Good Poets Borrow, Great Poets Steal…

Protect | and | Leverage

A reporter for NPR’s Morning Edition used my favorite misquote in her “Stanford Center Advocates for Fair Use on the Web” piece that aired on May 7, 2007. Though the quote is usually attributed to T.S. Eliot, the reporter attributed a slightly altered version of “Good poets borrow, great poets steal” to Picasso, this time it was “good artists copy, great artists steal.”

I heard the quote “good poets borrow, great poets steal” for the first time on December 16, 2006, in a commentary about fair use and copyright Bill Hammack, a chemical engineering professor, made on MarketPlace.

My mind was blown. In my earlier, more literate, youth, poetry and poets occupied a great deal of my time. I could not imagine T.S. Eliot would have said such a thing.

I had my aunt consult Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations and other sources in her library, and she did not…

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