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NBC's LIFE Ripped Me Off
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RAILhead
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Oct 8, 2008, 03:49 PM
 
Here's a weblog post I made today over at my main site, maurymccown:



I'll start this post by saying I'm no stranger to having my work copied, modified and used, and just plain stolen. I began working in the graphics business in the early 90s, and for over 10 years, I was pretty much a household name in the Apple Mac Community — and running sites with over 20,000 hits per day just stacks the odds against you that someone, somewhere, is going to snag your stuff. So in the last decade and a half, I've had all manner of work "Used Without Permission," from web graphics, to fonts, to photos, to interface elements, etc., etc.

But last night was a first.

My wife and I are fans of the NBC show LIFE, and last night we were catching-up on last week's episode, "Everything...All The Time." If you don't watch the show, I'd recommend it. But anyway, at the very end of the show, Crews pulls over Jack Reese and they chit-chat for a sec. When Reese drives off, the camera zooms in on the back windshield of the car — all of this beginning around 42:08 in the episode (on a commercial free version). For 44 frames (or around 1.5 seconds), you see this:



When that briefly flashed on the screen, I had Karen rewind and pause the TiVo so I could get a good look. I knew that PCB trace pattern. Why? Because it was mine, dadgummit!

Since I keep records of everything I do (since I'm used to getting my stuff nabbed), I pulled up my old PCB drawings to confirm my suspicions (which really weren't suspicions, because I knew this was mine). Sure enough, it was the final trace image for my not-in-production, dirty boost effect, code named "Bustierre" (cool name, eh?) — I recognized the tell-tale "2:35pm" traces in the center. Upon further research, I found that I posted this image on my old blog back on August 14, 2007. On the same day, I posted an image of the etched PCB on my old blog as well as on my Flickr page. Here are my original images:





HOLY CRAP, eh? That's what I thought. Notice how the pad in the upper right corner is cut in half, just like mine. But really, any dummkopf can PLAINLY see this is EXACTLY my trace image. I mean, there's no ifs ands or buts about it — it's a total rip of my design. The only thing that was done is that the image was skewed and the traces were made thinner. But to do that, my original image was either taken from my blog or my Flickr page and manipulated. To make it even more obvious, I've superimposed my original image over the one from the show:



So there you have it: the latest Maury McCown Ripoff. I guess it's cool to know so many people like and use my stuff. Like when we were in New York last year, driving through downtown, and I saw 7 stores using my fonts for their signs — without permission, of course. I see a lot of my stuff all over the place, but the sad truth is, there's just not a whole lot you can do about it without spending all kinds of time and money chasing people around. CDs from major labels, DVD covers, pictures...all used and used for gain because I don't have a legal department. Oh well. Now you know why I no longer post my profit works here.

Some ripoffs, however, are so public and obvious, it's worth the effort. So if you're the putz from NBC that snagged my PCB image for LIFE, just send me the ID badge Damien Lewis' character, Charlie Crews, uses on the show — and I want it autographed. I'll call it even, then.

You have 30 days, beginning today.

You have been warned.

The draft is written, but let's not go there, eh?

Lastly, I want to remind the geniuses at NBC that what they had Crews put on Resse's car will do nothing — it's a blank and empty PCB. I guess we're supposed to think it's some kind of tracking device, but without components, it won't do jack. I'm also curious to see what happens to this "device" in future episodes, so let's be sure to see if they change it...



NICE!
"Everything's so clear to me now: I'm the keeper of the cheese and you're the lemon merchant. Get it? And he knows it.
That's why he's gonna kill us. So we got to beat it. Yeah. Before he let's loose the marmosets on us."
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Mithras
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Oct 8, 2008, 03:57 PM
 
Interesting, bummer.
Weirdly, a Google Image search for "PCB trace" shows a result from your blogspot blog, but not the same board:
http://images.google.com/images?q=pcb+trace
     
RAILhead  (op)
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Oct 8, 2008, 04:02 PM
 
Yeah, I've posted several beforehand -- and the one GIS pulls up is cooler looking than the one they "picked."
"Everything's so clear to me now: I'm the keeper of the cheese and you're the lemon merchant. Get it? And he knows it.
That's why he's gonna kill us. So we got to beat it. Yeah. Before he let's loose the marmosets on us."
my bandmy web sitemy guitar effectsmy photosfacebookbrightpoint
     
goMac
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Oct 8, 2008, 05:31 PM
 
I don't watch the show, I found it too shallow.
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hyteckit
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Oct 8, 2008, 06:39 PM
 
It's a free market. No need oversight and regulations or the courts.
Bush Tax Cuts == Job Killer
June 2001: 132,047,000 employed
June 2003: 129,839,000 employed
2.21 million jobs were LOST after 2 years of Bush Tax Cuts.
     
RAILhead  (op)
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Oct 8, 2008, 07:53 PM
 
What?
"Everything's so clear to me now: I'm the keeper of the cheese and you're the lemon merchant. Get it? And he knows it.
That's why he's gonna kill us. So we got to beat it. Yeah. Before he let's loose the marmosets on us."
my bandmy web sitemy guitar effectsmy photosfacebookbrightpoint
     
hyteckit
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Oct 8, 2008, 08:02 PM
 
Originally Posted by RAILhead View Post
What?
You hate regulations and oversight. Now you are the champion of copyright regulations?

If you hate oversight and regulations, don't bitch about others taking your design.
Bush Tax Cuts == Job Killer
June 2001: 132,047,000 employed
June 2003: 129,839,000 employed
2.21 million jobs were LOST after 2 years of Bush Tax Cuts.
     
RAILhead  (op)
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Oct 8, 2008, 08:09 PM
 
:yawn:
"Everything's so clear to me now: I'm the keeper of the cheese and you're the lemon merchant. Get it? And he knows it.
That's why he's gonna kill us. So we got to beat it. Yeah. Before he let's loose the marmosets on us."
my bandmy web sitemy guitar effectsmy photosfacebookbrightpoint
     
hyteckit
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Oct 8, 2008, 08:31 PM
 
Originally Posted by RAILhead View Post
:yawn:
Oh course.

Regulations that protects you = good
Regulations that protects your customers = bad

Did I get that right? Or do you just hate all regulations and oversight?
Bush Tax Cuts == Job Killer
June 2001: 132,047,000 employed
June 2003: 129,839,000 employed
2.21 million jobs were LOST after 2 years of Bush Tax Cuts.
     
Cold Warrior
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Oct 8, 2008, 08:40 PM
 
The pol/war fights should stay in that section.
     
hyteckit
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Oct 8, 2008, 08:50 PM
 
Gotcha!
Bush Tax Cuts == Job Killer
June 2001: 132,047,000 employed
June 2003: 129,839,000 employed
2.21 million jobs were LOST after 2 years of Bush Tax Cuts.
     
RAILhead  (op)
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Oct 8, 2008, 09:00 PM
 
SWEET! The most recent episode has my blank PCB acting as a microphone and transmitter!

And all this time, I thought it was just a boost!
"Everything's so clear to me now: I'm the keeper of the cheese and you're the lemon merchant. Get it? And he knows it.
That's why he's gonna kill us. So we got to beat it. Yeah. Before he let's loose the marmosets on us."
my bandmy web sitemy guitar effectsmy photosfacebookbrightpoint
     
Atomic Rooster
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Oct 8, 2008, 11:22 PM
 
I agree, LIFE is an excellent program.

I've got the hots for his babe partner.

By the way, life has ripped me off many times.
     
Eug
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Oct 9, 2008, 02:55 AM
 
Some ripoffs, however, are so public and obvious, it's worth the effort. So if you're the putz from NBC that snagged my PCB image for LIFE, just send me the ID badge Damien Lewis' character, Charlie Crews, uses on the show — and I want it autographed. I'll call it even, then.
Are you going to send them the letter?

That's pretty low of them. However, your request seems more than reasonable. If they had any brains, they'd jump at the chance at coming to that simple agreement with you.

BTW, if they don't respond, it'd be interesting to see what the local press could do with that story...
( Last edited by Eug; Oct 9, 2008 at 03:01 AM. )
     
Chuckit
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Oct 9, 2008, 03:00 AM
 
I've never been able to sit through more than a couple of minutes of this show because the lead actor creeps me out.

By the way, just out of curiosity, what is it bugs you about people using your stuff without permission? Is it the money, the lack of credit, the lack of respect for your intellectual property?
Chuck
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RAILhead  (op)
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Oct 9, 2008, 07:01 AM
 
Originally Posted by Chuckit View Post
I've never been able to sit through more than a couple of minutes of this show because the lead actor creeps me out.

By the way, just out of curiosity, what is it bugs you about people using your stuff without permission? Is it the money, the lack of credit, the lack of respect for your intellectual property?
Intellectual property, mostly. This doesn't really bother me that much, mainly because it's so absurd.

I mainly don't like it when people use my photos and fonts for their businesses, blatantly using them for-profit without permission or license fees.
"Everything's so clear to me now: I'm the keeper of the cheese and you're the lemon merchant. Get it? And he knows it.
That's why he's gonna kill us. So we got to beat it. Yeah. Before he let's loose the marmosets on us."
my bandmy web sitemy guitar effectsmy photosfacebookbrightpoint
     
RAILhead  (op)
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Oct 9, 2008, 07:01 AM
 
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
Are you going to send them the letter?

That's pretty low of them. However, your request seems more than reasonable. If they had any brains, they'd jump at the chance at coming to that simple agreement with you.

BTW, if they don't respond, it'd be interesting to see what the local press could do with that story...
Yes, we're prepped to send the letter -- and I'll be sending it out by week's end.
"Everything's so clear to me now: I'm the keeper of the cheese and you're the lemon merchant. Get it? And he knows it.
That's why he's gonna kill us. So we got to beat it. Yeah. Before he let's loose the marmosets on us."
my bandmy web sitemy guitar effectsmy photosfacebookbrightpoint
     
Eriamjh
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Oct 9, 2008, 07:20 AM
 
Is that generic circuit artwork or actual circuit artwork (does it have a real schematic and application)? It looks like just a bunch of discrete thru-hole components (no ICs) and incomplete to boot (Can you tell I'm a EE?).

One problem is if your work gets out onto the net, there is nothing stopping someone from googling it, and using it. It could come from anywhere (someone who linked to you artwork or copied it locally).

You may not be able to get any money, but you can probably send them a cease-and-desist letter. Pretend you are like Apple and have a hundred high-priced lawyers.

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RAILhead  (op)
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Oct 9, 2008, 07:26 AM
 
Originally Posted by Eriamjh View Post
Is that generic circuit artwork or actual circuit artwork (does it have a real schematic and application)? It looks like just a bunch of discrete thru-hole components (no ICs) and incomplete to boot (Can you tell I'm a EE?).

One problem is if your work gets out onto the net, there is nothing stopping someone from googling it, and using it. It could come from anywhere (someone who linked to you artwork or copied it locally).

You may not be able to get any money, but you can probably send them a cease-and-desist letter. Pretend you are like Apple and have a hundred high-priced lawyers.
Heh, I'm not worried about getting any money -- I just want an autograph.

And yes, that's an actual, working, personally made and designed circuit. Like I said in my post, it's for a boost effect pedal I build.
"Everything's so clear to me now: I'm the keeper of the cheese and you're the lemon merchant. Get it? And he knows it.
That's why he's gonna kill us. So we got to beat it. Yeah. Before he let's loose the marmosets on us."
my bandmy web sitemy guitar effectsmy photosfacebookbrightpoint
     
- - e r i k - -
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Oct 9, 2008, 07:32 AM
 
Personally I would think this was just cool. Some designer obviously found your design and found it to be cool "looking" enough for a prop.

If this were a big company making a boost pedal out of your design and making lots of money of it I could understand getting angry. But like some random blog using my photos (which are all CC'd), do like me, smile and take it as a compliment and move on.

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RAILhead  (op)
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Oct 9, 2008, 07:42 AM
 
And that's pretty much what I always do -- like I said in my post, I'm used to this.

I guess some of you may be reading that I'm angry about this -- but I was hoping my comments about wanting just an autograph, etc., showed I wasn't. Yes, it's totally cool that mine was "picked" -- but it's still nice to get recognition.

The trace image for my io Super-Distortion is cooler looking though...
"Everything's so clear to me now: I'm the keeper of the cheese and you're the lemon merchant. Get it? And he knows it.
That's why he's gonna kill us. So we got to beat it. Yeah. Before he let's loose the marmosets on us."
my bandmy web sitemy guitar effectsmy photosfacebookbrightpoint
     
- - e r i k - -
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Oct 9, 2008, 07:50 AM
 
Yeah. I kind of got that from your post. But there were some undertones of threats there too

It's an opportunity to post things like this to the internet. If they are cool they'll give you an "official" recognition, but it's nothing I'd lose sleep over waiting for.

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Eriamjh
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Oct 9, 2008, 12:07 PM
 
Artwork is artwork. Go for some cash or a chance to meet the stars. I think that if you made a beef about the design, they would change it enough to say it isn't yours and they aren't "using it" anymore.

You could go after DVD sales.

The best approach will yeild the best results. You can't be angry with them or threatening or they'll just fight back. You want them to be reconciliatory (Is that a word? Well, it is now!).

I'm a bird. I am the 1% (of pets).
     
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Oct 9, 2008, 12:10 PM
 
If you don't defend it, don't you lose the rights to it?

Also, you don't want the reputation that it's ok to steal your work. Better to be known as the hard but fair guy instead of the pushover IP ATM.
     
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Oct 9, 2008, 12:18 PM
 
Ask for a guest spot on the show!
     
olePigeon
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Oct 9, 2008, 12:36 PM
 
OH OH! Yeah. You could be a dead body.
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Mithras
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Oct 9, 2008, 12:51 PM
 
I get Life mixed up with Fox's New Amsterdam. Similar shtick, I guess:
Imperturbable detective, back on the force after years of difficulty, who utters Zen-like koans and has millions in the bank.

One's New York and the other L.A., I guess. And of course the Life guy, despite the title, isn't immortal.
     
RAILhead  (op)
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Oct 9, 2008, 12:53 PM
 
Dude, it would be AWESOME to be a dead guy on the show.

And no, no defense does NOT equal loss of rights.
"Everything's so clear to me now: I'm the keeper of the cheese and you're the lemon merchant. Get it? And he knows it.
That's why he's gonna kill us. So we got to beat it. Yeah. Before he let's loose the marmosets on us."
my bandmy web sitemy guitar effectsmy photosfacebookbrightpoint
     
olePigeon
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Oct 9, 2008, 01:37 PM
 
Do something funny, like you had an aneurism during sex. So you died in a Captain Morgan pose.
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you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods,
you will understand why I dismiss yours." - Stephen F. Roberts
     
Big Mac
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Oct 10, 2008, 05:37 AM
 
Write a demand letter and see if NBC complies. LOL.

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olePigeon
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Oct 10, 2008, 11:35 AM
 
Send them a DMCA takedown notice and demand they remove the entire show.
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Oct 10, 2008, 03:57 PM
 
Demand Eleventy Billions Dollars.



-t
     
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Oct 13, 2008, 01:07 PM
 
Sarah Sahai so yummy.
     
   
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