Tobias summarizes a topic very well. :)|
I think the explanation you got is more than a bit flawed.
The premise that "it is a violation of copyright to mention a thing's title unless you are reviewing it" is incorrect. At the very least, please go read up on the concept of "fair use".
The explanation I got said that "fair use" is so dicey a proposition that it's probably best to avoid it, and as understood by 90% of anyone who would try to do so to a lay person, one should treat it as a bullshit wikiconcept, much like "unauthorized satire of a trademarked product/ logo is okay," which it most certainly is NOT or "if you don't make money off using infringed copyrights or if you credit it, it's okay." Which is also not okay, in my understanding. I mean, I read in an AP wire story that up until a few years ago, you were in violation of the law if you sang "Happy Birthday," without paying royalties to the authors of the song... who, in this country, is without sin, in this case? And if the Associated Press is not a trusted (if not unimpeachable) source, as long as one follows its retractions and keep aware of its politics, whom should you accept information at face value from?
Sigh. Perhaps I am alone in thinking that it's hard to know whom to trust when explaining hot button legal issues to idjits like me... but I wonder if this is the case.
|Date:||September 2nd, 2007 09:32 pm (UTC)|| |
You can sing "Happy Birthday", but not publicly perform it; that's a fairly major distinction. (This is why some restaurants have their own birthday songs, incidentally.)
You could also hum it, since the music was originally published as "Good Morning to All" in 1893 and is therefore out of copyright.
I suggest you go take a look at Bound by Law?
, which is a comic book explaining many concepts of copyright and fair use for a filmmaker. Many of the concepts can be generalized quite easily. It's produced by the Duke University Center for the Study of the Public Domain and was written by lawyers.
As for "Happy Birthday", I believe (IANAL) that the circumstances under which royalties would be due include any commercial usage, performances in a public place, etc., but does not include singing the song at a birthday party at home.