We have recently made changes to the sites, withdrawing the special graphics
pages which had been present on both major tribute websites.
Although care had been taken to make
it clear to all readers coming to the sites that the individual graphics, media, sound and other components were, and always
will be, the property not of the tribute sites, but of their creators and owners, and that the copyright of the sites went
to overall layout, not to the individual content, we have recently been threatened in a rude and hostile manner by two individuals
connected with other sites that purport to be involved in supporting patriotism as well.
As is clearly stated throughout this site, the site is privately funded and is a non-profit, cared for and put forth
with a pride and sense of patriotism by the individuals who are webmasters here for the sole purpose of being of benefit to
Despite our clearly stated desire to give credit where credit is due, to any
owners or creators of media materials within the sites, Mr. Dennis Johnson of NetOps@OJC.org chose to write Emails to the webmasters of the site, complaining of alleged
violations of copyrights, and demanding that all materials not credited be removed, or a link and thank you be created next
to each graphic linking back to the creator. As was explained to Mr. Johnson, we would happily comply, but due to the very
prevalent use of the graphics on the Web, it often is impossible to find the true origin of a given graphic, and any assistance
in clearing that up that was within his knowledge (versus a generalized statement to take them all down) would be not only
complied with, but vastly appreciated.
For those of you familiar with copyright law, the persons who may assert a
civil claim through court to copyright infringements are the owners or authorized agents.
Despite a request to clarify which graphics Mr. Johnson complained of, he neither could nor would do so, and he never
complied with a request showing that he had any legal right to make a claim to any given graphics as the owner or creator,
much less to all of the graphics on the sites. Mr. Johnson initially stated in
his Email that some of the graphics were ones posted at Operation Just Cause. He declined to state which ones and then went on to state that even if the ones from
Operation Just Cause were removed, that is not enough: " So just removing what you can find at OJC AND find at artists sites who have posted works at OJC will not be enough."
No individual has the right to threaten legal action where they have no standing
or rights conferred upon them to carry out that action. In response to a polite
letter from the webmaster of our sites asking for this clarification of his status and the graphics to which he was referring,
Mr. Johnson gave every indication that he, too, did not know by whom all of the graphics were owned by whom when he stated
in (his reply) Email:
"OK, so you want to play word games.
Your sites will be examined. For each graphic or writing or audio file that you post we will determine whether you have, indeed,
given credit where credit is due. But be advised that you are forcing our hand. Make sure this is the road down which you
are choosing to travel. . . "
"If you want us to do your work for
you we will do it through federal court. We have attorneys that have already agreed to pursue this on contingency. You are
only adding to your current egregious behavior. We will do this any way you want. But we will do this. The more work
you make for us, the more recompense we will seek. Whether in terms of remuneration or public awareness campaigns of this
kind of problem showcasing your sites as a prime example of wanton disregard for individuals rights."
"We fight for what is right for our
POW our MIA and our KIA (bnr). We see absolutely no problem fighting for our members. The ball, as they say, is in your court.
Fix this now. Dont make it personal with all these owners. The lawyers are already salivating over class action with wronged
owners as one class and illegal users as the other."
"Have a nice day."
These threats were followed up shortly thereafter by an Email of similar tenor
complaining of ALL of the graphics not credited otherwise, from:
Bev Haire (POW/MIA Family member)
Proud Board of Directors member
VIETNAM VETERANS FOR ACADEMIC REFORM
and purporting to give the following legal advice (and defamatory accusations),
although showing, again, no indication she is either an attorney, or an interested party who can shed light on helping give
proper credits (she does not claim to have legal standing as an owner or creator of any graphics she complains of). After stating how appalled she was to find the graphics at the sites, she went on to state (in part): "I would strongly suggest that you remove the copyright designation or properly credit
each and every originator. If you do not know from whom you have purloined the material, I would suggest that it be removed
from your site in order to comply with copyright laws."
She too, did not respond with specifics of which graphics were complained of
or her knowledge of the true owners or creators despite a request to do so. Of
even more note is the interesting phrase she utilized in a segment of her Email: "I am appalled to see that you have put together an American Patriotic site of such scope
. ." Although her Email goes on to talk of her perception of copyright infringements,
the core issue with these complaints seems to be the scope and size of the sites, something also referenced by Mr. Johnson. Up until now, we had presumed that all sites claiming to be in support of patriotism
were not in competition with each other, since all were supposedly for the good of and the benefit of the public and the people
to whom the sites are dedicated. Yet now, rather than lend a helping hand to
spread the feelings of love of country and support of the troops, instead an attack is made and no clarification given.
We feel certain that the artists originating the graphics in question, would
far prefer to have their proper ownership attributed to their work, rather than having someone else claiming to be acting
on their behalf, make an assertion as to who the credit is due, when that may or may not be the actual case. This type of situation is the underlying basis of copyright laws and the reason why ownership or interest
is necessary to pursue matters, since attributing ownership to an individual is only a good thing IF that attribution is a
correct one. We decline to be put in a position where someone else, who amounts
by law, to what is called an interfering meddler, asserts that A Graphic belongs to B Individual, only to find out that their
information is not correct, and Individual C now has a claim of action based on the erroneous attribution. Worse, as is explained in more detail below, these graphics are available at many of the websites, including
similar ones at Mr. Johnsons site.
To perpetuate false information as to ownership would be to cause additional
havoc on the Internet, what with the frequency of use of many of these graphics. A
simple showing of ownership or right would have resolved this matter in a way that would have benefited everyone, but the
parties who chose to make these complaints, have thus far not provided any information on the artists they claim are due the
credit, although they infer that they may know who some of them are. Instead
they chose to threaten us and this site with legal action for ALL graphics used, even though they do not know who may have
a valid claim to them. Part of what any suit seeks to prove is damages. This obviously cannot be done if the person threatening the suit doesnt even know
who properly owns the materials, much less whether they object to their use, or if they have incurred any damages (a situation
which is highly unlikely in any case, since this site is strictly non-profit). (Our request for such basic and required information
was met with an accusation of playing word games by Mr. Johnson.) This patently illogical thinking aside, we welcome any information
from any source as to persons deserving of credit for any media presented. However,
in order not to compound matters, we also need to be able to research a claim made by persons other than the owner or creator,
to make certain wrong attribution is not being made.
As some of you may be aware, Trevor recently underwent quadruple heart bypass
surgery, and the additional stress of this type of threatening conduct is both unnecessary and unwanted. We have seriously thought about taking down both websites completely, but we have always considered this website to belong to YOU,
rather than us, and we maintain them, in our view as 'caretakers' on YOUR behalf. This is our
"small" contribution to the tragic events of 9.11, to Operation Iraqi Freedom, and to the men and women both in and out
of uniform directly affected by these events. These sites have, and always will be our own dedication to those involved, and
we have said such from the outset. Complying with the bullying tactics employed
by others is not acceptable. After all, we try to teach our children not to comply
with bullying, why should we consider ourselves as any different? At this
time, in order to alleviate the negative effects on Trevor's health we have chosen to take the graphics pages down, even though,
thankfully, we do have the professional "in house" personal and financial backing to allow us combat any and all threats
of legal action and to even counter with suits of our own, if need be, for situations where persons without right, threaten
to bring such suits.
So, for the interim, that is why
we have taken down the specialist graphics pages, despite the fact that by far the majority of the graphics are "free for
personal use"...and the fact that many others have given outright permission for the use of material.....and we do not, never
have, and never will have, any type of commercial aspect to the websites, other than trying to give the useful links to other
offsite locations where interested parties may help the different charity causes.
We are deeply saddened that this turn of events has occurred and we hope that
in the future, all people can rise to a higher level and evidence a spirit of cooperation which has made our military and
our country the great nation that it is.