The Dash Poem, written by Linda Ellis in 1996, is copyrighted material owned by Inspire Kindness, LLC. (“Inspire Kindness”).  This means that the poem may not be printed or distributed in any form without written permission from Inspire Kindness, but we do grant permission to use the poem, without the payment of any license fee, in many circumstances for personal, not-for-profit uses described in further detail below.  Please thoroughly read our requirements below in order to ensure that your use of the poem to determine whether any payment for a license is likely to be required.

IF YOU HAVE ANY DOUBT ABOUT WHETHER YOUR USE OF THE POEM  WOULD BE PERMITTED, please do not hesitate to call 630-547-2635 or email us at – we will be happy to work with you.  But, for us, the phrase, “it’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission” is NOT acceptable.  We take copyright infringement seriously and will aggressively exercise our legal rights in the pursuit of violators.

We understand that The Dash Poem is impactful and special.  We are committed to protecting and sharing the message of the poem and making a difference in the lives of others.  But, the Dash Poem is protected by U.S. copyright laws the same way as a song, best-selling novel, textbook and, yes, believe it or not, the King James version of the Bible;  which is copyrighted by the British Crown.

Can I use the poem?

The short answer is this:  If you as an individual or as a representative of a not for profit organization are not profiting directly or indirectly from the distribution of the poem then, yes, we generally permit the use of the poem without the payment of a license fee.  However, in every single case, without exception, the following accreditations must be printed with the poem: by Linda Ellis, Copyright Inspire Kindness, LLC 1996,  Just email us at and describe how you intend to use the poem, and that your use is not for commercial purposes.  If your request is consistent with our guidelines, we will then confirm that you have been granted a royalty-free license for the use described in your email.

Can I read the poem at my event?

Reciting The Dash (with author attribution) by an individual at a non-commercial engagement is permitted.  Be sure to open your reading by acknowledging the identity of the author by stating something like: “The Dash, by Linda Ellis”

Can I print the poem in a funeral program?

Distributing written copies of the poem at a funeral is not permitted unless the funeral home is licensed by Inspire Kindness to do so.  For more information on becoming a licensed funeral home partner please contact Inspire Kindness at 630-547-2630

Can I make and distribute copies or share the poem online?

  • Corporations – Under no circumstances can anyone reproduce or share the poem for commercial purposes without a written agreement.  This includes distributing in print or digital form via magazines, newspapers, corporate newsletters, training programs, non-personal blogs, for-profit educational programs, textbooks, publications and more.  Licenses for these uses are available.  For more information email
  • Registered charity or place of worship– If you represent a registered charity or place of worship we generally grant royalty-free licenses to reproduce the poem.  As noted, email us to confirm your use is permitted and be sure to properly accredit the poem with the following:  Author, Linda Ellis, Copyright Inspire Kindness, LLC and
  • Individual – individuals may share the poem with friends and family.  This includes via email, blogs, social media, and personal letters.  The following written accreditation MUST be included with the poem – by Linda Ellis; Copyright Inspire Kindness, LLC 1996;

Inspire Kindness, LLC reserves the right to withdraw or withhold permission to any entity that has previously utilized or intends to utilize the Dash Poem. Thank you for respecting our copyrights.  We work hard to ensure that the poem retains it’s original form and message in order that it may continue to touch each person in a positive way.