Please Respect This Blog’s Copyright!

Dear Piano Teachers:

I’m overwhelmed at the global response to my post, “The Truth About Piano Lessons.”

It seems that we are ALL going through the same thing: From Egypt to Estonia, Sri Lanka to Sweden, Cuba to China, the story has been read and passed around the world.

Unfortunately, it has also been reprinted (sometimes with alterations that I never even saw!) without my permission.

This puts me in a difficult predicament:

I WANT the article to be read and to help as many teachers and student families as possible.

But I make my living as a writer and a musician. I am the copyright owner of this blog, and I have not given permission for people to reprint the post on their blogs. This is not a matter of plagiarizing: Almost everyone has given me credit. But even if you give me credit, you do not have permission to reprint the article on line.

Reprinting MY post on YOUR blog hurts my business, because readers doing a search about piano lessons may find my post on your blog instead of on mine. Google pays me based on page views and advertising revenues on my blog, and it can and does penalize writers whose works are found in multiple places on the Internet. I also want people who view that post to be able to read the other articles on my site.

As much as I appreciate your valuing my work, I therefore have to ask that you respect my copyright.

There is an easy solution: You are welcome to reprint the first 50 words, and send readers to my blog via a link, to read the rest of the article. You may also print hard copies for your personal students, as long as my name and the address of the blog are clearly visible.

Thank you for your understanding,


8 thoughts on “Please Respect This Blog’s Copyright!”

  1. Copyright absolutely has to be respected, musicians and music lovers should be at the fore of that particular charge, given how rampant such infringements on intellectual property are in the music industry.

    I happened upon your blog from one of many that linked to that post, and I am so grateful that it was properly linked. I have spent the last two days reading back posts of your blog and am so appreciative of your thoughtful, educational posts on the subject of practice and pedagogy, in particular. As an adult pianist and one who has children that will be playing soon, too, your resources have been very helpful to me.

    I came for that one good post, but I’m staying because of your consistently good content. Thank you SO much for the work you put into this blog, Karen!

  2. Thanks so much for your comment, and I’m glad you are finding the blog helpful — please holler if there’s a topic you’d like me to cover that you’re not finding here.

    Good luck in your and your children’s studies.

  3. Well, this is a complex issue as we transition our economy from the old 20th century copyright model into the developing 21st century Creative Commons model. More and more people (including myself at my blog at are choosing to license in a more social way under Creative Commons. Wikipedia is licensed as Creative Commons, so anything there can be used freely as long as credit is given and any new works are ALSO licensed Creative Commons (that’s the “share-alike” clause). In the end, the community resources will quite handily surpass the quality of restricted copyright-focused authorship. 1500 piano teachers working together in a Wiki model can easily create a superior intro to lessons document, and that’s the future for our media.

    Rather than disrespect the legal rights of authors who are sticking to the old dying model, we need to simply encourage people to utilize and contribute to the Creative Commons.

    At, Catherin Schmidt-Jones has written superb resources for music teaching as quality as anything I’ve seen, and they are all licensed CC-BY, thus allowing copying, sharing, changing, etc. as long as credit is given. With all due respect, Karen, I’m going to tell people to use that and similar resources and thus continue their same sharing community behavior and thus just ignore your version that is locked down by your traditional copyright views.

    If you want to understand the new media world and not be left behind, check out, consider Wikipedia, and TED talks by Lawrence Lessig and by Matt Ridley.

    I sympathize with the economic concerns as a music teacher and writer myself, but I’d rather be on the forefront of our culture than to be on the losing side of the past trying to fight the trend — especially when the trend is toward sharing and more community engagement.


  4. Aaron: You’re welcome to tell people what you want. Having spent 30 years in this industry, I am well aware of not only the Copyright Law, but the new Digital Millenium Copyright Act, and the creative Commons movement. It is, as you say a choice. And thank you, but after writing on line for 13 years, I am more than “understand the new media world.” Ted can afford to do what it does because it has funding. I don’t. And Wiki is begging readers for money.

    Copyright is a property, and while it’s nice that you want to “share” — that’s your choice, but it’s not your choice to share MY stuff. I am putting my work out on the Internet for FREE. that’s sharing enough … All I ask is that people don’t appropriate it for themselves, even, in some cases, changing my words without my permission. You don’t get to impose it on me. How would you feel if people moved into your house without your permission?

    Creative commons is choice. You choose what rights to share. My work is available for the world to read — for free — on my site. And I have given people permission to reprint my articles for free in print to hand out to their students. If that’s not good enough and sharing enough for you, by all means go elsewhere.

  5. I think this Mr. Wolf fella has a lot of gall to lecture someone on how they should view their property rights, their copywright. There’s an arrogance there, a Wolf in wolves clothing, and a lack of integrity.

    “Traditional copywright views?” Sounds like the new views on copywright are there to benefit him. Well learning to effectively write, as this blogger clearly has, takes years of experience and work. Can’t do it? Haven’t put the time in? Respect those that can.

    Some people’s children!

  6. Hey, come on guys, can’t you see the opportunity here? Aaron is offering you his content. There is one post on the benefits of music that just needs a little finishing off, a few gaps filled, and maybe some editing, and it will make a fine article for this website. He’s ok with that. Just put his name somewhere on there, and you’re good.


  7. Karen, I am NOT approving of people disrespecting your content and using it without your permission. You have legal right to determine the permissions you give under copyright law.

    Furthermore, I am not saying that the future of Creative Commons is going to be a lucrative one for writers like us. What I am saying is that it is inevitable. Rather than fighting the tide, I am choosing to focus on the overwhelming virtues of Creative Commons.

    Catherine Schmidt-Jones and I can write as meaningful content on music lessons as anyone, we can combine the best of our ideas, learn from YOU without directly using your words (just as all writers have done for all time), and encourage all the music teachers in the world to improve upon our work as well. Do I get paid? Maybe indirectly and very little. This is no business model for a successful primary career (that I can tell), but it is simply possible, and someone is going to do it whether you are I contribute or not.

    I understand your desire to continue having an income as a writer, and I don’t blame you for that. But getting people to pay you for your writings if they can get just as good for free from Creative Commons is like selling bottled water. Bottled water have been and may continue to be profitable, but in most places (where tap water is potable) bottled water is largely a waste that profits by manipulating people into ignoring the free social resource that already exists. Creative Commons is tap water: quality, available, inexpensive or free, socially supported. The existence of tap water in no way makes shoplifting of bottled water acceptible. But there is certainly a case for arguing that the bottled water industry is on the wrong side of history, is not contributing value to society, and I wouldn’t hesitate to tell a bottled water executive that they should find some other way to make a living (maybe just accepting a more modest living by selling bottled water just where it is really needed).

    To be clear SAL, there is one restriction I’ve put on my work aside from being credited: “share-alike” that means you can’t take my work and then restrict it and ask for payment or limitations to others’ use. My work could be used and modified for this site, but then the result must be shared under Creative Commons as well. That is my choice, and both my choice and Karen’s choice should be fully respected. I only am suggesting a different viewpoint from Karen, but not at all condoning that anyone disregard her wishes for her own copyrighted work.

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