I’m Back

Well, it has been about a year since I have written a blog post. I apologize for leaving without notice, but when you get threatened with a law suit because of something you have written, it takes  the wind out of your sail.

A few years ago I wrote a post about how names for certain items have changed over the years. For example, no one ever says “pocketbook” anymore.  I haven’t heard anyone use the word, “dungarees” in a long time either. And that  was what my blog post was about. I also mentioned “peddle pushers” and how they are called something else now…(afraid to even mention the word).

In June 2014, I received an email


Dear Vickie,
     Since you are misrepresenting inaccurate historical facts about the inventor,  **********,  and the invention of the ***** which also includes a trademark violation, we ask you kindly to Email us your address.
Thank you,
(The Lawyer’s name)
(The person’s company)
     Well, needless to say, this email took my breath away.  I was going to be sued for what? I didn’t use a photo that didn’t belong to me in this blog post, and only mentioned that another designer started selling these types of pants in his boutique during the 1940’s. The designer, who is in his/her 90’s right now, must have had a case of sour grapes because I did not mention him/her as the inventor of these types of pants, and as a result of said omission, sent me this email. As I read through the blog post for the tenth time, I realized I did nothing wrong at all. I immediately googled this person’s name and saw where he/she also wrote on other people’s blogs to kindly remove the inaccurate statements or else. I then realized it was a case of sour grapes. I am sure it would tend to get old when another designer gets credit for something you designed.
So, I wrote back.

Dear (Mr. Lawyer Guy),

    I apologize if you feel I was misrepresenting historical facts about the inventor, **********, and the invention of the ******. Please note that I never mentioned (his/her)  name, and only stated that (the other designer) “introduced” the **** pants in his boutique. I never said he invented them.  There is no trademark violation.
   Although I did nothing wrong, I removed the blog post.
     Although I then knew I did not violate anything except creating more anguish for an elderly person who never really got the kudos  deserved, I decided to mark Jumping in Mud Puddles private until I could calm down a bit. I then began reading where bloggers were being sued or charged for using photos without permission. Oh, that’s just great.
     A lot bloggers use photos found on the internet. I personally try to give credit to the photographer, but evidently, that isn’t good enough. Several bloggers have been sued for as much as $8,000 for using a photo. I also used photos from Wikipedia, with credit given, but that is not always full proof either. So, I decided to go through each blog post and delete photos unless they were my own. Needless, to say, it has taken a very long time as I have other irons in the fire.
     But, I’m back…sort of. I hope to pick up and continue writing as much as I can. I still have many blog posts marked private because I want to read every sentence of every blog post….. just in case.  I am now only using my own photos. This editing process has been long and quite boring, and there were months were I didn’t edit at all, so please excuse my inconsistency for a while.

14 responses to this post.

  1. Welcome back. I looked for you not too long ago and decided you had gone underground. I am glad you have re-surfaced.


  2. Posted by Bill on February 20, 2015 at 7:59 am

    Welcome back!

    I’m afraid I still use the word “pocketbook”. When my wife passed away I kept her pocketbook and even take it with me on trips. We used to travel a lot together.

    I found your comments on getting sued very interesting. I am writing a book on closed toe sandals with my daughter and we are concerned with giving credit for photos used. I have gotten permission to use photos from everyone except a lawyer from Random House (Whinny the Pooh with Christopher Robins wearing strap shoes), and PBS (a picture from the Barney series).

    Actually, any photo before 1923 is in the public domain and can be used without permission. The law is more complicated after this date.

    It sounds like you did nothing wrong. I have a statement that says if I made an error, I will remove anything that is wrong. Just because you were threatened with a suit for $8,000 doesn’t mean they will collect it. The judge would have ruled in your favor.
    Bill Bolen


    • Thanks, Bill. I honestly believe the designer was old and confused and I don’t believe for a moment a lawyer wrote that email. But, in the end, I did use MANY photos without explicit permission from the owners and it scared me.

      I didn’t know the date for public domain photos. Thank you for sharing that information. Good luck with your book!!


  3. Posted by Donna on February 19, 2015 at 2:04 pm

    So sorry you had to deal with this. Unbelievable.


  4. Yikes! Most recreational bloggers probably rarely think about such things!


  5. Oh, Vickie, what a nightmare. I’m glad you’re back. I’ve wondered where you were.


  6. Holy cow! I’m toast! Good for you for writing back. People will sue for any damn thing!


  7. Posted by Lisa on February 19, 2015 at 10:07 am

    whoa! This definitely makes me take step back and look more closely at my own blogging.


    • For sure! It’s a scary thought. I read where a blogger just used a map of some sort and the lawyer of the owner of the photo basically sent a letter saying “You owe $8,000 for using my photo.” They settled for $5,000. Yikes.


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