Copyrighting poems

Fame is a bee
It has a song–
It has a sting–
Ah, too, it has a wing

skkott Emily Dickinson

Kevin S, Editor, New Poets Press writes:

First of all, the minute you create something in writing, it is automatically copyrighted. Yes, “automatically”. Everything that comes after that deals with “proving” the date you created it, but nothing you do will make it any more “copyrighted” than it was the minute you created it.

That’s why people say “email it to yourself”, because doing this will put a date-stamp on the poem so that if someone else were to use it at a later date, you could show that your copy pre-dates theirs. This is the easiest and least costly way to do it. You do NOT need a lawyer and the laws do NOT vary state to state…they’re Federal laws that protect your property…it’s why it’s called a copy “right”, not “copy write.” […]

The likelihood that someone will steal your poems and call them their own is slim, and if they do, you can’t do much about it anyway….

If you email the poems to yourself, print them out and put them in a binder so you’ll have a hard copy. Next, “save” your email to either your hard drive of your internet providers “saved mail” file. Really, that’s all you really need to do.

So, if it’s so easy, why do publishers make such a big deal about copyrights? Easy: money. It all boils down to money. When someone provides a publisher with a poem, the publisher is about to make an investment in that poem and wants to ensure it isn’t challanged by someone else who claims it was “their” poem. So a publisher will take greater steps to prevent law suits down the road. The reality is that the odds of someone stealing your poem and making any money off of it is very, very remote. For starters, there is not a lot of money in poetry, unless the poet is someone who’s already famous (Madonna, Paris Hilton, etc.). In those cases, the poem could be junk, but because it was made by “them”, it has the value of fame added, and thus is more likely to be “stolen”.

Copyrighting your poems (or writing a © on everything you write) is amateurish, and editors and other poets know this. Poetry is simply not lucrative enough to take time to steal. What would someone do with your poems? Sell them to inferior poets to pass off as their own? Not likely. When you publish a book your publisher will copyright the poems for you. Before that don’t worry about it.

Don’t spend a bunch of money protecting something that although valuable to you, probably has very little marketing value.

If you are really paranoid, you can do the “poor man’s” copyright–mail your poems to yourself and don’t open the envelope when it arrives–the postmark will serve as a sort of copyright, but this mayn’t hold up in the court. Or you can just email it to yourself.


This never ends

Yet another remix of the famous 4 minute ‘last days of Hitler’ clip from the brilliant German film Der Untergang(2004)[akaThe Downfall]. I had seen several of these during the 2008 election season.

This one is based on the latest developments of the birther conspiracy.

HuffPost: Kenyan Birth Certificate: Obama Birthers Latch On To Forgery

Oddly, the same people who are so skeptical of Obama’s Hawaii birth certificate are willing to accept this new document despite many flaws, documented by the Washington Independent’s Dave Weigel and Markos Moulitsas.

Here are just some of the flaws:

Kenya was a Dominion the date this certificate was allegedly issued and would not become a republic for 8 months.
Mombasa belonged to Zanzibar when Obama was born, not Kenya.

Obama’s father’s village would be nearer to Nairobi, not Mombasa.

The number 47O44– 47 is Obama’s age when he became president, followed by the letter O (not a zero) followed by 44–he is the 44th president.

EF Lavender is a laundry detergent.

Interestingly, later this has been found to be forged from an Australian birth certificate available at an obscure genealogy website of a family.

Over the weekend, Birther-in-Chief Orly Taitz released what could have been a shocking discovery: A document that was purportedly a certified copy of President Obama’s Kenyan birth certificate, showing that he’d been born in Mombasa, Kenya, not in Hawaii.

It took just 48 hours to definitively expose Taitz’s find as a forgery, and for the document that it was apparently based off of to surface. It’s a certified copy of a birth certificate for one David Jeffrey Bomford, born in South Australia in April 1959.


The question of who produced the forgery, and why, is still open. It could be, as some debunkers have suggested, that someone was pulling a hoax on Taitz in order to further discredit the Birthers. It could also have been a true believer, or, of course, someone who just wanted money for it — there have been attempts to sell a purported Kenyan birth certificate for Obama on eBay before this.

Here’s Hitler reacting to this news:

About the clip “Hitler’s last days a YouTube sensation“:

The scene is from 2004’s “Downfall,” the Oscar-nominated German film that initially courted controversy by portraying Hitler as a three-dimensional character but has proven popular, frequently ranking among the Top 100 films on the Internet Movie Database.

Yet if people are familiar with the clip, it’s likely because they’ve seen it on YouTube, not in a movie theatre.

That’s because over the past two years, the scene has been remixed more than 100 times by people who’ve replaced the original subtitles with their own.

In the remixes, Hitler – played in the film by Swiss actor Bruno Ganz – loses his cool not at the impending end of the Third Reich, but at less politically significant topics.

[…]Blackmore says that when he’s shown the “Downfall” clips to his students, they tend to have mixed reactions, finding them amusing yet also – because of their knowledge of Nazi Germany – vaguely unsettling.

Seen out of context, the four-minute clip does seem to show Hitler as a one-dimensional stereotype, which goes against what the filmmakers were trying to accomplish, says Blackmore.

His concern is the constant remixes will strip “Downfall” – a film he praises as a serious exploration of how young Germans responded to Nazi authority – of its moral gravity.

And here’s Hitler reacting to the news of Sarah Palin’s resignation: