-- A Find --
And it did
then another site was found. A site that offered 'greetings' that could be sent to friends. Only the poems used were poems by two esteemed members of Passions in Poetry. One is Alastair Adamson and the other is Ron Carnell.
A note was posted in the "Alley" (used for complaining) on the PiP Forum. Then it was discovered that if you use http://www.google.com and type in the first line of your poem, you get a better look at where your poetry is being used.
It was shocking! Not only is the poetry used by other sites, some with links back to Passions, but some is blatantly passed off as written by someone else!
-- A Fix --
This is the way the copyright notice read on Passions at the time this problem was discovered:
Please respect the rights of the author and Passions in Poetry. If you would like to link to this page from your own web site, please feel free to do so. If you would like to post a copy of the poem, on the Web or elsewhere, please include appropriate credit to the author and a link to this page URL. Thank you.
And immediately, Ron changed it to read:
Please respect the rights of the author and Passions in Poetry. If you would like to use this poem on your own web page, please contact the Author. Thank you.
-- A Friend --
Several of the poems found were at one of these two web pages:
A note was sent to the webmaster of each, asking them to remove the copyrighted work. This is an excerpt from the reply:
Letter to Ron:
My name is Sandra, owner of asandboxgreeting.com. I have a lot of poems from your site posted on mine as well as on my sister in law Ann's site ( getpassionatenow.com. I do all the html work for her as well as the e-mail as she has an illness that prevents her from doing it herself.) Neither of our sites are business sites. We got our own domain names so we would not have to deal with the pop up ads etc. that come with free web hosting.
I was contacted by one of your poets in regard to copyright violation and pointed to a message board to read the posts of other poets from your site.
I always thought it was ok to post the poems because of this:
"(c) 1999-2000 poets name. Please respect the rights of the author and Passions in Poetry. If you would like to link to this page from your own web site, please feel free to do so. If you would like to post a copy of the poem, on the Web or elsewhere, please include appropriate credit to the author and a link to this page URL. Thank you."
I have always included the author's name and a link to the URL I found the poem at.
I am very upset and scared to death of being sued! I thought I was doing the right thing!
Please let me know what I need to do to make this right. I will remove all the poetry if that is what everyone wants, but please let them know it will take me some time to accomplish it.
Ann and Sandra
And an excerpt from Ron's Reply:
Hi, Sandra. I'm sorry for adding to your concerns, but if you read the thread in our forums I hope you can recognize our concerns, too. I'm glad you wrote and explained a little of the situation to me. As I said in that thread, I'm less concerned with people using my poetry (yea, you have one of mine, too than I am with commercial sites abusing it. Your explanation goes a long ways towards allaying some concerns. But, of course, I can only speak for myself, not anyone else.
Here are two possible suggestions. First, as time permits, I strongly suggest you give the authors more credit. People want to be recognized for their contributions and, as the web designer, it's up to YOU to make that recognition meaningful (rather than just token accreditation). Does that make sense?
That's going to take some time, of course. In the meantime, more immediately, I suggest you register in the forums and post a response to that thread. Be as honest and open as you were to me, and I think you'll be very surprised by the results. We have some of the most caring and compassionate people in the world at Passions, and I very seriously doubt anyone will take you task for making a simple mistake. Promise to make the correction above, and promise in the future to contact the authors before posting, and I suspect you'll not only allay their concerns - but will also gain some loyal visitors.
I will watch for your post and do what I can to back you up. If there's anything else I can do for you, just let me know.
... And a few hours later, Sandra posted this in the forums:
Hi everyone! I've spent the last 7 hours going through my site (and Ann's site) and making corrections. All links are now either above or directly below each poem, and in larger print. Hopefully I have not missed anyone...I had three years worth of pages to wade through and may have missed one or two) I did not know anyone's web site addy but will be happy to add it with the net poets link if anyone wants to send them to me.
I hope this is ok with everyone, and again, anyone who would like their poetry removed from my site, or Ann's just let me know and I will take care of it promptly.
Once again, thank you all so very much for your patience and understanding.
In subsequent messages back and forth on the forum, Sandra was greeted warmly by the members, thanked graciously for her prompt attention to this matter and urged to become a member of the 'Passions Family'. She has since done so and posted a lovely poem in the Open Forum.
-- What can you do? --
First, you might want to consider copyrighting your work. Here is the web address for copyright information in the U.S.
The cost is about $30 for a 'collective' work. You can print the forms you need from the computer
And here is the web address for the CIPO (Canadian Intellectual Property Office)
The cost is about $65 Canadian.
And if you search on Google.com and find that your poetry is being used without your permission, you can write to the site owner/webmaster/host and ask that it be removed.
Here is a 'sample' email that you can use to send notice to the webmaster or host of a web site to let them know someone has infringed on your copyright:
To Whom It May Concern,
My name is (insert your name here). While performing a search on my poetry, I came across (title of poem) on your site. (http://webaddress/poem here). This poem was first published at Passions in Poetry, as can be readily seen here: http:/netpoets.com/poems/authors/55550000.htm (insert your Resident Poet Page URL).
I do not mind seeing my work elsewhere on the web; it is rather flattering. However, I do like to be asked first, and I do like to see credit given where credit is due.
If this website would like to use my work, they should link back to the original work, ask for permission, and provide clear and proper credit. If such is not possible, I would ask that my work be deleted from this web page immediately.
I would appreciate your prompt attention to this matter.
your email address
your Passion's Resident Poet Address*
To find out your Resident Address, go to Passions, click on the Resident Poet link, find your name and click on that. The URL at the top of your page is your 'link'. The date you submitted your work is listed beside each poem and is further proof of your copyright.
And finally, Ron will soon be adding software to Passions so that any of our poets or visitors can report copyright violations for follow-up activity.