Remember when I used to talk about things that aren’t my beautiful, bouncing, baby boy?
They were usually embarrassing stories about my mother. Or hilarious accounts of pre-baby hormone injections. Or glorious, dairy-filled food.
I miss that.
But babies are demanding little tyrants, even when they’re not getting over double ear infections, so I haven’t really done much else for the last seven months.
Until last week.
See, it was my friend Stephanie’s birthday, and I wanted to get her something nice. I started with a bag full of candy, because who doesn’t want a bag full of candy, obviously. But it didn’t seem special enough.
Stephanie and I share a love of all things Harry Potter (and Hunger Games, and GoT, etc.) but while my heart will always belong to one Ronald Weasley, she loves… Lucius Malfoy.
I know, right? What a horcrux.
So, I thought I’ll get some photos of ole’ Lucius printed and framed for her. It’s funny, and cute, and not a huge time commitment (hello, sick baby), and she will LOVE it.
So I find two high-res photos online.
I send them off to Walmart for same-day printing, and go to pick them up a few hours later.
They give my photos, tell me I can pay for them up-front if I have more shopping to do, which I did.
At the register, the barcode doesn’t work. I show them the online confirmation with the price so they can just charge it manually, or whatever, but they call someone up from the photo department.
“These look professional, do you have a photographer’s release?” he asks me.
“Ummmmmm. It’s Lucius Malfoy. He’s not a real person. It’s from the Internet. I don’t think it’s copyrighted.”
“Well, but do you have a release?” he asks me, again.
“It’s the Internet. I found them on at least six different websites. I think it’s ok to sell them to me.”
“Well that violates our copyright policy.”
(I’ll stop here and say, I get it. I would never, ever, steal artwork or photos from someone. But as someone who makes and sells artwork, I always, ALWAYS protect my digital work with watermarks. There were plenty of pics of Lucius that had watermarks, and I didn’t try to use them, obviously. So is this a grey area? Maybe? But I feel like these were some sort of studio/movie release/marketing stills, and last time I checked HP did pretty well at the box office, and Warner Bros. probably doesn’t really care.)
“You’re telling me you’re not going to sell me my photos of Lucius Malfoy, which are a GIFT, by the way, but that you were fine with actually printing them? And you realize I can go home and just print them myself as many times as I want? Will you be turning me in to the police?” I wanted to know.
Blank stare from photo department employee.
“So what will you do with them since they’re already printed,” I asked him.
“We’ll shred them in the back,” he says.
“Oh, no. How do I know you’re not a HUGE Lucius Malfoy fan? You could take those home! Or hang them in your locker! Tear them up right now. In front me me.” I demand.
And so I stood there, and watched him tear them up, one at a time.
And I must’ve said “Lucius Malfoy” at least a dozen times, very loudly.
And so Stephanie had to settle for Lucius à la laser printer — which did not stop her from rubbing the frames all over her face.