The great and wise bookninja.com has posted about a recent call and answer on copyright in the Brit press. Poet Wendy Cope says keep yer digital fingers off my work, and book blogger Oliver Burkeman responds with oh, Wendy, join the 21st century.
I, of course, say they're both right. And as evidence, I offer these passages with which I agree:
...it's true that there are poets who are happy to see their work anywhere and everywhere, just for the sake of the attention. But for those of us who make a little bit of money from royalties and permission fees, and depend on that income, it's different. Free publicity has no value if all that happens is that even more people download your poems from the internet without paying for them.
Personally, I'm sceptical about anti-copyright absolutists who argue that an entire internet economy of free content could thrive solely on the basis of income from advertising and other ancillary sources. But some creators of content are certainly managing to make money this way ...
It might or might not work. But all the evidence of the online era suggests that getting tough on copyright infringement and trying to build legal walls in cyberspace certainly doesn't work. Above all, it just seems highly unlikely that the healthy future of poetry rests in trying to stifle and suppress, rather than to encourage, the centuries-old urge to share lines of verse that move or delight us.
Now if only Michael Geist would combine these two completely valid, though seemingly opposed viewpoints into a ten second soundbite, we'd be rocking.