You Like My Poems? So Pay For Them

An interesting article by poet Wendy Cope entitled “You like my poems? So pay for them”, https://www.theguardian.com/books/2007/dec/08/featuresreviews.guardianreview14. In her article, Cope bemoans the tendency of people to copy and circulate poems that are in copyright without obtaining the permission of the poet in question.
Cope’s piece reminds me of an incident involving an acquaintance. The gentleman in question told me how much he had enjoyed reading one of my poems (on my website) and how it was now on his phone so he could refer to it more easily. On the one hand, I was flattered to hear that my work had brought so much pleasure to someone who I liked and respected. However, on the other I wished that my acquaintance had asked my permission or maybe even bought one of my books! Rather than embarking on a potentially embarrassing exchange, I smiled and said how delighted I was that my poem gave him so much pleasure.
Of course many of my poems are available online (on this website) and I have no issue with people using the reblog facility to share portions of them with their followers. Likewise I’m delighted when people share links to my work on Twitter and other social media. There is, however a difference between such sharing and copying whole poems without the poet’s permission. Many people copying and/or reproducing poems without permission mean no harm. It is none the less wrong for them to do so without the express permission of their creator.

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