Copyright is an amazingly complex, cumbersome, Byzantine system that
-- even in this wonderful Age of Information of ours -- is
inordinately difficult to research.
Finding a "hit" in a copyright database (I found almost 300 hits for
"Blue Moon") doesn't necessarily mean that the lyrics of the song are
protected by copyright, and that you would need permission to
reproduce them in your book.
On the other hand, failing to get a hit doesn't mean the work is copyright-free.
However, with a bit of detective work I was able to get a pretty good
reading on all three of the works you asked about.
Unfortunately, for you, they all appear to be protected by current
copyright. I've included information below about who to contact for
permission to reproduce the lyrics of these songs.
I've also provided some details on my search results below, along with
links you can use if you care to do any of your own searching on
Before rating this answer, please let me know if anything here is
unclear, or if you need additional information. Just post a Request
for Clarification and I'll be happy to assist you further.
And of course, congratulations on nearing publication of your book...!
The U.S. Library of Congress is the nation's repository of copyright
information. In case you're interested, their main page for the
Copyright Office -- with a lot of basic information on how copyrights
work, how to search, etc -- can be seen here:
and their database for searching for existing copyrights for books,
music, etc. can be found here:
If you click on the "Title" button, you can search for song titles,
which is what I did for the three songs you asked about.
The results are as follows:
Blue Moon has several hundred copyrights. This is not unusual for a
popular piece of music, since each recording or arrangement of the
song is subject to an inidividual copyright, as is protection for the
lyrics, for printed sheet music, for videos that include the song, and
The copyrights pertaining to specific recordings probably aren't
germane to your situation, since you're not proposing to copy a
recording, but only to reproduce the written lyrics.
The two copyrights that are probably most relevant to your situation appear to be:
Registration Number: PA-125-650
Title: Blue moon : mezzo soprano solo / by Rodgers and Hart ; arr.
and orchestrated by John Green.
Imprint: [s.l.] : Robbins Music Corp., c1978.
Created: approx. 1935
Author on © Application: music: Richard Rodgers; words: Lorenz
Hart; orchestra arr.: Maritime Enterprises, Inc., employer for hire.
Previous Related Version: Prev. reg. 1934.
Registration Number: RE-529-982
Title: Blue moon. w Lorenz Hart & Richard Rodgers, arr.
acMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc., employer for hire of Richard Maltby.
Claimant: [Author and claimant] Turner Entertainment Company
[Proprietor of copyright in a work made for hire]
Effective Registration Date: 1Apr91
Original Registration Date: 12Dec63;
Note that the first copyright references the original copyright
registration of the composition in 1934; the second appears to be
broadly cast (i.e., not specific to a particular recording or
arrangement) and is held by Turner Entertainment.
A similar type of search can be conducted at ASCAP -- American Society
of Composers, Authors and Publishers -- which holds the licensing
information for hundreds of thousands of songs:
The ASCAP search is particularly useful because they not only list the
writers and performers of Blue Moon, but also provide contact
information for licensing/use requests:
Title Code: 320064944
EMI ROBBINS CATALOG INC
% EMI APRIL MUSIC INC
C/O EMI MUSIC PUBLISHING
810 SEVENTH AVE
NEW YORK , NY, 10019
Tel. (212) 830-2036
If you give EMI a call, their phone message menu will walk you through
the steps of requesting permission to rerpoduce lyrics in your book.
SCOTCH AND SODA
A similar search for "Scotch and Soda" turns up several songs by this
title, but the one you're looking for is the old Kingston Trio version
(the tune of which I'll be humming all day now, thank you very much!)
and it shows up at the Copyright Office as follows:
Scotch and Soda
Registration Number: RE-321-673
Title: Scotch and soda. w & m caDave Guard.
Claimant: Dave Guard [Author]
Effective Registration Date: 12Jan87
Original Registration Date: 30Mar59;
Registration Number: RE-485-799
Title: Scotch and soda. By acDavid Guard.
Claimant: David Guard [Author]
Effective Registration Date: 25Jul90
Original Registration Date: 2Apr62;
This appears to be a very straightforward copyright claim -- these
lyrics are not in the public domain.
The David Guard song doesn't show up in the ASCAP database, but over
at BMI, the other major song licensing service in the US, we find the
SCOTCH AND SODA
BMI Work #1300828
BEECHWOOD MUSIC CORPORATION
and the contact information at Beechwood is:
BEECHWOOD MUSIC CORPORATION
Phone: (212) 830-5198
Fax: (212) 830-5196
Contact: BEECHWOOD MUSIC CORPORATION
C/O SCREEN GEMS-EMI MUSIC INC
ATTN LINDA SANTIAGO
EMI MUSIC PUBLISHING
810 SEVENTH AVENUE
NEW YORK, NY 10019-5818
Get in touch with them at the above contact information to ask about
lyric reproduction rights.
THE GIRL FROM GLASGOW TOWN
Lastly, I searched for both "The Girl from Glasgow Town" and ""The
Girl from Glasgow Toon". Neither title shows up at the Copyright
Office, or at BMI, but it is listed in the ASCAP database:
Girl From Glasgow Town
GIRL FROM GLASGOW TOWN
Title Code: 370091277
MAC FADYEN IAIN A
along with a note to: contact ASCAP Clearance representative at
(212)621-6160 for other publisher information.
I spoke with the ASCAP representative who told me that this title
"appeared to be protected" in terms of its lyrics, as well as for
specific recordings. However, to confirm this, you would need to
contact the license holder in the UK which is Lochside Publishing, as
represented by the Performing Right Society -- PRS -- in London (this
is the UK equivalent of ASCAP and BMI).
The PRS process doesn't appear to be as straightforward as it is in
the US, so you'll have to contact them to work out the steps involved.
You can find additional information about PRS licensing, including
contact information, at:
Once again, let me know if you need any additional information.
Best of luck,