01. January 2006 · Comments Off on Copyright and Poetry · Categories: imported, Ramble

I’ve recently run across living poets’ poetry up at various bloggers’ sites. I’ve also heard several people talking about writing music using living or recently deceased poets’ poetry. I wonder if folks are aware of copyright law. I used to put together what I called Contemplative Christmas Programs and I learned to get permission to use poetry. Only one publisher refused me, and the poet was Richard Wilbur (he wasn’t asked; it’s up to his publisher). They would allow me if I would pay, but this was a non-profit sort of venture so I couldn’t see doing that.

I once found a friend’s poem at someone’s site. My friend was shocked, and quite dismayed to have never been asked. I figure my poetry isn’t good enough to be “borrowed” but I would want someone to ask if he or she were to decide it was worth posting. I would most likely say yes, but I do think I should be able to check out the site and make sure it wasn’t a site I didn’t care for. Is that asking too much? Thoughts?

But anyway … for you readers … are you aware that you need permission to use a poem, that isn’t yet in the public domain, for your music? Did you know that publishers might google lines of poetry and if they found something at your site you could (most likely would) be asked to remove poetry from your site? I’m just wondering. And I guess I’m sort of warning you to, should you care to take it as such.

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