Thursday, 6 May 2010

Cautionary tale for writers

I was amused by a piece in the Guardian Review for 1st May by Blake Morrison about attribution.

When he was writing South of the River, he quoted from some pop songs, played in one of the scenes.  He knew about getting permission for quotes from living authors but hoped that using only a few words from each song would slide through unnoticed.  He also knew it's the author's responsibility to obtain and pay for them but left it until his editor did the job for him.

For quoting two lines of I shot the sheriff by Bob Marley it cost him £1,000.  And so on with the other songs.

So his advice to other writers is DON'T and if you have characters in your novel playing music, don't quote the lyrics.

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