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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    13

    Default Paraphrasing a Famous Quote in Song Lyrics

    Ok, so I am writing some songs for my anarcho-punk band. I have paraphrased a few lines from Thoreau's 1849 article Civil Disobedience. Do I need to cite Thoreau? The name of the song is "The Ballad of Henry David Thoreau" and the paraphrase is the following:

    Thoreau:
    "I heartily accept the motto, "That government is best which governs least"; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I believeó "That government is best which governs not at all"; and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have."

    Lyrics:
    that which governs best governs least
    that which governs best governs not at all

    I'd hate for some kind of Thoreau foundation to come after me or some nonsense like that. The song is obviously a tribute to him.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Toledo, OH
    Posts
    16,307

    Default Re: Paraphrasing a Famous Quote in Song Lyrics

    Thoreau's works are in the public domain, as they were published well prior to 1923, and he's been dead well over 100 years.

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