50 Shades of Lawsuits

By Piper Bayard

National best selling erotic romance author Roni Loren posted a blog this past week that created quite a stir in the blogosphere, and for good reason. Check out what she has to say.

Roni Loren

Bloggers Beware: You CAN Get Sued For Using Pics on Your Blog – My Story

“For those of you who are super observant, you may have noticed some changes on my blog over the last few months. Tumblr posts went away. Fiction Groupie disappeared. I deleted most of my Pinterest boards. The Boyfriend of the Week has changed format. And all my previous posts from the past three years–all 700 of them–now have new photos on them . . .”

“Well on one random post, I grabbed one random picture off of google and then a few weeks later I got contacted by the photographer who owned that photo. He sent me a takedown notice, which I responded to immediately because I felt awful that I had unknowingly used a copyrighted pic. The pic was down within minutes. But that wasn’t going to cut it. He wanted compensation for the pic. A significant chunk of money that I couldn’t afford. I’m not going to go into the details but know that it was a lot of stress, lawyers had to get involved, and I had to pay money that I didn’t have for a use of a photo I didn’t need.”

If you ever post anything on the internet with pictures. you need to click on the link above and read Roni’s story and the comments. She gives a great rundown on what you can and cannot do with pictures on the internet.

That’s the lawsuits part. On to the Fifty Shades part . . .

I had never heard of Fifty Shades of Grey until I was in the hardware store. Some professional painters were complaining about all of the extra, degrading work they were having to do to get their money these days. I asked them what could make them so depressed about their jobs, and they told me about the book-gone-viral.

Me: “You mean Fifty Shades isn’t the latest hair care line from L’Oreal?”

Apparently not. Frankly, after learning about the sadomasochistic nature of the book, I’m far more likely to spend my limited time reading Fifty Shades of Gray Matter by Stephen Hawking. Instead of reading either of them, though, I decided to go for the laugh and search YouTube for the parodies. These were some of my favorites.

We’ll start with Fifty Shades of Grey Karaoke from Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. It includes actual excerpts of the book so we can understand just what we’re making fun of here.

In case you’re still wondering what the book is about, here is Ellen DeGeneres doing a reading for us.

Now that you have the idea, Selena Gomez shows us why those painters were so unhappy.

So what do you say? Have you read Fifty Shades of Grey? Do you intend to? 

We have some exciting news here at Bayard & Holmes. We are now posting at SocialNDC as well as several other SocialN sites. Our debut post is Chasing the Hill: Real Entertainment from Fake Politics, a review of the new internet TV show, Chasing the Hill.

All the best to all of you for a week of keeping your house painters happy.


51 comments on “50 Shades of Lawsuits

  1. Not going to read it when Gilbert Gottfried has already read all the good parts out loud.

    • Piper Bayard says:

      LOL. I saw that one, too. Isn’t it a hoot? Thought it was just a touch racy for my PG-13 blog, but it was great. Like you, I now definitely feel no need to read it. Even if I did, I would only hear his voice in my head.

  2. KM Huber says:

    Bayard and Holmes have shown me more than enough of 50 Shades. Now, about that 50 shades of hair color idea…. Congrats on the expansion of your blog posts; more of your posts is always great news.


  3. Dave says:

    OK, that was pretty funny. And the best part? There are people out there that would do it for free, but James has found a way to charge people money for it. Shear the sheep.

    “No one ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public.” – H.L. Mencken

    • Piper Bayard says:

      LOL. If I could only figure out the formula for going viral. Perhaps I just need more **** ***** and some **** *** thrown in. And then I’ll write it like I’ve never done it for other people who have never done it. Ah, well. Best to figure out what she did right. Or if it was just dumb luck.

  4. tomwisk says:

    Fifty Shades is a fluke. It shows writers that word of mouth can sell a ton of books, and sequels. I won’t read it, not because I object to any sort of porn but because it makes me laugh. Our sex lives are mundane at best. We like them. Very few of us would try out a new kinky wrinkle because it would take too much positioning and explaining why it’s sexy fun. People want to read about kinky sex and somebody is going to make big bucks off it. It always comes down to money.

    • Piper Bayard says:

      LOL. I think you’re right. For most people, there is a definite threshold to the acrobatics and explaining before it’s just too impractical and they’d rather watch a game on TV. And yep. It’s so about the money.

  5. Love the parodies, Piper! Reading the parts out loud never gets old. I read all three books to see what made it tick. I didn’t find it to be happy kinky. The erotic pieces became repetitive (like skim past) and there was a damaged spirit to them. I did find it interesting that she moved into some more thiller-type story elements for the last two books.

  6. This was hilarious!! Thanks for sharing!
    On regards to the pictures, I will make sure not to use anything that it is not authorized. Great subject!

  7. I haven’t read the books, don’t intend to – but the videos were funny. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Here’s the flip side of copyright protection – unlike Roni’s obnoxious (though technically “in-the-right”) photographer, here’s a totally classy response to a trademark infringement: http://mashable.com/2012/07/22/jack-daniels-trademark-letter/.

    Those big boys could’ve crushed that author if they’d wanted to… but they didn’t. My faith in humanity is revived. 🙂

  9. Piper, as a result of Roni’s dilemma, your oh-so-clever vice presidential running mate (what’s happening with the campaign?) has come up with a brilliant means of sharing photos with the WANA group and others may want to do the same. Check out Kristen’s idea! http://www.flickr.com/groups/wana/
    Thanks for the hilarious parodies … SO much better than the book!

  10. Here’s another hilarious 50 Shades bit from SNL

    • Piper Bayard says:

      LOL. Thanks for the link. 🙂

      To anyone watching all of these, I would just point out that the SNL skit is just a bit racier than the others posted here.

  11. I HAD to read book 1 for book club. We’ll be discussing it next week. I pray everyone hated it. But I’ll bet some people read books 2 & 3 also. That said, E.L. James is laughing all the way to the bank. Isn’t this what people dream of? *cough* I’m not sure which is worse? The fact that our country has gone ga-ga over AA badly written book or that so many well written books are being ignored so people can read Ana bite her lip for the 3,012th time.

  12. Stacy Green says:

    LOL. I won’t even get started on 50 Shades. I feel bad for Roni when her mistake was innocent, and I’m grateful she took the time to share so the rest of us could learn. I think many of us misunderstood the idea of fair use.

  13. Diana Beebe says:

    I have learned a lot from Roni and others about fair use. Thanks for this fun post. I won’t be reading 50 Shades…. I heard enough from a few friends that I don’t need to.

  14. Hi Piper.

    August M has some good sites (and there are plenty of others) that have free images that can be used for commercial and non-commercial work.

    I haven’t got into the 50 shades thing. It just seems like manufactured hype to me, but those clips are funny 🙂


  15. Nina says:

    Read the first one and HATED it. And I’m not one to negatively jump all over something just because it’s popular (which some writers unfortunately do). I honest to goodness do not understand the appeal.

  16. Are blog awards all creative commons or do I need to worry? I just realized they’re the only photos that I’ve just taken off another blogger’s page…

    I’m going to read Fifty Shades so I can argue correctly.
    Okay…not really. I don’t know how to tell friends “no” when they suggest a book, even when I know its going to suck. Ugh.

  17. Donna Newton says:

    You are so funny, Piper! 50 Shades is rubbish. I flicked through 🙂

    If you want a good book with a bit of nookie, try Julie Birchill’s, ‘Ambition’. Now that is GOOD.

  18. My local bookstore has racks of James’ trilogy on sale about 10 feet from a pile of my books. I spent some time loitering anonymously to see whether mine attracted the same custom. No. In fact, mine didn’t attract any custom, whereas James’ material got a steady stream. In a way I was kind of relieved, and I consoled myself with the thought that her books are printed on soft, absorbent paper easily able to be torn from the binding. More easily than my books, anyway…uh – I think.

    • Piper Bayard says:

      LOL. That’s a great anecdote, Matthew, and it had to be frustrating to watch it unfold. Were you ever tempted to mix a few of your books into the James shelf? I honestly think that’s what I would have done if I were in that situation. And you make a good point about paper easily torn. Could be all those folks were going camping and needed fuel for small fires.

      • I do, on occasion, do a ‘strategic reshuffle’ of my books on the shelves (following Bill Bryson, apparently). Having a surname beginning with ‘W’ usually leaves my stuff at the bottom on the right. Except today, when I found my book in a store window, near that annoying vampire trilogy – but unfortunately hidden behind balloons. I have photographs…

  19. Jane Sadek says:


  20. LOVE the videos – ROFL!! Stellar.
    I read all three Fifty Shades and enjoyed the read. No, it’s not high literature but I often love just a fun, easy read. I have no issue “losing” myself in any story…The kinky was not NEARLY as bad as I thought it’d be…nothing tooo out of this world but I did find there was sooo much sex that sometimes it’s sort of interrupted the story flow. But…all in all…a fun, easy, flirty read. Just my take…

  21. This really is a serious issue for bloggers. I’ve tried to tell a few of my blogger buds, but they didn’t take me seriously. I had to learn the hard way. They may also have to do so.

    Before I started TheIsleOfMan.Net (a humor blog), I used to have a mixed martial arts (MMA) blog that no one read but me and maybe my parents, on a good day. I posted a picture of an athlete there that was apparently copyrighted.

    A full year after not even posting new material on this site, I received an alarming email from a photographer who demanded I take the pic down, plus pay him for the months it had been up on the site. He threatened legal action.

    I thought it was so crazy, because no one even ever went to my little dumb site. I certainly didn’t make any money of the photo. But he didn’t care, and demanded payment, or he would sue.

    So I did. I couldn’t afford it, but I did.

    Now, I make sure I only use royalty free photos from Creative Commons and MorgueFile.

    Lesson learned.

    • Piper Bayard says:

      Wow, Kevin. I’m so sorry that happened to you. That sounds like quite the ordeal! Thanks for sharing your experience. I think bloggers are starting to realize there really isn’t any safety in numbers.

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