I'd say in this case, it would be better to not include these excerpts (and
I write this as an advocate for fair use who almost always advocates for
pushing the boundaries of permissions). Poetry & song lyrics are tricky
because they are so short - typically fair use applies to a minimal portion
of a work (10% is often referenced but is by no means the accepted
guideline). So even a small excerpt from a poem can be a significant portion
of the whole, which typically requires permissions.

Given that fair use is only a defense in court, not an absolute right you
can claim to avoid litigation, if you fear she will be litigious, then don't
include the excerpt. Even if you believe that it is a minimal amount & that
your publisher is behind it, there's nothing to stop her from suing. There
are few legal precedents to fall back on, and if you don't want to risk
going to court, it's probably not worth including the excerpts. Of course,
there's nothing to stop you from including the link to the forum where the
poetry appears.

(And it goes without saying, I am not an attorney & this is not legitimate
legal advice - just an opinion!)

Good luck,

Jason Mittell, Associate Professor of American Studies and Film & Media
Chair of Film & Media Culture Department
Middlebury College
208 Axinn Center at Starr Library
Middlebury, Vermont 05753
(802) 443-3435 / fax: (802) 443-2805

On Thu, Jan 20, 2011 at 1:01 AM, SCREEN-L automatic digest system <
[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Date:    Tue, 18 Jan 2011 17:13:07 +0000
> From:    Mike Chopra-Gant <[log in to unmask]>
> Subject: Copyright clearance refusal and fair use
> A quick question, especially for those in the USA. I'm in the closing
> stages of writing a book on The Waltons and am writing about fans, and
> specifically fan literature. I was hoping to quote some poetry posted on a
> forum by a fan. She has claimed copyright on the works and my request for
> her permission to quote short passages in my book has been declined. Where
> do I stand insofar as fair use is concerned now that permission has been
> refused: does fair use override such a refusal so far as very short passages
> are concerned or does the refusal establish an absolute prohibition on
> quoting?
> I'd really like to put some of this material in the book but I suspect the
> author of these poems is precisely the kind of person to get litigious, and
> getting sued in the States is not a risk I can afford to take.
> Regards,
> Mike Chopra-Gant

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