2.11.2007

Stealing poems

'Ello, your Snarkiness,

My question may be out of place, since you're into things that sell, and fact alone probably precludes poetry. I'll take the cluegun bullet gladly if I must. (clueguns are loaded with clues, thus the name)

Still, you KNOW things. Magical things. Like copyright law, I'm betting.

So, here goes.

I am a poet (read: masochist) and was recently perusing small presses, looking for people to hit up for print copies.

I came across this site, which lists itself as a e-press:


As the link says, the "editor" scours the web, finds random poetry she likes, and posts it. She says she contacts the author and gets permission "to the best of her ability".

WTF?

I was fairly concerned, so I checked out one of the "editions", as
well - say, this one:

Question: Isn't everything about this completely illegal?!

I know, as a poet, that things I show off online are
1.) easily read by plagiarists and
2.) considered "previsouly published".


And, while I'm not accusing Ms. Dumitrascu of plagiarism, since she does note the actual authors and provides links way way waaaay at the bottom, this site does concern me.

I mean, why not just start an actual PRESS? It's the same amount of effort, only you get credibility to boot. (We're mostly a hungry bunch - we submit anywhere.)

So, what do you think?
Isn't this site a huge no-no in the world of copyright law?
If so, what can be done about it?



Well, it's not copyright infringement if she does indeed have permission. Usually when people get permission they say so. By way of example look at Garrison Keillor's Writer's Almanac and see --reprinted with permission--


No, you can't just find poems you like and print them on a website and call yourself an e-press. A website is not an e-press, anymore than a blog is a publishing credit.

On the other hand, knowing poets, I doubt anyone's getting too crazed about this because poets, like publicists, think there is no such thing as a bad placement.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

If you ask nicely, you'll usually get reprint rights. I've tried myself. What is wrong is posting something when trying to contact the author to the best of your abilities fails.

dink said...

WTF, is right! damn it. Poets are writers. Copyright applies. Don't steal my stuff just because you figure I ought to be grateful to be on your web site and be listed as the author.

Ask me. Chances are I'll say yes--but you have to ask. Really.


gggggroowwwfff! pet peeve.

Anonymous said...

besides noting that the editor of the site can't spell edgar allan poe's name correctly, i wonder: did the editor bother getting the permission of the TRANSLATORS of many of those poems? translators own the copyrights of their own translations, since the translated poems are in their own right poems. the way the person has gone about representing him/herself just invites a lawsuit. don't think that just because a text doesn't make a lot of money, that writers don't feel strongly about their copyrights to what they have made.

randomsome1 said...

What the bleeding blue hell? *gets the rolled-up newspaper* No. NO. Even I know this, in all my fanfic-writing 3vilness--We do not reprint works without permission, no matter how much we like them!

Anonymous said...

I submit poetry to magazines that I like and would want my work to be seen in. If she used any of my poems, I'd be really aggro about it, because I think her site sucks and some of the poems do too. I like to choose my company. If she tracked me down and asked me, I'd say no.

J.H. Bográn said...

I'm with the poets on this one. They have copyritght!
I remember on a Tom Clancy novel (Wihtout Remorse, I think), he placed a poem in the first edition without acknologding the author. In later reprints, you can read his apology and the poem again with the author credit at the bottom.

wunderground said...

As a poet throwing numerous submissions at various magazines until something sticks, I can definitely say *I* would be peeved if someone put one of my poems up on their website without my permission. Quite simply, until they pay me, whether it be monetary, in copies, or with a publishing credit, they have no right to my work.

Chris Mansell said...

"On the other hand, knowing poets, I doubt anyone's getting too crazed about this because poets, like publicists, think there is no such thing as a bad placement."

Er, wrong.

There sure are 'bad placements' - online and elsewhere.

There are some places a good poet wouldn't be seen dead on. Poets are mostly generous, but, like other copyright holders, get peed at rip offs.

Anonymous said...

I write better poetry than the crap that editor choses to "tack up" on her glorious website, The Verse Marauder. Not to sound full of my self ... good writing is apparent. I hav written poems which I hate. Poems I am ashamed I ever showed anyone. Then there are ones like the handful I submitted to her. They are my top shelf poems. Two submissions in all.
She rejected both submissions within an hour after I sent each. Then I read the "juvenile poetry" on her site. Half of me is pissed. The other half is thinking: "Who the hell is she anyway?" She's obviously retarded and wouldn't know a good poem if it changed her life. I'll sound my horn one more time - my poems have appeared in over 500 in-print and online poetry journals - to get shot down by an editor who publishes - nursery rhymes. The Verse Moronic. That's what I call it. I guarantee - you click on that site in 5 months time, it will be an inactive site.
Curious to know who I am? Here's a big hint: If I was alive when Shakespeare was and there was money in poetry, his sonnets would be Wal*Mart. Mine would be Target. Where's the poetry in that statement? It's there - let it resonate for while, you'll get it. BOYCOTT THE VERSE MORDIDITY. - B

Renata said...

Hi! Renata here. Thanks for talking about me. To clarify, approximately 75% of poems posted were received through submissions (which roll in daily at a healthy pace). 24% are poems I have encountered on the web, have made contact with the writer/translator and have their categoric written approval to post. 1% are poems I have found, thought were extraordinary and was unable to connect with the author despite all efforts. Technically, the issue is resolved if an author contacts me and tells me to remove their work from the site. I will do that immediately. The site has no advertisements and makes no money, it's simply a display of good poetry online, chosen by an editor who simply liked them. I don't ask people to send in their publishing resume or tell me about themselves when they submit. I don't think any of that is relevant to the evaluation of the poem itself. The work should speak for itself and on The Verse Marauder it does. In April the webzine turns one year old. It posts monthly editions on the 15th, gives credit to each author and is an honest publication credit (90%+ of submissions are rejected). Of course selections are made on a subjective basis, as is the case anywhere in the literary world, so the question is do you agree with my (the editor's) taste? You are perfectly free to disagree. I think any honest editor who publishes on the merit of the work submitted alone is bound to make a lot of enemies and disturb some networks of power out there. My goal is to support and showcase great poetry online period and in that respect I am pleased with this project and I think it stands out in many respects. To those whose work was rejected, you are welcome to make one submission of three poems a month, so quit whining and send in your best work again. I don't publish friends and colleagues, I publish great poems. If you publicly state that you hate me then turn around and send me a great poem, I will publish it. I think you get the picture. Good poetry above all else. Apres ca, le deluge.
And hey, Miss Snark, I have a literary fiction novel manuscript I'd like to find an agent for. If you are interested in evaluating it, please contact me.