Aesthete & Amateur 8, part 1: The Fixer

oSSJ#8-A&A-copyrightAFictitious on-going series (continued from Issue#7) of gallery reviews by professional art critic, Eleanor Medier, and her less-than-professional (and proud of it) husband, Heavy Writer.

The Aesthete & the Amateur, Issue #8, Part 1:
The Fixer by Heavy Writer

After an afternoon of drinking beer in an irish pub, celebrating St.Patricks Day with some friends, I went home a little dizzy and in a romantic mood. I even asked the cab driver to stop at a florist, and I bought some roses for Ele, knowing they will make her melt in my arms. I couldn’t stop myself from smiling at that thought.

When arriving at home, I gave the cab driver a nice tip. Once inside i skipped up the front steps and into the living room. I shouted: “Honey I’m home!”

No answer! The house was silent except some sniffling sounds from upstairs. I found Ele in the bedroom crying hard, and, alarmed, I thought someone in the family had died. “Darling—what happened? Why are you crying?”

She was so choked up that she couldn`t answer my question. But she did hug me, and cried even harder when I handed her the roses. It took a few minutes to calm her down, promising her that whatever it is, we will fix it. She handed me a summons to appear in court— the charge copyright infringement!

Ele worked for months to put together a “road book” featuring art galleries and artists from the Chicago area, and she finally got it published recently.

She reviewed most important sites and works, she took photographs with artworks from all over the place. Now one of those sissies artists was suing her for copyright infringement because she published pictures of his work without permission.

Ele sobbed, “My career is ruined…do you know what a trial like this means? It can take years till this is sorted, and in all that time, I’ll be seen as stealing somebody else’s work! The entire art community will gossip about and I will be a black sheep everywhere… All this mess now when my career is taking off… and all I wish to do is bring recognition to those who deserve it!!!”

Keep in mind that Ele is not someone to get upset over trivial differences. I could see that this shook the very foundation of her professional pride. But it seemed clear to me what needed to be done. “Come on calm down sweetheart ! I’ll see a lawyer tomorrow. Take a shower while I’ll make you some herb tea and go get some rest.”

Once I put her in bed I went into her office and found the document question on her desk. I read the review on that artist, and, I was not surprised that he sued her. She wrote a scathing review, declaring that he lacks vision, lacks a color sense, is devoid of originality, etc. I don’t much understand abstract art, so I couldn’t determine if she is right or not. First fixing myself a double scotch on rocks, I opened the computer, searched for copy- right law, and looked to find if she a mistake, or not. I spent hours reading mumbo jumbo legalese language, but I found out couple things that could be in Ele’s favor. It seems that the fair use clause about compilations means this is not considered copyright infringement.

I went to sleep around 3 am, feeling more optimistic, but my head was spinning from whisky and all that legalese. I was determined to find the best lawyer to handle this matter.

In the morning at breakfast, I was met with a long face that obviously lacked sleep. I assured Ele again that things were under control. But inside, I was not as convinced. So I left her at home, and, armed with book and summons, I went to consult with a lawyer from the Bar Association Directory.

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Soon I met him in his fancy office downtown. I presented him the evidence and explained the situation, then sat back. His assistant went to make copies of relevant documents. While we waited, he offered me coffee and an expensive french cognac He took time to read the review in question and study the published book.

His assistant came back with a file while I poured myself another cognac. My new friend looked at the summons for two minutes, and launched into his mumbo jumbo—is this a profession that does not include English? Patiently, I worked on his cognac and deciphered his evaluation: he assured me the law was on our side and there was no way we can lose in court. But he also confirmed that this might take couple years, so Ele had a reason to cry.

He charged me 1k for the hour, and declared that he will take care of the matter for another 20k. I gulped the last drops from his bottle of cognac and payed the 1k, thinking that this was the most expensive cognac I ever tasted. I felt a strong desire to punch him in the chin, but instead, I shook his hand, smiled, aware that we didn’t need another law suit at the moment. I told him I’ll think about it, and left.

Once back in the street, with a lighter wallet, and the offending documents under my arm, I searched for a cab to my garage where I expected a delivery.

I couldn’t find a cab, but on the next corner, I saw another law firm. It seemed smart to get a second opinion. It was the same outcome. Only this time, I was served bourbon, and discovered that bourbon is more expensive than french cognac because I got lighter from a fee of 1.5k.

With my spirit down and alcohol level up, I finally found a cab. On the way to my garage, I realized that for the next couple years, both me and Ele would have to work hard to cover attorneys’ fees, while struggling to pay bills. Life is such bitch sometimes…

Once at the garage, I found that the delivery wasn’t made yet. I felt the need for another bourbon, but instead, I popped open a beer, realizeing that I might not afford bourbon soon…

I looked in the file of documents to determine what guy was ruining my life. Finding his address, I figured he won’t mind spending law taxes and attorneys’ fees because, judging from his location, he certainly can afford to pay for as many law suits he wants. I searched for him on Google, and, like I was expecting, he is one of those sissy artists that thinks of himself as the center of universe. I printed out one of his pictures to use for a darts target.

When the parts I expected finally arrived, I left instructions for my mechanics, and called my working day over, with the goal to get stoned somewhere. I don’t know if was my guardian angel or the devil leading me, but I ended up in a bikers’ joint, where I met some rough guys my uncle used to hang out with. I remember how Uncle Wally, now unfortunately having passed on and left me his garage, did make good money fixing this gang’s bikes. So this rough bunch were glad to hear that I have reopened the garage. We became fast friends, happy to say.

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The beverage preferences of my new best friends had us toasting with shots of tequila. Stories about my late favorite uncle portrayed him as not only the best mechanic in the state of Illinois, but also the most reliable drinking buddy they ever had. So I had to share the grief in my life with such great company. They could sympathize with how good women can earn bad reputations …and I was surprised when they offered to help. I didn’t ask how, but I did encourage them to empty the bar shelves of their favorite booze at my expense. We drank until late, and at the end, they asked for the artist’s address. and and the last thousand dollars I had in my wallet.

Back at home, Eleanor gave me a dirty look when she had to pay the cab fare because I was out of cash. But I said, smiling: “Sweetheart, no worries! It is settled! My lawyers. will talk to his lawyers All will be fine!” It was her turn to carry me to bed and even had to take off my shoes because I was no longer capable of such complicated maneuvers.

It took the entire weekend, and a couple buckets of coffee, to clear my head. Ele cried a couple more times, worried about having to appear in court Monday. I reassured her, over and over, that matters were in our legal favor, confirmed by attorneys.

Monday morning came too fast, but we were on time in court. When the judge called our case, the asshole artist, who looked to ruin my life and Ele’s career, stood up and announced: “Your honor, I would like to drop all charges!” I could not help but notice that he had a black eye, a swollen lip, and a couple of stitches on his chin.

Need I describe Ele’s happy reaction? Still, she noticed that I had no lawyer present. I told her that he didn’t come, as things were settled in advance.

Yet, I wonder: what happened for him to drop the charges? Ele, curious about everything, asked if I knew anything about the artist’s condition. “Darling, just be glad. Maybe he had a car accident that shook sense into his brain. Maybe he got some good advice, like I did. Now let’s celebrate. If you have more copyright problems, do let me know. I have some great connections with shark attorneys. But it is better to keep out of trouble, because this entire matter cost me close to 5k! Try to be gentle when you review artists; they seem very sensitive.”

Finally I saw a smile on Ele’s beleaguered face. She exclaimed, with a quick hug and kiss, “Sweetheart it is not my fault he has no talent!” Better to see her laughing than crying, I made a note not buy her roses again—they are bad luck.

Tuesday morning, Ele was her old self, all enthusiasm and sparkle. She had been waiting for the Freedom show to open at the University of Western Australia as part of their 3D Art Challenges series. I am intrigued to see how disabled artists view the world and discover, through their eyes, how new technological tools give them opportunity.

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See Part 2: The Freedom Project that reviews:

The Freedom Project from the University of Western Australia
As leaders of the virtual visual art community, UWA continues their innovative exhibits by presenting the works of artists disabled in the real world, but reborn into the virtual opportunities. FreeWee Ling curated this rich collection.

ONLINE Artists reviewed:
– Krystali Rabeni, “A Helping Hand”
– Megadeus, “Mental Prison”
– Slatan Dryke, “Yonder”
– iSkye Silverweb, “Speechless Freedom”

IN-WORLD artists reviewed:
– Traskin Snakeankle, “Lifeline”
– Ama Avro, “Passage”
– ParkArt Collaborative, “Freedom”
– Talia Sunsong, “Freedom Flight”

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Advertising Opportunities

Sim Street Journal also supports several events:
ASN Photo Contest
UWA’s Freedom Project
Rose Theatre and Galleries
Book Island
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PLEASE SEE THE IN-WORLD  SPONSORS FOR SIM STREET JOURNAL #8

Enjoy different, but related, issue versions: online and in-world (available at the Second Life® SSJ office (Innu 40, 36, 1650) or here as a PDF: sim street journal #8.
Back issues are available on MARKETPLACE).

Contributions are encouraged if covering topics relevant to the real world readers.

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© 2014 by Eleanor Medier, Sim Street Journal. Articles cannot be reprinted without permission.

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