Play Misty for Me
Date Added: June 12, 2001
To many, the Internet seems a wide-open community, where sharing is the rule. It provides a great vehicle for artists of all types - from authors to photographers - to get exposure for their works. Unfortunately, the easy access to information and artistic content leads many to believe it's free for the taking. While poems like this are often co-opted by well-meaning folks with noble intentions, what they are doing still amounts to copyright infringement - even plagiarism - if they don't get the author's permission first.
My name is Misty
I must be stupid
I wish I were better
I can't speak at all
When I awake
When my mommy does come
Don't make a sound!
I hear him curse,
I try and hide
He finds me weeping,
He slaps me and hits me
He's already locked it
I fall to the floor
"I'm sorry!", I scream,
The hurt and the pain
And he finally stops
My name is Misty
There are thousands of kids out there just like Misty. And you can help. And please pass this poem on because as crazy as it might sound, it might just indirectly change a life. Hey, you NEVER know.
Please Sign Here If You Are Against Child Abuse:
The poem above was written in 1996 by Misty Nicole Ramsey and was originally posted on her college Web site. Since then, it has been reposted to dozens of sites and sent to millions via e-mail chain letter - most frequently without crediting the author.
"No, I don't mind if people use my material and share it, that's what it's for," Ramsey told BreakTheChain.org. "However, I DO MIND that NO ONE has listed me as the author."
So many people assume that since material posted online is very easy to copy that is it acceptable to do so. However, most nations have comprehensive copyright laws that protect creative property. With few exceptions, the person who creates and posts poems, photos, artwork and other similar material is the owner of that material and may control how it is used.
Yet well-meaning folks routinely "steal" such creative works by broadcasting them via e-mail chain letters. Often, they send the work alone, simply to share the artistic merit. But, creative content typically gets more mileage when attached to something that makes the subject matter somewhat more compelling, such as a prayer request, an unrelated photo or, in this case, a so-called petition.
BreakTheChain.org recommends strongly against signing any online petition or otherwise providing your personal infomation to a third party to act on your behalf. To illustrate the pointlessness of signing this one, let's put it through the Seven Tests of Armchair Activism:
While the petition is generally worthless, the poem definitely has its fans. One reader bravely admitted to me in 2001 that this tome changed her life and may have even saved her son's life:
"I am a mom of 2 small children, including a son who is 3. I have had rage disorder for as long as I can remember, but I didn't realize the extent of my rage toward my children until someone sent me this poem. When I got down to the line about the little girl standing in the corner trying to disappear into the wall, I saw my own son doing just that when mommy gets angry. I cried, not for the sappiness of the poem, but because I was out of control. And, I have changed for the better. This poem really made me think of the fear my son must have felt when I got angry. Had I not read this poem, I would probably still be taking my anger out on him."
If you want to share Ms. Ramsey's poem with others, she says it is fine, as long as she is properly credited as the author. And, while your at it, remove the unnecessary petition part as well. Break this chain!