Mike pointed out that nearly all of us are exposed to the internet (social media, email, websites, etc) and pointed out that meant we are exposed to internet scams. You’ve undoubtedly heard of the Nigerian prince who has millions of dollars in US banks and will split it with you if you’ll just go get it after you first send him a few thousand dollars. Versions of that are still going around, the key phase is something like “I give you a bunch of money if first you’ll give me some of yours”.

                Mike was a victim of something he called a “legal scam”, rather than being strictly an internet scam, but which couldn’t have a happened without the internet. His company has had a website for many years and has posted lots of pictures, mostly of dogs and their owners. He also posted one of the Wounded Warrior pictures which he got from some internet site. He was contacted by a law firm that informed him that he didn’t have a license that that picture but could buy a license for $1500.  
                He called his son, who is an expert in internet law to see if this was a scam. His son told him that the company that contacted him was indeed a legal firm and one which was making money using this tactic. Companies are buying the rights to popular pictures and then using software to look for the pictures on websites so they can demand money from whoever has posted the picture.  Even with the best legal advice, Mike ended up being out $1200. There wasn’t a way out. The law firm to file a case in federal court. If that happened things would get worse, particularly if you ignored it. Summary judgements can get very expense.
                Lessons for us all: Don’t post pictures (your website or any social media site: FaceBook, etc) unless you have an established legal right to do so.  If you took the picture, you own it and are OK. If the person who owns it gives you written permission to post it, you’re OK. If you copy some need picture you see on some website and are a company or a possibly wealthy individual, you are asking trouble!
 
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