A Matter of (Copy)Right

I began this blog in early 2016 as a way to share Bendre’s sublime poetry with the wider public. It did not cross my mind then to consider “copyrighting” my work; I was happy for it to spread as widely as possible through the internet. All I asked was to be credited if my translation was used somewhere.

The first time I began to think of copyrighting my work was when a senior Kannada critic chose to use it in a public performance without properly crediting me. (Since that incident of July 2020, I have only published one more translation on this website.) In fact, looking back, I see the incident served as a spur to publish my work as a book.

More recently, a few months before my book’s September 2022 publication, a well-known Kannada Sugama Sangeeta singer chose to inform me she had used my translation of a poem to close caption (CC) her music video. While I was gratified she had contacted me (and gave my go-ahead right away), I found it rather odd that she’d written to me after she’d used it and everything was in place rather than before. I soon found out her reason for doing so: she simply wanted to use the translation to promote her work. I realized this when I asked her if, as a reciprocal gesture, she would mind using her platform to spread the word about my book and received no response. (I wouldn’t have minded too much if she’d replied and said “I’m sorry, I can’t”. It’s the non-responsiveness I find rude.)

If the first experience was a wake-up call for me to copyright my work (which I did using the © symbol and the publication of the book), the second experience is responsible for me taking this next step, namely, to forbid the public use of any content on this website without my prior permission. Please note that this is a matter I intend to take seriously and that any violation of copyright will be dealt with legally.

Having said all this, I am aware these people and their actions are the exception rather than the norm. I have had many happy experiences with rasikas from all over the world and I am grateful to all of them for supporting and encouraging me. It is for the benefit and enjoyment of such rasikas that I would like to continue to make publically available those translations that are not part of the book. I remain just as keen as ever that Bendre’s poetry reaches as large an audience as possible and is recognized on the world stage.

Thank you.


Madhav Ajjampur

(February 28, 2023)

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