The poem above is an edited version of an original by Bob Perks. I first read his poem about two decades ago. It spoke to me. Like the one above, it did not give credit to the poet, so I credited “Anonymous.” I posted it on my FaceBook page or somewhere (I wasn’t on WP yet at that time).
I heard from Bob Perks. He was irate! People were posting his poem, tweaking it, and not giving him credit. I had done so innocently. Maybe others were as unknowing as I.
Is it OK to use someone else’s words without acknowledging them? Bob Perks said, “No, that’s plagiarism!”
But if you saw the poem posted as I did, without an author’s name, how would you go about researching who wrote it?
In today’s world, I just “Googled it!” I found this version:
Is that really Bob Perks’ original version? How can I tell? And is it ok for some company to put it on a plaque and sell it for profit without the poet getting some kind of royalty? Did Bob Perks copyright it? I don’t know.
I have mixed feelings on this subject – because I have always believed that when someone steals your idea it is a form of flattery. After all, they liked it that much, right?
People have been doing that with Jesus’ words and ideas for centuries.
2 Corinthians 12:9
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
People always are rephrasing Jesus’ words.
There are countless translations of the Bible
and dozens of books that paraphrase it.
But, they do not take the ideas
without giving credit to the creator,
So, is it OK to be a copycat
Depends… depends on who you’re copying and why!
Sometimes copying is considered a cheap form of imitation.
As an elementary school principal, I used encourage my teachers to share their good ideas with others – and be happy if someone copied their method, stole their lesson plan, or imitated their teaching style. It’s OK to go beyond admiring an idea. It’s OK to use it, embellish it, improve upon it, personalize it. Is it enough to just recognize the other for their inspiration? If you copy, do you need permission?
In our WordPress world, we try to ask permission before reposting someone’s idea. If we don’t get an answer, is it enough to just acknowledge the source?
I believe Bob Perk’s poem is a beautiful original.
He deserves to receive credit for it.
I wish him ENOUGH accolades
to satisfy his heart’s content.
I love following his ideas
even today on FaceBook.
I bet Bob Perks has had ENOUGH of this rewriting of his poem and people copying and tweaking it. I bet he is ready to move on… start over … reinvent his image. As a writer, he now says he is a “Speaker” and a “Vocalist.” He’s said ENOUGH of that old life. Let’s begin again. His website says, “Starting Over Again” at the top of it.
I am an orginal.
You are an original.
There is no one else on earth like you.
Your eyes are only yours.
Your fingerprints are only yours.
Your voice is an original – only yours!
Celebrate your originality!
Loved having you visit today.
Come back again tomorrow
and celebrate my birthday with me, OK?
I wish you enough!