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Last Update: Thursday July 29, 2021

Key Idea: Stand Your Ground

Bob Tarcea, founder of Sign To Me, says that the Internet has turned even the nicest people into thieves.

Key Question:


Force the thieves, even if  they are daycare workers,  to deal with you. Bob Tarcea is one of the nicest people we have ever met. His product helps thousands of parents communicate with their baby before the baby is able to form words. His product is also extremely valuable in hospitals where children are too sick to speak.

Q: Why would anybody steal from Sign To Me?

Because the Internet makes stealing quick, easy, free and anonymous. Another reason people steal from Bob is that they feel they are doing wholesome good work. They are daycare workers or nurses in hospitals or parents on a tight budget who are just getting by. All of these potential customers think that Bob doesn't need their $50. And, of course Bob doesn't need their $50 but that is not the point. The point is when a social worker makes a copy of Bob's flashcards, she is stealing the same as if she walked into a store and stole the same set of flash cards.

We remember working in our church when the copy machine became affordable enough for the church office to have one. It was very tempting to make copies of music so we wouldn't have to pay full price for every choir member to have their own music. But to my knowledge, no one on our church staff and no member of the choir ever did this. What held us back? We argue that inside this group there was a deep sense of what was right and what was wrong. We also argue that this type of stealing would be obvious and could not be anonymous which is one of the biggest reasons that Internet theft is so insidious.

Don't feel sorry for the thieves. No matter who your customers are, they need to pay for your products and services. Stand your ground because poverty is not an excuse. There are many ways for people who are too poor to purchase products and services to have access to them without stealing. You can give discounts or give away out-of-print materials that are lying around but don't let people steal because you feel sorry for them. It perpetuates a break down of our moral fiber. It sets a precedent that is not good for any of us.

The good news is that if people are stealing from you it tells you that you're on to something good. Walt Disney said he was complimented by people who copied him. Whatever they stole from him was old because he was always working on the next analog world as Disney was able to make his profits on a product before others could copy him. In the digital world, if the Disney leadership did not fight to protect its brand, it would lose big bucks. As a member of the Motion Picture Association, Disney has fought. Mark Litvack told us about the incident in 1998 when he discovered 24 million pirated copies of American films while representing the Motion Picture Association. The MPA was able to shut down that particular pirate but more keep popping up. As Steve Weinstein said, "Everyone is fighting to get something for free."

Think about it

Do you know if anyone is stealing from you now? If so, what are you going to do about it?

Clip from: Protect Your Intellectual Property (IP)

Silicon Valley, Los Angeles and Seattle: Economies grow when money is transacted for something of value. Theft kills economies and IP theft is a real pandemic.

Lying, cheating and stealing has been going on forever. But now, the other IP (Internet Protocol) has made it so easy to steal, our children and all sorts of decent-loving-gentle people think nothing about "borrowing, using, enjoying" and otherwise ripping off somebody's creative work.

In this episode of the show we visit with the lawyers who argued down Grokster in the U.S. Supreme Court. We visit with a small business owner who is being ripped off, a composer who is figuring it out, and technologists who are waging the war to protect our intellectual assets.

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Sign2Me / Northlight Communications

Bob Tarcea, President/Chief Executive Officer

12125 Harbour Reach Drive, Ste D

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Stand Your Ground

BOB: We've created a suite of products that enable little babies as young as 6-8 months old to communicate with the world as much as a year or more before they are able to articulate verbal speech. We do sell through Barnes and Noble and and basically if you go to any mall in the US you will find 1-5 stores will have our products. We also market through the Internet. That's really large for us. It enables us to market worldwide. However, we have had instances where it might be a school teacher, an instructor -- I even had a phone call from a person who called and said, "I just wanted to let you know we're teaching classes on signing and I didn't think you'd mind if we photocopied your book and distributed that to our students."


BOB: Absolutely true.

HATTIE: She said, I didn't think you would mind?

BOB: Yes, she did. I said well actually it is copyrighted material. It is intellectual property I'm afraid that is not acceptable, you can't do that. In their brains they are not doing anything that's evil. In their brains, they're not stealing. They're not putting a gun to someone's head. I don't think they realize that what they're doing is taking away other people's livelihoods by going into mass distribution of someone else's intellectual property.

MARK: People justify it. They justify it in America. College kids all the time. I would go around and speak at schools many a year and they'd say, your guys are so rich and we're so poor, it's OK to steal. And it's not. It's not a justification. It's just wrong and you're stealing it because you can.

BOB: But the cost of protecting your intellectual property can be exorbitant. It can be incredible.

MARK: Look, litigation is expensive, it's time consuming and not as rewarding as people would think hence you should choose your battles carefully.

BOB: Right now we're dealing with a situation on eBay. There is an individual in the United Kingdom who has taken our video and has placed it on a video CD. He even calls it the Joseph Garcia Quick Start Method to Signing with Your Baby. It's an absolute and blatant rip off where this individual is not just handing it to a friend but profiting by selling it on eBay. It was shocking needless to say to see this happen and what we did is we filed a complaint with eBay. Filled out all the forms to try to stop this individual from continuing the sale of this product.

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