Get Shouty

chasing a stolen horse
December 3, 2008, 3:46 am
Filed under: Digital Strategy

What’s this disc on my desk from the conference I presented at last week?

They’ve done WHAT with my presentation? The one I only gave to the AV guys 20 minutes before I was on stage?
*ok …breathe again*
Burnt it to disc. The raw PowerPoint file. With all the charts and diagrams.
Distributed it to all of the delegates. Hundreds of them.
My competitors.
*breathe breathe breathe*
No copyright protection. No commercial in confidence protection.

And no sign off from the client.

No release at all.

What do you do when the IP horse not has bolted, but has been stolen?
Anyone been here? What did you do? What happened?


15 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Send them an invoice?

Comment by Paul McEnany

@paulmcenany how do you evaluate the loss?
I’m feeling like a pound of flesh is a good start!

Comment by katiechatfield

Definitely no tacit disclaimer along the lines of, “please inform us if you do not wish your presentation to be published”?

I don’t know the context of the presentation, but another question is, what are you really annoyed about – the loss of information/IP (which is effectively in the hands of all those who saw it anyway) or the double misfire (raw presentation, no permission) by the agency in distributing it? If it were me it would be the raw file distribution and the lack of permission that were really annoying, less so the spread of the content.

Comment by Alex Manchester

I’m not sure that sending an invoice would be best, could that be a sign that you are ‘ok’ with them doing this, in a legal sense? I mean is the main issue that they distributed these materials without your permission, or without paying? If you send an invoice, there might be a legal argument that the issue for you wasn’t the distribution, but the lack of compensation.

And it sounds to me like you’re more concerned about the materials being distributed.

I would seek out a good biz/copyright lawyer to see what your options are, I would be sure you have some.

Comment by mack collier

No- no broach of the subject of distribution at all. I’m totally happy to distribute my ideas and do it all the time. Just not the process of how I deliver those ideas.

You’ve nailed the pain point- it’s the distribution of the raw files without permission. Would have been happy to provide a truncated locked PDF- or put it on Slideshare so that the thinking could be tracked back to the source.

Comment by katiechatfield

I agree on getting advice, I can recommend someone incredibly good to talk to if you need.

Comment by scooterau

I was looking at a preso on that disc this morning! I also just sent this link to the whole agency. The word is out there!

Comment by Stan Lee

Name and shame them.


Comment by Zac Martin

You need a capable attorney, and it might be a good idea to refrain from public discussion.

Comment by Sonia Simone

What do people expect a copyright/biz lawyer to do? (serious question)

Before you “get a capable attorney” you need to have decided if you want a) money from the agency for this fsck up; b) a thorough explanation, a grovelling apology and their thoughts on what they can do; or (c all of the above.

Regardless, the horse [content] is gone, out there, wild, likely never to be reigned in 100%…

Comment by Alex Manchester

Looking at it form there point of view, and being involved in a few conferences … were you expected to provide the pres earlier for it to be distributed?

This is certainly a requirement for all speakers at conferences that I have attended this year.

In fact, it is usually something speakers agree to, so the organisers then promote it, but then the speakers drag their feet and don’t make good on their end of the bargain.

Comment by Daniel Oyston

I don’t want to be patronising but I don’t think there’s much you can do except give the conference organisers a rocket, get an apology and chalk it up to experience. Everything I present I expect to appear in the public domain. So there’s lots of stuff that never appears on the slides. Relying on conference organisers to be, er, organised does not always work.

The one thing I am relatively careful about is live recording of words (either video or audio) because I am often quite “unrestrained” in what I say. However I expect to get stung on this in the near future tho what with phones & mp3 recorders (when I do this to other people I always get their permission before putting it out there).

If they refuse to apologise or mend their ways then you might want to involve a lawyer – but all I can see in that scenario is money being spent for little gain. Then a little naming and shaming might be the way to go.

Comment by Matt Moore

Ouch that sucks. But if you have any sensative IP you should have flagged it as such earlier. Bad form by them for not even alerting you to the fact they will be distributing the files. But then again conference promoters aren’t always the most organised people and some are just in it for a $

I don’t think a lawyer or an invoice will work. Also did you client know you were giving the info away even on the small scale? Double ouch if they didn’t and the CD gets to them. Awkward! hehe

Comment by Ashley

I’m assuming by now the organizers are aware and have contacted you???

Comment by Sean Howard

Wondering how this story ended. Reflecting that trust among professionals lies at the heart of cpllective creativity and collaboration. This organisation did not honour that – accreditation and respect for IP evolves organically without rules even in social networks- like trackbacks, re-tweeting, hat tips etc. Its a code of honour that need not be written down, but when we get bitten like this, we learn painfully and the worst outcome of all is that the trust gets broken and the free flow of creative energy wanes. What a shame.

Comment by catalystformagic

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