Pirating Intellectual Property, Copyright Infringement or just bad taste?

Whomever said that stealing someone’s work is flattery is a liar. They are either the person stealing from other people, and in an effort not to draw attention to themselves they have decided not to fight it, or they have no feeling toward it because they have nothing authentic to protect.

While the term, “There’s nothing new under the sun” is true, there are brands created which are so specific that when you hear it, your mind travels to the what you remember about it. All of your senses are engaged in this memory.

“We are watching the landscape,” Cook said. “We like competition, as long as they don’t rip off our IP, and if they do, we’re going to go after anybody that does….We think competition is good; it makes it us all better. But we’re ready to suit up and go against anyone.”

Well, looks like Apple (AAPL) is suiting up, and against a big opponent. This morning, the iPhone maker filed suit against HTC, a Taiwanese handset manufacturer that makes a number of Android smartphones, including the operating system’s marquee device, Google’s Nexus One (Read the suits in their entirety here.)

Apple sued Google, and won. Google delivered their settlement in pennies. Well, that was mature! Alicia Keys is being sued for her hit single “Girl on Fire” by Earl Shurman for using a couplet – whatever that is, in his song, “Hey There Lonely Girl.”

Johnson & Johnson

Many people do not know that one of the Johnson’s from Johnson & Johnson created the very first self-adhesive band-aid. This means that they created the brand – band-aid. They also came up with a single red cross that would be used in symbolize emergency preparedness and first aid. Johnson & Johnson licensed its red cross to The American Red Cross organization to use it. In court many of the claims were dismissed but there was one important part of the suit that was left intact:

The judge left intact only a small part of the suit, which contends that the Red Cross purposefully interfered with Johnson & Johnson’s business relationship with two health care supply companies, Water-Jel Technologies Inc. and First Aid Only Inc. – NY Sun

Identity Crisis: Identity Christ Is

Taking someone’s work is serious. If you did not first think of it, you should not use it, period. I woke up this morning to an invitation to a book signing event that had the name “Identity Christ – Is” in the title. When I was sketching and playing around with book titles, this was exactly how I wrote it. The name of the book that came to me was, “Identity Crisis, Identity Christ Is”.

I told two people in a church that I attended, the name of the book. I remember where we were standing, and what we were talking about. These were two separate conversations. One of those people came out with a cd using my book title, and later claimed that he made it up himself.

He appeared confused that I was bringing this up to him after his cd was released. I let him know that this was no revelation from God it came from a conversation that he and I had in or around 2006. I felt betrayed because I told him the book title in confidence. I remember that we were talking about the entertainment industry and he was educating me about the undercurrent of spiritual evil in hip hop.

We began talking about personal projects and I told him in confidence the name of my book title.  It was not something original that he thought of, and it was my mistake for sharing in excitement. Believe me, this mistake has never happened again. Today was the 2nd offense where I was invited to a book signing from someone who I’ve known for eight or nine years. When I saw the name, I was so disappointed and upset. Both of these people are “nice” people. Their personality however has nothing to do with hijacking my work.

All written, photographed or other information on this website is owned by Ressurrection Graves, and cannot be used without expressed written consent.

All written, photographed or other information on this website is owned by Ressurrection Graves, and cannot be used without expressed written consent.

James Fortune came out with a cd titled, “Identity Crisis” last year. I may not have liked the similarities in our titles however I have seen the phrase, “Identity Crisis” before. I searched for the title of my book before creating it. Identity Crisis was something that was taken, and that is why I prayed for an original title. “Identity Crisis, Identity Christ Is” came to me. I searched for it, and did not find it. Not one person had a title, “Identity Christ Is” with any symbol variation or play on words. This is my original.

U.S. Copyright

According to the U.S. copyright office, you can not prevent someone from creating a book title with the same name as yours. They are considered short slogans, however there are titles that you can trademark if you intend to brand them similar to the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” or “Dummies” series. It is however bad taste to steal someone’s ideas, especially from someone who you are in the same business or personal circle with.

Ironically, I was on the phone yesterday speaking with someone about me speaking at an event, and I was discouraged from having any relationship with the person who founded the event that I suggested. The respondents non-gossipy warning was that “there is a lot of integrity to be desired” of ‘that’ person. I had been asked by said person on several occasions to do administrative work such as book plan writing and development, press releases, and other writing that would include my brand knowledge.

After I declined without any compensation the tone of the relationship changed. Over the last six months, several people have mentioned that although this person has the ability to draw a crowd, they steal others’ ideas and implement them into their “non-profit”.

Stealing Money

Equally alarming this morning, I read an article about Michael Winans Jr. which read:

Winans attracted more than 1,000 investors in 2007 and 2008, although he didn’t know them all because many were recruited by others through word of mouth. He promised 100 percent returns in two months, then used the money for personal expenses or to pay off earlier investors. About 600 people are still owed $4.7 million.

Winans, 30, is a third-generation member of one of gospel music’s first families. He’s the grandson of Delores “Mom” Winans and David “Pop” Winans Sr., and the son of Michael Winans Sr., a member of The Winans, a quartet of brothers. His uncle, Marvin Winans, gave the eulogy at Whitney Houston’s funeral. – The Huffington Post

What is not-so ironic about this situation, is that the same church where two of the members have taken my book name, is also the home church of someone who did the same thing to innocent people within the ministry, only they escaped church prosecution and were asked to be forgiven.

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They still served in ministry as leaders. I believe in forgiveness, and I pray that the person learned their lesson, but it will not bring all of those people their homes, college educations for their children, retirement money and otherwise investment portfolio back to them.

While the person did escape church prosecution the feds were not so generous. The woman was put in jail for 29 months, three years additional supervision and ordered to pay back over $34 million dollars. This was a $78 Million mortgage fraud scheme. I am not releasing the name of the church for respect of the pastors although I do not endorse or agree with allowing this woman to continue to serve in ministry.

This same woman was also chosen over me to be on a business committee to start a business ministry within the church. I submitted a proposal and was told that I could be nothing more than the secretary (although my proposal would be used) because I was not as successful as some of the other business leaders in this church.

You mean like, leading everyone to the poor house and teaching them how to wear prison jumpsuits? Or, like teaching people to be parroted and inauthentic stealing my work instead of empowering them to hear from God about their own visions, ideas, trademark brands, and businesses? This is not the will of God. But, I digress.

I remember David Duerson who was a four-time pro-bowler, NFL player with the Chicago Bears, and businessman who made 1/3 of the McDonald’s hamburgers and sausages after leaving his NFL Career. He took his company to $64 Million. The company worked like a well-oiled machine according to Duerson who sat on my massage company’s board of directors before his suicide two years ago.

When one of the manufacturers that he had a contract with did not follow through with plans it ruined his company. He was left with nothing. He took them to court and won, $34 Million. After waiting seven years, the toll of his financial loss coupled with other important life challenges were a difficult armor to bear. The company filed for bankruptcy and although he won the case, he did not see a dime before his life ended.

Identity Crisis, Identity Christ Is: A Journey To Love

Identity Crisis, Identity Christ Is: A Journey To Love

Stealing My Name

Dave who I wrote a story on last year is an amazing mentee who has contacted his old colleges, newspapers, the mayor of the city of Alexandria and many other business and political leaders to share his story of overcoming child sexual abuse at home and in foster care. Someone who read his story, an entrepreneur who reached out to him.

The entrepreneur offered Dave a platform to speak in Charlottesville, Virginia and then offered to be his “booking manager” for some outrageous percentage. When they discussed the speaking engagement that this guy is not offering him a dime for, the man looked at my website and said he wanted to name the event, “The Ressurrection of Marko Hamlin”.

intellectual property

Immediately Dave informed this man that my name is Ressurrection Graves, and that it would be inappropriate to name the event with my name in it. Dave has a powerful story and I’m sure that God can give him and this man, a new title that reflects the work that God is doing in him. There are examples of two Dr. Dre’s in the rap world but it’s both confusing and unnecessary. The Dr. Dre that most are familiar with is the one who just came out with the beats.

The other – I’m not sure of what he really does, and remember memory is what matters. I think that he may be a DJ. If my name was “Rev Res” that might be cute actually, but it is still not “Rev Run”. Necole Bitchie is catchy only because it rhymes with Nicole Ritche who is Lionel Ritchie’s daughter. And, while I don’t like that there is another person with the name Necole in the world using it for branding purposes, it exists, and it is her brand. I salute her efforts. She shares an interesting story like mine where she overcame homelessness to decided to follow her business dreams.

Rick Ross (the correctional officer turned rapper) has had to cancel shows because his life has been threatened over him stealing his pseudonym (stage name), and using other people’s names as a part of his image in his songs. Using someone’s name is not a form of flattery, it is stealing. It is alleged that he is using gang logos, acronyms and other distinctive intellectual property that belong to business owners – gangsters or not!

In YouTube videos, gang members warn Ross, 36, that he will end up in a hearse unless he pays tribute for using Larry Hoover’s name in “B.M.F. (Blowing Money Fast).” Hoover, serving life in federal prison, co-founded the Gangster Disciples in Chicago in the late-1960s.

The gang, which has grown to include chapters nationwide, has also accused Ross of coopting its Star of David logo on the cover of his new mixtape “The Black Bar Mitzvah.” – The Smoking Gun

You May Also Like: Marko Hamlin – Overcoming Child Sexual Abuse 

I am angry and rightfully so. If I started a conference called, “Women Thou Art Loosed Today” you would be alarmed. If I created something that said, “Just Do It Now” you would also be alarmed. You would immediately think of TD Jakes and Nike. It is unacceptable to pirate someone’s intellectual property, ideas, or vision.

I need to be very clear that I work diligently doing what God has called me to do, and I have no problem exercising my legal right to sue anyone who would try to take what I have built and benefit financially from it whether your actions appear intentional or not. In a not-so coincidental posting, I wrote this yesterday on Facebook:

God is big enough to give you your own business dreams, ideas, plans, and visions. You do not have to steal what has come from heaven for someone else. It’s not about “you stole my stuff” in God’s view more than it is, “Why do you feel you have to steal their stuff as if I can’t give you your own?”

Taking from someone else’s dispensation has to do with you missing God for yourself. It is an identity problem, and you are exposing your own weakness. Be authentic and people will be attracted to the place where God lives in YOU! – Ressurrection Graves

Ressurrection Graves is a child sexual abuse expert and H.E.A.L.E.R.® who speaks on topics surrounding healthy relationships, overcoming homelessness, child sexual abuse prevention, adult healing, and awareness. Ressurrection is available for radio/television interviews, or ministry/conference/keynote speaking engagements nationwide by telephone at: 202.717.7377 (RESS) or please email: ressurrection dot wordpress at yahoo dot com.


About Ressurrection

Ressurrection Graves is a Child Sexual Abuse Grooming Expert and H.E.A.L.E.R. (Healer, Educator, Activist, Life Skills Expert, Empowerment Speaker, Relationship Mentor) Her website reaches readership in 188 countries. She is available for national speaking engagements, radio and television interviews. She can be reached at: 202.717.7377 or send your request to: ressurrection dot wordpress at yahoo dot com or comment on http://www.ressurrection.wordpress.com
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3 Responses to Pirating Intellectual Property, Copyright Infringement or just bad taste?

  1. Ress,

    Here is short blog I wrote several days ago, prior to reading this, and definitely sums up my attitude toward anyone who thinks “integrity” is something one does when people are not watching . . . I guarantee people are watching! http://kymsrandomthoughts.blogspot.com/2013/02/dont-ever-underestimate-value-of.html

    Just know your integrity shines! You are a hero to me and so many more! Thank you for sharing inspiration, strength, and encouraging us all to be better humans in a world that has lost sight of our “true purpose” on this earth.



  2. Elli Wu says:

    Not sure how to understand how things have evolved to this point with Michael Winans Jr. Even further I’m hear that his dad Michael Winans Sr is set to star in a TV series here in L.A. Would love to find out what thats about.. Is that show moving forward now???

    • Hi, I’m not sure of anything other than what has been shared in the news. Initially he did not know that it was a scam but he continued to tell people to invest once he knew it was a scam. As far as his father, I have no idea. But, thanks for reading.

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