Haiku Community Delivers Swift Justice!
flooded through me as I read the first paragraph of Carol Raisfeld’s
email on the morning of June 3, 2005:
on a poetry site I came across some poems I know are
yours. . .
What I saw was word for word
George Swede poems.I looked for your name, but no credit
was given. Can this be? I looked at other
sites where this “poet’s” work is published . . . I’m
afraid he has stolen your poems.
prove her point, Carol had sent me one of the thief’s e-cards. It was a haiku of mine attributed
to someone called Giles. Carol had also reprinted 10 of my
haiku as they appeared on three different sites: The Starlite
Café, Poet’s Castle and SaichWorld. Half had been
given titles, one had a word changed. Five were attributed
to Adrian Saich and the rest to Giles. My disbelief morphed
into anger—at the theft and the violation of trust that
usually governs poetic activity on the Internet.
my wife Anita Krumins and I went to the sites that Carol
had identified and we printed my poems
as well as
those of others we recognized. We soon discovered that Giles
was a pen name for Adrian Saich. One site, The Starlite Café,
had 591 poems of various kinds by Giles. Of these, around sixty
of the haiku were mine and another dozen or so were by other
poets. A number of the tanka also seemed to be plagiarized.
Especially on the Starlite site, Saich had gone
to extraordinary efforts to glamorize each poem with music
animation. In a few cases, he changed a word, but never
for the better.
For instance, consider this haiku of mine:
Dead roadside deer
a snowflake melts
on its open eye
had substituted a rabbit for the deer. Apart from the fact
that “rabbit” loses
the alliteration provided by “deer”, the eye of
a rabbit is not as large and protruding as that of a deer and
thus the effect of the melting snowflake is less profound.
galling was the blatant appropriation of each haiku poet’s
poems. All were identified in the following way:
© 2004 Giles (All rights reserved)
Sometimes the copyright date was 2005. Then the
reader had the opportunity to
do the following:
- Read more poems by Giles
- Send this poem to a friend
- Read viewer’s comment(s)
attaching his name (or his a.k.a.) and the © symbol
to each stolen poem clearly indicates that he knows about
copyright. He was an intentional impostor,
trying to dupe the authorities and the poetry reading public.
Just who is Saich? According to autobiographical
information on SaichWorld and The Starlite Cafe, he lives in
makes his living as a full-time illustrator,
does ink drawings of life in the 19th century (which he exhibits and sells
on e-Bay) and writes poetry. Not much here to explain why
he decided to become a
The Haiku Community
outstanding memory for the authors of haiku she had read started a chain
reaction. In the early evening of June
3, I wrote an email to a number of editors of haiku periodicals describing
what I had discovered. My expectation was that the editors would each contact
their subscribers with the result that soon thousands of people would be
aware of Saich’s misdeeds. This letter now appears online as “Plagiarism
alert” <http://www.tempslibres.org/tl/en/alert.html> courtesy
of Serge Tomé and his site, tempslibres.
I then emailed
the site managers for The Starlite Café (Albert
Victor) and for Poet’s Castle (Linda G. Anaya). At first, Albert Victor
believe that his domain included a blatant plagiarist. He claimed that
he had developed the site out of his love for poetry and trusted that contributors
would be honest. After I sent him a detailed list of my haiku that Saich
had copyrighted under his pen name Giles, Victor removed the entire Giles
section from Starlite on June 4th, 2005.
numerous email exchanges, Victor told me that he had received threatening
from what he described as my “posse” and
was worried about his safety and that of his family. At one point, he said
that he had called the police who told him there was nothing they could
do. To assuage his worries, I explained to him that he had no reason to be
The poets who had written to him were gentle souls, just like he was. They
were merely venting their anger at what had happened and would never put
their words into violent actions.
5th, Linda Anaya of Poet’s Castle sent an e-letter
to members of the haiku community informing them that all poems by Giles
have been removed
from her site. Her situation was particularly awkward because Adrian Saich
was a partial creator of the domain:
site although kept up by me, and built by me with love and devotion,
of the art of poetry is in his [Saich’s]
name, therefore, it is with deep regret that I will ask that the
site be shut down due to his actions.
I had no knowledge of this and assumed that the work that he posted
was written by him.
reported no harassment by outraged poets, probably because Poet’s
Castle had relatively few poems stolen by Saich.
domain resisted removing its purloined poems--Saichworld, the personal
Adrian Saich. Here Saich described the stolen poems
by Adrian Saich” and invited readers to “Click to View Poems by
Such titling of untitled haiku was his modus operandi in all the places he
displayed the pilfered poems. Both Anita Krumins and I made use of the opportunity
site gave to send a private message in which we asked him to remove my eighteen
haiku as well as those taken from other poets. A number of other people did
the same. At last, on June 7, Saich removed all the poems he had lifted.
progressed, Robert Wilson, owner and managing editor of Simply Haiku,
became the central figure in dealing with Saich’s
plagiarism. He contacted several other poetry sites and got their managers
to promise not to allow Saich
on board. He also contacted the search engine Google and was told how to deal
with infringements of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. When all the necessary
steps are taken, Google will remove the plagiarized content from the Internet
and make sure that any search for this content will lead instead to a note
about the plagiarism. The vehicle making possible this substitution is a
called chillingeffects.org <http://www.chillingeffects.org>, which also provides
much information about various
in the two weeks following Saich’s large-scale
plagiarism? As of June 18, 2005, The Starlite Café had not made any
mention, direct or indirect, of Saich’s fraud. Like before, the home
page simply refers readers to a general statement of Copyrights Around The
On the other
the reborn Poet’s Castle has an “Important Newsflash!” at
the start of the home page that states:
It has come to our notice that some poems appearing on this
site may not be the works of the original artist or artists. This is contrary
ethics and will not be tolerated.
Poet’s Castle <http://www.poetscastle.com/home.asp>
would like to apologize to any poet that has had their work displayed on
without their consent or credit.
We have removed
any known offending poems from display.
Should any poetry appear on this site that is not attributable
to the contributor, or has not been credited to the author with their consent,
please contact us
with the details of the offending poem and contributor.
surprisingly, SaichWorld <http://www.saichworld.com/about.asp> still has
nothing to say about copyright. The site, however, continues with
business as usual except that its poetry
shrunk to only one haiku plus five longer poems. All seem to be Saich’s
A Shaft of Light Through The Storm Clouds
mixed with sadness that Saich’s acts had caused
soon became suffused with the light of joy. Poets I had not been in touch
with for years wrote to
me, as did ones I knew only by their work. All expressed their outrage at
what had happened and, of course, their sympathy. Their reaching out helped
reaffirm an identity which had been sullied by Saich. I suspect that the
other poets who had their work plagiarized by this rogue had a similar experience.
2005: Simply Haiku