Shrinking The Planet – One Ride At A Time

I Stole Your Stuff, You Should Thank Me!

Imagine you have always wanted to build a personal adventure bike.  A bike that does all the things that you think are important very, very well.  It is perfect for both the pavement and gravel.  It’s powerful but also lightweight and extremely agile.  You gather your thoughts and set to the task of building this machine.  Using all of your knowledge and capability, hard earned over years of on and off road experiences all over the world, you build the bike of your dreams and put it out in front of your house with some close up pictures to show people what you’ve created and what others can do if they try.

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Free image courtesy of Pixabay.com

Then without permission or warning, a person takes your bike, puts it in the back of a pickup truck and drives all over the world charging people $1 to see it.   He also posts it online and sells magazine subscriptions using your handcrafted personally created bike to support his publication.  Then, one day you see your bike in the back of the pickup and give chase.  Finally, the driver stops.  You get out of your car and knock on the window of the pickup and tell the driver you want your bike back immediately!  If he does not return it, you will contact the authorities.

The driver of the pickup looks you in the eye and with a degree of indignation says, “You selfish rotten person. I always tell the people who pay to see the bike, that you built it and that you took the pictures of it.  I even put it online and give you credit for both the bike and the pictures.  No matter what, I always give you credit for the awesome machine that you built.  People deserve to see this awesome machine, so I am publishing it to the world and under the Constitution and right of Free Press, I have a right to do what I am doing.  Oh and by the way, go ahead and call the authorities, all you will do is ensure that we will receive more subscriptions to see what and how we are going to handle this situation.”

Does all of this seem far fetched? I wish it were, but the above analogy is taken from a situation experienced by a friend of mine, Lisa Morris and her fiance’ Jason Spafford.  A few years ago, Lisa and Jason decided to chuck the 9 – 5 grind, sold almost everything they owned and departed on a wandering world wide riding adventure.  To them, the adventure is more important than living a rooted, established life.  That doesn’t mean that they aren’t working.  No, in fact they are working very hard.  On a daily basis, the deal with the ups and downs of overlanding far from home (the UK) in many different foreign countries, using the only the money they earned from the articles and pictures they create for various magazines and their website; Twowheelednomad.com.  This is how they make their living.

So it came as a shock to me when Lisa reported that she had been told that one of her articles had been published by an online publication that did not pay her for the use of her article or pay for the use of Jason’s pictures.  She looked online and found that the online publication had indeed published her article.  The publication did not even have the decency to contact her to ask her if they could use it.  Annoyed, Lisa contacted the “publisher” and asked that the article be removed.  Even more surprisingly, Lisa received a scathing and indignant email in return.  The “publisher” proceeded to make a number of bewildering “points” that he had the right to use her work and she should be thankful for it!  Portions of the email indicated:

  • …we did you a favor by allowing other readers to enjoy your article…
  • …how many other Independent Magazine Companies have done the same thing that we did?  Are you going after everyone who read your article and talked about (it) they met through simple conversation?
  • …you use the internet, which by the way is a FREE enterprise to all.
  • …we try to reach out to all readers of the motorcycle community both (sic) men women and future riders without discrimination or riding style we will not apologize for adding your article to our magazine (emphasis added).
  • …be aware that under a constitution and the right of FREE PRESS we can use it as long as you are recognized as the author and you took the photos.
  • …don’t tell us that what we did for you is wrong or not right.  We did you a favor, not an insult.
  • I wish to thank you because all you did was draw attention to (the publication) and I am sure we will receive more subscriptions from this…
  • Our 20,000 readers of our Magazine don’t need to hear any of this and our Radio and Live stream TV shows of over 50,000 viewers and listeners will never know how selfish you are by not allowing your story to be told.
  • He closes his email with the tagline “See you on the road” TM which would seem to indicate that he has a desire to protect his claimed tagline through trademark protection.

Wow, I couldn’t believe my eyes.  Could someone who claims to be a “publisher” be so misinformed and spiteful?  What could possibly drive someone to conclude that they can take someone’s work product and use it without cost for their own use and perhaps financial gain?  So let’s just take a look at what was reportedly in the email and try to figure out why this person thinks this way.

  •  …we did you a favor by allowing other readers to enjoy your article…
    • So ensuring that others can enjoy Lisa’s work overrides Lisa’s right to compensation for her work and she should be happy about it?
  • …how many other Independent Magazine Companies have done the same thing that we did?
    • So others do wrong things, therefore I have the right to do wrong?
  • Are you going after everyone who read your article and talked about (it) they met through simple conversation?
    • Isn’t there a difference between people discussing a topic versus publishing someone else’s work work without permission or payment so you can personally benefit?
  • …you use the internet, which by the way is a FREE enterprise to all.
    • So is he saying if it’s on the internet, anyone can use content without permission from the author and/or any payment?
  • …be aware that under a constitution and the right of FREE PRESS we can use it as long as you are recognized as the author and you took the photos.
    • What can this mean?  We assume he means the United States Constitution but could he be so confused about the right of the free press?  Could he actually not understand the difference between freedom of the press and unauthorized publication of copyrighted content?  Isn’t an article published after 1989 covered by copyright protection for 95 years after publication?
  • I wish to thank you because all you did was draw attention to (the publication) and I am sure we will receive more subscriptions from this…
    • So is the “publisher” now actually indicating that he used to content to gain more subscriptions, sell advertising or benefit financially?  Was his intent actually to publish Lisa’s article for the benefit of others or just lining his pockets more?
  • Our 20,000 readers of our Magazine don’t need to hear any of this and our Radio and Live stream TV shows of over 50,000 viewers and listeners will never know how selfish you are by not allowing your story to be told.
    • Can he really be calling Lisa selfish because she worked hard, created something of value and would like to be asked for permission publish and be paid for its use?
  • He closes his email with the tagline “See you on the road” TM which would seem to indicate that he has a desire to protect his claimed tagline through trademark protection.
    • If the “publisher” feels it important to trademark his tagline and therefore retain control over its use, wouldn’t he want to give the same respect and protection to another fellow publisher?  Why doesn’t he feel that he owes her similar protections?

I just don’t understand where this “publisher is coming from.  It would seem that he wants protection for his published content, but it doesn’t appear he feels that similar protections are due to others.  I can’t explain it, but I do know that I am upset about it and it just doesn’t seem right.  What do you think?  Leave us a comment and let us know

 

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One response

  1. itsmewilly

    I read your article from beginning to end..It’s shameless what they did.These people have absolutely no pride . The only inventiveness they can claim is that they know how to steal.Trouble is if you want to sue it costs so much time and money and the outcome is so uncertain.Yet I wouldn’t have another solution. Personally I wouldn’t waste any more time on it. I hope your friend can put it behind her eventually and take every precaution to protect her rights if she ever publishes any of her endeavors in the future.

    Liked by 1 person

    December 23, 2016 at 3:09 pm

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