Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Rash

A little while ago I came across an insipid little poem, The Dash, by Linda Ellis.  The title refers to the dash between the birth and death dates of someone who is, um, dead, and the theme is that what happens between birth and death is what's important.  Well, duh!  A little poking around turned up the fact that Ellis is, in my opinion, a nasty piece of work who has apparently hired an "Intellectual Property Coordinator" to track down instances of her work and send demands for payment of thousands of dollars for the unauthorized use of that insipid little poem under threat of lawsuit for copyright infringement.

To be sure, the owner of a literary work has the right to prevent others from copying it and to profit from its use.  The usual mechanism of redress is a cease-and-desist letter.  Someone who wanted to make money from a literary work might even offer to license it for a fee commensurate with its worth.  Sending a threat of lawsuit and a demand for thousands in "damages" to the recently bereaved strikes me as legal thuggery.  Ellis reportedly claims copyright in her threatening letters, too, and threatens people who might want to call her out by posting the letters on line.  She reportedly attempts to make a confidentiality agreement part of any settlement, possibly to keep word of her thuggery from getting around.  If this has gotten you steamed up and you want to know more, you can find it here and here and here.  In any case, you should never, ever use The Dash for anything.

With that introduction, I present a different poem, The Rash, by The Poet Laurie Atknott and reproduced here by permission of the author.

The Rash

For it matters not, if this verse rhymes
Or whether the metre fits
Simply by perusing these lines
You'll soon be in the shit

Your loved one's dead; you waved goodbye
With verses that seemed right
Please pay the invoice I'll supply
All legal and polite

After all, we've just one life
And I really need the cash
The problem causing me some strife
Is a nasty little rash...