NEW YORK--()--A 9/11 poet and artist have reached an out-of-court settlement resolving their claims that the composer Libby Larsen had wrongfully copied a poem and artwork they had created in response to the tragic events of 9/11 and incorporated them into a composition that Larsen titled “Sifting Through the Ruins.”
“Missing: Streetscape Of A City in Mourning”
Following 9/11, Alicia Vasquez, a New York-based poet, wrote a poem titled “Don’t look for me anymore.” The poem was thumb-tacked to a memorial wall at Grand Central Station and later silkscreened on an exhibit wall as part of the show “Missing: Streetscape of a City in Mourning” at the New York Historical Society. The composers Richard Pearson Thomas and Lisa Holsberg scored the poem with Vasquez’s consent as part of a September 11th CD and performance series called “Race for the Sky.”
About one month after 9/11, Hilary North, who worked at Aon, which was located in the South Tower of the WTC, and who was late for work on the morning of 9/11, created a collage composed of her WTC ID card, an invitation to an Aon memorial service, and 19 pages of notes she had written on an Aon notepad in the days immediately following 9/11. North made the notes when calling the Aon survivor hotline and networking with her friends and colleagues over the course of 2-3 weeks following 9/11 to see who had escaped and who was missing. She never imagined that her notes would ultimately become a piece of artwork, or that someone might copy them.
North’s artwork, which is titled “9/11 Notes,” was displayed at an exhibition called “Extreme Drawing” at the Hudson Guild Gallery in New York. She subsequently donated the collage to the New York Historical Society and it also was included in the “Missing: Streetscape Of A City in Mourning” exhibit. North’s notes were also featured in a program on the History Channel called “Relics From The Rubble.”
When the copyright claim first came to light, Larsen immediately issued an apology through her attorney and agreed to resolve the matter amicably. As part of the settlement, Larsen paid the 9/11 poet and artist an undisclosed amount in compensation.
“I am happy Libby Larsen came forward to resolve this issue in a forthright manner and for acknowledging my ownership in the poem and Hilary’s ownership in her collage,” said Alicia Vasquez. “The 9/11 poem and collage were our profoundly personal responses to the September 11 catastrophe and its aftermath, which we experienced firsthand. I am very pleased to have successfully resolved this dispute. The collage I created belongs to those who perished on 9/11 and those who survived the event, and I have donated what I ultimately received to the National September 11th Memorial and Museum and the Women’s Studio Workshop in Upstate New York,” said Hilary North.
“I am glad I registered the copyright in my poem with the U.S. Copyright Office shortly after I wrote it. I encourage all poets and artists to register their copyrights with the U.S. Copyright Office. It’s quick and easy,” said Alicia Vasquez.