So over the past few days in the news I have been reading a few articles about the murder or as the newsmedia has been saying “slaying” of Byrd and Melanie Billings. This case interested me at first because it is tragic. Even more so because the initial findings were that it was purely for robbery. Byrd had two children from his first marriage and Melanie had two of her own and they had adopted 13 special needs children. Again, tragic that this happened to two people so willing to give to those who needed them most. They also believe that 7 or 8 people were involved with this break in and currently they are working on capturing them all.
Then the story becomes interesting for another reason. They now believe that it might have been a hired hit. But what makes the story even weirder is that in the article I recently read on cnn.com (for the article click here) they mention something I thought was really strange:
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 demand money from the department for their use.
A department attorney, Katie George, told CNN 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 in 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.
Weird no? Who tries to copywrite their childrens names? Does that mean if one of his children was name Luciano, everytime I wrote my name in a document someone would have to pay him? It seemed like he was a little off…or maybe that’s just me.
I’m going to keep reading up on this story and keep updating this post and let you guys know what ends up happening.
– Luciano Galasso