Musings from an Indie writer/artist/music-lover...
A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way.
I have been pondering a legal issue the last few days. Sometime more than a year ago, I gave permission for use of a piece of short prose about the street where I grew up to be used on the website of a musician with whom I had contact. At the time, this person was friendly and offered stimulating conversation in a group we were both involved with. So, I thought it would be nice to put in my little piece to add along with several other people (not professional writers) to let him post on his website. I checked the site first. It was inviting and friendly, and mainly about his music.
Well, not too long after that, this same person became very contradictory about a difference in beliefs (which beliefs are not important, really) and the more the conversation progressed, the more insulting he became. I never once insulted his beliefs. I don't do that. I simply ask that mine aren't insulted, either.
It ended with my telling him that I could no longer discuss the issue, and to please take my work off his site because he was posting inflammatory things about my beliefs in his site's guest book. I think this was a fair request.
He didn't remove it.
The other day, I googled my pen name (I read somewhere this is a good practice to be sure your work is not being used elsewhere without permission) and found that my work is still there and that he is still bashing my beliefs.
I do not want any association with this site, as I feel it could be potentially harmful to my career, not to mention the personal insult. Instead of emailing, since I do not want him to have my email address, I posted a simple note in his guestbook to ask him to take it down. Not only did he not take it down, he deleted my post.
So I'm left wondering if it would be worth a lawyer's expense to take care of it. There is now a statement on his site saying that all posts to his site are HIS property and he may leave them or delete them at his own inclination. I can't say that it was there before, but my work was not a simple guest book post. I think he has no right to continue using it on his site now that I have pulled my permission. We had no contract and there was no payment. How can he tell me my work belongs to him?
I've been searching for writing guilds/associations today. The National Women's Writer's Association has free simple legal advice, upon paid membership fees. I'm thinking this could be a good thing for a writer to have. Of course, I'm not sure of the extent of legal help they offer, but I know paying a lawyer outright is darn expensive, if you can even find one who will care about such a "small" matter. I couldn't even find one who wanted to take on an insurance company when we lost our car to a neighbor's tree. Can you tell I don't have a lot of faith in getting any real help with this?
In the meantime, I'm behind with everything here on the site, and off. My apologies for being away from other journals. I have two black days in a row already this month! Today, I take down the Christmas tree. It's way past time.