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Web Publication

This is the third of my books of poetry published on the web. The first, Who Shall Sing, Whan Man is Gone, was one of the first books of web poetry to be published back in the mid-90's when the web was young. The second, Hot Tea! has now grown from a handful of poems into a complete book. It is time to start a new one.

The poetry in these works is covered by a relatively new license, a modified form of the Open Publication License. Basically, this license permits nearly unlimited use of the work (including printing it out or reading it online or even binding copies for limited distribution at cost). It restricts modifications (obviously) and prohibits entirely republication for profitable sale without negotiating a license with me. Please read the license in detail before making any sort of media copy of the work (other than simply browsing or printing and reading it for yourself) and feel free to contact me directly if there are any questions.

I'm offering the poetry in online form for two reasons:

First, it in principle lets just about anybody in the known cyber-universe browse the poetry as often as they wish, absolutely free, or print it out to be able to read it when they aren't near a browser, or read it out loud. At the same time it preserves my right to make a profit from my own work (if anybody does) and prevents me from ever being in the silly position of having to purchase a book republication of my own work from which I've derived no gain. This may sound silly and impossible, but without careful licensing it is neither.

Second, I am one of a growing number of artists (software, prose, poetry, musical, visual) who rebel against the stranglehold of the publication and entertainment industry on individual artists. At a time we should be experiencing a cultural renaissance of truly universal proportions as the web extends a "voice" to every human on the planet little by little, we see that industry, with its immense profitability threatened, turn more and more to distortions of the laws intended to protect the artists to simply extend their reign of extortion.

There are some lovely websites that detail just how easy it is for a musical group (for example) to cut a deal for a CD, sell it successfully (hundreds of thousands of copies with millions of dollars in gross revenues) and actually lose money by the time the recording industry is through with them. It is perhaps not as bad in the paper publication industry, but we live in a world where the author, artists, or musician who makes as much as 10% of the net revenue generated from the resale of their own work is exceptionally fortunate.

So I say screw it. In a year, two years, or ten years the cyber-universe will include everybody on the planet and books like this will be commonplace, as will an entire counter-culture of music, poetry, prose, and visual arts. Some sites may have a button to click like this one:

where anyone who wishes can contribute a small cash payment directly to the artist, along the lines of throwing a few coins in a hat or the electronic version of an open banjo case on a street corner. Others will be content just offer their work for the pleasure of it being read or otherwise enjoyed. Unlike the street, however, content on the web must be sought out. This work will never thrust itself upon you as you pass, unaware, on some street corner.

next up previous contents
Next: About Me Up: Introduction Previous: Introduction   Contents
Robert G. Brown 2009-03-15