Citation, Documentation of Sources

Q. How many lines of a published poem or song may be quoted in an article or book manuscript without having to obtain the author or lyric writer’s permission? And, what if the author or lyric writer is deceased?

A. The legalities of quoting poetry and music lyrics—even just a line or two—are very strict and complex. If you don’t have knowledge of them yourself, you should work closely with your publisher to make sure permissions are in order. (CMOS, chapter 4, presents an overview of rights and permissions issues.)