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Holiday Gift List wraps up, and copyright theft
Holiday Gift List wraps up, and copyright theft
Posted January 14, 2004 1:15am
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We wrapped up the Holiday Gift List over at CoffeeGeek, and now I'm in the process of contacting all the contest winners in our $3,000 plus contest. Lucky bastards :)

The CoffeeKids fundraiser (not to be confused with this personal site) also ended, and while I'm very happy that almost 50 folks stepped up and donated the bux to the cause, I can't help but think that next year, I hope we do much better. CoffeeGeek had some 85,000 unique visitors over the 45 days the Holiday Gift List and Fund Raiser was online, but only 48 kind souls chose to donate to this very worthwhile charity. As a result, we didn't meet our goal of $10,000. Here's the totals raised:

CoffeeGeek Visitors and Members: $1,720
CoffeeGeek  website HGL Sponsorship Donation: $2,250
$500 "Dollar for Dollar" Corporate Sponsorship: $2,500
CoffeeGeek website "Dollar for Dollar" Sponsorship: $1,500

Total raised: $7,970

Of that total, $3,750 came directly out of CoffeeGeek advertising revenue. It's actually more than we made in advertising in December, by a long shot, but I'm happy to donate it. I almost contemplated donating another $2,030 to bring it up to $10,000, but I just can't afford it.

For a first time, I know the numbers are can be seen as good, and I guess we set too high a goal, but I've always been honest with the readers of this website - I hoped for more from our readership. Here's hoping next year we go over the top!

BIG Shout Out to Site Donators!
I have been remiss in doing this for some time, my bad. I want to give a HUGE thanks to the five folks (Hugh, Scott, Peter, Cliff and David) who have signed on for months now to provide a monthly donation to this site to help me with the hosting costs (check the left side of this page for more info). You guys rock. I also want you all to know that I took all site donations (there were also several one time donations) in December, and now all of January, and put that towards a donation. I just didn't feel right taking the dough last month or this month.

And I feel I owe you guys something; I've been neglecting the content on this site for some time (except for my SD (poo disturbing) CafeTalk page. I am working on a couple of major content updates, and they're all dedicated to the five listed above :) Thanks guys!

Coffee News and Stuff
Here's a roundup of some things happening recently, and things yet to come.

  • Talked to Dougie Zell: I had a very cool conversation with Doug Zell of Intelligentsia Coffee just a day or two ago. The subjects were wide ranging - from David Schomer's Article over at CoffeeGeek, to what's coming up in the 2003 crop for Intelligentsia. I told Doug that Black Cat seems a smidge pale compared to last year (in taste), and Doug takes it seriously when I say that... but I hope I clarified with him that Black Cat is still the standardbearer (for me) for how good a commercial espresso blend can be - It's still the best stuff you can get today from a commercial roaster, in my opinion... even if it's faded a tiny bit. I fully expect it to come back soon when the 2003 crop starts showing up in earnest. And I mean this when I write it - it's still stellar.

  • Conversations with Illy People I've been talking to several people from Illy recently; first, I really like the Illy folks with IllyUSA - they are a passionate bunch when it comes to coffee. The talks were cool because they could lead up to something HUGE (in terms of content) for the CoffeeGeek site. Stay tuned for it.

  • New Machines It looks like I may be redoing the Detailed Review for the Oscar - one of the new Oscars with the more expensive pressurestats. Tagging along with it is the MCF Grinder. I'm still in negotiations with the US Distributor - the machines are here (I took photographs of them for the company - they are paying for it), and I'll know soon if they'll be DR candidates.

  • New Guide Soon There's a newbie guide on the CoffeeKid site, you've probably seen it. But it pales in comparison to what we're currently working on for CoffeeGeek - a massive Newbie's Guide to Espresso, and an equally massive one for Coffee. The thing isn't even a quarter done, and I'm already up to about 15,000 words. Scary. This time around, we're probably going to do PDA and Acrobat versions, but they'll cost a small fee.

  • Barista Jam Around the Corner - maybe? I think the PNW Barista Jam is coming up soon, but getting in touch with people organizing it is a challenge. Last year it was held in mid February in Seattle; I assume it will be the same this year. Again, looking forward to it.

It's like the guy is stealing money out of my pocket
I'm finally so fed up with a situation, that I'm going to come clean about it here.

If you remember back to my bad experience with Mr. Cappuccino, there was a periphery guy involved... Reg from EspressoTec. Reg was the front line guy who initially turned down any offer to sell me a $2 part, then lied about the conversation to Walter Cattoni at Mr. Cappuccino, setting off an even worse situation.

Well since that event, every time Reg and his company has come into my area of "interest" (for lack of a better word), I've gotten more and more pissed off.

Why? Because the guy blatantly steals my copyrighted work - my reviews and my photographs, without permission, without compensation, without even the common decency to ask first.

The most recent example is photographs I took (and customized) of the Rancilio Silvia for usage only. I only found out about this one a couple of days ago.

Seems Reg has my photograph of the product up on his website. He didn't buy rights to use the photograph. He didn't even ask me if he could use the photograph. And what makes matters worse is that he even has the gall to watermark the photograph with his logo!

I make a good portion of my living from photography these days. Photography is what pays my bills. It's what pays the rent, and what pays for me to fly to family functions. Photography is what puts food on our table. Reg is stealing from me, plain and simple.

Click for larger image Click for larger image
Separated at Birth?
Nope. A stolen image. Terrible photoshop job to eliminate the "silvia' sticker. I don't think Reg has even that skill, but I do know some who do.
The Real Deal
My photograph of the Rancilio Silvia, complete with photoshop post-processing, a time intensive thing. Note the edging on the side reflection.
Click for larger image Click for larger image
If you need further proof
I went into the photoshop file to show how my image had the background knocked out and the fake (looks good, huh?) shadow added.
Shadow only
Here's my three stage shadow effect that makes the shadow under the Silvia look photorealistic. All other layers were turned off.

If this was the only time Reg from EspressoTec ever stole from me, I would most definitely let it slide and deal with this via private email. I am the unfortunate victim of many photography and copyright thefts from CoffeeGeek; it's the price I pay for putting out good photos without any kind of watermark or logo messing up the representation of the product I'm trying to show the readers. I made that decision to go sans watermarks (and also high quality jpg files with low image loss), hoping that people would be trustworthy and ask (or pay) for the right to reproduce those photographs.

Some people are honest and ask permission, or negotiate a license fee from me - this is why you do see my product photos on vendor websites. My fee is usually nominal - about $10 for single images, as low as $4 for bulk images. But Reg wouldn't know that - he never bothers to ask. He just takes.

Click for larger image
Uh, they didn't write this...
I did. This is a portion of the huge review I wrote about the Rancilio Silvia on a previous version of this here website. EspressoTec printed it out, slapped their business card OVER my logo, and distributed it, without permission.

As I said, if this was the only time he did this, I wouldn't make a public beef about it. But the guy has stolen my copyrighted material in the past. The first time it was brought to my attention was when the guy took my five page Rancilio Silvia review from the previous version of the CoffeeKid site, and reproduced it, intact, except for one thing - he put his business card over the old CoffeeKid logo. He distributed this as marketing material, right in his store. I got a copy of it.

My copyright notice said then (as it does today): All contents are 1997-2003 by Mark Prince, all rights reserved. Please do not borrow, take or steal anything without permission.

This means nothing to Reg. I did consider pursuing legal action against him at the time, and I did fire off a cease and desist letter to him, with no response. I didn't pursue legal action because at the time, it was just me and my little CoffeeKid site (driving massive sales for Rancilio), and any legal award in small claims court would have been a token amount at best.

Over this most recent thing (the Silvia pictures), I considered suing him again. But instead, I decided to post this portion of the CafeTalk to let you know what kind of guy this is, and you can make the call as to whether or not you want to do business with EspressoTec in Vancouver.

Grrr. I'm mad. I wonder how he'd feel if I walked into his shop and decided to take some cups, or a portafilter, or a couple of pounds of coffee without paying for them.

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