FedEx just dropped off an envelope containing the items above: a small stack of correspondence, a copy of a signed license agreement, and a check. The Nugent folks have retroactively paid for the right to print the essay of mine they published in Ted Nugent’s book “Ted, White and Blue”. My very nice lawyer sent a letter and gave them a call, they basically said “Ooops—our bad,” and we exchanged our respective ideas as to how to rectify the oversight. I asked for a particular amount (the same money I received for one-time print rights when I sold the essay for the first time, to Dillon’s Blue Press), and they agreed.
As you can see from the picture, we’re not talking a huge sum of money here, but it’s definitely not chicken scratch to a freelancer. In addition to paying for the print rights, they’re also going to give me a full attribution if they end up printing a paperback version of “Ted, White and Blue.”
My lawyer in this case was Adam Gonnelli, of Faruqi & Faruqi in New York City. He’s a very nice, very professional guy, and he kept me constantly appraised of our progress with the Nugent folks. If you have a need for legal services, I highly recommend Adam. His firm does consumer class actions, and also represents workers who do not get paid appropriate overtime, or work "off the clock" with no pay at all. This copyright issue was probably a bit out of his usual area of action, but he didn’t flinch at the comparatively minor legal issue of my dastardly plagiarism case. (Thanks again, Adam, and I’m buying the drinks the next time we’re in the same zip code together.)
So there you have it: writer’s material got borrowed without attribution or permission, reader let writer know about it, nice lawyer sent a letter, a few phone calls were made, and writer got paid for his work. Better late than never, I say.
Want an extra dollop of irony with your Sunday brunch?
Here’s an article by Ted Nugent, in which he laments intellectual property theft.
I didn’t need anyone to explain to me whether selling or giving away other people’s products without their permission was the right thing to do. Common sense is alive and well in America if you’re not stoned, drunk, greedy or just plain stupid. To think that anyone could even argue that Napster has the right to give away an artist’s product is ridiculous.
There is no reason for allowing intellectual property to enrich lives without payment to the artist or business team. I’m just an ol’ guitar player, but surely what is fair is fair. I’ll leave the mind-boggling technology to the experts, but if I want bread, I’m going to pay the baker.
Ah, but a musician is different from a writer, you see. A musician invests sweat, and years of intense effort in his work. Writers, on the other hand, just sit on their asses all day and make up stuff.
I wonder what Ted Nugent would think if I started selling CDs with his music on them? I mean, as long as I clarify that I didn’t actually sing that stuff myself, it’s fine, right? Someone forwarded me the MP3, and I thought it was good work, so I put it on my own CD of Shower Arias, Vol. XI., and credited the dude who sent me that file.
Yeah, I know he’s famous, and I’m not. A few thousand people know that I’m the guy who wrote that essay. A few million people know that he’s the dude who sang “Cat Scratch Fever”. Still, wouldn’t it be just as bad for me to include his music on my CD unasked as it is for him to include my writing in his book unasked? Or am I just being a self-important little whiner here?
Hey, kids! It’s Major Caudill again!
The good Major managed to get his essay “Why The Gun Is Civilization” quoted once again. This time, it’s in Ted Nugent’s book Ted, White, and Blue: The Nugent Manifesto. It’s reproduced in its entirety on pages 242-244, and attributed to (who else?) Maj. L. Caudill USMC (Ret.).
How about that? His stuff sure gets around, doesn’t it?
On the bright side, I can now say that one of my essays is available in bookstores nationwide. On the downside, it’s attributed to another guy, and printed without permission in the book of yet another guy.
For the record (and for those of you tuning in late in the game), I first posted the relevant essay in March 2007 on my blog here. The essay appeared in the September 2007 edition of Dillon’s Blue Press, available here. Ted Nugent’s book came out in 2008. I’d say any IP lawyer worth his salt should be able to slam-dunk this one.
A friend of mine clued me in on the fact that my “Sacred Cows” posts have been reprinted verbatim without permission or attribution in the January edition of Illinois’ “Gun News”. (It’s on page 11, as “Don’t buy THAT gun!”) The only attribution they give is to “MCKNBRD at the Appleseed forums”, who has taken it upon himself to entertain his forum friends with my blog posts…again, without attribution or permission.
Folks, it’s getting to where it’s not funny. I had committed those articles to someone else, for actual money, and these people are basically stealing the meat off my kids’ sandwiches. I don’t have the spare change to let a lawyer off the leash every time this happens, and I may just have to stop writing those gun-related essays and articles as blog posts for general consumption. I do like currency, and the bank holding our mortgage likes timely payments–something that’s much easier to accomplish when people don’t just run by the shop and swipe the sellable merchandise, so to speak.
Ugh. Is the new rule that “everything found on the Internet is automatically public domain”?