Saturday, November 10, 2007

Safeguarding the legacy of a crook

From the LA Times,

"When it comes to protecting the memory of his great-uncle, Jeffrey Scalf sees himself as a lone sentinel.

Admittedly, it's not easy to defend the name of John H. Dillinger, a man once referred to as Public Enemy No. 1.

"For good or ill, this is my family's legacy and no one is going to take that away from me," says Scalf, 50, who readily admits his childhood fascination with the infamous outlaw has become a crusade.

He says he has been ripped off by the author and publisher of a Dillinger biography, who refused to pay him licensing fees. He feels burned by restaurateurs who use the 1930s bank robber's name to hawk burgers and beer, and cheated by a California video-game company that used Dillinger's digital likeness in a game about gangsters.

And don't even get Scalf started on civic leaders and festival organizers who stage public events using the notorious thief's name and exploits -- but won't pay him to use the name. It's highway robbery, he says."

So descendants of criminals should be allowed to profit from their ancestors' notoriety. I'd have thought that this would be a chance for the EFF to point the Republican right wingers at some IP sillyness and set them off. Thanks to Justine Levine at Against Monopoly for the link.

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