By Pam from The Villages, FL
I am not a lawyer but I am involved with information related to music copyright - and that includes poems.
1. ALL intellectual property is automatically copyrighted the moment it is written. It may not be filed etc but this IS the case.
2. It is not legal to use a work without permission even if you credit the author.
3. If you plan on selling this book or distributing it, you must have permission to use the poem and maybe even pay royalties to the estate.
4. The Jimmy Stewart estate etc can provide permissions. You might want to contact the Jimmy Stewart Museum in Indiana, PA for information on how to contact the estate. I'm sure there are other ways.
In the past 10 years I have never once been refused permission to use an amateur composer or lyricist's work. There is an agency to deal with for other professional works (Harry Fox)
Good Luck on your book.
I agree with Patty Janes. I believe that as long as you credit the author you can use it.
Many years ago I did a few magazines...and, unless the laws have changed since then, we didn't need to get permission as long as you credited the author who wrote it (and did not change any of the wording.) Laws are basically set up to prevent people from claiming them as their own. If something is not supposed to be copied at all. It usually will be stated as that.
Here is all the information to help you here at the U.S. Government Copyright Office link:
Be sure to read everything at the link because there is also 'fair use' info at the bottom of the page that might end up being helpful for you in certain cases. The poem might not even be copyrighted but it's best to find out and a good thing you're checking in to it. :-)
This is just a guess, but have you tried to look up any information on his estate? That's where I'd start, if I needed to gain permission. Good luck with the book!
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