July 21, 2009

Copyrights and Child Services

The curious case of the at home murder of a Beulah, Florida couple who adopted 13 children (many of them special needs) keeps getting stranger. So far seven people have been charged in connection with the murder after the attackers overlooked the home's video surveillance system, despite casing the property for a month. At present, police have found no cogent motive for the crime, but even more bizarre were the actions of the late father, Byrd Billings.

Additional documents released Monday from the Florida Department of Children and Families show a bizarre attempt by Byrd Billings to copyright the children's names and request money from the department for their use.

A department attorney, Katie George, told the Pensacola News-Journal that every time the agency sent Billings a letter referencing the children by name, he would reply with an invoice demanding millions in copyright infringement. In one document released by the department, he demands $10 million in silver or federal reserve notes of equal value.

In a sharply worded letter of December 2005, another department attorney, Richard Cserep, wrote to Billings, "you reference a wide variety of law in connection with this claim" for damages.

"This includes copyright violations, trademark violations, contract violations, admiralty and maritime law, libel and the Truth in Lending Act," the letter said. "At no time in any of your correspondence have you made a plain demand for damages under a clear and cognizable theory of liability."

A handwritten note on the letter says that no further correspondence was received from Billings after that letter.

read more here at CNN.

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