Totally stunned by the email yesterday. Shock and awe, even.
The restitution for the alleged copyright infraction was listed as $30,000 but keeping it out of court it would be reduced to $5,000.
i’m not making this up.
i found the post in question (the email contained a screen shot and link) from nearly 6.5 years prior.
What was insanely weird is how i attributed it.
i quickly got to the root of the issue – i had typed the blog post from a photocopied poem i received (yes, a pice of paper) somewhere at Disney between 1996 and 2008. The photocopy attributed it to “Anonymous”.
In 2008, i wanted to organize (to write a book) several boxes and folders of keepsakes, mostly quotes, newspaper articles, postcards, things i had written – all back before the rise of social media. Weeks later, i had organized two three-ring binders with 365 pages combined. Each binder holds six-months worth of pages, and divided with six tabs (12 total) for each month of the year. The 12 monthly categories are labeled:
Simplicity • Peace • Self-Control • Love • Goodness • Humility • Hope • Forgiveness • Patience • Faith • Thoughtfulness • Joy
The goal was to write a book for our children, containing all the wisdom i gained.
A fan of the page-a-day books and desktop calendars, my original book idea would mirror that format. One-thought a day, and my interpretation of it’s importance and applicability.
Both binders were completed with all the stuff i had, yet there are many blank pages in which i can add more. The binders continue to this day to remain unused.
But a few events in late 2008 triggered the memory of a 30-year old, unfulfilled promise.
i still have the 2007 folder i labeled “web log”, and the email solicitation for a $79 seminar to learn how to “blog”, which my Disney leader at the time didn’t think was a good use of our training & development budget. On a side note, Disney doesn’t have deep pockets (nor much operational bandwidth for being away from your operation) for external training.
Fast forward to April Fools Day 2009, i began writing five daily, differently-themed blog posts. Fifty days into it (May 20, 2009), and probably just looking for some creative ideas, i came across the poem and typed it by hand (no Internet search and then cut and paste. And, to get it exactly right – the way it was typed on the paper – i attributed it to “Anonymous”.
Anyway, i called right away, left a message with the author, and her attorney returned my call quickly. That was yesterday, Friday, October 30, 2015. He was nice, patient, and he said he had a much clearer picture of what happened.
He will call me Monday after he has some time to think and speak with the author.
He and the author are concerned that my business profited from the poem. i reminded him that today is my one-year retirement anniversary and that prior to that all five blogs were personal. In fact, i told him, all five blogs (even the one on my “Speaker site” jeffnoel.com) remain personal blogs.
What changed after i retired, was i added a landing page on each blog which gives the reader two options:
(1.) Click away to jeffnoel.com (my business site) or (2.) use the provided hyperlink to access my personal blog posts.
He was very nice and i asked him if he has any children. Two sons, he said, a teen (he adopted) and a one-year old.
The voice message i left the author (the only phone number provided) and the conversation with the attorney revolved around granting forgiveness and me literally begging for Grace and Mercy. i was close to being in tears. Perhaps TMI (too much information), but certainly not untrue.
i do recall telling him that if i felt i had willfully done anything inappropriate that i would write the check immediately. i have not profited a single penny. This was one of my first posts in a sea of 2,700+ posts (and 12k posts total) at Mid Life Celebration. Yesterday Google analytics attributed 20 visitors, most are family and friends.
Anyway, what a long riff. Very therapeutic by the way. Which is why i’ve written every day for 2,400+ consecutive days.
Will wait patiently for his call Monday.
i can’t help but wonder if his 14-year old and my 15-year old would agree or disagree with wanting me to pay $5000. If the shoe was on the other foot and the innocent circumstances were identical, would they say, “Here’s the check, sorry for the copyright infringement.”.
Note to self: Attorney stated that when they noticed me showing up in search results (competing against and taking space away from the author), that’s when they came after me. Yesterday as soon as we hung up, and this morning, i Googled The Dash and found nothing on the first 12 pages.
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