@craig I was inquiring about my ability to read a poem written by let’s say Mary Oliver, on my podcast, WIsdom Shared. I asked google and I found this document that I thought might be interesting to some of you. What I am concluding is that if I am reading someone else’s words, and I give them credit and I’m not trying to sell anything, then it’s “fair use”. Clearly the written word and music is different.

Does anyone agree or disagree?


guidelines for podcasters


What I do in my podcasts —

If I wanted to really know what I can/can’t do, I would need a lawyer to give me an informed opinion. Since I don’t want to go through that expense or time… ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ I simply never use anyone else’s work in my creations.

If I wanted to use someone’s work —

I’d want some sort of relationship with the author/creator. Courts and lawyers cannot be completely avoided. Having a relationship (or some sort) provides some context to any agreement (informal or formal). If my request to use is met with a 30 page legal document (which I’d then need an attorney to evaluate) — uh, nevermind.

On the other hand: The guitar cords used as music bumpers in Movers Mindset were played (on my guitar) by a friend of mine. He was at my house. We recorded his episode of the podcast and ended up talking about music. Turns out he plays guitar and he offered to play our simple cords (making them VASTLY better than my initial versions we’d been using) This is simply a verbal agreement— he played them and I recorded them and they’ve been used/heard thousands of times. So this bare minimum “agreement” is fine with me because we have a relationship.

edited to add: I’m aware that I didn’t directly answer/address what you asked. This is simply the most-useful thing I could think to add. Hope it’s helpful. :slight_smile:


Thank you. Always interesting to hear how others create…i agree with the relationship part but the poems I would like to maybe read, are from famous people dead or alive…I tried to contact the on being poem person and I asked him but no response

i am inclined to take a chance and to read someone else’s work as a tribute and in no way do i see it as an infringement. But I may just be naive. I do not want to hire a lawyer so i wonder if anyone here is familiar with the spoken word Copywrite issues…


Hi Carol,

I think you do need permission, partly because every house can make its own decisions on what they consider Fair Use. For instance, a lot of people think 250 words is a benchmark for Fair Use, but that’s a fallacy. A press might say their benchmark is 100 words, or 25 words that can be used without obtaining prior permission.

You could always use the Copyright Clearance Center - head over to

If I were you, I’d call her publisher and ask the permissions/licensing person. Most of her books were published under Penguin Random House, which makes permissions a little easier, in some ways:

If the poem you want to read was published by Beacon Press, you might have to ask them. Here’s their website:

Good luck!



I use music of others. My cousin does most of it for me. I pay him. I have his permission for any of his other stuff. I use the band I’m in. I didn’t answer your question either, cuz I don’t know. Glad to see all the responses.


I second what @ChristiCassidy has written.

And well done for checking and asking for other peoples’ experience before you proceed! When it comes to copyright and creating something like your podcast, it protects both you and the author/whoever owns Mary Oliver’s rights to her works now.


@clevpt This is an excellent question. You went fishing and now we all have these splendid responses!


I just used Mary Oliver as an example. But I was planning on reading a few lines from Andrew Soloman’s book : Far from the Tree…I have used him in the past, so I will, as an experiment, dm him and ask him directly. and ask him if I needed to ask…in his opinion as he is a writer of a few books by now. I just don’t see any harm if you are giving credit to the writer, and reading in your own voice, and not selling anything, and writers write books or poems for others to read and if people hear a few sentences and like it, they can buy it…so there is no “stealing” but rather a shout out…and I have to believe no one would sue over a shout out…again, I am naive and I appreciate this conversation


My general approach (not a lawyer) if I am using a few lines from a larger piece of work and then creating more content around it (like a commentary or analysis) then it is okay. I would not publish a podcast or blog post where the entirety of the content is just that creator’s work. I think I read this somewhere but don’t remember now and certainly don’t remember how official that source was.

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@AnnieP (who is an indie author)

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@Carole, this is the whole principle of sampling in music. And those copyrights really are protected. That’s why permission is needed even for sampling.

Here’s an example: “Let me repost your work and I’ll give you a link back to your site. You’ll get traffic.” If the person didn’t ask, I wouldn’t be able to assess the site, or if I want my work posted there. Link back or no link back. Traffic or no traffic. Maybe I don’t agree with the politics of the site, or the purpose of the site, or I don’t like the other postings on the site (the company you keep, right!).

DM Andrew Sullivan, see what he says. He no doubt owns his own copyrights. Not all authors do. Good luck! Let us know.


Hey, @craig @maryjlrowe @ChristiCassidy @clevpt

Saw this thread. This is a slippery slope. Christi what you’re saying sounds logical and it doesn’t play out. The words get remembered—maybe, rarely the author.

If Carol approaches the poet and asks for permission—that’s a whole different kettle of fish. To use someone’s work without their permission is theft

Suing is not the criteria I use If I am taking something from another without permission—that’s a no for me.

I’m sure you are familiar with the Google bookshelf debacle. What a crock of crap. Google has a presence in Boulder and I met a programmer dating a friend of mine. When I asked him about it he said we only publish every other page now.

I looked him in the eye and asked him how he’d feel if I put his code out on the net for free.

There is no such thing as situational ethics. Always Do the right thing.


@AnnieP - I think I understand your post here. I remember raising this question on a Saturday call. Terrific responses. Since then, I’m super careful. It’s a relief. :sweat_smile:


Ty, my friend, @maryjlrowe :heart:

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