IP and Copyright


Meeting participants, left to right: (Top) Gerry Stacy, P4; Wess Mongo Jolley, P4; Ken Brady, Student Attorney, WCL; Tom Bouliane, P4; Scott Woods, P4 consultant; Susan Somers-Willett, P4 Consultant. (Bottom) Liz Vaysman, Student Attorney, WCL; Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz, P4. Photo taken by Prof. Peter Jaszi, WCL (not shown).
P4 honors the rights of poets, the people who created and now support the poetry slam and the creators of the poetry we protect. We’re also sensitive to the position in which we place ourselves by collecting slam performances without first acquiring direct permission from the countless slam poets we so deeply respect. We are so concerned, in fact, that we had a two-day meeting of experts to help guide us.

P4's Board of Directors met in March, 2014 at American University Washington College of Law (WCL) in Washington, D.C. The meeting was hosted by WCL’s Glushko-Samuelson Intellectual Property Law Clinic at our request. The uppermost question to be answered was how to defend slam poetry performance recordings from media degradation and outright loss while simultaneously protecting the poets’ and other rights holders’ intellectual property rights. 

One of the concrete results of the meeting is a written assessment of the factors concerned and the legal foundation upon which we base our work. We are happy to present the memo for your review, and provide some links to important intellectual property rights information.

How does P4 Address my Intellectual Property and Copyright concerns?

P4 respects the authors and other rights holders of the material in our collection and will always respect issues of intellectual property and copyright.  We will always request permission to expose your poetry, and will not do so without that permission.

Since we have not yet completed the task of indexing our collection for relevant-content searches by users, an essential tool for such a collection of performative content, we have deferred seeking these important copyright permissions for now. We will do so as soon as the prerequisite indexing has progressed sufficiently.

Our permissions model offers poets several levels of permitted visibility or, if preferred, invisibility. Before we go live with our collection access, we'll be contacting poets to secure the appropriate permissions.

  • POETS: If you are poet, our job is to preserve your work, and only expose as much of it as you feel comfortable sharing.  We are working to offer a variety of access levels--from preservation only, to academic and fair use, to full access--with a customizable interface to support getting the work out there that you feel comfortable sharing.

  • SCHOLARS: If you are scholar or student doing research, or looking to use one or more of the works in our collection in your publication or presentation, P4 is here to serve your needs.  If your use of material from our archive goes beyond fair use guidelines, we will help you contact the poet to arrange the appropriate permissions.  

  • DONORS and PARTNER INSTITUTIONS: If you are interested in donating materials, you can find out how to do so on our Collections Contributions Page.  If you are interested in Partnering with P4, and have intellectual property or copyright concerns, please contact us.

P4 is committed to transparency and respect in all our dealings with our poets, our partners, and our users.  Contact us if you have any questions or concerns.

More information on IP and COPYRIGHT: