Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Thief Steals Copyrighted Picture Then Eats the Evidence

It was a windy, dreary, rainy day that one cold late afternoon in May. Traffic was light, few birds filled the air on this near winter-like Spring day. She was spotted sneaking past the welcome attendant at the local grocery store - (names withheld pending investigation.) She stealthily made her way past the other shoppers, making her way to the service counter, her hood covering most of her face and head. As she confronted the attendant whose frightened innocence was again evident as this event echoed a similar encounter a year earlier with the same woman.

The woman slowly withdrew her hand from her pocket. It was holding a message, a message with names and dates and directions on what to do next. The attendant took the note and followed the directions. The attendant knew that what she was doing was probably wrong, but her fear instructed her next move. Minutes later, the attendant presented the hooded woman with the package requested and withdrew from the counter.

The woman made her way from the store and into a waiting car. She was gone in just seconds as she disappeared into the soft fog of this drizzling, rainy day. Would she return again? The attendant pondered to herself, probably in another year. But she felt safer now. Then slowly the guilt started welling up within her. She could not stand it. Now she as feeling angry. Yes, almost brave as she picked up the phone and made a call to the John Smith Photography (names withheld pending investigation,) the real victims of this insidious crime.

Yes, the attendant admitted to copying one the the studio's copyrighted images. Let's call her Susan, one of the studio owners could here the remorse and shame in her voice. The caller's tone was begging for forgiveness for what she had done. She had copied a copyrighted image from John Smith Studio. Susan (names withheld pending investigation) assured the caller that all would be fine and eased her as gently as she could, off of the phone.

It was not much later that Susan received yet another call, this time from the cloaked woman herself - the thief, the criminal, the perpetrator of this onerous crime of forcing the store attendant to break federal copyright regulations. Susan was at first surprised, but listened attentively to her story. Yes, she knew this caller - it was one of her best clients!

The caller admitted that she had forced the grocery store attendant into this horrendous crime, but tried to explain that she really meant no real harm. She never thought she was breaking the law. And if she did, the evidence would soon be long since disposed of. Susan (names withheld pending investigation) listened closely to the story. She could also hear an honest sense of asking for forgiveness in the caller's voice. After all, the voice on the other end of the phone was still one of her best clients!

After hearing the entire story, Susan (names withheld pending investigation) assured the caller that no real harm was done, thanked her for the call, and told her to enjoy the birthday cake with the studio's photo image of the caller's son reproduced in the icing. The caller (names withheld pending investigation) thanked Susan (names withheld pending investigation) profusely and had a wonderful birthday party for her son, friends, and rest of the family. After wishes were made and the candles blown out, all the evidence was consumed with out a trace remaining.

This is the end of story. Yes, it was a true story as related to me by our Columbus friends (names withheld pending investigation) we visited last week. The facts may have been massaged just a bit to enhance the flavor of the story, but the bakery attendant did call the studio, put the hooded customer on the phone who explained "that she was doing no wrong as the evidence was going to be eaten anyway". Susan (names withheld pending investigation) gave the OK and with tummy's filled, everyone lived happily ever after.

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