Plimer the plagiarist

Eli Rabett has been investigating Ian Plimer’s claim that climate scientists were cooking the books on the CO2 record. Plimer wrote:

The raw data from Mauna Loa is ‘edited’ by an operator who deletes what is considered poor data. Some 82% of the raw data is “edited” leaving just 18% of the raw data measurements for statistical analysis [2902,2903]. With such savage editing of raw data, whatever trend one wants can be shown. [p 416 of Heaven and Earth]

The raw data is an average of 4 samples from hour to hour. In 2004 there were a possible 8784 measurements. Due to instrumental error 1102 samples had no data, 1085 were not used due to up slope winds, 655 had large variability within 1 hour but were used in the official figures and 866 had large hour by hour variability and were not used.[2102] [p 418]

This drew a correction from NOAA’s Pieter Tans:

To illustrate how misleading
Plimer is I made a plot of 3 years of all hourly data, with 2004 in the
middle because Plimer discussed 2004. …
In the plot, “selected” data means that we have used it in constructing
the published monthly mean because those hours satisfy the conditions
for “background” measurements. The red stripes are extremely close to
the published monthly means. …
Also plotted in purple-blue are all non-background data. If one
constructs monthly means from ALL data, incl. non-background, one
obtains the purple-blue stripes. The differences are only slight, with
the seasonal cycle becoming a bit larger due to upslope winds, esp.
during the summer.

Tans concludes that Plimer is a con man, but the story doesn’t end there. Plimer’s reference 2102 is ftp://ftp.cmdl.noaa.gov/ccg/co2/in-situ/. I analyzed the 2004 Mauna Loa data from there and found there were some minor errors in Plimer’s numbers: In fact, due to instrumental error 1103 samples had no data, 1097 were not used due to up slope winds, 655 had large variability within 1 hour and were not used and 881 had large hour by hour variability and were not used.

No big deal, complaining about minor mistakes like this really would be nitpicking. But look at this page, where Ferdinand Engelbeen makes exactly the same mistakes as Plimer and has the numbers in the same order:

For 2004, 8784 hourly average data should have been sampled, but:
1102 have no data, due to instrumental errors (including several weeks in June).
1085 were flagged, due to upslope diurnal winds (which have lower values), not used in daily, monthly and yearly averages.
655 had large variability within one hour, were flagged, but still are used in the official averages.
866 had large hour-by-hour variability > 0.25 ppmv, were flagged and not used.

Now if they both got the numbers right they could have just independently analyzed the same data, but when two people make exactly the same four errors it is proof of copying. The Internet Archive shows that Engelbeen’s page has had those numbers since at least 2007, well before Heaven and Earth was published, so it is Plimer who has copied from Engelbeen. And since Plimer does not cite Engelbeen as his source, that’s plagiarism.

But why plagiarize Engelbeen? All Plimer had to do avoid academic misconduct was cite Engelbeen instead of the NOAA FTP site. Well, directly before the numbers that Plimer copied are two graphs, one showing the raw data and one showing the selected data. And directly after the numbers Engelbeen writes:

As one can see in the trends, despite the exclusion of (in the above second graph) all outliers, the difference in trend with or without flagged data is minimal, only the number of outliers around the seasonal trend is reduced and the overall increase in 2004 in both cases is about 1.5 ppmv.

And to end any doubt on this point, Engelbeen continues:

Does discarding of “contaminated” data influence the trend over a year or several years? I have asked that question to Pieter Tans, responsible for dataprocessing of the Mauna Loa data. His answer:

The data selection method has been described in Thoning et al., J. Geophys. Research, (1989) vol. 94, 8549-8565. Different data selection methods are compared in that paper, including no selection. The methods give annual means differing by a few tenths of 1 ppm. I assume that you have read the README file [4] when downloading the data. The hourly means are NOT pre-processed, but they are flagged when the st.dev. of the minute averages is large.

That’s the same Pieter Tans quoted earlier.

So it seems that the reason why Plimer didn’t cite Engelbeen was that Engelbeen conclusively refuted Plimer’s claims about data selection at Mauna Loa being used to manufacture a trend. (Engelbeen, by the way, is a global warming skeptic and wrote his page in an attempt to end the Keeling-curve denial of folks like Plimer.)

Comments

  1. #1 dhogaza
    October 27, 2009

    Oh, how can you people get bored when comments like this are forthcoming:

    Your response was to quote the law and say “who are you going to trust: the law I quoted or Mark” when that is a false choice

    That’s friggin’ hilarious.

  2. #2 dhogaza
    October 27, 2009

    It seems to me that ‘fair use’ would, in colloquial terms, occur where reproduction may occur without permission, but with some form of attribution.

    US law doesn’t require it (can’t speak for other countries), but the in contexts in which fair use apply – criticism, use of snippets for teaching, parody, etc – attribution is certainly the cultural norm. Even if not attributed, in the context of criticism and parody, at least, it will be clear that it’s not your work. Using snippets for teaching and presenting them as your own will get you in trouble due to academic prohibitions against plagiarism.

    As far as Mark goes … I’ve been working with lawyers and US Copyright law for about forty years, regarding my software, written words, and photography (I’ve sold all three) and find his arrogant, faux-authoritative posting of absolute misinformation thoroughly offensive.

    Having said that, I won’t respond to any more of his posts. It’s not like anyone here’s likely to be dumb enough to accept his pronouncements as gospel and as a result accidently do something illegal or the like.

    But it is interesting how a little yank of his chain leads to a long flood of abuse on his part. Baiting him isn’t very nice of me, I admit.

  3. #3 Mark
    October 27, 2009

    > As far as Mark goes … I’ve been working with lawyers and US Copyright law for about forty years

    then how come you didn’t know that the US was a common law system and that just posting the US statute didn’t refute the examples given of copyright being persued in a way you said was impossible.

    Case law trumps statute in a common law system.

    I doubt very much that your perception of copyright is correct and believe that you have been given duff information by your lawyer friends on this subject.

    In short: you may believe yourself right, but you are not.

  4. #4 Mark
    October 27, 2009

    > It’s tax evasion, not failure to pay a debt. In the US, at least.

    > Posted by: dhogaza

    If Jammie Thomas doesn’t pay anything in the court case and loses her appeal then she will be jailed.

  5. #5 Craig Allen
    October 27, 2009

    I just caught the channel 7 news. They covered the just released report on the potential cost of sea level rise to coastal properties in Australia.

    The piece ended with Plimer having his say about how sea level has always changed and that just a few thousand years ago it was a few meters higher than now, stating that the current rise is not unusual or particularly concerning. Then the reporter concluded that some politicians think that global warming is a problem, others not, and that some scientists think one way and others the other, so therefore the jury is still out.

    Despise him or not, Plimer is infuriatingly effective at spreading his disinformation.

  6. #6 Mark
    October 27, 2009

    > Despise him or not, Plimer is infuriatingly effective at spreading his disinformation.

    > Posted by: Craig Allen

    Not really.

    He’s preaching to the converted. He’s leaning against the open door.

    That he is unable to effectively spread his disinformation is why he didn’t agree to Monbiot’s conditions for the meeting.

  7. #7 dhogaza
    October 27, 2009

    I’d appreciate it if someone could find a cite for the claim in #104 that you can be jailed for failure to pay statutory penalties in the United States.

  8. #8 carrot eater
    October 27, 2009

    Dear, dear.

    Mark, slow down and read what we’re saying. 80/85: The point is that the terms ‘plagiarism’ and ‘copyright infringement’ should not be used entirely interchangeably. Trrl also points this out.

    “PS neither link seems to say that plagiarism is a merely ethical act. There are criminal sanctions available.”

    Where in the link do you even see the word plagiarism?

    http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-protect.html

    It’s about copyright. Yes, if you plagiarise something, you will often have also committed a copyright violation. But that doesn’t mean the words have the exact same usage.

    I pointed out in 80 that website material is indeed protected by copyright; that’s why I posted those links.

    Further, you are obsessed with the RIAA cases, simply because they provide a few examples of criminal copyright prosecution, as opposed to civil. What you have not done is found any precedent similar to this situation. A criminal prosecution of somebody running a huge server for pirated files doesn’t have much resemblance to a missing footnote.

    And finally, I maintain that if, say, Gavin Schmidt was sloppy and forgot a footnote somewhere in his book, you wouldn’t be calling for criminal prosecution.

  9. #9 dhogaza
    October 27, 2009

    Further, you are obsessed with the RIAA cases, simply because they provide a few examples of criminal copyright prosecution, as opposed to civil.

    The Thomas case mentioned in #104, though, is civil, not criminal (and in my #107 I meant to say “statutory damages”).

  10. #10 Mark
    October 27, 2009

    > Mark, slow down and read what we’re saying. 80/85: The point is that the terms ‘plagiarism’ and ‘copyright infringement’ should not be used entirely interchangeably.

    I’m not either.

    But if it isn’t a copyright infringement then it isn’t plagiarism either.

    > Yes, if you plagiarise something, you will often have also committed a copyright violation. But that doesn’t mean the words have the exact same usage.

    Yes, so if you plagiarise, you’re also committing a copyright breech.

    This is what I’m saying.

    And commercial copyright infringement is a potentially (and has several times been persued as) a criminal act.

    You so far haven’t said anything that I’ve not said, yet managed to add bits implying that I haven’t said this myself.

    > I pointed out in 80 that website material is indeed protected by copyright; that’s why I posted those links.

    And I haven’t said they weren’t. In fact I’d said that they were copyrighted and given more links to even more draconian action taken on the same thing.

    > What you have not done is found any precedent similar to this situation

    Case law doesn’t require that. It requires a case where the law was used in a similar situation.

    Commercial? Yup.

    Copyright infringement? Yup.

    Criminal action pursued? Yup.

    Therefore in this case of commercial copyright infringement criminal action can validly be required to be pursued.

    It is applicable case law.

    > And finally, I maintain that if, say, Gavin Schmidt was sloppy and forgot a footnote somewhere in his book, you wouldn’t be calling for criminal prosecution.

    So? I’m not on Fox News as a talking head, am I. And so far, this hasn’t happened. I’m not going to be held responsible for what YOU think I’d do. I’m not going to be responsible for your paranoia.

  11. #11 Mark
    October 27, 2009

    > The Thomas case mentioned in #104, though, is civil, not criminal (and in my #107 I meant to say “statutory damages”).

    > Posted by: dhogaza

    This is an example of how, despite there being no debtors prison, someone can be jailed for being in debt.

    Not an example of how copyright infringement is a criminal offence.

  12. #12 dhogaza
    October 27, 2009

    Please provide a cite that Ms. Thomas faces jail time for failure to pay statutory damages, or that anyone in the US can be jailed for failure to pay statutory damages awarded to a private party in a civil case.

  13. #13 carrot eater
    October 27, 2009

    Mark, 84:

    I don’t understand why you’re hung up on this idea of a ‘bug’ in the code. No ‘bug’ is necessary, nor even code, really, to make this error.

    Somebody could go through the data manually and make the decision to treat ‘.D*’ as something different from ‘.D.’. It’s a matter of judgment: what do you do with entries with a * in the third column. It isn’t the fault of whatever code you used to parse the data.

    So I could see how two people could independently reach the same counts, based on a similar misunderstanding of what a ‘*’ in the third column means.

    2004 data here.
    ftp://ftp.cmdl.noaa.gov/ccg/co2/in-situ/mlo/mlo2004_01C0_hr.co2

    That said, the two paragraphs very much read like paraphrases of each other, so that would indicate one being the source for the other. At the university level, that is a definite no-no, whether somebody bothers to sue or not.

    Perhaps somebody with a lot of time on their hands might look for other instances in the book.

  14. #14 Mark
    October 27, 2009

    > I don’t understand why you’re hung up on this idea of a ‘bug’ in the code. No ‘bug’ is necessary, nor even code, really, to make this error.

    It requires a procedure to be enacted into the code that is incorrect.

    It’s a bug.

    Not even a feature.

    > Somebody could go through the data manually and make the decision to treat ‘.D*’ as something different from ‘.D.’.

    Yup, you can match in a grep that is more correct (i.e. doesn’t have a bug in it) that doesn’t match .D* with .D.

    .D.+ matches .D. and not .D, whereas .D* would match both.

    > It’s a matter of judgment: what do you do with entries with a * in the third column.

    You treat them correctly. If the third column with a * in means “no comment” then treat it as no comment. If a third column with a quote mark in it means “ditto” which means “the same comment as above” then you treat it as the same comment above.

    You may not be able to do this in a grep statement, but then in that case, the bug is using grep to do the processing.

    You wouldn’t use a regexp to write a decryption algorithm unless you love obfuscated perl. You’d use something else.

    Same here.

    If your problem cannot be solved correctly with grep, don’t use grep. If two people do and get EXACTLY the same error, then this is an astounding coincidence. There are many ways of writing this program even if you exclude all the wrong ones (which would exclude using grep, making this the null set…). The “hello world” program has a rather more limited set of programming constructs to it so is more likely to get the same answer. However, if you ask your students to write a hello world program and two students come back with a “hellow world” program, you can be pretty sure they shared their result.

  15. #15 Mark
    October 27, 2009

    > or that anyone in the US can be jailed for failure to pay statutory damages awarded to a private party in a civil case.

    > Posted by: dhogaza

    < http://www.accessmylibrary.com/article-1G1-107813318/contempt-charges-result-fines.html>

    Failure to pay even if appeal fails, contempt of court, jail.

  16. #17 dhogaza
    October 27, 2009

    That’s a contempt of court case, based on ignoring a string of court orders related to a child custody case and associated sanctions and attorney fees awarded due to the filing of a frivolous suit.

    Not statutory damages in a civil suit.

    Please provide a cite that Ms. Thomas faces jail time for failure to pay statutory damages, or that anyone in the US can be jailed for failure to pay statutory damages awarded to a private party in a civil case.

  17. #18 carrot eater
    October 27, 2009

    “Yes, so if you plagiarise, you’re also committing a copyright breech.”

    I can plagiarise Shakespeare without violating copyright, as copyrights don’t last forever.

    Going the other way, I can start printing and selling unauthorised copies of Plimer’s book, while leaving his name as the author. I didn’t plagiarise, but I did violate a copyright, and would expect to get sued for it.

    “Commercial? Yup.
    Copyright infringement? Yup.
    Criminal action pursued? Yup.”

    If you think that’s all it takes to demonstrate that a DA would bother prosecuting for a missing footnote or would have a good chance of winning, go ahead.

    “So? I’m not on Fox News as a talking head, am I.”

    I don’t care who you are; you should be consistent in what you say. Don’t go calling for jail time for somebody you don’t like, if you wouldn’t do the same if somebody you did like did the same thing.

    If you honestly would call for a Gavin Schmidt to be tossed in jail for missing a footnote, then carry on.

  18. #19 dhogaza
    October 27, 2009

    Parking offenses are not criminal offenses, but involve “civil” fines. … to appear in court as promised (by signing a ticket), and failure to pay a fine without sufficient justification you can end up in jail

    Parking fines are not statutory damages awarded in a civil suit between private parties. A parking ticket is a citation to appear in court which (in the US) can be waived if you pay the stated fine instead. Yes, you can go to jail for ignoring the citation to appear in court if you don’t pay the fine. It’s the failure to answer the citation that gets your ass in jail, though.

    Not statutory damages in a civil suit.

    Please provide a cite that Ms. Thomas faces jail time for failure to pay statutory damages, or that anyone in the US can be jailed for failure to pay statutory damages awarded to a private party in a civil case.

  19. #20 dhogaza
    October 27, 2009

    I think the point’s made. If you can find a case that actually shows someone being tossed in jail for failure to pay statutory damages awarded to a private party in a civil case, I’d be surprised but … I’d also be the first to admit I’d learned something.

    Keep looking, but don’t waste our time by posting cases that aren’t relevant.

  20. #21 Mark
    October 27, 2009

    > Parking fines are not statutory damages awarded in a civil suit between private parties.

    And this is about a civil problem ending in jail time.

    If you’re going to move the goalposts, do so before I find an example of a pre-goalpost-move event.

  21. #22 dhogaza
    October 27, 2009

    Also, I won’t bother pointing out why your wrong if you keep posting irrelevant cites.

    However, if you find one that actually supports your claim, I’ll make an affirmative post.

    Otherwise I’ll be posting endlessly, I fear …

  22. #23 dhogaza
    October 27, 2009

    If you’re going to move the goalposts, do so before I find an example of a pre-goalpost-move event.

    #107: “I’d appreciate it if someone could find a cite for the claim in #104 that you can be jailed for failure to pay statutory penalties in the United States”

    (#104 is the Thomas case mention)

    #109: “The Thomas case mentioned in #104, though, is civil, not criminal (and in my #107 I meant to say “statutory damages”).”

    #112: “Please provide a cite that Ms. Thomas faces jail time for failure to pay statutory damages, or that anyone in the US can be jailed for failure to pay statutory damages awarded to a private party in a civil case.”

    No goalpost move. Show us that Ms. Thomas faces jail time … that was your claim, asking you to support it is not “moving the goalposts”.

  23. #24 Mark
    October 27, 2009

    > That’s a contempt of court case, based on ignoring a string of court orders …

    And not paying the court awarded statutory damages is a contempt of court for EXACTLY THE SAME REASON.

    > Parking fines are not statutory damages awarded in a civil suit between private parties.

    Except where the parking wardens are a private party.

    Which is true in 100% of the UK and in many places in the US.

    And why is that difference relevant anyway? Please show where the court cases presented to you in these links state that the reason why they apply is because they aren’t statutory damages.

    (see what I’m doing there, dog? same as you!)

  24. #25 carrot eater
    October 27, 2009

    You are impossible.

    Looking at the data, I think it’s quite reasonable that two independent workers could make the same mistake. This isn’t a case of two people both writing 2+2=5.

    Either

    1) writing code that only looked for ‘.D.’, instead of leaving a wild card for the third column

    2) writing code (or heck, going through it manually), properly finding the ‘.D*’ instances, but not understanding what the * meant, and omitting them from the counts.

    If you think it’s completely unlikely for two people to make this same error, go ahead.

    But the similarity in language remains, which would seal the argument.

  25. #26 Mark
    October 27, 2009

    > No goalpost move. Show us that Ms. Thomas faces jail time … that was your claim, asking you to support it is not “moving the goalposts”.

    > Posted by: dhogaza

    Please show me where civil infraction is not what this case is about.

    Civil copyright case: civil infraction of the law.

    The reason why your parking fine can end in jail time is because civil infractions can end in contempt charges and jail time.

    Please cite the law that states there’s a difference between collection of a debt ordered by the court to the parking office and a corporation.

  26. #27 dhogaza
    October 27, 2009

    And not paying the court awarded statutory damages is a contempt of court for EXACTLY THE SAME REASON.

    Cite, please. I’ve googled, and have found no evidence this is true. I’ve certainly never heard of a case of someone being thrown in jail for failure to pay statutory damages in a civil suit between private parties, i.e. the Thomas scenario you cite.

  27. #28 dhogaza
    October 27, 2009

    The reason why your parking fine can end in jail time is because civil infractions can end in contempt charges and jail time.

    No, it’s because you’ve signed a ticket promising to appear in court. You go to jail for failing to appear in court. The requirement to appear is waived if you pay the fine.

    That’s not how civil suits between private parties work, at all, not in the least.

    C’mon, go find a relevant cite.

  28. #29 dhogaza
    October 27, 2009

    Eh, forget it, carrot eater is right:

    “You are impossible.”

    OK, Mark, you can have the last 10,000 pig-ignorant words.

  29. #30 Mark
    October 27, 2009

    > Looking at the data, I think it’s quite reasonable that two independent workers could make the same mistake.

    David’s point was it was possible to get the same error because a grep would have to be written correctly for that corner case and grep isn’t really designed to do that. Therefore rather than steal his copyrighted words, Plimer could have written the same program.

    But why write it with grep?

    And the program isn’t “two independent workers looking at the data”. It’s two programmers making the same mistake.

    You wouldn’t use grep on such poorly structured information.

    Perl maybe.

    Not grep.

    Going through it manually you get the correct counts or a wrong count that is randomly wrong.

    This is the ENTIRE point that Tim’s making. If this were two independent people going through the table and totalling up the number of entries, each entry has several values that could be counted incorrectly and not noticed as wrong (i.e. close enough to the real value to be counted as the real value without ringing warning bells). But each number so counted not only has a range of incorrect values, but also the combinatorial effect of having each number counted incorrectly IN THE SAME ORDER and to the same value.

    Add to this, each has to recount to check their figures and still not see a need for change, or get a new incorrect value that is the same as each other.

    The chance of this isn’t one-in-a-million, but it’s pretty damn small.

    And therefore if this were not a program (i.e. not Dave’s buggy program) but were two independent and inept scientists counting by hand, then the chances of happenstance giving the same result is so small as to be negligible and the only option left is plagiarism.

    Which is Tim’s point.

    Which is copyright theft.

    The point I make.

  30. #31 Mark
    October 27, 2009

    > No, it’s because you’ve signed a ticket promising to appear in court.

    No, a parking ticket is issued in your absence.

    It is a fine for a civil infraction.

    And you can get jailed for it if you don’t pay.

    It’s not often used, but it is available.

    Despite there being no debtors prison.

  31. #32 Mark
    October 27, 2009

    > I’ve certainly never heard of a case of someone being thrown in jail for failure to pay statutory damages in a civil suit between private parties, i.e. the Thomas scenario you cite.

    > Posted by: dhogaza

    Please cite law stating a civil infraction between you and the government is different from a civil infraction between you and a private party such as a RIAA member.

    Both are civil infractions.

    And you still insist on bringing it away from the original point which was:

    YOU: There is no debtors prison!
    ME: You can get thrown in jail for civil debt

  32. #33 dhogaza
    October 27, 2009

    No, a parking ticket is issued in your absence.

    Oh, yeah, parking ticket, not a signed citation.

    However, it’s still a citation to appear, and it’s failure to appear that gets you arrested.

    I know this well, as I was once issued a bench warrant for failure to appear on a jaywalking ticket, as I chose to not pay the fine (the issuing cop gave me some inaccurate information, and in the end I neither went to jail nor paid the fine).

    The bench warrant threatening jail was not written “for failure to pay fine”, it was written “for failure to appear”.

  33. #34 carrot eater
    October 27, 2009

    “And you still insist on bringing it away from the original point which was:”

    No, the original point is that you can’t get thrown in jail as the direct result of a civil lawsuit. If, along the way, you do something else wrong, maybe, but not due to the lawsuit itself.

    And why do you think you have to use grep to miss or misinterpret the .D* instances? You can make that error, whatever code platform you use, or if you do it manually, and it does not seem an unlikely error to make. That isn’t one-in-a-million. It’s not a random error.

  34. #35 Mark
    October 27, 2009

    > However, it’s still a citation to appear, and it’s failure to appear that gets you arrested.

    So you said

    > No, it’s because you’ve signed a ticket promising to appear in court

    And now you’ve gone “doh!” you now say

    > However, it’s still a citation to appear, and it’s failure to appear that gets you arrested.

    No.

    Failure to pay the fine can put you in jail.

    Where did you get it was the “not turning up” that got you jail?

    Read the link in #106:

    > failure to pay a fine without sufficient justification you can end up in jail

  35. #36 Mark
    October 27, 2009

    > No, the original point is that you can’t get thrown in jail as the direct result of a civil lawsuit.

    Between you and me, but dog’s only citation was “impossible because we don’t have debtors prison”.

    Yes, you may not have debtors prison, but you’ll still go to jail for not paying. And worse: when you leave you still owe.

    And post 106 shows that failure to pay a fine awarded by the court for a civil infraction can land you in jail.

    Which is a citation to counter your assertion.

    Yes, you can end up in jail for a civil infraction.

    Though since Plimers work is a commercial infringement this doesn’t have to be a civil infraction anyway.

  36. #37 dhogaza
    October 27, 2009

    No.
    Failure to pay the fine can put you in jail.
    Where did you get it was the “not turning up” that got you jail?

    From the fact that Oregon law states that failure to appear when issued a citation is a Class A Misdemeanor.

  37. #38 dhogaza
    October 27, 2009

    And from the fact that bench warrants (for one’s arrest, just in case you’re not aware of what a warrant is) are issued “for failure to appear”, not “for failure to pay fine in lieu of appearing”.

    In Oregon, that is. I imagine it’s the same in most, if not all, US states.

  38. #39 carrot eater
    October 27, 2009

    Good Lord.

    You can’t got to jail because you lost a civil lawsuit.

    You need to do something else wrong, to end up with jail time.

    As for not paying damages: If the person is able to pay but won’t, then the money can be basically seized via garnishment. I don’t know when/if jail time is possible in that case. You cannot go to jail if you are too poor to pay.

  39. #40 dhogaza
    October 27, 2009

    I don’t know when/if jail time is possible in that case.

    No, not in the US. No jail. Assets can be seized, liens placed, wages garnished, etc, and unlike other debts, bankruptcy might not cause the debt to go away:

    Addressing the issue of discharging debts under bankruptcy laws, the U.S. Bankruptcy Appellate Panel for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the bankruptcy court’s decision holding that statutory damages based on willful copyright infringement are not dischargeable when the infringer had the requisite intent to injure another’s property interest.

    In the Thomas case, lawyers are discussing bankruptcy as a possible “out” apparently based on an argument that she didn’t intend to injure the RIAA’s property interest. Will it fly? Don’t ask me, I’m just the messenger.

  40. #41 Mark
    October 27, 2009

    > Will it fly? Don’t ask me, I’m just the messenger.

    And if it doesn’t (note the “if the appeals fail”) then jail time is possible.

  41. #42 dhogaza
    October 27, 2009

    . I don’t know when/if jail time is possible in that case.

    Clarification, no jail for that, but yes jail for (as you said earlier):

    You need to do something else wrong, to end up with jail time.

  42. #43 Mark
    October 27, 2009

    OK, lets get right back to basics.

    Plimer’s work if taken from anothers’ paper: Is this a copyright breech?

    Yes
    or
    No
    ?

  43. #44 dhogaza
    October 27, 2009

    In the Thomas case, lawyers are discussing bankruptcy…Will it fly?

    And if it doesn’t (note the “if the appeals fail”)

    Filing for bankruptcy is a separate action from appealing the ruling of the court.

  44. #45 dhogaza
    October 27, 2009

    Plimer’s work if taken from anothers’ paper: Is this a copyright breech?
    Yes or No ?

    Yes, of course, and my IANAL opinion is that it’s possibly actionable, though in the hardcopy world you still have to prove actual damages.

    AFAIK at least in the US there’s not this weird split between actual and statutory damages as with digital copyright violations (thanks to the truly evil DCMA). The DCMA’s evilness not lies in redefining copyright as you think but in

    a) outlining statutory damages that can be orders of magnitude (literally) greater than the actual damages (non-digital copyright violations can get you triple actual damages as punitory damages – 1 + 3 = 4x actual damages, not orders of magnitudes).

    b) makes it illegal to crack digital protection code even if you don’t make an illegal copy of the protected creative work (this isn’t a *copyright* issue – the DCMA is about more than copyright, it outright bans such reverse engineering).

    And probably many other lesser sins I’m forgetting at the moment. The two above are greatly evil, though.

    a) is why Thomas is in court – if she’d photocopied a library copy of a book in order to avoid buying it she’d be liable for at the very most 4x the price of one copy of the book, not nearly enough to motivate a publisher to take someone to court.

    However under the DCMA such a violation can be assigned a statutory damage of (say) 10,000 times the price of a digital copy of the same book. Thus, motivation to sue, and possibly destitution for the defendant.

  45. #46 dhogaza
    October 27, 2009

    Yes, of course, and my IANAL opinion is that it’s possibly actionable, though in the hardcopy world you still have to prove actual damages.

    Let me expand a bit – what’s the financial damage to those whose snippets were plagiarized? Probably zero or close to it, IMO, from what I understand of the what was plagiarized. No or little actual damages, since it’s published hardcopy – no motivation to sue unless you just like to spend money suing (there is also the possibility of getting attorney’s fees, but that’s by no means a given).

    For non-DCMA violations, no statutory damages for each count regardless of actual damages (DCMA allows you to ask for the greater of the two), little motivation.

    So while it would seem to be actionable, I doubt you’ll see action (in the context of US copyright law). Criminal cases outside the digital realm are so unusual here that I find it hard to imagine you’d see anything like that, either.

    Just IMO.

  46. #47 carrot eater
    October 27, 2009

    “Plimer’s work if taken from anothers’ paper: Is this a copyright breech?”

    Not obviously. That he closely paraphrased the paragraph, perhaps. If he hadn’t closely paraphrased, but did adopt the other author’s counts of things in a database published by the US government… I’m not sure. Not sure at all. In the academic world, you cite as a professional courtesy, not because you are worried about being sued.

    One would need an actual lawyer at this point, not non-lawyers googling things and probably misunderstanding them.

  47. #48 Tim Lambert
    October 27, 2009

    I agree with carrot eater that it is possible (though very unlikely) that Plimer could have made the same mistake as Engelbeen and not counted the observations with an asterisk in the comment field. But Plimer also repeated Engelbeen’s other mistake: saying that large variabilty observations were included. Add that to the fact that Plimer’s description is close paraphrase of Englebeen’s and that they both analysed 2004 instead of any other year and it is conclusive.

  48. #49 Mark
    October 27, 2009

    > Yes, of course,

    Good. I think so too.

    Anyone for a no?

    > and my IANAL opinion is that it’s possibly actionable, though in the hardcopy world you still have to prove actual damages.

    You don’t have to. Statutory damages and the more recent court ruling in the US that damages don’t have to be monetary loss, not even monetary gain for the perpetrator (else P2P copying would be damageless and therefore unactionable).

    > a) outlining statutory damages that can be orders of magnitude (literally) greater than the actual damage

    No, the statutory damages were insane to begin with.

    Well, not really insane: they were written to counter the “empty warehouse with three copies left” problem of *commercial* piracy. One copy was “one product copied where we don’t know how many were sold before we got there”.

    And $150,000 wasn’t insane.

    But the insanity came when 24 tracks (2 CDs which WOULD have been 2 copies = 300k) was counted as 24 copies for the full whack when ABSOLUTELY NOTHING was paid to her.

    DMCA’s evil came from making attempting fair use provisions illegal (your right to back up your DVD in the US, the right for a turning copy in the UK). Not the statutory damages.

    I think this is where your lawyer friends have led you sadly astray. “It’s not our fault, it’s that pesky DMCA”. No, it was piracy legislation before DMCA. And that was their fault. Statutory damages should NEVER have been applied to non-commercial copying.

    Full Stop.

  49. #50 dhogaza
    October 27, 2009

    You don’t have to. Statutory damages and the more recent court ruling in the US that damages don’t have to be monetary loss, not even monetary gain for the perpetrator (else P2P copying would be damageless and therefore unactionable)

    Peer-to-peer copying falls under the DCMA. I SPECIFICALLY stated IN THE HARDCOPY WORLD. Please re-read what I wrote regarding the distinction between damages under standard copyright law, and statutory damages under the DCMA.

    Really, if you’d pay more attention, 90% of these posts would disappear.

  50. #51 Mark
    October 27, 2009

    Carrot, 147, I take it that you are saying it’s not taken from Engelbeen’s paper.

    We don’t require 100% proof for copyright infringement.

    George Harrison was done for 4 notes that could have been unknowing copying (you’ve heard a song, and it sticks in your head in fragments), but it was still considered *legally* copyright infringement.

    Given that you do agree it’s unlikely and that even criminal isn’t 100% proof but beyond reasonable doubt, where is the reasonable doubt here?

    Read Tim’s post after yours and read the actual article at the top.

    Then explain how the reasonable doubt comes in.

  51. #52 dhogaza
    October 27, 2009

    OK, I checked, statutory damages can be selected in non-DCMA cases as well.

    We all make mistakes at times, and some of us are even willing to admit to them.

  52. #53 dhogaza
    October 27, 2009

    George Harrison was done for 4 notes that could have been unknowing copying (you’ve heard a song, and it sticks in your head in fragments), but it was still considered legally copyright infringement.

    Copyright infringement doesn’t rest on whether it’s willful or not – but damages, criminality, etc might.

  53. #54 Davis
    October 27, 2009

    Since this thread’s already a mess, I don’t feel bad jumping into this.

    Case law trumps statute in a common law system.

    As stated, this is not really true as applied to the US. First, the US is not completely a common law system — 49 of the state judicial systems are common law (Louisiana is civil law). According to the Supreme Court “[t]here is no Federal common law”, as per Erie Railroad Co. v. Tompkins, 304 U.S. 64 (1938). Though that’s not completely true, and has more to do with choice of law in federal district courts.

    Second, statutes always override preceding conflicting case decisions in the US. Decisions following a statute’s passage cannot contradict it (unless to declare it unconstitutional), though courts can work around this by interpreting the language broadly or referring to legislative history and purpose. These sorts of decisions tend not to stand with the current strength of the textualist judicial philosophy in the federal courts.

    Third, case law in the US is only binding if it comes from a court directly above the one in question. So California District Court is not bound by decisions in New York District Court (or even Second Circuit Court of Appeals decisions), but it is bound by Ninth Circuit decisions. The Ninth Circuit is not bound by California District Court decisions, though. And Supreme Court decisions are binding on all other courts, but no court’s decision binds on the Supreme Court (though the stare decisis makes S.C. opinions functionally binding on itself, often).

  54. #55 carrot eater
    October 27, 2009

    Agreed with Tim. The close paraphrase and the common choice of 2004 pretty much seal it.

    Plimer should have cited it.

    Maybe the close paraphrase can cause a viable civil lawsuit, but what’s more interesting is that Plimer would have looked at the Engelbeen website, clearly seen what it was saying, and then cherry-picked a bit of it to try to show the opposite. It’s the intellectual dishonesty therein that’s troubling, more than anything else.

  55. #56 dhogaza
    October 27, 2009

    Also, in Harrison’s case, he admitted to being familiar with the song (or at least, didn’t contest it).

    And the case was a bit stronger than “just four notes”:

    The Court noted that HSF incorporated two basic musical phrases, which were called “motif A” and “motif B”. Motif A consisted of four repetitions of the notes “G-E-D” or “sol-mi- re”; B was “G-A-C-A-C” or “sol-la-do-la-do”, and in the second use of motif B, a grace note was inserted after the second A, making the phrase “sol-la-do-la-re-do”. The experts for each party agreed that this was a highly unusual pattern.

    Harrison’s own expert testified that although the individual motifs were common enough to be in the public domain, the combination here was so unique that he had never come across another piece of music that used this particular sequence, and certainly not one that inserted a grace note as described above.

    It was the pattern of use, the insertion of a grace note, etc that made it unique enough to be considered copying …

  56. #57 Mark
    October 27, 2009

    David, I may come back to you, but I’m trying to get the basics done first ‘cos we’re running round in circles with new demands for citations and new interpretations of what’s been asked.

    > Maybe the close paraphrase can cause a viable civil lawsuit,

    Um, the only maybe is that the copyright holder doesn’t have to raise a lawsuit and can let it slide.

    A civil lawsuit brought up WILL be viable.

    Copyright is “all rights reserved” including the one about “suing someone for it”. And not suing Plimer doesn’t mean they can’t sue Tim.

    > It’s the intellectual dishonesty therein that’s troubling, more than anything else.

    It’s also the disrespect for the law.

    Plimer has engendered copyright infringement. If the feds were of a mind, they could persue criminal sanction against him without Engelbeen’s wishes being considered. In fact a law that they want to pass in the senate would make this available for even civil cases (so that Sony and the rest of the cartel don’t have to do the expensive court work, they can get the taxpayer to do it, while outsourcing all their revenue so they don’t pay tax…).

  57. #58 carrot eater
    October 27, 2009

    151: If you read what I’ve been saying the whole time, it’s the close paraphrase that makes it likely that one is the source for the other – and the choice of 2004, as Tim points out.

    If the above factors were absent, then I would not take the common wrong analysis to be proof of anything, though it would be suggestive.

    Now go find a single case of criminal prosecution for a closely paraphrased paragraph found in a book. Not for running a huge server with nothing but pirated files on it. I don’t see how the issue here fits in with this:
    http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap5.html#506

  58. #59 Mark
    October 27, 2009

    > We all make mistakes at times, and some of us are even willing to admit to them.

    > Posted by: dhogaza

    I have copped the plea of “mea culpa” myself several times in the past, dog, so don’t try to snark an unwarranted slam, even though you can’t help yourself it seems.

    What you’ve wanted me to do is agree that I’m wrong when I’m not. Or say I’m mistaken when you’re mistaken. And it’s taken, what? 20 posts to get you to go “Oh, OK, I was wrong”.

    If I hadn’t (as you want to cast it) refused to admit I’m wrong, you would never have gotten to the stage of admitting you’re wrong.

    THIS is why I take you to task: you make claims that are just as applicable to yourself and cast them as only the fault of others then when caught out, try and turn that into an angelic action on your part that you admit it.

  59. #60 Mark
    October 27, 2009

    > If the above factors were absent, then I would not take the common wrong analysis to be proof of anything, though it would be suggestive.

    So it would be a copyright infringement suit under the civil requirements if the other factors were absent.

    Statutory damages would still result and if unpaid jail time to coerce payments is possible.

    WITH those factors in place as they are, it would be a copyright infringement under criminal requirements.

    Statutory damages, punishable fines and even jail time is therefore possible.

    But it remains a copyright infringement case.

    Do you disagree? If so to what and why.

    (let’s get whether this is a copyright case or not closed before we turn to whether it is criminal: the above is whether the evidence would convict at the preponderance of the evidence that a civil court requires or the beyond reasonable doubt that a criminal case would require).

  60. #61 dhogaza
    October 27, 2009

    What you’ve wanted me to do is agree that I’m wrong when I’m not. Or say I’m mistaken when you’re mistaken. And it’s taken, what? 20 posts to get you to go “Oh, OK, I was wrong”.

    Perhaps, then, since you’ve not come up with any evidence whatsoever that Thomas faces jail time, you might consider admitting you’re wrong, then?

  61. #62 dhogaza
    October 27, 2009

    Statutory damages would still result and if unpaid jail time to coerce payments is possible.

    This is simply *wrong* regarding the US, Mark. You’re asserting it without a shred of supporting evidence, and your attempts to support it have involved irrelevant cases.

    WITH those factors in place as they are, it would be a copyright infringement under criminal requirements.
    Statutory damages, punishable fines and even jail time is therefore possible.

    Well, sure, criminal cases can result in jail time. No one would argue otherwise.

  62. #63 Mark
    October 27, 2009

    > You’re asserting it without a shred of supporting evidence, and your attempts to support it have involved irrelevant cases.

    Nope, they involve civil actions that have been ignored and led to a contempt charge that has led to jail time.

    Without the civil case, there would be no contempt charge.

    Please show where it says contempt charges are not possible in a case like Jammie’s. The law that is stated in the links shown have no such caveat.

  63. #64 dhogaza
    October 27, 2009

    And it’s taken, what? 20 posts to get you to go “Oh, OK, I was wrong”.

    It took me eleven minutes after your post re-asserting that statutory damages can be applied to non-DCMA cases to acknowledge my mistake.

    I didn’t read it until a few minutes after you posted, and at that point I 1) googled and 2) immediately copped to my error.

    Total process of your posting, my reading, my googling, my recanting: eleven (11) minutes.

    Wish you could be as honest, dude.

  64. #65 Mark
    October 27, 2009

    PS I can’t show jail time until after she ignores the court and gets contempt.

    If you have a time machine I can use, I’ll pop along and get the evidence.

    I AM answering your demands, you just aren’t seeing it and therefore making assumptions that I’m wrong that aren’t supported because you aren’t countering my evidence you’re countering what you think the evidence should be.

  65. #66 dhogaza
    October 27, 2009

    Please show where it says contempt charges are not possible in a case like Jammie’s. The law that is stated in the links shown have no such caveat

    No need to. The cases aren’t remotely related. You can swear otherwise until you’re blue in the face, but getting busted for failing to appear after being cited is different than not paying a civil judgement between two individual parties. You can swear otherwise until you’re blue in the face that someone bitch-slapped by a judge for repeatedly ignoring court orders, for filing frivolous suits, etc is equivalent to not paying the winning party in a civil suit, but that doesn’t make it true, Mark.

    You’ve made the assertion that Thomas faces jail time. Prove it.

  66. #67 Mark
    October 27, 2009

    > It took me eleven minutes after your post re-asserting that statutory damages can be applied to non-DCMA cases to acknowledge my mistake.

    re-asserting

    a point of importance.

  67. #68 Mark
    October 27, 2009

    And notice that your fault on DMCA is fine for someone who just googles and reads some things.

    But not for someone who asserts they are an authority because they’ve had forty years dealing with copyright issues:

    < http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/10/plimer_the_plagiarist.php#comment-2026489>

  68. #69 dhogaza
    October 27, 2009

    PS I can’t show jail time until after she ignores the court and gets contempt.

    However, you’d be able to find *other* cases where someone has gone to jail for failure to pay off a judgement resulting from a civil suit between two private parties.

    While wikipedia is not infallible (cough) on many matters it’s reasonably accurate. The following regarding enforcement of civil suit awards is accurate as far as I know in the US (and I can attest that it *is* accurate in small claims courts in the state of Oregon):

    Enforcement

    If the judgment is for the plaintiff, then the defendant must comply under penalty of law with the judgment, which will usually be a monetary award. If the defendant fails to pay, the court has various powers to seize any of the defendant’s assets located within its jurisdiction, such as:

    Bank account garnishment
    Liens
    Wage garnishment

    No mention of imprisonment.

  69. #70 dhogaza
    October 27, 2009

    From a lawyer who handles judgement enforcement – no imprisonment.

    Unless the defendant commits another crime, i.e. fraud.

    Salient point:

    If the judgment debtor does not voluntarily pay the judgment, however, it is up to the judgment creditor to enforce. A judgment is not self-enforcing. The judgment creditor does now have the “aide of the court” and the ability to use various judgment enforcement techniques such as attachments and garnishments.

    All enforcement techniques involve locating assets of the debtor, attaching the judgment as a lien on those assets, and then liquidating or selling those assets for cash to satisfy the judgment.

    The greatest success in enforcing judgments is always when a client can identify assets of the judgment debtor to attach. This is not legal work and many private vendors provide this service. It is legal work to enforce a judgment through attachments, foreclosures, debtor’s interrogatories, or other techniques.

  70. #71 dhogaza
    October 27, 2009

    The key point in the US, at least, is that the *court* does not enforce judgements in civil cases between two private parties, it is up to the winning plaintiff to do so.

    The court *assists* but only in collection by various means of grabbing assets and income.

    Not jail time. Civil lawsuits are not criminal cases.

  71. #72 dhogaza
    October 27, 2009

    But not for someone who asserts they are an authority because they’ve had forty years dealing with copyright issues

    I don’t claim to know everything about copyright law, and I’ve never sued anyone for violation of my own copyright in software (I’ve threatened over license violations, though), words, or photographs. The cases involving photographers where I’ve been familiar with the cases have involved actual rather than statutory damages.

    So my knowledge is imperfect. It’s not non-existent, and I don’t continue to insist I’m right when research shows I’m wrong.

    Anyway, presumably the jail vs. debt references I’ve posted won’t convince you, but I kinda imagine others who care might find them convincing.

  72. #73 dhogaza
    October 27, 2009

    re-asserting
    a point of importance.

    Your re-assertion algorithm lacks a verification step, making the re-assertion itself useless.

  73. #74 dhogaza
    October 27, 2009

    I’ve done some of Mark’s research and have found two instances in which, in Illinois, you can be jailed as part of the judgement enforcement process. Neither are due to not paying the debt, but are interesting:

    1. If you fail to appear in court when given a Citation to Discover Assets. No surprise here, any failure to appear for any citation can land your ass in the joint.

    2. If you agree to a court-ordered payment plan and fail to make payments, then you can be held in contempt of court. Note: you can’t be forced to agree to such a plan (in Illinois, where the lawyer I’m citing practices), and (surprise!) one is well-advised to not do so unless you’re absolutely certain you can pay it off. What’s happening in this case is that by entering into an agreement with the court, you’re moving enforcement from the creditor to the court, meaning you can be held in contempt. Obviously you’ll only take this if you’re getting something out of it – low payments, a reduction of the debt, etc.

  74. #75 Mark
    October 27, 2009

    OK, so you’re beginning to actually come back with answers rather than “that’s not proof”

    > Note: you can’t be forced to agree to such a plan (in Illinois, where the lawyer I’m citing practices)

    And back to the parking ticket or traffic violation: failure to pay the fine can land you in jail despite being a civil infraction.

    Also note that this whole pissing contest

    > I don’t claim to know everything about copyright law,

    However you DID say that you have 40 years experience of copyright intimately. Yet you didn’t know that statutory damages were available?

    You stated the 40 years of experience as proof of your authority. When Grima did that and then bollixed it up big time he had a new one ripped for him.

    Is a demand for rigour in a debate only for “the other side”? Do we IPCC-accepting AGW acceptors demand rigour in those who deny AGW and ignore it on people who believe in the IPCC reported results? That is what denialists do. And it’s anti-science. That anti-science is why we call them denialists.

    So explain why you should be given a bye when Grima does something just as ball-breakingly wrong as set themselves up as a false authority then argue FROM that authority as you just did?

    This really should be in the open thread but it’s central to why the AGW argument wins: it is as rigorous with itself as it demands of challengers.

    And you and some other pro-IPCC posters diss me for pointing out and arguing against a bad argument just because I’m doing it to “one of us”.

    Epically wrong.

  75. #76 Mark
    October 27, 2009

    > Not jail time. Civil lawsuits are not criminal cases.

    > Posted by: dhogaza

    Lets get whether this is a copyright case agreed. We still have carrot to answer.

    Next comes whether Plimers piracy is criminal copyright infringement.

    Then we can work on whether copyright infringement in a civil lawsuit can end in jail time or not.

  76. #77 carrot eater
    October 27, 2009

    What is the point of all this nonsense?

    Mark made, in my opinion, a somewhat overblown and emotional call for Plimer to land in jail.

    The majority of copyright cases are handled as civil lawsuits, where you simply do not go to jail because you lost. If you do something else along the way, like punch the judge in the face, maybe you’d go to jail, but that’s another matter altogether, and as such is irrelevant, as it requires something more than the copyright violation.

    As for criminal copyright prosecutions, they seem pretty rare and so far, possibly limited to people running mass clearinghouses for illegally copied music. Even if, by the letter of the law, Plimer’s close paraphrase would qualify for prosecution in the US (and who knows about Australia), and that’s still an if, we see zero sign that any prosecutor has ever brought charges in such a case. Which alone would make the call for jail time seem overblown.

    Calling for your opponent to be jailed, when he didn’t do anything that generally results in jail time, is something I’d expect to see in the comments section of WUWT or some place like that. I’d hope we can do better than that.

    And finally, I don’t know about any of you, but I’m more interested in the science. If somebody is an occasional plagiariser, but he makes strong contributions to his field, that reflects very poorly on him and he should be sanctioned, but the contributions remain valid. It’s those contributions that we build on, and understand. Plimer, on the other hand, is peddling nonsense, so if a scientifically illiterate person came to me, asking about Plimer’s ideas, I’d first use science to discredit Plimer’s arguments, not an uncited paraphrase to discredit the man.

    And that’s all I have to say on the matter.

  77. #79 dhogaza
    October 27, 2009

    Mark cites criminal code, seemingly unaware that the Thomas case is a civil one.

  78. #80 Mark
    October 27, 2009

    > Mark made, in my opinion, a somewhat overblown and emotional call for Plimer to land in jail.

    And I said you were allowed that opinion, however wrong it is.

    An infinite number of wrong opinons is available for your delectation.

    And several right ones.

    > As for criminal copyright prosecutions, they seem pretty rare and so far, possibly limited to people running mass clearinghouses for illegally copied music

    Wrong.

    Didn’t you read that link I gave to the australian being deported to the US for copyright crimes?

    Dimitry Sylkarov was committed for copyright offences in the US.

    > , Plimer’s close paraphrase would qualify for prosecution in the US (and who knows about Australia),

    Yes, and remember that australian?

    Where was the case he was being deported to answer?

    The US.

    You’re wrong in saying that Plimers criminal actions are not important.

    They are probably more important than the tripe in his book, because there’s no law against writing garbage, as long as you’re careful or are Fox News…

    Denialists all over continue to spout that the IPCC are fraudsters making up AGW just so they can get money. This is fraud. Criminal.

    So when one of their own is caught fraudulently stealing the property of another, they should be adamant in bringing this miscreant to justice.

    Until they produce proof that the IPCC is committing fraud, the IPCC have no case to answer.

    But while Plimer is not cited for criminal copyright infringement, the denialopshere have a case to answer.

  79. #81 Mark
    October 27, 2009

    > Mark cites criminal code, seemingly unaware that the Thomas case is a civil one.

    > Posted by: dhogaza

    dog likewise forgets that this is a fine and that this is how a civil case CAN turn into a criminal one by becoming a scofflaw.

    Which can happen by refusing to pay a civil fine imposed by the court.

    Which leads to … CRIMINAL LAW!

    A civil case where the defendent is not paying can be raised for enforcement to the civil court and, if the right bonds paid (which is why it is hardly ever used, since it’s usually too easy to bancrupt and get away, though this is changing) the court orders payments to be taken from the defendant by court enforcement. And avoiding them is a criminal matter since this is the state vs Doe.

    Read deeper, dog.

  80. #82 grace pettigrew
    October 27, 2009

    Plimer is out there doing real damage.

    Last night he was interviewed on the 6 pm WIN TV News, in an item about the parliamentary report about coastal erosion, mocking climate scientists (hand to forehead moaning theatrically) and mugging stupidly about how “this sort of this has ALWAYS happened” (in geological time).

    This allowed the junior “reporter” to cheerily sign off with “the scientists can’t agree, and the pollies can’t agree….”[so let’s all have a good laugh and bury our heads in the sand}.

    This TV station should be publicly shamed for this sort of irresponsible reporting, which is deliberately feeding ignorance and contempt for science in the public domain, and Plimer is clearly now a loose cannon with possible mental problems who probably needs professional help.

    If not, his enormous and pathetic vanity has overtaken his senses and he should be constantly and publicly nailed on his lies, distortions and misrepresentations.

    Thanks for this blog, and the internet at large. The MSM is failing us dismally.

  81. #84 Mark
    October 27, 2009

    Now canadian law DOES say that civil enforcement of fines by court is only available to fines levvied and owing to the province or the monarch.

    If you can find one of those for the US, dog, THEN I’ll say I was wrong.

    I don’t have access to a US solicitor and don’t know which section I’d look for that. Google comes up with a lot of japanese law.

  82. #85 carrot eater
    October 27, 2009

    You see ‘copyright’ and some commercial relevance in a case, and you think all those cases are the same. They are not.

    The Sklyarov case: nothing remotely resembling an uncited close paraphrase of a paragraph.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sklyarov

    The Aussie extradition: oh, sorry, he was running a network for pirating software, not music. My error, I suppose. Still nothing resembling a paraphrased paragraph.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hew_Raymond_Griffiths

    By your standards, Stephen Ambrose (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Ambrose) would probably be spending life in prison. Rather, I don’t think he’s even been sued, though he most likely could have been.

    Find me a case of criminal prosecution for sloppy footnoting or use of quotation marks in one paragraph of a book. If you can’t show that this is somewhat normal, then you are engaging in fantasy – wanting to see Plimer jailed, for any reason at all. Don’t stoop to the histrionics of the denier movement.

  83. #86 dhogaza
    October 27, 2009

    Now mark cites failure to pay child support, possibly unaware that for years they were considered simple defaults of civil judgements and therefore not strongly enforced by the courts (certainly not by jail time).

    Since this is such a common occurrence and since it often causes severe hardship for the offender’s own children, in recent years laws have been passed making the penalties much more severe in many states.

    dog likewise forgets that this is a fine and that this is how a civil case CAN turn into a criminal one by becoming a scofflaw. This is flat-out false
    Which can happen by refusing to pay a civil fine imposed by the court.

    A judgement for the plaintiff in a civil suit between two private parties is not a fine, Mark.

    Why do you keep citing law and cases which don’t apply to civil suits between two private parties?

    It makes no sense.

  84. #87 dhogaza
    October 27, 2009

    Skylarov isn’t really a copyright case, as I mentioned above the DCMA goes far beyond copyright and forbids reverse engineering of protective code.

    He was charged with distributing a product designed to circumvent copyright protection measures, under the terms of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and arrested by the FBI as he was about to return to Moscow.

    Not for making illegal copies, but for distributing code that other could use to make an illegal copy.

    Now, this is among the most insidiously horrible aspects of the DMCA (as I mentioned above) but it doesn’t involve illegal copying itself.

    It’s common for US laws to bear titles that don’t accurately reflect their true content, and the DMCA flew under the radar for many non-tech types who’d normally be on the lookout for such things because too many thought all it did was strengthen copyright protections and didn’t realize it was creating an entirely new category of crime not related to actual copying activity at all.

  85. #88 dhogaza
    October 27, 2009

    Also:

    The charges against Sklyarov were later dropped in exchange for his testimony. He was allowed to return to Russia on December 13, 2001.

    On December 18, 2002 following a two-week trial in San Jose, California, a jury found that Elcomsoft had not wilfully violated the U.S. law.

    Citing victorious cases rather than losses would better support your arguments, Mark.

    SCO didn’t win, either (nor have they lost yet, they’re bankrupt and it’s all in limbo)

  86. #89 carrot eater
    October 27, 2009

    Why do you guys persist in arguing over whether a civil lawsuit can result in criminal charges, if you happen to commit an additional offense along the way? It has nothing to do with anything. You simply do not go to jail for civil copyright infringement. End of story.

    “Denialists all over continue to spout that the IPCC are fraudsters making up AGW just so they can get money. ”

    So? You think a lawsuit against Plimer for a closely paraphrased paragraph would somehow make the denialists stop saying that climate scientists are only chasing the grant money? You really think that? You think the fact that Plimer may have paraphrased something will change any of the denialist’s talking points? Really? Which one?

    Maybe you think ad hominem attacks are important or useful. I do not.

  87. #90 carrot eater
    October 27, 2009

    “Skylarov isn’t really a copyright case”

    Whatever it is, it bears no resemblance to what we’re accusing Plimer of.

    I’d love to see a number of criminal cases in which the defendant did something even remotely similar to what Plimer did. An uncited, unquoted close paraphrase in one paragraph.

  88. #91 Mark
    October 27, 2009

    > Why do you guys persist in arguing over whether a civil lawsuit can result in criminal charges, if you happen to commit an additional offense along the way?

    Because Jammie’s case is ridiculous and the fine insane.

    Given how the Judge has handled it, it’s entirely likely that Jammie will not be able to pay, will declare bankrupcy but still be ordered to pay some of the money. And there’s no “agreement” there: the avoidance of a civil penalty cannot be voided by not agreeing to pay.

    Therefore, again based on how badly this case went, the judge will find in contempt.

    Therefore she can face jail.

    Reason: copyright.

    Her only out is the appeal that says, in lawyer-speak “That court order is batshit nuts!”.

    Failing that, bancrupcy doesn’t have to be given. Failing that, jail time IS an option.

    If the copyright crime had been pursued as you think it is by going “only damages shown” (both you and carrot have said that in one fashion or another) then Jammie would owe $30 tops, plus court costs.

    Copyright case leads to jail time.

    An additional case can be made that paying the court to collect then turns failure to pay into a criminal act which is what the arizona statute link was all about.

  89. #92 Mark
    October 27, 2009

    > “Skylarov isn’t really a copyright case”

    > Whatever it is, it bears no resemblance to what we’re accusing Plimer of.

    Yes it is a copyright case.

    The removal of the copyright protection was a copyright issue.

    DMCA.

    What’s the C stand for?

    And it doesn’t matter, carrot, what Plimers’ case resembles, it shows that you can get jail time for copyright. It wasn’t proof of squat with Plimer, it was a counter to the claim that was issued for.

    Go back and read the post and the post it was responding to.

  90. #93 Mark
    October 27, 2009

    > Maybe you think ad hominem attacks are important or useful. I do not.

    > Posted by: carrot eater

    Where did this one come from?

    Please show where this assumption was pulled from.

  91. #94 Mark
    October 27, 2009

    > Citing victorious cases rather than losses would better support your arguments, Mark.

    > SCO didn’t win, either (nor have they lost yet, they’re bankrupt and it’s all in limbo)

    > Posted by: dhogaza

    SCO’s “Negative knowledge” copyright is not in ANY law book. Nor most of their other flannel.

    But it wasn’t thrown out, was it.

    It’s an example of how quoting the law isn’t showing what would happen.

    Now if you’d been on the receiving end of SCO, you would now be bankrupt. And in the genuine sense of “no money” rather than “gave it to the wife and declared bankruptcy”.

  92. #95 Mark
    October 27, 2009

    > Skylarov isn’t really a copyright case, as I mentioned above the DCMA goes far beyond copyright and forbids reverse engineering of protective code.

    Its power comes from the more recent idea of ” you can’t crack a copyrighted work without making a derivative, which you need a license”.

    It’s still copyright bourne.

    Remove copyright, DMCA dies.

  93. #96 carrot eater
    October 27, 2009

    “Copyright case leads to jail time.”

    For the love of God. The penalty for losing a civil case is never jail time. You might be asked to pay damages, but the penalty is NEVER jail time.

    End of story.

    And you don’t go to jail if you can’t afford to pay the damages. Dhogoza is correct in that: there are no debtor’s prisons.

    I don’t know how Jammie Thomas can somehow end up in jail out of this; you’ve not shown a single article saying she would. Not a one. But even if she did, she had to do something else wrong to get in jail – like punching the judge in the face. She wouldn’t be going to jail for the copyright issue itself.

  94. #97 Mark
    October 27, 2009

    > So? You think a lawsuit against Plimer for a closely paraphrased paragraph would somehow make the denialists stop saying that climate scientists are only chasing the grant money?

    > Posted by: carrot eater

    No.

    But leaving him out and free without sanction gives sanction to the others to break the law with impunity.

    And his book is rubbish. Those who WANT to believe it will believe it no matter what is said about it.

    But the court will look at the case and if he goes to jail, it’s not something that the denialosphere can ignore.

  95. #98 carrot eater
    October 27, 2009

    193: “Where did this one come from?

    Please show where this assumption was pulled from.”

    Because you are consumed by wanting to discredit Plimer by sending him to jail. You find this more important than debunking his scientific arguments.

    Hence, attacking the man is more important to you than disputing his ideas.

  96. #99 Mark
    October 27, 2009

    > For the love of God. The penalty for losing a civil case is never jail time.

    So Jammie can ignore the court because any demand they put on her is a civil case.

    I don’t think so.

    I think that if Jammie says “no I won’t pay” the court will find her in contempt. It’s perfectly on the cards and you haven’t yet found out a law that says it isn’t.

    Contempt doesn’t say “unless it’s a civil matter”.

  97. #100 Mark
    October 27, 2009

    > Because you are consumed by wanting to discredit Plimer by sending him to jail.

    That is not ad hominem.

    Please feel free to look it up.

    If you commit a crime you should be tried in a court of law and if found guilty, jailed if the judge believes it appropriate.

    Plenty of case law shows that copyright infringement for monetary gain is treated very seriously.

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