A Lament for Boris the Burglar®

Disappointment most grim!

As a young man, I often marveled at the “Neighborhood Watch” signs posted in my area. However, no swell of fidelity or security filled my heart. No hopes of donning a neon vest with electrical tape to patrol the area in search of…whatever happened to be out there. I appreciated the signs for reasons beyond the limited constraints of their intent.

Instead, I fixated on the creepy logo: a dapper, shadowy figure wearing a fedora, his collar pulled up to his face. An unnamed threat lurking around every corner. Watch out for the Watcher!

I kept the Watcher folded safely in memory, preserving the story until I felt capable of telling it to utmost accuracy. “Neighborhood Watch” is written, revised, and almost ready. It’s made the rounds through the assembly line of editors who are doubtless sick to death of hearing from me. The market has denied it a place. While that’s perfectly fine, it’s no reason why I shouldn’t offer the story to YOU, gracious readers.

This is where I encounter a most amusing and unexpected snag. The symbol of my benefactor, the Watcher, has a name. He is Boris the Burglar®, and he has a copyright.

I had hoped to utilize Boris® for a thumbnail-sized piece of cover art to appear on Kindles, Nooks, iPads, Kobos, etc. I even took pictures of the signs and used photo editing software to give them a grainy, dilapidated, Silent Hill-ish ambiance. That done, I appealed to the wranglers of my dark prince. My plea was every bit as candid as I present it here, with an added guarantee that I in no way harmed or disparaged the honorable office of the Neighborhood Watch.

Permission to use his image, much to my eternal regret, was denied.

“It has been determined your applied for use does not keep the integrity of the logo and program. Thus, your application for use of our trademarked logo is prohibited in connection with your project. We ask that you discontinue using the logo and remove our logo from your website promptly.”

I give the National Sheriffs’ Association credit for doing their homework and visiting the cobweb-filled underbelly of http://www.paul-kirsch.com.

Gentlemen. *sober nod*

Ah, but it’s a shame. I had hoped the Watcher could walk with me, hand in claw, as I took my first step into the world of self-publishing. Perhaps it’s better this way. The Watcher is not one to advertise. He would prefer to vanish behind the [digital] margins, peering at you from under his cap, waiting for the opportunity to strike.

Either way, he’ll be here soon.

~ by Paul Kirsch on March 20, 2011.

3 Responses to “A Lament for Boris the Burglar®”

  1. Such a disappointment to hear this, I was really rooting for you. But you did the right thing and I commend you for investigating this so thoroughly, not many in your shoes would have done so. Live to fight another day, my friend.

  2. Aww, too bad. I guess you didn’t exaggerate your story’s potential for “education” and “promoting relationships amongst neighbors.” Unfortunately, these groups of grownups can take themselves way too seriously…

  3. […] except maybe legos. My favorite experience by far was when I fought the law and the law won over Boris the Burglar. The support I received after that incident was second only to the novelty of it. Thanks for a […]

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