“Lawsuits will not solve the problem, which is: there is no easy way to identify who owns which rights in and to most pieces of music and there is no easy way to get a quote and pay them.
“If you don’t believe me, pick up the phone and call a recorded music company, publisher, performing rights society or someone else you think might administrate the rights you seek and tell the person who answers the phone you want to purchase public performance rights for a particular song. Good luck. Maybe, if you retain a special music clearance firm or seasoned entertainment attorney, you can complete the process of obtaining the rights to use a particular song in sync with a video you want to put online. But, even if you are successful, the process can take days or weeks and cost thousands in attorney’s fees (over and above the negotiated cost of the rights you seek).”
Lawsuit: Music Publishers v. YouTube Doesn’t Solve the Problem, by Shelly Palmer, August 11, 2007 (via Recording Industry vs. The People)
I have tried to get permissions to use lyrics in a story, finally gave up and just took them out. It’s not worth the effort. Also, if there’s an easy why to find out if a song, say, “Knockin’ Myself Out,” is in public domain (which I *think* it is), I’d like to know about it. Thx.