I am contemplating writing a fictional character [nerd] who speaks in a pop culture references. I appreciate this question somewhat overlaps
The concept is a period piece so I see the use of quotes dating the work as an advantage.
The character would quote single lines of pop songs, though probably not exactly. What I'm worried about is the legality of quoting copyrighted material.
Is a single line precisely quoted a copyright infringement? What if it's approximately quoted? What if there's a foil character who attributes the quotes?
For example, say something bad happens
A: They must be out of their brilliant minds
B: I heard that somewhere [thinks]
A: [Hums tunelessly]
B: oh yeah... 1986. Peaked at 21.
A: [gapes] high five dude
Any thoughts would be appreciated.