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« Where do we begin? | Main | Which comes first (why stories matter) »

When poets get angry

Poetree By now, Poetree.coop has probably been shut down.

While it lasted, it was the best-designed, richest source of p2p poetry sharing available online. Only a typical lunk-headed heavy-handed ploy by the inner circle of poets was able to shut it down.

All the classics were there: Rod McKuen, Roald Dahl, even the Dr. (Seuss) himself. In addition, you could find the complete poetry of Percy Bysshe Shelley, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and even Thomas Moore.

So, amidst all of these gems, what happened? Why the controversy?

Alisha Grant, spokesperson for the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, had this to say, "We applaud the work of the FBI in shutting down this travesty of copyright. If we want great poetry, America, we're going to have to pay for it."

Many of the world's top poets reported dramatic decreases in royalties and sales as a result of the site. "When poetry is free, no one is willing to pay for it," one poet is quoted by Wired. Even though some poets had reportedly been earning three or four million dollars a year in royalties and advances, it apparently wasn't enough.

Missing in the blizzard of press releases was any compassion for the unemployed poetry lover, or for the student who might need to get a few stanzas of an important elegy or even a limerick.

Consider this haiku, for example. Without the net, you wouldn't be able to discover it without buying an entire book of bad poetry:

Rebels have to have
rules often to feel that there's
a cause for their acts

I for one will miss Poe-tree (so named because of the tree-like structure of the directory). To those who worked so hard to shut it down, a bucket.

Sign a petition to protest this right here. It doesn't have to rhyme.

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