The Value of Intellectual Property

October 27th, 2012

This is a most bizarre posting but something very mysterious is happening to me. I’m in the process of writing a book but can’t quite get more than the initial 2 ½ chapters written. “Why?”, you may ask? Glad you did. The early chapters and outline keep getting stolen.

Initial material was written along with various other notes on a NEO word processor, a handy-dandy piece of word processing equipment that is worthy of attention. That was stolen from me in a Scottish hostel. A report was filed with the police and I moved on into London since my bank cards were also missing by then (one cloned in Edinburgh and another lost or stolen in Madrid). In London, I bought a lovely little netbook for under three hundred pounds. Once new chapters were installed in it’s off-line life as a word processor, I made the mistake of taking it online in a London airport where it was hacked or virused (is that really a word?) and rendered completely useless, all files inaccessible according to a tech expert at a local store. Cheaper to sell than to fix, I sold it eventually.

That’s two.

I’d saved material from the NEO on a thumb drive which has it’s own software. Apparently the software can go wonky because when I put it on a library computer (was that in Amsterdam??), the material was missing from it.

That’s three.

After that, I rewrote the material in INK on paper, and salvaged an old copy of one chapter that I’d forgotten I’d printed out at one point. Contained in a black nylon tote bag, I was walking through the streets of Athens (yep, wonderful Greece!) in search of a grocery store when a man came up behind me to help me haul my luggage trolley up the curb. After thanking him, it was only a few minutes later that he called to me to let me know that my luggage and the back of my coat (and pants too!) was covered with dirt. “It’s bird s**t.”

It looked more like oatmeal to me and there was enough all over my stuff to account for a full flock of vultures. At any rate, I asked a stranger for tissues and began cleaning my luggage and coat. When I was done, my tote bag was gone. It’s an old scam from the streets of New York where they used to use it to relieve businessmen in expensive trench coats of their briefcases but I’d forgotten about it and fell for it like a stone.

That’s four. The police tell me I need to pay a hundred euros to file a report for the lost tote bag because it lacks sufficient intrinsic value (despite also carrying food and some electronic gadgetry wires) for a theft report. AU CONTRAIRE! I consider my intellectual property to have value and the bag was mine, after all!

A very helpful gentlemen from the American Embassy informed me that the report is free to file. If they find a perp to prosecute, then filing criminal charges will require a fee.

I’ll worry about it at that point. Until then, I’m filing the report as soon as I find someone to translate my English version into Greek. I was told this was because no one at the department is allowed to do so, in case of a conflict of interest. Funny, after I was pick-pocketed on the metro last week, relieved of my cell phone and a couple of spare camera SD cards, the police had no problem with filing a report.

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