December 16, 2016, updated July 26, 2018
REAL CAREER SUICIDE LETTERS & STORIES
Welcome to my gballard network of professional career suicide blogs and websites. The personal and contract websites I've self-published have received over 500 MILLION hits since I uploaded them. My few surviving websites currently average about 5 MILLION hits a month.
Protecting my copyrights and speaking up for the intellectual rights of content creators is what this fight is all about.
I've been fighting the good fight now for more than 10 years to protect my copyrights to my mammoth professional legacy some 60,000 still photographs, 600 gigabytes of related digital materials (not including video files), hundreds of hours of digital video, several documentary movie DVDs, thousands of pages of original content I self published on the internet, including several specialty websites I produced on Kumeyaay and California Native American Indians over a 20-year period.
I've actively protested my wealthy and influential former client's alleged blatant theft of my intellectual property and their two failed one-sided 'negotiations' with me to settle my copyright dispute in an effort to finish my business with them and move on.
My complaint asserts my client's altering, anonymous digital storage and unauthorized release of my income property for their unjust enrichment, and alleged unfair terminations from my long-established creative projects.
My services were terminated right after I blew the whistle on their employees' and contractors' documented patterns of copyright infringements, their breeches of our business contracts and professional licensing agreements.
EVIDENCE Clear and Convincing
I believe any reasonable person in the business of commercially designing graphic posters, licensing usage rights to them, and selling large format prints of his artwork is justified in asking for an explanation when he catches gainfully-employed 'professionals' erasing his copyright notices, branding and consultant credits and blatantly plagiarizing and printing his work behind the scenes.
Yet I was treated like a troublemaker, fired and my reputation destroyed when I respectfully asked the offending Sycuan Casino manager for such an explanation with the below photographic evidence and detailed licensing documentation in hand.
Sycuan's two unauthorized poster print runs that I complained about.
Read my actual complaint letters to The Sycuan Band of Kumeyaay Indians. Review my documentary evidence, emails, photos and arguments to a Sycuan Casino executive and manager requesting explanations of their alleged plagiarism of my commercial photography, graphic designs and their second documented unauthorized printing of my intellectual property before I filed my dispute with the chairman and council members.
Read all about how my 100-percent valid grievance resulted in their alleged swift retaliation that resulted in my prompt unfair terminations from my long-established multimedia projects and the destruction of my 17-year business on the Sycuan Indian Reservation and ultimately my being blacklisted over my ongoing copyright infringement complaints against a sovereign tribal government as a successful and established professional photographer, photojournalist, cinematographer, graphic designer, editor and Web developer.
- Did my powerful client discriminate against me for my age to fire me from my long-established creative projects to hire younger, cheaper workers?
- Was my unfair termination based on racial discrimination motives?
TWO SETTLEMENT OFFERS, but they clammed up in silence AGAIN!
Examine our actual unedited settlement discussion letters including my former client's two $125,000 offers to buy legitimate rights to my massive copyrighted collection of some 60,000 still photographs and 600 gigabytes of digital materials and successful websites and brands to settle my long-running complaint.
Learn how I formed my arguments, presentations and formatted my overwhelming clear and convincing evidence, documented their alleged patterns of blatant breaches of our licensing agreements and flagrant copyright infringements that got me unfairly fired from my independent contractor accounts (allegedly) and put out on the street with a destroyed reputation and business that ultimately ended my career after 20 years of spotless independent professional service.
SOVEREIGN TRIBAL GOVERNMENT you can't sue Native Americans like Sycuan WHAT A TRUMP CARD they take a "so sue me" attitude, but they know you can't really sue them so they play their unfair advantages against small business people like me...
My particular case is interesting because my plight is a real-world example of a true modern David versus Goliath fight in that the Sycuan brand represents a powerful and highly-influential federally recognized Indian gaming tribe a sovereign tribal government based on sovereign Indian lands in East county of San Diego.
As a sovereign Indian nation, it is virtually impossible for nonIndians like me to sue them in superior or federal courts because of highly complicated tribal sovereignty jurisdiction issues, United States Constitution amendments, tribal constitutions and bylaws unique to each Indian reservation, including 200-year-old treaties with the US government that create a maze of highly specialized legal issues.
The American Indian casino gaming tribes have deep pockets and all the motivation and time in the world to play their cards of unfair advantage against anyone who would dare challenge their sovereign right to run their businesses and governments under tribal rule.
My letters of protest also document the alleged unfair, mixed up, dysfunctional and downright shameful 'negotiating' tactics Sycuan's elected tribal officials used on me after my 20 years of otherwise spotless independent service to their people.
It's all free information to peruse on my new SYCUAN PROTEST WEBSITE: www.sycuanbandofthieves.com.
My protest website presents my new 2016 open letter to Sycuan Tribal Chairman Cody Martinez, his fellow council members, and the Kumeyaay families that comprise the Sycuan Kumeyaay Indians located in the County of San Diego in Southern California.
My protest website brings my complaint up to date, August 2018, with the Sycuan Tribal Government and the Sycuan Casino and Resort and leaves us with the most important conclusion question begging to be asked:
- Is Sycuan an organization of thieves operating under the colors of Tribal Sovereignty and Unfair Advantage?
I certainly have my opinion at this late date, but after 10 years working for a peaceful solution to the problem, and two failed Sycuan settlement offers, I'm leaving the evidence for anyone to review and draw their own conclusions about how Sycuan does business and treats the people who worked for Sycuan in good faith:
BUT LET ME WARN YOU
When some leaders don't get their deal, they just go silent and ignore your letters. They take a "so sue me" attitude but they know you can't really sue them so they deal their cards from stacked decks to play their unfair advantages in screwing you over (click on that for my article about the psychology of screwing and getting screwed) and they will get their way in the end after they've left you for road kill and forgotten all about you.
If you are thinking about if it's worth the risk to speak up for yourself, expose corrupt officials or blow the whistle on a powerful corporation that's treating you unfairly or unlawfully or if you're afraid of the consequences for speaking up for yourself when you catch business clients stealing from you red handed and plagiarizing your photographs, research, content, writing, video, ideas and paying you for them or if you're a victim of gender or age discrimination, sexual harassment, race discrimination, bullying you've got good reason to be concerned about be retaliated against for your activism.
Just be prepared to change careers and relocate your business and family far way from their umbrella of influence to start over because you will be in for dirty long protracted fight with some wealthy unscrupulous companies and your associates, false friends and professional contacts will treat you like a pariah.
LEARN MY HARD LIFE LESSONS THE EASY WAY
My career, good professional reputation, career and legacy were ultimately destroyed over my copyright dispute and I have lost all hope of making any type of final arrangements to leave my life's work in good hands with the stigma of my Sycuan conflicts unresolved.
But my intention today is to blast my story onto public record so people know what happened to Gary Ballard commercial photography and why.
I want people to know how the Sycuan Tribal Government and the Sycuan Casino acquired my photographs because they didn't pay me for them (with very few exceptions).
And that I stood up for myself and my good family name and fought the best fight I could against a true Goliath of an adversary a wealthy and highly influential giant of a sovereign Native American Indian tribal government.
MY FREE ADVICE TO YOUNG PROFESSIONALS, CASINO MANAGERS & TRIBAL MEMBERS
Perhaps other independent professional photographers, photojournalists, multimedia producers, writers, content developers, graphic designers and artists, anyone who's ever worked for a living and been wronged by an employer or boss even tribal members and casino managers can benefit from my real-life Southern California Native American Indian casino horror stories.
I fell into a trap that never should have been allowed to exist under Sycuan's vast professional management resources and it should have been resolved when I put the facts and evidence in the hands of their legal director.
If you are a photographer or creative person having copyright issues people are pirating and using your images without your permission I highly recommend you take the time to review my 2016 protest letter against Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation.
As an independent photographer, graphic designer, multimedia producer and consultant, I worked for the Sycuan tribe and the Sycuan Casino from 1989 through 2010. During this 20-year period, I billed Sycuan an average rate of $100 per hour for my professional services in San Diego. And my photographs were always released on case-by-case written licensing agreements and serialized with my attached copyright notices with virtually no exceptions.
The massive historical image bank and professional legacy I've been fighting to save for the Seven Generations I created them for includes:
- My sole and exclusive rights, copyrights, to some 60,000 Southern California Indian-related contemporary still images.
- Over 600 gigabytes (600,000 megabytes) of supporting indexed and captioned digital materials (not including 100-plus hours my digital video files).
- My Native American Indian websites, DVD video documentaries, and thousands of pages of original content I published on the Internet, including my commentaries, research papers, extensive field notes and tens of thousands of my original published images.
I spent 20 years, invested some 7,500 personal unbilled hours, and tens of thousands of dollars of my own money developing my gigantic photographic collection, websites and brands yet the Sycuan Tribal Council's written offer to settle my dispute was for $125,000 for my "copyrights" to my "entire collection" and all "materials."
BUT WHAT TRIGGERED MY COMPLAINT?
Witness the second unauthorized 36-inch poster print (right). I submitted this hard photographic evidence to the casino marketing manager when I respectfully asked him for an explanation.
The photos clearly prove he had digitally erased my copyright notices and credits from my artwork before printing it into his pirated posters.
Further, the pictures show he clearly plagiarized his first run by erasing my copyright notice and adding his company's logo and distinct graphical branding. The first time I caught him, he said, "Sorry, I thought it was ours." I wanted to ask if that was before or after he rubbed out my copyright notices and branding from my original artwork but I held my tongue because I didn't want to start a war with Sycuan.
MOREOVER, after the second printing, I was so fed up I gave his executive supervisor a free no-strings written offer to use my photos royalty-free for all time to close the copyright issue and be done with it with before my complaint ever left their department.
But he responded with a strange written tirade and then allegedly resigned over his problems and let my free offer expire on his way out the door...and even after that the chairman alleged retaliated against me by unfairly terminating my projects and destroying my business.
Very sincerely yours,
GARY G. BALLARD
Independent Multimedia Photojournalist, Mass Communication Specialist and Website Content Developer
Disclaimer: sycuanbandofthieves.com, including the gballard.net and kumeyaay.info websites, are not affiliated with the Sycuan Band of Kumeyaay Nation, the Sycuan Tribal Government, the Sycuan Casino and Resort, the Sycuan Institute on Tribal Gaming, the Sycuan Fire Department, or Sycuan's off-reservation Willow Glen and Sycuan Golf Resort in El Cajon, CA, the U.S. Grant Hotel in downtown Gaslamp Quarter of San Diego, or any other of countless Sycuan community and commercial enterprises that I may not know about or list. Nor do these websites have any affiliation with San Diego State University, or the San Diego Padres major-league baseball team. The commentaries above are the opinions and views of Gary Ballard and he is solely responsible for its content. If you or your organization have any clarifications, concerns or input on the information contained on these websites, please CONTACT GARY at the link below.