What You Need To Know About Using Song Lyrics On Gravestones


Someone's gravestone is an important symbol that can honor their life in a beautiful way. It's what family, friends, and other loved ones will see when they visit the cemetery to pay their respects to the deceased. It will be seen by many passersby who never knew the person, and it is even something that will likely outlast many generations.

For these reasons and more, it's important to put a lot of thought and care into making sure someone's gravestone is a great expression of who they were and how they lived their life. Song lyrics sometimes offer just the right glimpse into someone's life to shed light on who they were or what was most important to them. Here's what you need to know if you are considering song lyrics for your loved one's gravestone.

When Song Lyrics Are Right

Song lyrics wouldn't be the way to pay homage to everyone. People who are more traditional would probably not like song lyrics on their gravestone, yet music enthusiasts of all ages and stages may embrace the idea. Consider song lyrics on the gravestone in the following situations:

  • The person was a huge fan of one particular musician or band.
  • A certain song always reminds you of the person.
  • The person was musical themselves.
  • The song had significance between a husband and wife, and they are going to have a shared gravestone.
  • The person had a certain personality or philosophy that is perfectly captured by a song lyric.  

Copyright Issues

While you do want to proceed with caution, using a line or two from a song is considered to be a fair use of a song. You do not want to use an entire song, but a short lyric that credits the writer is a popular practice. Copyright laws exist to protect the artist and owner of the copyright, but they are intended to safeguard the holders from others who seek to make a commercial gain with someone else's property. Using a line or two from a song is often done and a widely accepted practice. If in doubt, get permission first, or use lyrics from a song that is in the public domain.

Finally, keep in mind that song lyrics can be a beautiful way to pay homage to your loved one. Put a lot of thought into the selection of lyrics to ensure that they express just the right sentiment and are something the deceased would have enjoyed.  


18 August 2016

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