Wikipedia talk:Lyrics and poetry

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Talk page for lyrics and poetry. Please see Discussion below. Dunc| 29 June 2005 20:47 (UTC)

External link to lyrics[edit]

There are plenty of web sites that provide song lyrics, ignoring copyright [1]. Is it acceptable to link to them? Cdyson37 | (Talk) 12:49, 23 September 2005 (UTC)

There's nothing that says you can't link to those sites, but as they are in violation of copyright, they are probably very poor sources. But for lyrics, you can't really get much wrong there. You can link it, but it would be much more preferable to find a site that you know is not in violation of copyright. But the answer is yes, you can link it. People will just have to judge the ref for themselves. And the link should likely go in an External Links section, not the main references (unless it played an important part in the article's writing). --DanielCD 20:17, 12 January 2006 (UTC)

What says you cant is here: WP:EL#Links normally to be avoided; it's number #5 in the list at the moment. -- Mikeblas 14:09, 21 July 2006 (UTC)

What makes you so sure that site is ignoring copyright anyway? It looks fine to me. --DanielCD 20:21, 12 January 2006 (UTC)

What makes me sure is that the site has reproduced the lyrics, in whole, for the song. It doesn't acknowledge the author or the copyright holder's rights, or include notice of a waiver of those rights. Fair use doesn't attach, as the page in question doesn't include any critical anaylsis, education analysis, translation, or so on. There's absolutely zero value-add. -- Mikeblas 14:09, 21 July 2006 (UTC)

WP:COPY clearly says, "If you know that an external Web site is carrying a work in violation of the creator's copyright, do not link to that copy of the work." I think something to that extent needs to be added to this page so when external links are removed, the complainers can be pointed here. — RevRagnarok Talk Contrib 14:48, 29 January 2007 (UTC)

External link to copyright compliant lyrics[edit]

Hi, Since most of the discussion here seems to be a few years old I thought I would give an update. There are now copyright compliant lyric sites. There is a lyric aggregator (LyricFind) that deals with the record labels, amassed the licensing then tracks, reports, and pays royalties to those publishers on a song-by-song and territory-by-territory basis. You can read more on their "About us" page Here and Here is a recent news article about getting worldwide lyric rights. In a nutshell this is how it works. The Right's Holder give Lyricfind the lyrics and permission to distribute their works LF tracks and pays the Right's Holder. LF has 2 ways that they distributes the lyrics. 1. by powering the legal lyrics for other lyric sites and 2. having their own mobile apps. NOTE the Rights Holder still maintains control of their lyrics. As an example if a Rights Holder gave LF their lyrics then a year later discover a spelling error ie "There" instead of "Their" the Rights Holder lets LF know of a change and LF makes the change. Since all the sites powered by LF and all the mobile apps pull their lyric data from the LF database the change to the lyrics happen automatically and across all platforms at the same time. I found 2 sites that are powered by LF and I'm sure there are more. These sites now meet the "What can normally be linked"[[2]] and Official links WP:ELOFFICIAL My thought is that on a songs article page we should link to a copyright compliant lyric webpage and to the Official Bands website. Bstark247(talk)

User:Wikipedian Penguin had a concern about sites powered by LyricFind that still allows users to upload lyrics so I thought I would address it - User generated lyrics are meant for Indie Bands and Bands that LyricsFind does not have deals with their record companies. Here is an example of a user generated lyric page Link if you look at the bottom of the lyrics you will see "Powered By LYRICSnMUSIC" this means the lyrics are not from the LyricFind Data Base. However most of the lyric pages are powered by LyricFind. Here is an example of a page powered by LyricFind link at the bottom of these lyrics you will see the credits and the link to LyricFind that means the lyrics are coming from the LyricFind Data Base. This allows Lyrics to be displayed by both large and small bands. I think it's important to only link to lyric pages that are powered by LyricFind, then you are sure it's 100% copyright compliant. Bstark247 (talk) 01:37, 8 February 2012 (UTC)

Comparing the credits for this page and this, both of which are for the same song, one shows incorrect credits, while the other does not. The reliability of the site is questioned. —WP:PENGUIN · [ TALK ] 18:35, 8 February 2012 (UTC)

Hi WP PENGUIN I just looked at both links you sited - You are mistaken - Both list identical credits Bstark247 (talk) 19:52, 8 February 2012 (UTC)

Oops, this is the one with the wrong writing attribution. —WP:PENGUIN · [ TALK ] 20:04, 8 February 2012 (UTC)

I still see identical credits on that page too. Both list GRANT, ALEXANDER JUNIOR / MATHERS, MARSHALL B. III / HAFERMANN, HOLLY as the writers. Bstark247 (talk) 20:15, 8 February 2012 (UTC)

Nope, the other lists Riesterer, Frederick / Guetta, David / Rowland Kelendria / Nervo Miriam / Nervo Olivia. I'm watching this page so you don't have to message me once you reply. :) Thanks, —WP:PENGUIN · [ TALK ] 20:23, 8 February 2012 (UTC)

Hi Here are screen shots of both URLs that you site - 2 screen shots on a on a Mac and 2 on a PC on two different ISP's - HERE all 4 shots have the same credits. Perhaps your ISP had a glitch and pulled the wrong info? Not sure but maybe if you cleared out your cache you will see the same thing I am seeing here? Thank You. Bstark247 (talk) 21:00, 8 February 2012 (UTC)

Possibly, but I'm still not quite convinced on the inclusion of such sites. I'll let others comment so that we can get a community consensus. —WP:PENGUIN · [ TALK ] 23:03, 8 February 2012 (UTC)

Here is a PDF of a letter from the CEO of LyricFind stating that LyricFind powers the lyrics on Lyricsnmusic HERE The letter has the CEO's contact info. it would be great if someone else verified this. It would help to come to a consensus Bstark247 (talk) 22:10, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

Here is 3rd party verification that LnM is copyright compliant HERE I believe that this now meets the criteria for external links. Bstark247 (talk) 03:17, 8 March 2012 (UTC)

Lyrics for Danish hits: — Preceding unsigned comment added by Raslen11 (talkcontribs) 09:47, 20 November 2012 (UTC)

Proposed merge[edit]

Hi, just a short note to let you know that the discussion regarding the proposed merge is happening at Wikipedia_talk:Don't_include_copies_of_primary_sources#Proposed_merge as it is the relevant place to discuss the merger. Thanks, --Gurubrahma 12:23, 16 November 2005 (UTC)

Is this a guideline?[edit]

Hi, I'm wondering if the editors of this page consider this to be a full guideline. The tag at the top is different from more accepted guidelines, and that makes me wonder. One thing i'm proposing is that you use the Template:guideline, rather than the tag you have now. Please discuss it here (i'll be posting this message on other pages that have this same tag). Thanks! Fresheneesz 20:40, 9 September 2006 (UTC)


Would a page of a translation of a song in a foreign language be a copyright violation? — ShadowHalo 09:46, 19 November 2006 (UTC)

Yes, if you are not authorized to publish a copy of a work, then you are not authorized to publish a translation of it either. And someone else's authorized translation carries its own translation copyright with it as well. —Largo Plazo (talk) 13:47, 20 March 2010 (UTC)


This page never seems to have gone through any test of consensus to make it a guideline; it's been around for years and massivlely changed in that time, but no one ever had a straw poll or anythign to check. Night Gyr (talk/Oy) 02:24, 2 December 2006 (UTC)

Don't include overly-long lyrics[edit]

The article states "You should include lyrics and poetry whose copyright has expired." I disagree. I think it should say "...unless it is too long to be presentable." Something like that. Wrad (talk) 03:45, 20 April 2008 (UTC)

Paranoia link[edit]

The phrase avoid copyright paranoia should link directly to Could someone who knows how do this please? Koro Neil (talk) 05:14, 14 August 2008 (UTC)

MoS naming style[edit]

There is currently an ongoing discussion about the future of this and others MoS naming style. Please consider the issues raised in the discussion and vote if you wish GnevinAWB (talk) 20:53, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

Different font for lyrics[edit]

There's a question at Talk:O Canada#Formatting of lyrics regarding the use of a different font to highlight in the article the lyrics of the anthem from the surrounding prose text. I wonder if someone from here could weigh in at that discussion with their opinion. Cheers. --Ħ MIESIANIACAL 17:26, 6 July 2010 (UTC)

Poet article for deletion[edit]

Editors here may wish to comment on this proposed article deletion. The poet's notability is being challenged. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 16:37, 8 January 2012 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Lyrics and poetry[edit]

The page Wikipedia:Lyrics and poetry is not classified and categorised properly. Is it a policy, a style guideline, an other type of a guideline, an essay or what? It should be marked appropriately at the top and put into at least one category. It was part of the MOS till June 2011.[3] Some material about how to write lyrics in Wikipedia (style matters, use of templates etc.) should be added in any case. I've been thinking about doing it myself, but would rather see someone else with more experience in this area to do it, taking Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style/Music#Lyrics into consideration. --Eleassar my talk 17:05, 14 February 2012 (UTC)

Lyrics I can't find to a song I remembered from years ago[edit]

I have had the song "Ways of the Wise", by Tony Melendez (released in the early 1990s) "pop" into my head every so often since. I have just recently found an mp3 of the song, however, I want to find the lyrics of the song, but none of the lyrics websites I've tried seem to have it. Can someone please help me? Allen (talk) 20:18, 19 March 2012 (UTC)

Criteria for including lyrics in article section discussing song's composition[edit]

In a song article recently passed as a GA, "All Things Must Pass", the reviewer removed the song lyrics (which I'd set in block quotes) and suggested getting a third opinion from "the appropriate noticeboard and/or WikiProject" if I felt they should be reinstated. I'd really like some of them reinstated at least, as I think the article would benefit from their inclusion, and most importantly, there's a fair bit of discussion in the article's Background & Composition section particularly about the various interpretations of Harrison's song lyrics and the influences behind the words – from Harrison himself, his biographers, religious academics, and music critics. Also worth pointing out that, in other song articles that I've nominated for GA (here and here, for recent examples), reviewers haven't had a problem with the inclusion of lyrics in block-quote form (accompanied by discussion and interpretation). So I'm hoping this might be the "appropriate noticeboard" to raise this issue. Would others agree that if there is a significant amount of discussion about the composition of a song, as in the case of "All Things Must Pass", it's appropriate to include a fair portion of the song's lyrics? Cheers, JG66 (talk) 17:44, 18 November 2012 (UTC)

I agree that a "fair portion" of the lyrics may be included, but the question is what makes a fair portion?
The relevant policy is Wikipedia:Non-free content:
"Brief quotations of copyrighted text may be used to illustrate a point, establish context, or attribute a point of view or idea. ... Extensive quotation of copyrighted text is prohibited. ..."
At the same time, "[e]xcessively long copyrighted excerpts" are cited as an example of unacceptable use.
It appears that you were using two of the song's three verses. That may be considered an excessively long excerpt from a copyrighted source.
Is there any way to summarize some of the lyrics in your own words and quote the others? That would help resolve the question. — Malik Shabazz Talk/Stalk 03:50, 19 November 2012 (UTC)
Same reaction here. Block quoting is fine, but not if you use too much of the lyric relative to the song. Two full verses out of three would definitely be too much. I've combined a part of a verse and a part of the chorus without any problem. There's a longish-looking block quote in "Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands", but then again that song goes on forever so it's still a relatively small portion. Wasted Time R (talk) 04:49, 19 November 2012 (UTC)
Thanks, Malik Shabazz and Wasted Time R, that's very helpful. I've taken a look at what I had originally in block-quote form in the "All Things Must Pass" article and have reinstated about half of that. I believe that, with the various viewpoints and interpretations offered in the article, the lyrics are being discussed at some length and therefore it's in keeping with fair use policy. Do please feel free to weigh in there, though, and cut down what I've just reinstated if you feel there's still too much. As I've added in an Edit history comment, the opening two lines and the middle eight's four lines are important to retain, imo. Thanks again, guys. JG66 (talk) 05:39, 19 November 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── User:Wasted Time R, User:Malik Shabazz, User:JG66, this discussion above was indeed very helpful. I wonder if it can be incorporated into the guideline permanently, something like:

It is not appropriate to use full verses of song lyrics. However selections may be included. For example it is often helpful to include the first words of a song for the purposes of (a) identification, (b) disambiguation:


  • from Azzuro : The first line of the song goes: "Azzurro, il pomeriggio e troppo azzurro e lungo per me . . ."

Otherwise short excerpts from a song lyrics should be restricted to excerpts that are notable - which means specific phrases mentioned in reliable sources as significant:

In ictu oculi (talk) 02:53, 28 September 2013 (UTC)

What you are proposing is too restrictive. There are plenty of examples of reviewed articles (FA, GA, DYK), including the ones given as examples in this guideline, that quote more lyrics than just the one line or one phrase that you are showing. It may be that a full verse can be quoted, depending upon the length of the verse and the length of the song. There's no hard-and-fast formula here. Another way of looking at this is that many FA/GA articles include audio samples that are typically 20-30 seconds long. (A few examples are Sunday Bloody Sunday and Express Yourself (Madonna song) and Here We Go Again (Demi Lovato song) and Down to Earth (Justin Bieber song).) That's giving everything of the song - lyrics, music, arrangement, performance - and if that's okay, then surely quoting more than one line of lyrics in the text is okay. Wasted Time R (talk) 11:13, 28 September 2013 (UTC)
I agree that it's too restrictive – far too restrictive actually. Again, I'm thinking of articles covering songs whose lyrics invite considerable interpretation and analysis, in some cases line-by-line. That level of interpretation becomes condensed in the article, but it still leads to a substantially large section discussing the composition. (And that song, "All Things Must Pass" is a good example.) My feeling is, if it can be seen that a song's message/meaning is notable enough to warrant extended discussion, then a significant portion of the lyrics will be needed as part of the article content. At the same time, having seen the discussion resume here, I will be going back to song articles I've helped expand, ensuring that I've not reproduced lyrics excessively. But if you or anyone else is looking to cover this in a guideline, In ictu oculi, I think there has to be an allowance based on the points of notability that have led to the song meriting an article on wikipedia – which could well be interpretation of the lyrics. Cheers, JG66 (talk) 05:20, 1 October 2013 (UTC)

Citation needed on national anthems[edit]

I notice that Wikipedia:Lyrics and poetry#National anthems has a "citation needed" (added in November 2013) on "National anthems are generally considered to be a special case of fair use".

Can we find such a citation? Do we need one? Mitch Ames (talk) 11:54, 16 February 2014 (UTC)

It surely wouldn't hurt, Mitch Ames. Just because we say it's a "special case of fair use" doesn't mean the courts would agree. :/ Many people assume that national anthems are public domain, but this is not so - I don't know where the idea of "special fair use" comes from. --Moonriddengirl (talk) 10:43, 6 June 2014 (UTC)
I've brought this question up at Wikipedia:Media_copyright_questions#National_anthems.2C_a_special_case_of_fair_use. Barring some evidence of this, I believe this line needs to be removed, as the advice is contrary to WP:NFC. --Moonriddengirl (talk) 11:16, 24 July 2015 (UTC)
This is now under discussion at Wikipedia_talk:Non-free_content#National_anthems.2C_a_special_case_of_fair_use to see what consensus is on including non-free lyrics from national anthems. --Moonriddengirl (talk) 13:23, 26 July 2015 (UTC)

Citation needed on national anthems: RFC[edit]

Should national anthems be considered a special case of Fair Use?

Based on recent edit wars on articles pertaining (primarily) to Central Asian national anthems, it seems that the long-standing {{citation needed}} tag on this page regarding such anthems needs to be properly resolved. Previous discussions have taken place here and here, but participation was low and no consensus seems to have been reached. I am therefore opening a RFC to try an develop a consensus as to whether or not the lyrics of national anthems should be treated as a special case of Fair Use on Wikipedia. Yunshui  15:23, 13 November 2017 (UTC)


  • Support, per discussions linked above, particularly the "no market effect" argument. While I'm not crazy about including full texts in general, in this case, it appears that we could if we want to. --SarekOfVulcan (talk) 15:37, 13 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Depends. Some of them are subject to crown copyright and similar doctrines; it varies by jurisdiction, by whether the work was written by someone (personal copyright) then adopted as a national anthem, is a folk song and thus not subject to copyright, was commissioned (work for hire) by the government in question, etc., etc.

    On sourcing: In general, though, citations are going to be needed for national anthems, per WP:V and WP:NOR policies. I've even seen "slow editwarring" at Isle of Man about whether to use the Manx anthem "O Land of Our Birth" ("Arrane Ashoonagh Vannin") or the British "God Save the Queen" – based presumably on differing ideas about the meaning of "national" when it comes to a British protectorate).  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  16:30, 13 November 2017 (UTC)

  • Support It's absurd to conclude otherwise--they are intended to be widely disseminated. But is still a need for a source, especially if reasonably disputed. DGG ( talk ) 04:47, 15 November 2017 (UTC)