Copyright Law

After More Than Two Decades, Singer Kate Bush Given Permission to Use James Joyce's Words in Song


No one can accuse English singer Kate Bush of not going the extra mile for her music.

Though her first request was denied in 1989, the singer spent more than two decades trying to get permission to use the words of celebrated author James Joyce in a song. Bush’s persistence paid off: According to the Irish Times, Bush has been granted permission to use Molly Bloom’s well-known soliloquy from Ulysses.

Techdirt and the Irish Times both mention the protective nature of the Joyce estate when it comes to the author’s work, with the newspaper noting that legal action has been taken against artists and scholars trying to quote the writer’s material. That the copyright on Joyce’s literary work expires in 2012 may have factored into the estate’s decision to allow Bush to use Bloom’s words, the Irish Times reports.

“Originally when I wrote the song ‘The Sensual World,’ I had used text from the end of Ulysses but was disappointed not to receive permission,” Bush said, the Irish Times reports. “The song has now been retitled ‘Flower of the Mountain’ and I am delighted that I have had the chance to fulfill my original concept,” the singer added.

“Flower on the Mountain”—which is believed to be the first popular music song to use Joyce’s work—will be on Director’s Cut, Bush’s upcoming album set to be released in England on May 16, according to Jacket Copy, a Los Angeles Times blog.

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