See, I collect the fake ID's by confiscating them from underage people who attempt to buy alcohol. I've been informed that I'm required to do this. I don't mind because frankly, our bar is for adults, and not a NYU undergrad hangout. My bar has not had a problem with underage drinking, only other bars that my bar's owner also owns. I have never knowingly served a minor, and never will. Enough of my friends work in the service industry in the neighborhood that if I don't confiscate the ID's, I'm putting their jobs and livelihoods at risk.
I seem to be making an amazing amount of enemies from doing this. Sadly, they don't realize that their real enemy is probably the community board that is cracking down on underage drinking in the East Village, and the Liquor Board that would revoke our license to serve beer legally if we too didn't do everything in our power to stop underage drinkers from obtaining beer at our bars.
Why people would use their real names to make a fake ID?
The obvious advantage is that their credit cards then function as backup identification. The amazingly obvious drawback is that their name is on the illegal piece of identification.
When I went to college, at freshman orientation, we were given a lecture by the Boston Police about the consequences of our actions. If we were caught with a Fake ID, our drivers license would be suspended in our home state, and we would suffer penalty from the University, and legal action from the state of Massachusetts.
Perhaps NYU freshman aren't informed with the same zest that I was. Perhaps the idea of actions having consequences hasn't been ingrained in their minds yet. College is about learning, developing a capacity for critical thought, and sometimes professional training. Education in general is also a method of socializing individuals to society. I should hope that the admission standards of NYU would be enough that the students would be at least mildly socialized to common laws and basic ethical arguments.
The choices you make in life will always carry consequences, some good, some bad, some extreme, some minor, some avoidable- with interaction comes vulnerability to the reaction of others. The justice system, whose laws you can choose to break, might also protect you from the consequences of breaking those laws, but only if you admit those laws are broken first. You could face a choice. You can engage that system while considering, is the admission of my initial breaking of the law going to cause more extreme consequences than my attempt to protect myself? or you can try to talk to the person who you threatened by breaking the law or you can let the consequences play out.
The differences between being a minor and being underage
A minor is under 18, an underage drinker is under 21. The advantage of being a minor is that you can have all records sealed at 18 of any mis-doings in your youth. The disadvantage of being 18 -21 is that you are an adult, and while that does not include being able to purchase alcohol until you are 21, you are considered responsible for your actions.
What has happened over the last few days
I posted a blog entry about a girl who tried to use a fake ID at the bar I work at. I posted a picture of that fake ID. I used her full name in the text of the post. Friday, she commented that she found it and was furious about my noting a political affiliation in the post. Subsequently, she wrote about it in her facebook notes, or someone did, because hundreds of people have visited this blog from that reference point over the weekend.
I realized that it could be a great disservice for her to have this blog show up on every google search of her name. Good intentions in my heart, I deleted the last name in every part of the article so when the cache was refreshed by google, it would no longer show up for searches of her name. I even emailed one of the people who commented, claiming they knew her, so she could rest easy that I didn't have malicious intent. Let's see what I get for being nice.
Then I checked my other email account, which is listed on my other website with an old address of an old studio space. I had been subscribed to some wild internet sites, and a few magazines too. Identity theft is a big deal kids. I unsubscribed myself to a bunch of these things, and sent notices to the magazines (which will not be forwarded to my new address because they will be less than first class in shipping, and aren't covered by the postal service's forwarding service.)
I wonder if the people who thought that using my email and address was a great idea were smart enough not to use their home computers, or school computer accounts. Those ISP addresses would be so trackable. I suppose the police will figure it out if I decide to call them up about all this.
So then the friend of the girl in question and I exchanged a few emails about the situation. He had some rather confused logic justifying a DMCA takedown notice, but informed me that "this young lady is going places". huh. sure, right. Like everyone at NYU. It seems they're all going to drive up the rent in the neighborhood.
This morning I got a notice from Blogger that read:
Blogger has been notified, according to the terms of the Digital
Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), that some of your images allegedly
infringe upon the copyrights of others. The URLs of the allegedly
infringing images may be found at the end of this message.
The notice that we received, with any personally identifying information
removed, may be found at the following link:
Please note that it may take several weeks for the notice to be posted on
the above page.
The DMCA is a United States copyright law that provides guidelines for
online service provider liability in case of copyright infringement. We
are in the process of removing from our servers the images that allegedly
infringe upon the copyrights of others. If we did not do so, we would be
subject to a claim of copyright infringement, regardless of its merits.
about the DMCA, and see http://www.google.com/dmca
that Blogger requires in order to make a DMCA complaint.
Blogger can reinstate these images upon receipt of a counter notification
pursuant to sections 512(g)(2) and 3) of the DMCA. For more information
about the requirements of a counter notification and a link to a sample
counter notification, see http://www.google.com/dmca
Please note that repeated violations to our Terms of Service may result in
further remedial action taken against your Blogger account. If you have
legal questions about this notification, you should retain your own legal
counsel. If you have any other questions about this notification, please
let us know.
The Blogger Team
So I immediately called up some friends of mine who are lawyers. First, I wanted to make sure that I wasn't confused about what a DMCA notice is. It is a way to make sure that copyrighted images, text, etc aren't published without permission. Fine. I definately published her fake ID without permission. But can you have a copyright on a fake ID?
"Copyright, a form of intellectual property law, protects original works of authorship including literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, such as poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software, and architecture." says the U.S. Copyright office.
A fake ID, besides being illegal to create in the United States, is a derivative work of the United States Government, and is not an original creative work of authorship.
I think it's really interesting that someone would try to claim that the fake ID was their own creation, and subject to their copyright. Admitting you make fake ID's is a serious bath of trouble. More so even than just trying to use one, or possessing one.
At the end of the Day
At the end of the day, I went to yoga, and didn't think about this business at all. When it slipped into my head, I lost my balance. I'm filing a counter notification and considering putting the young lady's full name back into the post. I don't need to do any favors to anyone who first tried to buy alcohol at my bar, endangering my finances and job, and then didn't have the decency to ask me before filing a bogus complaint with blogger about an image I've posted.
If it's pushed further, I'll have some journalist friends willing to make the story more public than this, and her ridiculous attempt to rudely shut-down my blog in order to protect her "budding political career" will be made an example of, in this alcohol strict community board 3 area.
You cannot copyright fraudulent documents. You should not make or use fake ID's. You are responsible for you, so act as if everyone is watching and don't do things that you'll be ashamed of later-- and don't try to cover up things you do with rude and ridiculous legal documents. Sometimes being polite works a lot better than pulling out a big ol' shovel and digging yourself deeper.
Don't try to put your bartender in a corner, if she's a scorpio like me, she's probably got a ridiculously large social network with which she can fight back.
Also, all day I've had that Hall and Oates song running through my head. I'm not sure how it applies, but the lyrics go like this:
You're a rich girl, and you've gone too far
cause you know it don't matter anyway
You can rely on the old mans money
You can rely on the old mans money
It's a bitch girl but its gone too far
cause you know it don't matter anyway
Say money but it wont get you too far,
Get you too far