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Forum:Full text of poems

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E.g. here and here - isn't this a bit of a copyright problem? Including excerpts for the purposes of criticism is probably fine, but by having the full text we're basically republishing a work without permission. --Aule the Smith 08:46, 4 August 2010 (UTC)

Agreed. Didn't we have an earlier discussion-that-never-finished about this? -- Ederchil (Talk/Contribs/Edits) 09:09, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
Yeah, I don't think we could decide. I personally think it's OK and counts as fair use so long as it's not just reproducing, i.e. they include links to other articles, information on their inclusion in adaptations, their significance etc. I can understand the concern, but I actually think we're safe on this.
Other websites do it, too, include Wikipedia, LOTR Wikia, The Council of Elrond, A Magpie's Nest, The Grey Havens, with non-Tolkien websites like Poem Hunter, too. That's not to mention all websites which include the lyrics from the films (which aren't pre-existing poems) which would surely be covered by the same copyright rules?
Also, so long as we reference, we are an academic and educative institution, not someone/thing which is exploiting the works for the personal gain. Wikipedia says, "Fair use is a doctrine in United States copyright law that allows limited use of copyrighted material without requiring permission from the rights holders, such as for commentary, criticism, news reporting, research, teaching or scholarship" - I think we fulfil nearly all of those categories. --Mith (Talk/Contribs/Edits) 09:44, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
Fair use doctrine underpins this entire project, absolutely. But the key phrase there is "limited use". Of the articles in the Wikipedia category you linked only four of them actually include the full text of the poem, and in three of them the poem is itself an excerpt not a standalone work (e.g. A Elbereth Gilthoniel from LotR) and I would be hesitant to follow the example of those other smaller wikis because there's no reason to think they'd be more likely to get the problem right than us. Reproducing a copyrighted work verbatim is not commentary or criticism (even if it is accompanied by it), and lyrics and poems are definitely copyrighted works. My opinion is that in all our articles based on HoME we should stick to describing the works in it and CJRT's commentary on them, using verbatim excerpts very sparingly as illustration. That's the spirit of fair use. --Aule the Smith 10:36, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
I agree with Mith about this. --Amroth 13:22, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
Within the scale of the legendarium those songs are limited use. Furthermore, if "reproducing copyrighted work verbatim" is not allowed, quoting any paragraph would be forbidden, and certainly the Timeline and our attempt at creating a article for every year. What about Tengwar and Appendix E? If the poems disappear, by the same token a lot of other stuff has to disappear too.
Also - having existed for five years - if we were committing copyright infringements, wouldn't we have heard from the Tolkien Estate's lawyers by now? --Mith (Talk/Contribs/Edits) 13:36, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
I'd say that at present it's pushing fair use a bit considering that the pages contain nothing but the poems. We'd be fine in keeping them as they are, as Mith said they've been there for five years. However at present they are pretty much pointless pages, I wouldn't even call them articles - I'd say that they should either be deleted on these grounds or expanded to make them actual articles.-- KingAragorn  talk  contribs  edits  email  14:28, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
1. 'The Legendarium' is not a legal entity in the sense of copyright. These poems, many of them published alone in edited collections, are.
2. I've specifically mentioned excerpts as falling under fair use several times now.
3. As for the Timeline, I don't see any published material reproduced there, so they're not like the poems at all. Perhaps you're missing what I mean by 'verbatim'.
4. Who's to say anyone representing the Tolkien Estate even knows about our little corner of the internet? I'm sure they don't specifically employ someone to find infringing material since that would be very expensive. "They haven't noticed yet" is not an adequate reason to keep something in.
I think I will go ahead and remove full text poems from articles I intend to expand from now on. I also suggest one of the admins/sysops thinks about removing the rest as a matter of policy --Aule the Smith 14:52, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
I think it's better to wait with removing them till an admin has given an final desicion. --Amroth 15:06, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
1. I was using 'legendarium' as shorthand. Within the scale of The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings, they are limited use. I'm certainly not advocating reproducing the Lays or The Adventures of Tom Bombadil, here.
2 & 3. The Timeline is pretty much Appendix B verbatim with other bits tacked on (with the vast majority of Third Age years being verbatim quotes (unquoted) of entried in Appendix B. The article on Tengwar includes a verbatim table on Tengwar from Appendix E. I'm sure there are other examples here. The point is, what you call an excerpt, others do not. I personally consider a 12-line poem an excerpt, after all, they don't mean very by and of themselves unless you've got the rest of the book to go with it.
4. The Tolkien Estate has a pretty good history when it comes to litigation, include relatively unknown websites (see here, for example). Even if we are infringing their copyright (which I am not convinced we are), they are not bothered as we are not infringing their profitability. We are a non-profit wiki which educates and informs and surely it is in their interest to allow us to continue.
As I said before, I think poems by themselves may be a bit questionable, but with the appropriate annotations they are fine. I certainly don't think any individual should make a unilateral decision to remove them, not least without a collective vote after advice from the Tolkien Estate themselves. I certainly don't think admins (that is Hyarion, Ederchil and I) should drive through a decision either way without wider consultation. --Mith (Talk/Contribs/Edits) 15:18, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
I agree with Mith. --Morgan 15:29, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
I feel like we're veering away from the point. I never challenged the use of poems from The Hobbit or LotR. But a 12-line poem is not an excerpt if it those 12 lines were published as one work, and that's the case I am talking about. As for whether it "infringes their profitability": it's simply irrelevant, copyright infringement is copyright infringement.
And to be clear, I didn't say I was going to go and remove them all myself now, I said I'd be removing them in articles I was going to rewrite anyway. I thought that was the right course of action and after running it by everyone else here on the forum I still do. The only one who has offered any argument against it is you Mith and it's unfortunately been based on reading fair use the way you want it to read, not the way it actually does read. Be bold - that's what they say on Wikipedia, right? --Aule the Smith 18:29, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
The only one who has offered any argument against it is you Mith
There is also only one who gives arguments for removing, and that's you Aulë. About "infringing their profitability", thats one of the factors of Fair Use. So it's relevant. --Amroth 19:25, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
Ah well in that case I misspoke. I didn't really want to open up that whole new line of argument, but it looks like I'll have to. Reproducing poems like The Bidding of the Minstrel patently does diminish the profit of the Tolkien Estate. The poem is only published in HoME so if you want to read it (note the important distinction between reading something and reading about something) you have to buy that book from them. That is unless we post it here, of course. --Aule the Smith 19:52, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
The Factor goes about how much profit they lose and not about if they lose profit. And that will few, not more than in LOTR.
  1. We use it for non-profit and it's for education. So there we are good.
  2. Ihe work is a never-standalone-published work but only in a greater work "the Book of the Last Tales 2". So it's only a small part of the protected work TBoLT2. The Copyright is claimed over the book, not over the poem alone. So we don't quote the whole work, but only a poem in it.
  3. This Work (The Bidding of the Minstrel) is only a small part in the protected work, The Book of the Last Tales II.
  4. The worth of TBoLT2 wouldn't change because we post it here for education and non-profit.
--Amroth 20:47, 4 August 2010 (UTC)