Intellectual Property Wrongs

Photograph: Joe McBride/Getty Images

Photograph: Joe McBride/Getty Images

In case you didn't read my bio (and don't worry, I don't blame you; I often don't read them myself), I was a field investigator with the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) for years before I decided to investigate on my own.  Part of the reason for my departure was that I had other fortean interests beyond UFOs, and part of it was that MUFON has some systemic issues with which I take umbrage.  Don't get me wrong, I met a lot of great people working with MUFON, and the investigators whose boots are on the ground doing the real work are hardworking, dedicated individuals; but if I'm going to volunteer my time and resources to investigate something, then I expect to at least be able to use the intellectual property that results as I see fit.  Well, the High Council over at MUFON disagreed, and so here we are.  Their stance always struck me as particularly hypocritical, since clearly certain privileged high-ranking investigators are given leave to write about their experiences with MUFON.

Luckily, MUFON makes their UFO database freely available to the public, and there are still organizations like the National UFO Reporting Center (NUFORC) around, too.  As far as I can tell at this point, there is basically no reason to belong to any organization that doesn't consider me an equal.  I do sometimes miss having their resources at my disposal, but I don't miss being treated as an employee when I'm not being paid, and the longer I investigate the more I've come to realize that the best resource I have available to me is my own experience.  And working largely on my own, and now with a partner, means never having anyone breathing down my neck or micromanaging me, and while the hours are twice as long, they're half as stressful.  Regardless, I don't harbor any ill will towards MUFON, and if they ever decide to give their field investigators more agency, then I'd even consider working with them again; but only with and never for. 

Yours in Impossibility,


Tobias Wayland