you need is love." Do you now owe the copyright holder of the Beatles portfolio? Are you in breach of copyright law on some level?

Feel free to give me your best legal jargon, point out actual copyright specifics for writers, or example of if/if not an author used modern lyrics and what they did at the time.

This is something I don't want to miss step on. Sound like a lot of problems down the road if you don't get it right the first time.

While we are at it. Can anyone point out where you find the exact rules of what divides YA from adult. Because I have one novel that I think is on a fine line and I would like to know how much adjustment I need to do to bring it back just enough for YA.

And is their a difference between YA and Teen or are they the same?


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Member # 8019

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Song titles may be incidentally cited in prose though not lyrics, not without a use license. The music industry is a stickler for copyright protection. The more appealing music whatever I've read doesn't cite titles or lyrics, rather alludes to them and describes the emotional nature of the music; for example, Staccato backbeat bass of a machine gun and a whiney overdubbed cello raved from iPod earbuds. Mariata pounded a cookie tin off the beat and sang refrain, "Money and love, no luck, in games, no luck, no luck, only suck."

No place I know of distinguishes a reliable division between young adult ages 13 through 17 and early adult ages 18 through 25. Ones that try assert subjective positions. Film and television rating guides offer guidance. Of note, though, young readers read up in age: middle grade reads young adult, and so on. The forbidden fruit phenomenon. Moral authorities wish otherwise, though reading up in age is a custom for anxiousness to be older and not too troublesome anyway, not reading.

A basic guideline from H.P. Grice's Gricean maxims for mature adult content: quantity, quality, relevance, and mannerism. Gratuitous language, substance abuse, counterculturalism, sex, and violence should be limited quantity for young adult audiences, though quality of writing trumps that. Relevance applies to degree of content gratuitousness, and mannerism, for example, could be a disapproving tone for wayward behaviors. If all the maxims are artfully and critically managed, content that might raise controversy otherwise might pass moral muster. And some or more controversy publicizes and promotes sales.

Ultimately, like all things writing, a writer defines content maturity level and audience, suited each to the other, and the opportune occasion.

[ November 28, 2015, 01:03 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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Robert Nowall
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Fair use is arguable, but your best bet would be to name the song and say it's playing, but don't actually quote the lyrics.
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Member # 8019

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Oh, missed this question's response: "Teen," "juvenile," and "young adult" are more or less synonymous. "Teen" is a pop culture label used by magazines once upon a time. "Juvenile" is a library label to distinguish and separate age range from children's and adult's bookshelf sections, and restrict youth patron access to adult content. They are emotionally charged though. "Young adult" is a somewhat neutral, social justice term that has become the customary choice of publication culture categorization anymore; emphasizes, perhaps prematurely, post adolescents' near-adult status and de-emphasizes residual childhood status.
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