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I hope the group can set some reality to my initial thoughts and help me.

Over the years I have written humorous (not just my view) rhyming couplets, predominantly for fellow work colleagues who were leaving the company or occasionally re-writing words to Christmas songs.

As they have been delivered to an audience (albeit a work audience), does that mean they are public domain, or do I have the copyright to the words for the usual period?

Also, if I have used someone's name in the rhyme, would I need to consider obtaining their permission to publish the rhyme or could I change the words to a fictional name?

Sorry, if the questions are banal, but would appreciate your guidance.

Many thanks

Asked by: JOHN BULL

  1. Jonathan Hopkins on September 16, 2018

    Hi John
    I've done a similar thing myself - own lyrics but (usually) someone else's tune. Don McLean's 'American Pie' and Billy Joel's 'PianonMan' are favourites used a number of times but with different. My own view is this sort of thing doesn't generally travel very well, usually being written as a leg-pull for, and about, specific individuals and their peer group. Well, that's what mine have been like.

    For public viewing it'd be only polite to get permission from people might who recognise themselves, and in any case what's said couldn't be defamatory in any way even if they're very broadminded. That would leave you open even with permission, so 'names changed to protect the guilty' would be the way to go, I'd have thought.

    Best of luck!


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