Why Do People Share The Dash and Other Inspirational Poems?

I confess. I used to be one of those people who shared inspirational quotes.  A bit strange considering I am not someone who believes inspirational quotes and poetry make people feel better or even different after the last word is read. I am also not much of a believer in self-help books. I doubt most successful people read them or ever meet the authors. Most seem self-serving and judgmental even when the quotes are about judgment.

“I ask you to judge me by the enemies I have made.” 
― Franklin D. Roosevelt

No doubt, when someone is looking to comfort someone they turn to poetry and quotes. I attribute my sharing of The Dash poem on my blog five years ago to Linda Ellis since she's the one who sent it to me in the first place with her Tell-a-Friend form. Before I copied it and pasted The Dash, my blog consisted of short stories and thoughts I wrote about my auction business. The blog was on the Blogger platform and had about a dozen not-so-interesting posts and the poem "Anyway" written by Mother Teresa. At that time I did quite a bit of networking primarily because most of my girlfriends are self-employed and we were members of networking organizations - eWomen Network, Women in Business, Business Professional Women, National Association of Women Business Owners and League of Women Voters. My closest friend and business buddy, Lori Richardson, teaches sales and business networking and she’s a rock start.  I followed her around like a little puppy dog and enjoyed a decade of good times and new friends and business growth. Networking works especially well for hungry new business owners. I learned to cross-share content and information from attending those meetings and events . No thought was given to copyright because by sharing we were helping each other build our businesses. My experience was positive and there was no downside to sharing, that is until I shared that stupid poem called The Dash.

When I shared The Dash in August of 2012 and I gave no thought to Linda Ellis. That post happen to be the last post I made and I even forgot about the blog because it was not connected to my website anymore. I essentially had abandoned the Blogger account and put my effort into my actual website. It was when John W. Jolin wrote me demanding money on behalf of Ellis I was reminded. The email from Jolin came while I was staying at a private resort in Bali my company Charity Getaways represents. I immediately thought the letter was a scam and ignored it. But when I returned home I got a couple more letters. I tried to contact Linda Ellis to verify that she in fact was demanding money for copyright infringement. She didn’t respond but Jolin did with bigger threats. Rather swiftly I got a letter from attorney Timothy J. Lockhart of Wilcox and Savage demanding I settle with Ellis for $3500. Instead of replying to Lockhart, I created the Beware Don’t Share blog and posted his letter. Lockhart never contacted me again but Linda Ellis went berserk and continues to get more berserker as time goes on. I naively had landed in the seedy world of copyright trolling and decided I would expose the scheme and see if there were others who had ran afoul of Ellis. To date I've heard from more than 400.

Needless to say, Linda Ellis put an end to any sharing of inspirational quotes, poetry or anything else. I didn’t stop sharing because of her intimidation and harassment. I stopped sharing because I know too much about the person behind those hollow words. Labeling oneself as an inspirational person does not mean that person has a life that should be admired or mimicked.  Today I read this: “studies have found lower levels of intelligence in people who read inspirational quotes.” I’m not sure I believe that – obviously that would mean I’m a dope too – but I do know that fans and readers of Linda Ellis believe she is a Christian author and that she was inspired by God to write The Dash. Why? Just because she says so in her marketing and promotional materials. Do I think they are stupid? I’m not sure. I do now that once someone believes a notion, it’s very difficult to change their mind. 

Many of Ellis readers find out the hard way that Linda Ellis has no rhyme or reason as to whom she demands money from. Senator Bob Dole read The Dash on C-Span without her permission and when she was alerted of his infringement she bragged that he read it on national media and made that infringement part of her marketing. But when a middle school teacher assigned The Dash to her students for homework, Ellis accused the school of copyright infringement and demanded money from the school district. 

The question will always be, why would a prolific poet spend her life trying to control the sharing of one poem? Why would she turn on her readers? Why hasn’t she leveraged that sharing into a rock solid career of some kind other than copyright bullying and extortion? Why does she target the very readers she claims she wants to inspire? The only answer I can come up with is she is hiding something so shameful and so worrisome, she will destroy her brand and reputation to keep it under wraps. I believe she is afraid that we will eventually discover Ellis is not the author of The Dash. Someone else wrote it and she found it as “author unknown” like thousands of others and slapped her name on it and copyrighted it. Nothing else makes sense. 

Maybe it's time for Ellis to come clean.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: www.aprilbrown.com/copyright-infringement-the-das/

The Three D0's

Do Not Respond

Do Not Be Afraid

Do Tell The World