Crazy copyright bot threatens those who tweet tiny poem

This has to be some kind of brilliant hoax: a Twitter 'attribution troll' is showering threats on anyone who tweets a popular one-line poem.

On Press Inc., supposedly a division of Knopf Publishing (according to its Twitter profiles), was running a search of its own and issuing tweet after threatening tweet to anyone who dared publish a short (really short -- under 140 characters) poem by reclusive poet, Shaun Shane, without attribution. The entire poem reads as follows: "If only our tongues were made of glass, how much more careful we would be when we speak."

The threats--which have apparently escalated to imaginary police investigations over Amazon reviews, too--are baseless, writes TechDirt's Tim Cushing. Even if a tweet-length poem meets the expressive requirements for copyright protection, experts say it's unlikely to generate a credible lawsuit.

I tried it and it worked like a charm:


  1. The fact that the bot says things like “…or they are libel.” is the tip-off that no lawyer came within a country mile of this brilliant marketing idea…

    1. Wasn’t Orly Taitz a lawyer before she was a dentist? Or is perhaps she’s a lawyer/dentist? Or starred as a child-prodigy lawyer/dentist? 

      At any rate, she’s multi-talented and seems to have plenty of time…

  2. Maybe this is all a brilliant ploy by Shaune Shane to put the Streisand Effect to a positive use. After all, who had ever heard of him before this BoingBoing post? And what are the odds he ever would have been mentioned here, if not for this? 

    Assuming that all publicity really IS good publicity, that is. 

  3. Just to be clear, the one example cited in your link of what could be a protectable tweet is … a tweet-length poem.

    The real question is damages, of course, and thanks to statutory damages that’s a real question.

  4. I love how it just keeps hectoring you.  This is what happens when a bot mates with the Overly Attached Girlfriend meme and has a baby.

  5. How little of the poem, and which part brings the hellfire from the bot?
    Our tongues were made of glass – is that enough?

  6. John Keats
    John Keats
    Please put your scarf on.

    (Just seeing if the Salinger Estate lawyers are still in the office.)

  7. I wonder if tiny changes like changing “we would” to “we’d” or reordering “If only our tongues were” to “If our tongues were only” if the bot would find it.

  8. Oooh I got to say it over on TD and now I get to say it here about the guy behind this stupidity…
    Christ what an asshole.

  9. In a complete turnaround, it seems a new account is now thanking people for tweeting the poem.
    innmonpressn: @theaardvark Thanks again.Your tweeting of Shane’s work brings it to a larger audience and so increases his book sales. Thanks!
    from web in reply to theaardvark

    innmonpressn: @theaardvark Thanks for tweeting Tongues Made of Glass by Shaun Shane This is Shane’s Publisher. On Press Inc

  10. This On Press Inc. Shaun Shane’s Publisher. We would really like to see if you’ll come out from hiding behind this cowardly shield of words, on some poorly excuted blog that list no way  of getting a hold of you and give us some real world contact information. For surely, if you presume you are right then there can be no harm in having us settle this in court. Or perhaps your just a wanna be revolutionary that does nothing more than talk hiding behind some silly childish ranting on a webpage. Or are you really up ” to putting your money where your mouth is ” as they say. So give us some contact information and stop being so cowardly. On Press Inc.

    1.  Oddly enough i would usually expect a publisher to be capable of using proper spelling and punctuation. Of course i may be thinking of more traditional publishers that have higher standards of proofreading and literacy since printing an actual book in advance represents a significant investment of their own funds. i’m going to go out on a limb and guess that OnPress being a print on demand publisher means they consider themselves a vanity press where actual literacy and editorial standards are utterly irrelevant.
      So there’s that.
      And like many flyspeck companies they apparently can’t afford a real lawyer and have to write up their own incoherent and laughable legal threats. i’m almost tempted to mention OnPress to Ken & company at Popehat. OnPress’ twitter-spamming trollbot aspect might be of interest to that lot.

    2. ‘Poorly executed blog’
      Have you seen your companies web presence?
      It is a shame that you can’t seem to remember what town your located in unless of course I am missing some detail that some towns are more preferable than others in that area.
      Maybe we should just serve your registered agent at S&S and put and end to this…

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