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Glitch in My Napkin Presentations
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The Challenge of Recalibrating

If you go to my website and click on "Napkin Presentations," you'll find a set of topics that can be discussed in a meeting that has actual napkins on the table. One topic is "Glitch Analysis".  A glitch is usually treated as a mistake you just throw away, and as such, we included an image of a napkin being thrown away. Regrettably, our screening efforts failed to detect that the image was a piece of copyrighted artwork. As a result we had to settle and pay a "fair charge" (fine) for its use.


Tossing Out the Garbage
We HAVE obtained the rights to THIS image!

This event was an unintended error, a GLITCH on our part. Suffering that reflex reaction when challenged unexpectedly, I cycled through the "Surprise > Panic > Blame/Guilt" (SPB/G) scenario upon reading the very formal and intimidating "Notice of Copyright Infringement." 


Over the years I've learned to let that negative attitude of thought and feeling subside and to replace it with an attitude of curiosity: 

  • How did this glitch happen?
  • Do we deal with it or can we fix it?
  • Who are these guys sending the letter?
  • What are the laws they should be in compliance with?
  • What do we do immediately?
  • What led to or caused this error on our part? And perhaps most importantly, 
  • "How do we prevent a similar glitch in the future? 

Like many of you, I have the curiosity but not the time, money or expertise to empirically answer these glitch analysis questions. So instead I revisited a concept I know something about, personal property and trespassing.  Here's my present thinking:

  • In this country we can all own land (property) and make private use of it.
  • If an outsider tries to use our land without permission, he/she is trespassing.
  • If you catch the outsider, you have the right to ask him/her to cease using your land.
  • However, you may or may not be allowed to take legal action against the outsider.
  • You can ask the sheriff to help remove the trespasser but he/she likewise might not be able to issue a ticket to the person.
  • Here in Wisconsin, if you haven't posted visible warnings of trespass in accordance with State guidelines for such signage (one every 200 feet around the property perimeter) you can't easily fine and prosecute one who trespasses "inadvertently."

My understanding of the above is practical rather than legal, and I know that my intellectual property is not identical to land that I own.


Nevertheless I asked myself, "Where was the signage for the piece of personal property (artwork) that we trespassed upon?" None was apparent with the image but the copyright holder told me that if I go to a specific web address and bring up a specific file, I will finally find it and see it. Sorry, but that is just one poor argument in my opinion. If it's your personal property and you don't want anybody else to use it without your permission, then you lock it away or you put up signs. I am still curious and as yet I am not satisfied with what I know.



That said, let's close this Newsletter on a practical learning point: Glitches ought to be events that you learn from. Doing so can develop a prevention rather than avoidance habit or mindset. In the larger psychological picture you will be replacing a negative habit of attitude (SPB/G) with a positive habit of attitude (Purposeful Curiosity). That's where you'll find the "better life" waiting for you.

Don't Lose That Thought, 
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Allen M. "Dr. Al" Raffetto, Ph.D.

P.S.  Above right is a picture of me, sitting at my rolltop desk throwing away a crumpled napkin. As a dedicated Rotarian and member of Superior's Club #40, Wisconsin's First Rotary Club, I believe that it is fair to all concerned to give away this image provided it is used in a positive way.
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