UPDATE 4: It’s been a few days but I can now announce that we have started to look for a copyright lawyer. Why now and not earlier?
You, our readers, have been generous beyond belief. Truly, I didn’t know that so many of you felt so strongly about GraniteGrok to send us, in large and small amounts, your financial resources. I’m floored. I’m flabbergasted to be truthful. But most of all, I’m grateful in that so many of you believe that we are doing the right things and writing about the right stuff. It is confirmation of the theory that if we stayed Consistent to Principles and hectored (ok, made sport of) those that don’t, we’d have an audience of like minded folks.
We’re over $7,900 with another $1,300 (from cash and checks sent to me) in the process of uploading to Paypal. We were told we’d need between $5,000 and $10,000 just to get started – we have a total of $9,200 and that’s enough. Grokster Norm, being a lawyer, has started the process of researching for the kind of copyright lawyer that would best serve GraniteGrok. Several of you folks have written in to offer your services – we’ll be adding you into the mix as well.
We’ll keep you informed. Thank you for making our fight YOUR fight as well!
UPDATE 3: My plan is to keep updating this post every couple of das or when “an event” makes it worthy to do so. At this point, we are homing in on $7,000. Better yet, we’ve started our search for a Copyright litigator.
We’ve had some offers to represent us. We thank them and are including them into the mix. We obviously want to be careful with our pick – one, we want someone that can bring the fight to this troll AND we don’t want to make a mistake and waste your generous donations.
Please know that we’ve started the process of reaching out to our legal friends to be able to evaluate options. Once again, we really do appreciate the outpouring of support from you all.
Except, I dryly note, Bruce Currie the Bernie-bro who seems to be all over having our wealth forcibly redistributed by Government but hasn’t seen fit (that I’ve seen thus far) to voluntarily give to this platform so he can continue to act as a true Marxist missionary. I wonder why that is, Bruce?
UPDATE 2: Thanks to you all, we’ve now hit just a tad under $6,000 of the $5-10K we’ve been told we need to engage a Copyright Lawyer to defend ourselves against Higbee & Associates in their copyright trolling attempt. We’ve removed ALL images from GraniteGrok except thosethat come from Royalty Free sites and those that we know to be “our images” – there will not be a repeat of this kind of financial attack.
UPDATE 1: Steve has shown that GraniteGrok’s ranking within the State has zoomed these last couple of years, our comment section has been buzzing (er, like a jet engine heading for max thrust), and that we’re getting more and more submissions and tips, but the outpouring of support by the attack of this copyright troll has me humbled.
Just over the weekend, with your donations via Paypal ( You can Donate here) and what I think is coming in by paper checks, it looks like we will have met the lower limit of the estimate for getting a copyright IP lawyer. That’s just to get started – we’re going into an uncharted area for us. But one thing is for sure – all you folks love GraniteGrok and we Groksters appreciate it!
An explanation now and an ask below. The explanation is that, very soon, ALL of the images that we use to make your reading experience better will be gone; we have no choice. Videos, audio files, PDFs, charts, and the like will also be removed (but only temporarily, we hope).
In every instance, any third-party content we shared, was for educational or informational purposes only and clearly within fair use provisions of the Copyright Law. Unfortunately, we cannot even afford to defend that position so it is in our best interest to clean out the media library and verify without a doubt that content is shareable, royalty-free, our property, or we have permission to use it. Why?
There is a firm out there by the name of Higbee & Associates that is colloquially called a “copyright troll” law firm. They go scouring through the Internet looking for sites that they claim have used images created by their clients and threaten to sue them for copyright infringement. Such an infringement can cost up to $150,000. Most folks, in the past, have simply asked that we just remove their image and we have done so in the past and done it quickly- and apologized. Our intention is to NEVER infringe on other peoples’ rights.
However, these guys won’t allow us to apologize and delete the image. They just say “pay this amount or we’ll sue”.
The problem for us is that even if we are checking that an image is copyrighted, it is hard to tell – often, there is no “metadata” present to let us know that it is copyrighted and thus, off-limits.
We’ve already been through this with them once and they demanded a sum pretty much what our yearly budget is (which is mostly taken up by hosting charges).
We did negotiate and got a lower amount than what was demanded. At first, they didn’t want to – they couldn’t believe that we didn’t have any payroll, that we were all volunteers, and that our site looked so professional.
They were convinced that with so many authors that some of them were getting compensated for it. They could not believe none of them were.
They also could not believe that we don’t use a checking account – only Paypal (why not – all of the few vendors we use accept it). But we paid a negotiated price even given that we are poor as church mice.
Well, they’ve hit us again so I’m clearing out our Media Library so that we can’t be hit again. Actions like this, I can do.
I can’t even pay for this second threat to avoid a lawsuit. So, while we always shared under a presumption of fair use in the past there will be no more pictures/images going forward unless we know they are “free” or taken by ourselves.
The Ask: I have been told that to hire a copyright lawyer will cost (start?) between $5,000 and $10,000. It’s a big ask, a REAL big ask. And it will be the only ask of this type I’ll ever do.
We don’t have it so we need to fundraise it. You can Donate here. There are also instructions to donate by check if PayPal is not your thing either.
As all of you know, the Grok is one of the very few conservative voices in our state, and it would be a shame if we are silenced by a bunch of copyright trolls who could put us out of business.
We appreciate any support you can provide.