Back when a website was something only a hard-core nerd knew how to make, someone emailed me a copy of the Dr. Seuss poem “Yertle the Turtle”, and I put it online for a few friends. Today everyone and their dog has a website, and among other things this means there are people who make a living looking for copyright material being used without permission, and threatening legal action. And so yesterday I received such a letter from the legal firm representing Dr. Seuss’ estate. Having better things to do with my time than be sued by large California legal firms, I complied with their wishes, but really, couldn’t they at least have written me in anapestic tetrameter? To help them when they contact the next person down in Google’s search results for this poem, I’ve now replaced it with the letter they should have sent me, as an explanation for why it’s no longer available from me:
We noticed your website and here’s what to do:
and if you ignore us then we’re going to sue!
We see your site has a poem by our client
but with copyright laws you must be compliant!
The story of Yertle is our property
so you can’t use it without paying money!
A story of someone who says what to do
and why instead you should think all these things through,
and not just follow orders no matter what
or who or how silly or reasons they’ve got,
is valuable stuff in our society
and we can’t be letting you have it for free!
Take down that poem! We never said that you could
give it away! Why, don’t you know that’s not good?
We anticipate your co-operation
and hope that this was just an abberation.
We await your reply, sooner the better —
if not, next time, we won’t just send a letter!