Thursday, 26 August 2010

Bullied by the Red Cross

If you visit my website and think that it looks a bit different these days from the last time you looked at it this is because I WAS BULLIED BY THE RED CROSS.

It was in May this year when I received the first email. It was from someone using just their first name and telling me that I was in danger of contravening the Geneva Convention, breaking International Law and putting the purity of the symbol of the Red Cross in danger.

Now I just dismissed it as a joke email but the emails continued and I was getting annoyed. Firstly because of the good people of Britain who had given their hard earned cash to just causes such as the Red Cross, who were now wasting it by employing web crawlers to check out ‘misuse of the symbol’. And secondly as I had my website for the last eight years and nothing had been said until now, why suddenly was I putting the Red Cross in danger? The person who had contacted me continued with her emails, couched in the nicest possible way, suggesting that maybe I would like to change the logo/colour/shape? When I checked out the link she had sent me to the Red Cross website and the ‘reporting of misuse’ page I surmised that what they were after was a fee for using the symbol.

Well, the correspondence went all the way to the International Lawyer of the Red Cross and at this point I began to take the situation seriously. I consulted a Lawyer who specialised in copyright issues (many thanks to you Joel) who agreed with me that the whole thing was ridiculous but also told me the price I would have to pay if action was taken against me by the Red Cross. A very physical price, a fine between £2,500 and £5,000 would have been the outcome if their case had been proved. A step too far I decided. Although principles are involved here and I refuse to be bullied, money is hard to make and easy to spend.

The outcome is my logo designed by my daughter, two plasters covered in red fabric with the words FELT BETTER printed over to symbolise how making things with your hands makes you feel better, has now become green, purple being too close to red. I hope I won’t now be sued by the Pharmacists organisation for using the green cross. I suppose I can only say ‘Watch this space’.

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