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The United States Copyright law is clear and simple: Works you create are your property and protected by US Copyright.  You can read official information about Copyright Basics here at the official US Government site.

Likewise, that means other peoples' work belongs to them.  You are not entitled to copy that work or post it on an internet site without the author's permission.  Every page here at the BAR-D carries this notice:

Poets retain copyright to their work; obtain a poet's 
permission before using a poem in any form.

"Giving credit" is not enough:  getting permission is the point.

We take the law seriously, and do all we can to prevent poets' work from being printed or posted by others without permission.  Still, we often learn of poems being used without a poet's permission. 

Much—but not all—classic Cowboy Poetry is in the public domain.  Works published prior to 1923 fall in that category.  Some copyrights of later publications have been renewed by the estates of poets. The Internet is not the public domain.  It is not difficult to research copyright status.  Please make the effort.

Many poets recite others' works.  Credit should always be given to the author when reciting.  We have an excellent essay about that by Dee Strickland Johnson, "A Matter of Ethics," posted here.  

Some poets do not want their work recited by others, particularly when they recite those same poems at events and gatherings.  Some feel that if you are being paid for your performance, you should not be doing others' work. You should obtain a poet's permission before using his or her work in any form. 

Respect other peoples' property.  It's undeniably "The Cowboy Way."

We feel responsible for poets' work at the BAR-D and pursue copyright abuses.    More on this below...

Would you like to reprint something from CowboyPoetry.com  in your newsletter, on your web site, or elsewhere?  Please ask first. Email us.

Information on this site is protected by copyright. We can grant permissions when the material is our own, and are eager to share information. But there is also much information that belongs to others, protected by their copyrights: poems, prose, images and photographs. We can help you get permission for such material.  Email us.

Please do not use information without permission.  "Giving credit" is not enough:  Getting permission is the important part (and then, do give credit).

Contact us.  We want to share information and to protect peoples' work. 



Additional Links

continued from above...

We feel responsible for poets' work at the BAR-D and we pursue copyright violations.

We spend more time than we like going after people who have copied poetry and information from this site. So far, we always get our man.

It's not a bad idea to use www.google.com to search for your name or poems now and then (put it in quotation marks like: "Badger Clark" or "As I went out riding").  If you find one of your poems posted without permission, you can try to contact whoever used it.  Sometimes poems get taken and posted without the author's name or copyright notice. These breaches happened before the internet, but it's easier now for people to take poems that don't belong to them. 

Sites can link to other sites. That is not a copyright infringement. 

We're glad to see poets being widely published and we always try to promote reputable publications and sites who give an outlet to cowboy poetry. 

If someone contacts us for permission to use a poem, we pass along that request to the poet.  (That's another reason to make sure we always have your current email address.)

If you want your email address posted with your poems here at the BAR-D so that people can contact you directly, just give us a holler and we will be glad to add it.

Additional Links


  • Poet Pat Richardson shared this link to an excellent site that explains US copyright law. 

  • You can read official information about Copyright Basics here at the official US Government site.

  • Google has a copyright search feature here.

  • Creative Commons is a new type of licensing that lets copyright holders grant some or all of their rights to the public.


Respect other peoples' property.  It's undeniably "The Cowboy Way."





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