I would like people's opinions

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Malika, Oct 5, 2012.

  1. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    I am setting up a website with a friend about a subject that is close to both of our hearts, related to childhood abuse and neglect. There is a child psychiatrist with whom we have both done courses in the past who has evolved an overview of the subject containing brilliant insights that are not to be found anywhere else. He also has a very difficult, ego-driven side and has had many fallings out with people that I know of in the past because of his desire to control his work and not let anyone adapt it, etc. As a person, he can be wonderfully compassionate and human - and also rude, pig-headed and rather obnoxious. He seems to take himself as god, somewhat.
    Anyway, aware of the seminal importance of his work for our subject, months ago now I told him, as a courtesy, that we wanted to write an article giving an overview of his work for our website. He replied saying that he preferred to do this himself, as people got his ideas wrong, etc. Anyway, this promised article did not come, did not come and I had to remind him about half a dozen times before he finally sent something (we are going live with the website next week...). And what he did send was rambling, very incomplete and had obviously been rushed off, as well as containing some very controversial, odd statements that I just don't want to use on the site or put my name to as it were.
    I edited the article and wrote to him, very diplomatically of course, saying that I would like his permission to use the edited version and to complete it with quotations from his books. He wrote back rudely, having a hissy fit basically, saying this was ridiculous, I was engaging in machinations and that I use all of his article or none at all!! I work in publishing and editing is absolutely standard - all the time my translations are edited, and although I always have the right to disagree with them, I almost always see that the edits are improvements and accept them.
    My question is this... I now want to write a brief overview, in my own words, of his work, acknowledging him as the source. Is there anything he can do about that if he decided to make trouble? I am probably being a bit paranoid but he really is the sort of character who could try to sue us, crazy as it is, for defamation of his ideas or something like that...
    Does anyone know about intellectual property as regards the net?
  2. 1905

    1905 Well-Known Member

    You say he wants to contol his own work and not have anyone adapt it. The man said use all of it or none at all. I think you should do that. I know nothing of the legal aspect, but he clearly states his wishes.
  3. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    There's a misunderstanding, UAN. He wrote an article for us that is very incomplete, not at all an overview of his work. This is what he says to use all of or nothing of. I shall of course respect that (and not use it at all). But what I want to do is write myself an overview of his work, his ideas and insights, acknowledging him as the source. His work is too important to our subject to leave out altogether and yet he himself will not summarise it for us... I want to know whether I can encounter any legal problems (I would imagine not but I just want to be sure) by summarising it myself.
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2012
  4. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I have no knowledge in your field but my experience with human nature is extensive. If I were you I would not use his work or refer to his work. I'd seek out an alternative piece. DDD
  5. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I would seek legal advice in your country.
  6. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    Seek legal advice. That said, you notified him that you were writing a piece regarding his work. He said no & offered to write it himself and you agreed. So legally, that was your agreement.

    Again, you asked his permission to edit & he forbid it - said "all or nothing"-so that is your only option.

    Writing an overview and sourcing him goes back to your original agreement.

    I think you could be sued.
  7. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Seek legal advice.

    BUT given the man's personality issues..............I wouldn't even consider using him no matter how brilliant he might be or what insights he might have. There would be constant conflict.

  8. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I agree with the others, seek legal advice. This is likely an issue which is becoming or has already become reason for litigation and this man sounds so paranoid about his work that he will likely retaliate in some manner, it's his ego driven personality. I would tread very carefully if I were you and weigh using his work against the possible legal and general misery he can create for you if you do.
  9. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    Yea, I think you'd be sued also. He made his wishes VERY clear. It sounds like he'd sue you in a heartbeat.
  10. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Oh dear... this is a real consensus! I don't know that he would go as far as suing us, but I know I fear it.
    It raises a larger question for me, I guess. Do ideas actually belong to people and can that be proven? What I mean is, my friend and I have done this man's courses. We ourselves recognise much of his work as truthful, as reflecting a reality. If I state those same ideas, but loosely, in a kind of general way, can it really be said that they are "his"?
    I suspect that this area of litigation to do with intellectual property is quite controversial and probably not straightforward.
    I know we cannot really do without this network of insights and I know I'd really much rather have him on side. He is supposed to be a convinced Christian, supposed to be dedicated to helping people (and I believe part of him really is) and I remain saddened and baffled - I know, I know, human nature - as to why it all gets so complicated. I have the utmost respect for his work and want to acknowledge him!
  11. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Yes, ideas are "intellectual property", depending on provenance (I think that's the right word). If he can prove that these are his original ideas and theories and he was the first to put them forward, then HE owns them.

    If you can find those same ideas and theories from other sources predating his work... different story.
  12. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    In that case, if one acknowledges the source of these ideas as being him, where is the problem? I'm not sure - I just don't know, maybe it really takes a specialist lawyer to know - that the author of ideas can "forbid" others from using them in a public forum if he is quoted as the source. Even if he doesn't want it, I don't know that he can stop it... he may think he has that power, or like to have it, but I don't know that he has.
  13. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    You cannot use any part of his work without prior written and signed consent. You may not reference his work unless his work is published in a public domain. Any use of his work could cause you a great deal of cow dung. He sells his information through his classes.
  14. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Yeah, well, I'm going to err on the side of caution. I don't have a good feeling about this, even though I actually feel he may not have a leg to stand on. I am NOT going to give an overview of his work but give an account of my own understanding of the subject, which may well coalesce with some of his insights but that is also the nature of ideas. There is nothing truly new under the sun. I will not use any of the specific vocabulary he has coined. At the end I may still refer to him and quote one of his books, which is in the public domain.
    We are supposed to be friends of his but one might say that with friends like that, who needs enemies. It's all quite sad, I feel, because his ego is this great flaw that prevents his work having wider impact - and, as I say, the work is brilliant and truthful.
  15. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    (I don't know how it works outside of the US. )

    Unfortunately-by "asking his permission" you acknowledged that you "needed" his permission. And you acknowledged that his ideas are proprietary. That's the rub.

    I think your reasoning has merit. And if you had not approached him- you could make that argument. Of at least claim it was an innocent oversight. But since you worry he will be litigious; I afraid that going against his wishes will hurt you.
  16. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I totally agree. You asked, he responded - whether you like the outcome or not, it's pretty black and white.

  17. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Sorry, I realise this is pretty complex and not very clear. The issue is not my using his article or not. He has said he doesn't want me to edit that and of course I must respect that. That is black and white, yes.
    What is not black and white is whether someone has the right to summarise someone's ideas and acknowledge the originator of those ideas as the source. In fact I suspect that that is a very cloudy area that good lawyers could argue either way.
    To be honest, I don't know whether my fear that this man would actually go as far as suing us is just me being anxious and paranoid in response to his unpleasant tone. He is never said anything like that and it would seem a curious act of betrayal for him to do so. But I prefer to play it safe.
  18. Ktllc

    Ktllc New Member

    You need the advise of a good lawyer in intellectual property.
    I happen to have connections with very good lawyers in France.
    Let me pm you, we might be able to get an answer free of charge.
  19. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Thanks, Klltc, that's kind. Any information about this would be useful and interesting, and gratefully received :)
  20. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Klltc was kind enough to check out the law re intellectual property with a lawyer she knows in France and I thought I'd post it here as it may be of interest to those who posted about this.
    In fact, the law is quite open about this. People have the right to:

    Quote, as long as full references are included (author, title, date, etc).
    Give a critique, positive or negative, of someone's work, as long as it is not defamatory.
    Give an objective summary of someone's work, which must respect the essence of the person's ideas.
    One must also give the right to reply, allowing the originator of the ideas to contest or disagree with one's critique if he or she chooses.

    This makes sense to me... and I'm glad we're not in danger of being sued :)