This is a story about the death of the On Pasture Funnies.
A few weeks ago, I got a letter from a law firm that specializes in finding and prosecuting copyright violations. This kind of work has become quite an industry over the last few years, and there’s even a name for it: “Copyright trolls.” The practice is that they find something on a website and send a really scary letter. Then they tell you it can all go away if you just pay them.
Now, copyright trolls might not even represent the actual copyright holder. Their success relies on intimidation and on trying to pick a dollar figure that they think you can afford and is lower than what you’d have to pay if you went to court to defend yourself.
In this case, On Pasture was targeted for one of our “Funnies” from 2016. I’ve worked really hard to ensure we don’t violate anyone’s intellectual property rights and believed that the pictures I used were fine. But the copyright trolls wanted $6,000, or $2,000 each for the three photos.
Copyright trolls hope you won’t call a lawyer. But after looking online and learning a bit about the firm that sent the letter, I decided a lawyer was my best bet. Fortunately, I found someone right here in Tucson who had time and who had a lot of experience with this sort of thing. For $495, he sent a four page letter citing all the law and precedent that demonstrated why my use was fair and legal. And then he told them that we might file a counterclaim and pointed out all the reasons why we would likely win. It was a BEAUTIFUL letter!
Still, when he updated me on the progress of my case, he wasn’t sure that it would work out in my favor. The copyright trolls have lots of resources, and he feared that they might go forward anyway. In that case we’d have to figure out how to settle, hopefully for a smaller fee. Going to court was really out of the question because of the costs involved.
I got lucky though. The copyright trolls blinked first. They wrote back saying, “Having completed our analysis of the defense for you, we concur that the use was Fair” and they closed the case.
That’s good news. But copyright trolls are everywhere now, and I can’t afford to defend myself every time something comes up. So, I’ve looked through the media files at On Pasture, and determined that the safest thing for me to do is to end the Funnies.
Not only do the funnies hold the most potential danger, I have to tell you that they take a lot of effort. You wouldn’t believe how much time I spend combing the internet for something to tickle your funny bone. And I could probably spend that time to better advantage finding you something that will improve your pastures and management and increase your profit.
I’m really sorry, mostly because I know from watching the stats on a Tuesday that the funnies are the first thing that many of you read. (Imagine my chagrin at that, after I’ve worked extra hard on a particular article!) So, I hope you’ll understand the change and continue to support and read On Pasture for all the other great information we provide.
Take care and be safe!