Getting permissions — second, third, fourth, fifth rounds

After I proudly thought I was on my way to getting permission to use a quote from a Paul Simon song in my book, I got an email from the organization (the third one) I had last communicated with telling me they were not the guys who give out the permissions. However, they were kind enough to give me the name of another permissions-giving-out organization, and I promptly sent off a query and information I thought would be pertinent for their going ahead.

But, no. The next organization wasn’t the right one either. They too gave me the name and contact information for another organization that gives permission for using Paul Simon lyrics (the previous one only dealt with the music side of permissions).

And, duh! It’s called Paul Simon Music.

Well, I called them right away, left a voice mail for the contact in charge, and within minutes I got an email back with a form to fill out with the book’s cost, when it would come out, and the publisher. They also requested a couple of things I hadn’t been asked to provide before: an excerpt of the book where the quote would be used and a short book synopsis. Perhaps that’s so they can determine how much to charge me for the use of the precious two lines I want to quote. So far no mention of money has come up from any of the permissions organizations I’ve contacted, though my publisher Janice said I would have to pay for using song lyrics.

Well, if the cost is prohibitive I can certainly paraphrase the quote. It won’t be the same but what the hey?

Anyway, we’ll see what Paul Simon Music comes back with. I’m still waiting to hear from them and the two book publishers I’ve sent requests out to as well.

I’ll let you know how it all turns out.


  1. I’m going to have to do this too! Perhaps you could steer me in the right direction?

  2. Hi, How did this work out? I’m now (two years after you) at the start of exactly this situation. I’d really appreciate any updates, contact information, etc. Thanks!

  3. Hi, Ginger, Sorry to take so long.

    I ended up getting the three permissions I needed. Actually I didn’t need one since the quote was in the public domain.

    Getting to the right place to get permission to use the Paul Simon quote was the most difficult. But once I found it, the process was pretty straight forward. Here’s that information:

    Juanita DeSilva
    Paul Simon Music
    1619 Broadway, Suite 500
    New York, NY 10019
    212-541-7571 (bus)
    212-582-7607 (fax)

    Hope this helps. Good luck. Just remember it’s a lengthy process so give yourself a lot of time.

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