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ADDENDUM (by Ezekiel J. Krahlin)
Here is my logo in question:
I was a member of the original Queer Nation Street Patrol, when I offered my logo to use for our group, at no charge. It was turned down. Back then, my legal name was still Eugene Catalano. (Click here for proof of my name-change.) Marvin Greer was one of our leaders at that time, and present the night I offered my design. Also, I wore my design as a decal on my jackets and backpack, during my several months' stint with this patrol. Some time later, I registered my logo with the U.S. copyright office. (Click here to view the registration.)
About a year later, I discover this resurrected street patrol, wearing an obvious ripoff of my design...and for which design Mr Greer claims original authorship! So I phoned their group, and a very polite woman answered, who heard me out, and immediately offered her apologies, and said she'd speak with the patrol members this evening. I said I'd be glad to meet with them, and discuss my claim. I wanted to be recognized for my contribution...and to receive one or two percent of any money they might collect, should they want to sell my design on t-shirts and other items.
I was not interested in demanding cessation of printing this logo...if they could agree to my conditions. My intention for this design--as with all my gay-rights images--was for it to be a symbol of the les/gay community at large, and not specifically owned by any one group within this community.
Instead, I receive a rude call from one Marvin Greer, whose screaming sounded as if he were blurting through the wrong orifice. At that point, I called the gay newspapers, hoping to present my case to the public. This is important, as an artist must claim copyright ownership in the event you feel you have been infringed upon. I also feel it's terribly crude for a gay person to steal an idea from another gay person...this is not what "community" should mean!
As for the legitimacy of my claim...which was not well documented in the news article which was poorly written to begin with: Under copyright law, one may combine two or more images from the public domain, and claim this new arrangement as your own...if said arrangement does in fact compose an entirely new concept as a result. Ergo, the combination of a triangle (pink or otherwise) and a snake...as a new logo for gay rights...does fall under this rule. (Essentially, my design was a whimsical reinterpretation of the American Revolution on behalf of the gay revolution.) The phrase I added to it: "Don't Tread on MOI", when compared with their design which included the phrase "Don't Tread on Me", made it glaringly obvious that my idea had been ripped off. Since they were not selling the design, I could not sue...nor did I want to. I only wanted fair recognition of my contribution.
The final result? I did not push the issue, since they kept the logo within their group, and have not bothered to use the design to raise funds. However, should they (or any other group) begin selling items with this logo, I am within my legal rights to sue.
I even dedicated a little poem to Marvin Greer, like so:
-----finisMARVIN QUEER, DON'T TREAD ON ME! ©1998 by Ezekiel J. Krahlin The current logo of a street patrol Was stolen by one Marvin Queer. This pea-brain dodo must have no soul To rip it off from a brother peer, For the rightful owner of said design Patroled with Marvin two years ago, Wearing the art on jacketed spine In the spirit of gay-pride-soul. When challenged in the homo press, Marvin squawked: "Public Domain! Contact my lawyer; this is duress! I'll piss him a golden rain!" Well, queer Marvin, you can shout and you can pout Till your pinched little face is blue. But the truth will out, I shall win this bout, For you must give credit where credit is due, Or your soul is the devil's tool! Copyright law states that you can take Two or more symbols from public domain, Combine them in a novel way, Then declare it as your own. This I did, with triangle and snake ("Don't Tread On Moi" for the name) Long before you saw the piece And made your illegal claim. Lying and stealing are immature tricks For toddlers and brats, for kicks. A final warning to avert your mourning: My copyright number is one-eight-seven (dash) SIX-SIX-SIX.