Monday, April 28, 2008

Plot bunny, Plot bunny ...

For some strange reason, I've had E. C. Bairstow's "I sat down under His shadow" playing in my mind all day. It's a beautiful piece ... and one that the Senior Choir at Chapel of the Cross has performed many times through the years.

It's a short piece, and for some reason, little scenes play in my mind with each line of the piece. Naturally, this is related to the FanFiction that I've been so obsessed with of late. I've read mainly SS/HG pairings (but also a few Snape as mentor or older brother types as well), so naturally, my plot bunnies would be related to that pairing.

I hope I am not violating any copyright laws by writing the lyrics here. My thought is to write this little story, using each line (or a portion thereof) as a chapter title.

There really won't be much of a plot; it would probably end up reading like a series of snapshots more than anything else.
I sat down under His shadow with great delight,
and His fruit was sweet to my taste.
He brought me to the banqueting house,
and His banner over me was love.
I would just have to sit down and sketch this out, but probably not any time this week or the next as I will have to teach the Forensics course for the next couple of weeks.

If you feel inclined, let me know what you think of the idea in the combox.


Anonymous said...

Hmmm. Well, I'm not dispensing any legal advice here.

But generally, if you use short quotes for scholarly or transformative reasons, that should put you safely into the realm of "Fair Use".

Actually, with Bairstow ... I doubt that he wrote the words. Church musicians don't do that often. Most of the time the words are older or taken directly from the Bible.

So what you need to do if you want to know if the text is in Public Domain, you need to find out when the text was published.

It's in public domain, IF

* The work was created and first published before January 1, 1923, or at least 95 years before January 1 of the current year, whichever is later;
* The last surviving author died at least 70 years before January 1 of the current year;
* No Berne Convention signatory has passed a perpetual copyright on the work; and
* Neither the United States nor the European Union has passed a copyright term extension since these conditions were last updated. (This must be a condition because the exact numbers in the other conditions depend on the state of the law at any given moment.)


But really, quoting single lines is simple textual allusion, and real life authors do it ALL the time without permission from the actual copyright holders. So I wouldn't worry about that.

Lyn F. said...

Hmmmm. Well, the piece was written in 1925. Bairstow died in 1946. The text was based on the Song of Solomon II,3-4. So I would guess that the music itself is still under copyright, but the text would be in the public domain.

Believe it or not, my Muse kept speaking to me even when I was trying to fall asleep. (I'm pet-sitting for a friend right now, and it didn't help that one of her cats kept me up by yowling throughout the night ...) I have the last vignette solidly in my mind right now. The first is there, nebulously. This should be fun to write up ...