Saturday, 31 March 2012

I need your help.

I dont want your mony just some legal advice.

I want to post the odd poem on here once every couple of weeks, am i allowed to just copy and paste one (as long as say where i got it from and who wrote it) or do i need permission?


A reader gets in touch  " it all depends if the poet is living or dead!"


  1. It is a huge subject Billy and it really depends upon who you are quoting. If copyright still exists, then it becomes a matter of whether you are posting extracts or the whole thing. This is not legal advice but what I would do in your shoes. Post what you want and credit the poet. (I imagine they will not be long items.) If you get any complaints from the copyright holder, take it down and explain taken down by request of copright holder. Most likely is that copyright will have expired. Even if not the case, your blog would have relatively limited distribution and any loss would be minimal. Most poets would probably be delighted that their work would get an airing.

  2. Infuriated of West Mids31 March 2012 at 18:36

    Hi Billy

    It's a long time since I last looked at copyright law, but if I remember correctly then, (as a very basic rule of thumb, and as far as England and Wales are concerned):

    1. If the piece was written before Jan 1996, copyright runs for the duration of the author's life plus 50 years

    2. If the piece was written after Jan 1996, copyright runs for the duration of the author's life plus 70 years

    However, as SC rightly says, you can quote portions of a copyrighted work for discussion or analysis - this comes under "fair use".

    But, as long as you're not making money out of it, then I would anticipate that the worst you could expect is an email asking you to take it down, which of course you would do immediately, putting up the notice that SC suggests. However, strictly speaking, the law would be fully on the side of the copyright holder.

    But it's highly unlikely that any potential "damages" they could get would make it worth their while for any lawyers to advise them to take the matter any further than that, as long as you complied.

    However, it's not an area of law I've really paid attention to since I qualified, I'm afraid. Hope this helps, though.

    All the best.