Thursday, May 9, 2013

Day 123 of the 365 Days of Blogging.

The author, Dane F. Baylis

Okay, first the announcements!

1. I am a believer in the never ending process of learning. In that cause I would like to put out an invitation to poets living in the Ventura, California area. Wednesday nights, for the next seven weeks, at 7 PM in Ventura at the Vita Art Center, 432 North Ventura Avenue, there will be an ongoing poetry workshop. This is a great opportunity to sharpen your craft and gather with other writers in the pursuit of excellence.

2. I have never done this before so I'm still figuring out my proverbial butt from a hole in the ground. What I am proposing is a poetry contest. Before you get to crazy, I am initially aiming this at the Southern California area. Perhaps later I can expand my reach but I'm still trying to get the ins and outs figured and would appreciate suggestions from anyone who has done this, or anything remotely similar, before.
Feel free to contact me about either of these announcements at the e-mail address listed at the bottom of the post.



I'm Sure You Have Heard The Old One About Not Assuming Anything...And What It Can Make Out Of You And Me.

As you've gathered by now, I am involved with a lot of different endeavors (and the list just keeps on growing). Recently, while discussing presence in writing, I happened to mention two poets known for theirs, William Carlos Williams and Robert Bly. I brought in some examples of Bly's work and the group loved them. So much they want to use them in a chapbook they are producing and have even asked me to write an intro. for them.
Well, talk about an ego rush. It lasted just long enough for me to take a breath and consider the implications. No one mentioned getting permission to do this, they seem to have assumed it's okay. Therein lies one of those little truisms I am so fond of, "It's not what you know that can hurt you, but what you don't".
I have had this discussion in the past with administrators at an educational institution where I served on the editorial staff of an anthology. There were quotes and works of art used that were the work of historically important authors and artists. The administration was rightly worried that they could face the possibility of lawsuits if we didn't retract the issue.
This led to a lengthy, and not altogether pleasant, exchange in phone calls, letters and in person. As editors of the anthology we found ourselves presenting every piece that was submitted by student and local professional writers and artists and producing the releases for those. Then we underwent an interrogation over the definition of public domain and how the rest of the pieces fit that definition.
Even then the powers that be remained skeptical and gun shy and threatened to confiscate every issue. This resulted in my consulting a free legal service in the Los Angeles area and having them provide the applicable copies of the Copyright Law. This in hand I threatened a First Amendment action before we could finally release our publication.
This worked in that particular situation. Unfortunately I am in a position of needing to sit my present band of miscreants down and explain to them that no number of free legal advisers would be able to save them from the folly they are proposing. Although there have been any number of public domain works offered up publicly since the explosion of the Internet (most notably in the Project Gutenberg) not everything in print falls into that category.
Just like when you were writing those term papers and you were warned you could 'excerpt' short passages and examples as long as you credited the source, so it is in the world of editing and publication. You can use a short quote as a lead or theme for an original work but you MUST credit the author. Better yet, write to them, if they are living, or whoever holds rights to the work, and ask permission. Will they be glad to help? Uh, maybe. But don't count on it being gratis. They may ask for a one time usage fee and the right to review galleys before agreeing to the release.

The moral to this mania. Just as you expect the compensation due you as a writer and author, so does EVERYONE else. If you're not sure you have the right to do what you propose, for CHRIST'S SAKE do a little research. You never know, you may develop a lasting relationship with one of the greats, or at least get a pleasant refusal of cooperation. That beats the living hell out of a Copyright Infringement suit.

Just another helpful hint from your Uncle Dane., love, write.

Want to follow or subscribe to this blog? There are gadgets for that on the right side of the page. You can leave comments in the form below. I can be reached directly at . You can also find links to some of the sites I visit from time to time on the right. I'm also looking for submissions to the Your Work/Your Love page. Authors retain all rights.


Dane F. Baylis

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