So yesterday I get these legal notice in the mail that someone had used one of my copyrighted images along with many other artists images and they were being used in advertisements by different companies. One of a series of birthstone bears I had made a couple years ago and although I sold the bears to someone to use on the computer, with provisions that they could no be resold or used for profit in any way, my standard contract, I always retain my own copyright. Anyway someone had picked up my hidden watermark and turned it it to my licensing company who was also the same ones that licensed the other artists. The licensing company brought a class action law suit on our behalf (I didn't even know this was going on until yesterday) and reached a settlement with the company that stole them yesterday for 15 million dollars. Now keep in mind I already have my share spent by the time I picked up the phone to call the licensing company attorney, who assured me that my check would be in the mail by Monday. The amount calculated to be distributed to us artists was determined after legal fees, the companies fees for bringing the law suit and of course court costs. The remainder would be split between the artists. The whole time he is talking I have visions of all that I am going to do with that money, not frivolous things but things I need and can't buy. I can finally get all moved to Nashville, get my new glasses, get a new car, buy my son a car, go visit my family.....well you get the picture. So I ask him if the amounts had been calculated yet that would be distributed, he said yes and each one of us could expect to receive a check for $25 in the mail in the next ten days. $25 out of a 15 million dollar settlement!!! Almost all of the money went to the attorneys and the company for their "fees". Guess I'm going to have to change my plans a little.
Then today I open my email and have a letter from an attorney that my "likeness" and something I said on a Facebook status (God, I hope they at least stole something I said that was nice!) was being used for advertisement purposes, it had also happened to other people three of whom had seen theirs and hired an attorney for yet another class action suit. It was investigated and that is how they found the rest of us. They are trying to reach a settlement for 20 million dollars with Facebook for allowing the information to be stolen by the way they have things set up. But the kicker is, again by the time all is said and done we would only receive $5 to $10 each after attorney fees, court fees, etc. and if anymore people are found in the meantime and our share drops below that $5 then it will be considered unfeasible to to send out the shares and the money will go to a charity. So out of two settlements for a grand total of 35 million dollars I would come out with a whopping $30-$35. I am thinking the second one is probably a hoax and not even bothering with putting in my claim, it would eat up my reward just by buying a stamp and going to mail the claim. I replied with an email "somehow I find THAT unfeasible, and I would much rather have a cut of the profits that any company makes that is using my image and would they kindly send me the list of companies using it so I can handle the matter myself?" I figure if you put your picture publicly on any social network for millions to see in the first place then you obviously aren't that concerned with that picture being used or stolen, what the hell do I care if someone steals it?
I am always amazed at the people on FB who fall for all the scams out there, and I'm not saying the one above is, it could be legit I don't know, haven't bothered to check and won't. I get so amused when someone posts and then others repost the same thing over and over again on FB. It's so simple to check it out first before cluttering up my page with the nonsense. The amusement comes from wondering just who has the time to come up with these hoaxes, some rather elaborate, and why they do it when they stand to gain nothing at all from it.
Last night we got the munchies about 2am, no pot involved. Of course not a single bag of the five different types of chips in the pantry, the two packages of crackers with cheese, the banana bread I made, the cheesecake brownies I made, the two bags of candy or the ice cream in the freezer would do. I just had to have a Hot Mamma sausage, the boys just had to have cheese dip and of course we all needed a candy bar. I became the poster child for "The People of Walmart", I was not getting dressed to go nor was I going to trust either one of Satan's children to pick out my Hot Mamma, they always get the wrong one. So I went in my pj's, my knit boot house slippers with the little furry pom poms that hang off the back of the furry top and threw a purple coat over all of it and out I went. I thought we could quietly and quickly slip in and get our snacks and no one would even notice us. It might have worked had the Devil's Advocate not announced loudly as we were going in the door that "all these people look creepy". Creepy, seriously? So I replied back to him, my voice rising with each word: "Hello? Have you not looked at us? Do you really not see that we look like we live in the last trailer in Shady Lawns Mobile Home Park, the one they put in the back because it is too horrible to be seen from the main road, with the broken down pick up trucks in the yard, the kiddie swimming pool with the broken side and green water from three years ago still in it, the missing step going up to the weathered "porch", the broken porch light globe and the pit bull tied to the tongue hitch to keep our meth lab from being found?" By now the woman who does nothing but stand and wait for one of the self check out machines to fuck up, several other customers and the door greeter are looking at us. We amble on back to the chip aisle to get our dip and some idiot has placed a display of chips right around the corner which I promptly walk into and knock over because I was trying to untangle one of my fuzzy pom pom's(hey, if you wear the pom's they must be able to freely swing!) and not paying attention to where I was walking. More attention directed our way, it probably didn't help that we are all laughing hysterically at this point. I could just hear the conversation between the door greeter and the self check out lady: "Do you think they are alright?" "Nah, meth heads for sure, someone should turn that lady in for letting those kids get that fucked up" "Maybe, we should call the police?" "Why, they will just be gone before they get here and how are we going to describe them, two of them look just alike?" "Well, the lady can't be that hard to find with that green nail polish she has on" "Well I'm not calling because I'm pretty sure I saw some budding horns on those kids" "Well maybe they are deformed from the meth use" "Nah, they are evil, I can smell it coming off their bodies" "No, that's Axe body spray, all the kids wear it, it's one of our biggest sellers"