The Tale of
Four Pictures that became One
Story written by
Back in 2007, we were about to take our first cruise
aboard the Conquest. I wanted to have a
special "Logo" picture for the event.
Rather than search the
Internet for someone else's picture, I decided it
would be better to simply create my own. So,
after gathering up four separate pictures, I used an unusual Paint Shop tool known as "cloning"
to create an original "dance cruise"
picture of my own.
I have now used the "dance cruise"
picture to promote five consecutive cruises. In addition to 2007, I have since used this picture
as the permanent logo for the yearly dance cruises
organized by Marla and myself in 2008, 2009,
As you can see, my
dance cruise picture has returned this year
to help promote our 2011 Labor Day Conquest Dance
The debut of my "dance cruise"
fortuitous at the time.
It seemingly triggered
an avalanche of new registrations. We had 33 people sign up in
the space of just four days!
Here is the story from 2007:
Reprint from the May 2007 SSQQ
People going as of
Well, everybody, get
ready. The Sea You in September Dance Party
The Alpha Hussy is
back, the Center of Attention is ready to
cause more trouble, Mr. Handsome is back,
and of course the Jammer - Gary Richardson -
is back to take more incriminating pictures
plus spin the DJ music.
Something incredible happened on Monday,
April 24 - Everybody decided to sign up at
once! Marla signed up 33 people in the
space of four days.
So how did this
veritable Biblical flood
of registrations begin?
Sunday night at the studio, six people
handed Marla their cruise registrations in
person: Phyllis Porter (Center of
Attention), Judy Walsh, Viola Hernandez,
Ken Robeson, Vicky Jimenez, and Meg Hada.
Marla was impressed. Six in one day! Not
bad. Two other people - Lin Mills and Rick
Elizondo - came up to Marla and verbally
committed as well.
After the big rush on Sunday evening, Monday
morning things were pretty quiet. Marla was
sort of disappointed because she thought the
previous night was the start of something
big. Nope. Not one new registration the
entire morning or afternoon.
On Monday night at the studio, Doug Ferris
and Vivian Gustafson both handed Marla their
registrations. That made 10 new
registrations in two days.
On Tuesday morning, the dam broke. As Marla
walked in her office at 10 am, there was
some sort of groaning and moaning coming
from the fax machine. Marla went over to
take a look. Holy Cow! The poor machine
was jammed with paper. As Marla untangled
the mess, she realized there were seven
cruise registrations. Julie Johnson,
Marian Patterson, Charlie Denton, Joan Recht,
Sandy Upchurch, Sandra Palmer, and Karen
Wisniewski had all sent in registrations.
Marla was sitting at her desk trying to
process their reservations, her phone rang.
Joe Lachner called to say he and Patty
Harrison were back for the third year in a
row. Now we were up to 19 registrations in
On Wednesday, the registrations came in fast
and furious. Some came by email, some came
by fax, some came by phone, but every minute
Marla turned around it was someone else.
Mickie Benoit, John Safos, Nancy Neuhaus,
Terri Beeler, Jeff Margolis, Conor
O'Muirgheasa, Cristina Lozano, Gary and
Betty Richardson, Marlanea Taylor plus Alpha
Hussy Leslie Goldsmith. Plus three more
people handed in their registrations at the
studio in the evening (but as I write, they
aren't confirmed). Assuming the Mysterious
Three go, that's fourteen registrations in
one day. Or 33 people in four days.
Another person who
signed for that same 2007 trip was Tammey Goodner (Trawick)
and her future husband Jerry. I don't know if
Tammey noticed my
at the time, but based on the events of 2011,
Pictures Become One
If you study the pictures above, you
will see my "dance cruise"
picture is the product of four images drawn
from the separate pictures and then merged into one.
Although I am sure an expert could do it
much faster, it took me three hours of
research to find the right pictures
and then six hours of work spread
over two afternoons to come up with the
Incidentally, I didn't get those four
pictures off the Internet. I
once subscribed to a graphic art
service. I paid money for the
legal right to use the original four
pictures. In other words, those
pictures are "royalty-free" clip art
that belong to me.
I used the
cruise picture on the left as my
Long-time SSQQ-Bissonnet patrons
might recognize a familiar style in this
picture of the older couple on the cruise
That lovely picture plus the
"Titanic" picture on the right is the work of
Frank Fruzyna, the genius whose black and white
artwork decorated my studio on Bissonnet for
I admire Mr. Fruzyna's work so much. I
feel fortunate that he shared his talent
with the world through the graphics service
I subscribed to. More about that in a
I will be the first to admit I am not much
of an artist myself. About the only
the artistic thing I contributed to the end
product was to make the sky black and add
the moon. I also colored the girl's hair red
so their hair would show up better against
the black sky.
Putting the merged picture together was a lot
of work, but it was a fun project. I was very proud of myself
when I finished.
Now it is true that my "dance cruise"
picture isn't trademarked, but I believe I
have every right to tell people that my "dance cruise"
picture is my
personal property. After all, I
created the picture specifically to help
promote my travel business.
Over the past five years, I have secretly
hoped that my "dance cruise"
would become linked in the back of
the minds of our cruise customers.
Theoretically, whenever they would see that
distinctive picture, they would immediately
recognize it as the symbol of our travel
business. Isn't that how
logos and advertising is supposed to work?
when I recently showed that picture
to a group of lawyers, the first
thing they did was smile and comment
on how cute the picture was.
After complimenting me on a job well
done, they scolded me for not trade-marking the picture like I should
I frowned and said I
didn't realize that was something I
needed to do. I assumed
everyone knew that picture was
linked to my cruise business.
As a bit of
background to this story, Marla and
I began our relationship on a cruise
Marla and I originally connected on
SSQQ Dance Studio's
second cruise back in 2001.
We began the trip as strangers and
instantly fell deeply in love.
We have never
been apart since.
In fact, we not only met on a cruise ship,
we also got married on one. As our
relationship developed, we both
agreed that things should come full
circle. So in 2004, we were
married aboard a cruise ship in a
crazy, mixed up ceremony known as
Oops Wedding where I was an
hour late to my own wedding!
Marla is the person who taught me the
pleasure of travel and seeing the world.
As we celebrate our tenth year together, our
time has always been wrapped around cruise
trips. This started right at the
beginning. As I got to
know Marla, I learned that
Marla had a deep love of travel.
Not only did she love to travel, she
had a tremendous amount of
At the time, I had never traveled in
my life, but now Marla had me curious. Wouldn't it be fun to see the world
in our retirement years?
I didn't think my nest egg was
sufficient to cover several
expensive cruise trips a year.
A lot of people assume that
all those huge crowds of
people that used to visit
into massive amounts of
money. While it is
true that the studio was
prosperous at the turn of
the Millennium, once the
medical people took over the
Bissonnet Shopping Center
and cut back on our parking,
profits became a thing of
the past for most of the
2000s. The last few
years were a serious struggle for me. In
fact, I was
so bitter at the way my business was treated,
I decided I never wanted to run a dance
studio again. They were pretty rough on me.
with my financial
limitations, I had an idea.
Why not use Marla's travel
and business skills to organize cruise
trips and use my own writing
skills to help promote each
In this way, once I retired, we could
continue to be able to
afford to travel plus
we would have the added
benefit of sharing the
adventures with our friends!
That was the
motivation behind setting up our side
business as travel hosts during the
final years of SSQQ-Bissonnet.
it came time for me to
retire from the dance studio
business in 2010, Marla and I
decided we would switch from teaching
dance to focus on offering
cruise trips through our
business, SSQQ Travel.
were amazingly successful
last year (2010). We took 40
Oslo and Northern
Europe in May and 190 people
on a cruise to the
Bahamas over Labor
Day in 2010. That was
easily quite a record.
In addition, our cruise trip
Virgin Islands and
the Eastern Caribbean in May
2011 has over 70 people.
Talk about a good idea!
That was ten years ago. In
that time, we have
organized 20 cruises for
over 2,000 passengers.
We have seen Spain, Norway,
Scotland, Ireland, England,
France, Italy, Greece,
Turkey, Egypt, Hawaii,
Alaska, the Bahamas, New
England, Canada, most of the
Caribbean plus a cruise to
Mardi Gras, the wildest
event in America. It
has been quite an experience
hanging with Marla!
AMERICA'S LOVE FOR COMPETITION
and I are definitely not the
first people to ever
organize a dance cruise.
Nor will we be the last.
We understand that we
have to expect that other
people here in Houston and
around the country might
offer dance cruises
American spirit of
competition allows anyone to
give it a try.
Last fall I noticed
member named Tammey
Trawick was offering
a dance cruise. Unfortunately, her first
attempt failed. I am
sure she learned the
same hard lesson as Marla and I
- it is tough to get
started in this odd
So why did she offer
a competing dance
cruise and market it
to many of our
customers? I can
only assume that Tammey
enjoyed our dance cruises
and decided it was something
she would like to try for
someday. Once I closed my dance
studio in 2010, Tammey saw an
Who is Tammey
had worked for me at
SSQQ-Bissonnet for several
years as a Hall Monitor and
Registrar. She had
always been one of our most
loyal and dependable
Administration people. I
liked Tammey and trusted
her. I must have
trusted her - after all, she handled
our registration money all
During her time in
my employ, Tammey
had been on several
of our SSQQ Dance
the 2001 and 2003
and her future
husband Jerry were on our
2007 Conquest Dance Cruise.
the same trip that I debuted
my "dance cruise"
Although her first
attempt at offering
a dance cruise in
October 2010 did not
decided to try again
with a 2011 summer
In early February
noticed her latest effort.
Curious, I went to her
website. That is when
that Tammey had chosen to
use my "dance cruise" as her logo
was no other artwork.
Just my "dance cruise"
picture. I was
Didn't Tammey know
that was "my
my "dance cruise" has
been out there for five straight years, I assumed that
everyone in the Houston dance community knew that
picture and my SSQQ Travel program were linked.
had been at SSQQ for 10
years, it seemed odd that
she had used
my "dance cruise"
her own cruise. I
guess I assumed
that someone who had worked
for me for 10 years would
realize that this particular
picture was closely associated with my
At the exact
my "dance cruise"
SSQQ Travel home
How was Tammey able to
overlook the fact
that she was using
the same picture
my LOGO for the 2011
Labor Dance Cruise?
My biggest concern was that some of Marla's customers would
see her cruise logo on Tammey's web site plus the logo of
the "new" SSQQ and assume that Tammey was offering and
perhaps assume that Tammey's trip was the "official SSQQ
dance cruise trip" of 2011. i mean, in some ways it was the
"official SSQQ dance cruise" for 2011. It was
basically the new SSQQ and the old SSQQ offering competing
I didn't mind
the competition, but wouldn't
some of Marla's former cruise customers get a little
wouldn't be difficult for a newcomer to
accidentally get Tammey's cruise mixed up with Marla's cruise.
someone looking for a cruise trip might think Marla and I had retired
not just from dancing, but the cruise business too.
In fact, if
Tammey continued to use our logo, someone might get confused and think
that we had sold our cruise business to Tammey.
Could Tammey at
least have the courtesy to use a different logo?
were people supposed to tell
the two trips apart?
No one should conclude this was a deliberate attempt on Tammey's part to make
people think her dance
cruise was my dance cruise.
That is not Tammey. Tammey is a good lady.
After all, Marla was Tammey's friend back at SSQQ-Bissonnet.
After the studio closed, they remained Facebook buddies.
There were no
I could only assume
that Tammey didn't
pay any attention to
my website. Or
simply didn't realize I had
created the picture myself
and figured it was okay to use it.
Okay, that's an honest
Surely all I had to do was call attention to the oversight.
So I sent her
an email. This
shouldn't be hard to clear
up. All I had to do
was explain the problem and that would be the end of it.
2011 4:52 PM
please remove my
I did not give
to use my
I would like for
you to remove it
2011 4:58 PM
To: Rick Archer
please remove my
Rick I found it
on the internet.
did not say it
I just did a
on dances cruise
"I just did a general search on
dances cruise images"
I found Tammey's remark to be
curious. I always thought the origin of pictures was easy to
identify on the Internet.
Why not conduct my own Internet search?
So I went to Google and typed in "dance cruise". Then
I clicked "images".
That is when I discovered
my "dance cruise" picture was on the very first
page of images. Wow!
Not only was
my "dance cruise" picture on Page One, it was the third picture
I smiled. That is kind of neat. Apparently
over the years, the picture I had created had become the
third most popular "dance cruise" picture in the world.
Now it was time to figure out how Tammey had overlooked the
ownership of my dance cruise picture.
not say it was yours."
The link to my
conquest 2007 Conquest
dance. So I clicked
the link. Guess what?
The line took me directly to the
SSQQ 2007 Conquest Dance Cruise
Then to my
surprise I looked at the guests on
that trip. I did a double-take on
the guest list. Tammey and Jerry had
gone on that very same trip.
What a coincidence!
The Google ID also said
ANNOUNCING THE 2007 SEPTEMBER
Strange that Tammey didn't notice
the connection between the picture
and my cruise program when she did
her general search on dance cruises.
I mean, how often do the letters "SSQQ"
In addition, I
noticed the picture was clearly
ssqq.com, my website.
Unfortunately, the writing was very small
with green ink. I was able to notice
it, but for a person with
little Internet experience,
something that small might be easy to overlook.
there were over 45 million pictures listed under
"dance cruise". Surely that was the problem.
difficulty in identifying the SSQQ connection made
someone does a general search on
thousands and millions of dance cruise images, I
could certainly understand how the small
print makes it difficult to notice
where the picture originated from.
Just because my picture was the third picture on the
entire Internet didn't necessarily make it easy for Tammey to identify its origin.
way, if you are curious to see where my "dance cruise"
picture is located on Google, just type in "dance
cruise", then click on "images". Shouldn't be
hard to find. Recently it became the Number
could be other explanations
for the mixup. For
example, it crossed my mind
that Tammey did recognize my
picture in the back of her
mind. Perhaps she saw
my picture on the Internet
and said, "Gee, that looks
like the same picture that
Rick uses. I bet Rick
borrowed that picture from
some other website. I
really like that picture.
Maybe I will borrow it too.
If Rick can
use that picture, then so
confess I am in no position
to do any stone casting when
it comes to Internet picture
borrow pictures off the
Internet just like Tammey
did with my "dance cruise"
example, I borrowed this "War
of the Worlds"
picture off the Internet for
a goofy Newsletter story I
wrote several years back.
find pictures on the
Internet all the time and
use them for my own
purposes. After all,
no one seems to care.
Furthermore, I never use
those pictures to make
money, but rather to support
a story I am telling.
are some examples.
One good example is my
Huashan Story about a dangerous
hiking trail in China. In 2006, Milt
Oglesby, a dance student friend, sent me
photos of Huashan in an email. I used
those photos to tell the story.
About four years later, I got this nice
email from a lady named Carmina asking
permission to use the photos.
Sent: Saturday, December 11, 2010 5:56
Subject: Permission to post photo of Mt
Huashan hiking trail on CNNGo
Hope you are well! I am a journalist,
writing an article about dangerous Asia
activities for CNNGo, an Asia
travel/lifestyle website launched by
I love your
article and photos of
Mt Huashan hiking
and I was wondering if you would grant
me permission to use a photo in my
Rick Archer replied:
I would be
flattered to contribute my pictures to
your story, Carmina. Yes, by all means.
It was nice of Carmina to ask permission,
but like I said, not one photograph on my
Huashan web page actually belongs to me.
I got every single picture off the Internet
or from an email like the one Milt sent me.
people ask to borrow artwork from my
website that actually does belong to
me. I am always happy to help
Sent: Wednesday, December 15,
2010 11:28 AM
Subject: permission to use a
I work for triangle productions,
a small non-profit theatre
company in Portland, Oregon. I'm
making an email newsletter, and
wanted to use a graphic of bad
weather…I found one on your
site, and wanted to know if I
may use it? This would be in an
email distributed to about 1,000
people. Thank you,
From: Rick Archer
Sent: Monday, December 20, 2010
Subject: RE: permission to use a
Certainly. I use other people's
pictures all the time, so you
are more than welcome to use
this one. I purchased it from a
company known as Dynamic
Graphics which went out of
business about two years ago.
people ask to borrow artwork from my
website that doesn't belong to
me. I am always happy to help
example of photography on my website
that doesn't belong to me.
Sent: Wednesday, March 17, 2010 9:36
To: Rick Archer
Subject: permission request
Thank you for your site on Whip
Dancing at Garner State Park. It is
innovative, entertaining and
erudite, mostly due to the stream
writing style used in telling your
My name is Jesse. I'm writing for
permission to post these two photos
into my reunion styled dancers
section. I'm just now building that
page. I have not found any other
pictures of a typical dancing period
at Garner's pavilion, which I am
highlighting for our classes'
memories. Also, if the publisher
would allow this use, which of
course I will attribute properly,
would someone please give me the
dates of the photos so that the
attributions appropriately document
Rick Archer's Reply
These pictures do not belong to
me. They were sent to me by a
man who wanted me to write a
story about Garner State Park.
I have no
objection to you using them.
Sent: Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Subject: Regarding the Guoliang
Hello Mr. Archer,
I'm currently working on a
Discovery Channel special about
I see that you have one of the most
visited website listed on Google for
was wondering if you have any images
or footage of China's Guoliang
Tunnel that we might be able to
license from you.
Unfortunately we can only use images
and footage if we can get them from
the person who owns the rights. If
you don't own the images, perhaps
you have the contact info for the
person who does. If so, I'd greatly
Please let me know if you are
interested and thank you for your
I explained to the man from the Discovery
Channel that I did not own those pictures.
Fortunately I was able to direct him to an
Internet friend who does "own" pictures they
The point I am making is that people borrow
pictures from the Internet like Tammey did
all the time. So does
everyone else and so do I. This is a
door that swings two ways. Other people
turn around and borrow my pictures too.
Some ask permission, most
don't. No matter. As you have read, I typically don't mind at all.
As for my own borrowing, my code is simple. As long as I
am not trying to "PROFIT" off of a picture,
I don't bother to ask permission.
If the picture is one of many, I don't think
On the other hand, if the artwork seems
vital to a person's website, I won't touch it.
That is the code I work from.
My code works pretty well. Only once in
twelve years has anyone ever
complained. A friend
of mine named Anita sent me an email with
"Kid's Pictures" that made me split a gut
laughing. I had no idea where those
pictures came from.
About a year after I posted those pictures,
the man who created the story complained.
Not only did I apologize, I
immediately removed the
pictures from my web site.
I would never dream of using
someone else's pictures against their will.
In my mind, Tammey had
borrowed my picture by accident. If
so, this was not a
major problem. Perhaps Tammey assumed I had borrowed
my dance cruise
picture off the
Internet myself. If I
could 'borrow' the picture,
probably had no idea she had
made a mistake by borrowing
a picture that was important to me.
Once Tammey wrote me,
"it did not
say it was yours",
I was about to write Tammey back and go
into more detail. However, before I
could respond, I received
a second response from
Tammey two minutes later.
2011 5:00 PM
To: Rick Archer
please remove my
Sorry I will be
glad to take it
2011 5:28 PM
please remove my
I assumed Tammey had
double-checked the Internet and realized
her mistake. Good for
People make mistakes. It is how people react to
those mistakes that matters.
Tammey had done the right thing.
solved. Now that
Tammey realized my
was my own personal
property and given
me her word to remove the
picture, I felt much better.
Tammey had always
been my friend.
It was a silly
certainly not worth
making any fuss
However, I am
basically a Ronald
Reagan "trust but
verify" kind of guy.
I checked her
website and sure
enough my picture
never gave it
another thought. I
assumed that was the end of it.
This should have been the end of the matter.
In fact, if it had been the end of the matter, this
story would have never been written.
One Month Later
protested the use of
my Logo picture to Tammey in the middle
later in March 2011
I learned that Tammey
had continued to use
picture in her travel
picture was no
longer on her
website, but it was
being used at the
new SSQQ in flyers
flyer on the right
dance students at
the new SSQQ to
I thought back to
"Sorry I will be
glad to take it
I was confused.
Did I misunderstand
the meaning of her
Maybe I read it
wrong, but didn't Tammey promise
to remove my
realized that when Tammey
promised to remove
the picture from her
web site, in her
include flyers and
My mistake! I
should have been
much clearer in my
I had only written "please
remove my personal
artwork from your
I completely forgot
to mention flyers
banners posters etc.
How stupid of me!
I told Tammey she
did not have
permission to use
my dance cruise
obviously I didn't
How could I be so
continued use of
my dance cruise
might even be seen
as a compliment.
I can only assume
that imitation is
the sincerest form
I know that
I guess it
took me ten
use it even
not to, I
begin to see