Thursday, September 3, 2009

A question re copyright

My first thoughts about making a book using Learning Absences as a theme or idea certainly didn't include using the actual poem in the book. However, I've had an idea for a structure in which the entire poem would fit really well. I'm still very unsure about this, not only because I felt the poem was just a wonderful trigger for lots of thoughts and emotions, but also because there must be a copyright issue.

Having spent the past 28 years working in a library I know I should be right on top of copyright and all its rules but I don't think I am.

What do other members of this group think about quoting the poem? I guess if I chose this particular plan I could ask permission from the publishers. Then again, it may be easier to go back to one of my earlier ideas.

8 comments:

SCB said...

Perhaps the best thing to do would be to ask the poet? Ampersand Duck is a good friend of hers but momentarily tied up with her exhibition at Megalo which opens today... I'll fire off a question to her and see what she comes back with when she's over the whole exhibition-opening frenzy! I would have thought it will be OK (she says, fingers crossed!). Sara

dinahmow said...

Sara, if copyright is now with the publisher (and that's the norm) it's their permission we'd need. But a letter to the poet might be nice.

ronnie said...

I was also thinking about issues of copyright - and like you carol I had figured that I wouldn't be quoting the text in any legible manner - I was also under the impression that if the work is published the publishers are the copyright holders... but that's only my vague notion....

Ampersand Duck said...

No, Rosemary Dobson is still the copyright holder, but she has an agency to look after the copyright battles... if you fling a letter off to Curtis Brown Australia, stating that you wish to use that one poem, that full acknowledgement will be given to the poet and the source of the text (ie the original publication), you should be ok. And then make sure that you do all have colophons giving full acknowledgement!

If you want, you could also offer a one-off fee; the going rate for an anthology seems to be about $40 per poem; if you feel that is appropriate, maybe you all chip in and pay a few bucks each to use the poem?

Just a thought :)

Ampersand Duck said...

PS I am very keen to be part of this project... but maybe the letter to CBA should be from someone else, in case I'm just that bit too close... RD is very old, and we've been working together for a long time, and while Curtis Brown know my name, I don't want them to think I'm trying to making a living from her poetry! It's a bit like stepping out of the room when people are having a business meeting about your business :)

And I should have used 'we' in the last comment instead of 'you'!

ronnie said...

thanks so much AD for clearing things up - if everyone is ok (given that sara is jetting off into the unknown...) I'll have an initial stab at contacting curtis brown - if I don't get anywhere (ie this goes into my 'to-do' basket never to resurface) I think another someone of our crew should ready themselves for the charge....

I think either way chipping in for the upkeep of a poet is a good thing - what do you think folks? I'll happily chip in my share - and if its not a universal thing - I'm willing to take on the whole whopping $40 suggested

ronnie said...

*** in a frightening display of efficiency - this morning I have sent off a short email to curtis brown seeking permission to use the poem - hope this is ok with the mob

Carol said...

Thanks Ronnie, that is really good of you. I entirely agree about chipping in for all or any part of the $40. Count me in.