"We kissed on the corner then danced through the night"
September 28, 2013 10:53 AM   Subscribe

I'm going through a hand-lettering obsession lately, and becoming more interested in using text in artwork. I'm pretty comfortable with the parameters of fair use in terms of visual reference - using a photo to inform a painting, for example. But what's fair use if I want to paint a phrase or lyric or quote on a sign? The title of the question is my example: it is a line from Fairytale of New York. Is it a large or significant enough fragment that I would need to secure a license of the work if I wanted to create a painting and offer it for sale? The subject would be the text - more or less like this, versus a painting that included other elements with the text. I know there is often a range of ideal practice versus ordinary practice. Is this more formal like quoting a lyric in a book and giving copyright credit, or is it more informal like "I don't think Nick Cage signed off on the You Don't Say meme."?
posted by Lou Stuells to Media & Arts (3 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Deborah Kass uses song lyrics often in her art. This art travels routinely to exhibitions, galleries and museums. My assumption is that you, like Deb, are covered by transformative use.
posted by DarlingBri at 3:11 PM on September 28, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Lovely, thank you! I've sent her an inquiry.
posted by Lou Stuells at 4:14 PM on September 28, 2013

Pointing out that there is no such legal defence as "fair use" in Ireland or the EU where the song originates.

But it's highly unlikely anyone would be interested in suing unless you plan to make a substantial profit out of it.
posted by almostwitty at 2:45 AM on September 29, 2013

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