Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Premise Lawsuits, Toddler Animations, and a Final Resolution

Mkay. So I just got a copy of Premise Medias SLAPP lawsuit against XVIVO.

It is quite possibly the dumbest thing I have ever read in my entire life. And I have read the Bible and Atlas Shrugged.

Its 16 pages.

The first 15 pages explain why they filed the suit in Texas instead of Canada (Premise) or Connecticut (XVIVO). 15 pages. Of this:

12. In addition, on information and belief based on the materials
displayed on the XVIVO Web Site, an Internet user in Texas and in this district can interact with XVIVO over the Internet in the following ways, among others:
a. view XVIVO promotions, offers for services, and solicitations;
b. hyperlink and download various items of sample work product including but not necessarily limited to the Inner Life Video;
c. provide information to, and otherwise communicate with XVIVO;
d. ask questions and receive answers about XVI VO's products and services, including ongoing projects
... etc etc etc etc etc...

Shorter first 15 pages:
YOU CAN GETZ TO XVIVO ON DEH INTRAWEBZ AND DEY HAS EMAILZ SO I CAN SUE THEM IN TIMBUCKTOO IF I WANTS BUT I DONT WANTS I WANTS TEXAZ!
Yeah. Im sure it has *nothing* to do with the fact Texas has no anti-SLAPP laws. Premise is suing in Texas because "an Internet user in Texas and in this district can interact with XVIVO over the Internet".

So whats the last page about? Its a fucking ad for EXPELLED:
Premise Media's Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed is a provocative documentary film that examines the scientific community's academic suppression of those who dissent from the belief of the adequacy of Darwinian evolution to explain the origin of life.
The Documentary Film Expelled is narrated by Ben Stein, a well known actor, who is also a lawyer, economist, writer, and former presidential speech writer. Mr. Stein and the Expelled producers feel that Neo-Darwinism inappropriately dominates the classroom and academia and are interested in promoting free speech and debate regarding a diversity of views.
It goes on and on and on like that. But eventually they get to the meat of their claims. And they make no sense whatsoever:
In preparing the Documentary Film, Premise Media commissioned computer animation of some of the natural processes inside a living cell (ERV-- Please note, even in the lawsuit, they dont say who made their animation. I will be taking bets in the comments if you have guesses).

Some time ago, as part of the pre-release activity relating to the Documentary Film, Premise Media commissioned a DVD highlighting some parts of the Documentary Film as then planned. The DVD was designed as an educational resource highlighting the theme of the Documentary Film and was distributed free of charge in all cases. The resource DVD included a short clip of an animation of the inside of a cell. The short clip showing the cell interior was independently created early in the production process, and was used in the resource DVD. At the time the short resource DVD was made, the Documentary Film was not complete. The final version of the film does not contain the segment from the DVD on which XVIVO appears to base its claims in its April 9 letter.

Even so, Defendant evidently obtained access to the resource DVD or its contents, as indicated in Exhibit 1, because, on information and belief, at the time it sent that letter, XVIVO could not have seen the Documentary Film (it had not been released).

The specific segment from the educational resource DVD is not even in the final version of the Documentary Film to remove.
So, they knew what they were doing was morally and legally wrong, and have been working on a replacement for theatrical release. The animation on the DVD is not in the movie. But the reason they changed it was NOT because it was obviously stolen from 'Inner Life' and other resources.

Riiiiight.

Makes sense to me.

But this part is funny shit and worth reading 15 pages of "I CAN EMAILZ DEM SO I CAN HAS LAWSUIT IN TEZAS?":
Even if the resource DVD or Documentary Film had relied on the Inner Life Video in part (which it did not), any such use would be protected by the doctrine of fair use.

In addition, the fact that XVIVO makes available the Inner Life Video on its website with the "lead in" that "A full length version of 'The Inner Life of a Cell' is now available online for educational use" (emphasis added) creates an implied nonexclusive license for Premise Media to precisely do what XVIVO now complains Premise Media is doing, arguendo, i.e., make "educational use" of that video, via a Documentary Film.

Shorter version:
WULS EVAN IF WE DIDS STEALS IT.... BUT WE DIDNTZ... WERE USIN IT FOR EDUMACATION! WERE A FOR REALZIES LEARNIN DUKUMENTRY!

So, youve heard it here first, folks! All of you that saw previews of EXPELLED and saw a yellow 'Inner Life'-- you were hallucinating. All of you. Mass, country-wide, specific hallucinations. 'YELLOWZ INNER LIVES IS NUT IN EXPELLED! YELLOWZ INNER LIVES IS NUT IN EXPELLED! WHooooOOOO!'

Dont feel bad, hallucinating readers. Mark Mathis is even having trouble remembering what he has seen and which animation is in EXPELLED:
GW: I have compared the original Harvard footage with the promo DVD version that Myers has posted at Pharyngula, and though I’ve only seen the film once, as I recall, there are very, very substantial differences between the final cut of the animation and the version that appears on the promo DVD. Is that right?

MM: You know, I haven’t made— I believe that’s the case; but I haven’t actually watched what Myers has posted. I haven’t made my own comparison. I apologize; I should have done that, because I have the DVD version. I have the film on PC, too, so I can do that. My problem has been that I’m running so hard and fast doing twenty-seven other things that— I know that we’ve got Executive Producers who have dealt with this specifically, and this is kind of in the periphery of what I’ve been involved in. But I’m glad you brought that up, because I need to make that comparison myself, just for my own. But I know, because I’ve watched both, that certainly there are significant differences and improvements, and I believe that, because of those substantial differences, there isn’t any merit to the charge. (H/T Quidam)
Poor poor Mark Mathis. All those lowly internet rats giving you trouble when all you want to do is steal other peoples hard work and make money. Must be so stressful. Explains you forgetting things.

This might be what is in the final version of EXPELLED:


So, EXPELLites knew after Dembski got caught they couldnt leave the real 'Inner Life' in, so they created the Frankenstein 'Inner Life' as a place-holder until they could find some 5 year olds to create a shitty Las-Vegas-Meets-TeleTubbies 'Inner Life' for the actual theatrical release because they knew their Frankenstein wouldnt hold water in court. Prescreenings were tightly regulated so 'no one' could attend but stupid rubes who wouldnt be familiar with 'Inner Life' to squeal on Premise.

I gotta say, this lead up and animation detective work has been a hell of a lot more entertaining than the actual movie will be. Now that the 'real' animation is up, I have no reason to waste $10 to go see it myself. Save my money for quality films.

And XVIVO, Harvard, and Howard Hughes Medical Institute are vindicated-- Their hard work, though pilfered by these shameless half-wit Creationists for the past year, will NOT be in the final version of EXPELLED. WHOO!

49 comments:

Ken Prescott said...

This may have been tactically savvy--file suit in a non-SLAPP state--but it was most likely strategically stupid, because that last page may have given XVIVO a precise guide for their discovery efforts.

Anonymous said...

I wonder who exactly that person who has access to the internet in Texas is? Could it be one William Dembski?

I don't think they want him associated with this case.

NomadSoul said...

What I find ironic about the replacement animation is that in at least one way it looks CLOSER to the XVIVO animation. XVIVO made the kinesin motor thing look like a cartoonish pair of disembodied feet walking along the tube thing (oh so sue me, I'm not a biologist). The animation shown in the screening copies of Expelled changed that to having it look more a train locomotive sliding along a rail.

Now they've gone back to cartoonish disembodied feet!

Dmso said...

that clip was the funniest and most appalling thing i've seen in a while.. spooging death star, funky walkin' kinesin, commodore 64 sound effects and gravely intoning self-professed ignoramus using big science words he clearly just learned and then proceeding to tell us how science should work..

Andrea said...

That's not kinesin, but dynein. I don't know if there is an actual model by which dynein "walks", or whether the animation is complete fantasy in that respect. I particularly like the little green basket that waits there open, suspended in mid-air, for the protein to come in, and then, like magic, closes up.

Jake said...

Wait, wait, so what they're saying is that, while the animation in the movie is not plagerised, they used a stolen animation in their promotional materials (the DVD) to convince people to come see their movie. How, exactly, is this any less of a copyright violation?

Anonymous said...


I particularly like the little green basket that waits there open, suspended in mid-air, for the protein to come in, and then, like magic, closes up.



About the only thing missing from that sequence is a little DNA helix standing outside the basket, waving a couple of glow-sticks to guide the protein into it.

--Raynfala

Anonymous said...

Jake, they weren't convincing people to see a movie. They wuz edjikatin' peeple...

--Raynfala

Ken Prescott said...

About the only thing missing from that sequence is a little DNA helix standing outside the basket, waving a couple of glow-sticks to guide the protein into it.

This former Aviation Marine thanks you for the laugh.

Scott said...

Was I going crazy, or did that clip have some kind of matrix-esque slowdown effect?

A Fickle Sonance said...

ERV you are friggin' hilarious and a master of teh lolspeaks. Rock on.

Bill said...

I particularly like the little green basket that waits there open, suspended in mid-air, for the protein to come in, and then, like magic, closes up.

They ripped off that scene from Star Trek. Shuttle bay door.

Now they're going to have to answer to Captain Kirk.

Anonymous said...

If the lawsuit works out, in Texas or anywhere else, XVIVO will be paying attorneys fees to Premise Media. That'll teach them to make bogus charges agaist people!

Sean said...

Anonymous said... 5:47 PM

Hi Kevin/FtK/Mark/etc...etc.

Thomas S. Howard said...

Here, check out this clip from the ID-to-DVD flick "Unlocking The Mystery of Life", from the same people who put out Guillermo Gonzalez' "Privileged Planet" DVD:
The wonders of a tiny cell

In this one, you have a brown basket. There're some other similarities as well, only to the previous iteration of the "Expelled" clip, like a nuclear pore dilating to allow RNA through.

The new, improved Expelled clip seems like a time-compressed version of "Unlocking" with some walking vesicles thrown in, an XVIVO-influenced background/setting and a zoom out of a now triangular lattice. It gives the impression that they just watched whatever 3D CG stuff on the interior of the cell that they could find and threw together a mishmash of hastily rendered equivalents with a lot of palette swaps.

J said...

Abbie,

So now the DJ action is over something that's not in the film anymore?

Where did you find that thing? I rather doubt that Dembski had a hand in it; it doesn't have farting noises in the background.

P.S.: Ken P., thank you for your service!

John the Skeptic said...

Abbie, do you happen to know if the full text of the complaint has been made public?

Tyler DiPietro said...

"If the lawsuit works out, in Texas or anywhere else, XVIVO will be paying attorneys fees to Premise Media."

OH NOEZ!!! Something that won't happen will cause a lot of problems if it does!

BiochemistrySinger said...

Is the basket supposed to be Hsp60/Hsp10? Cause that is a real thing, and it kiiiiiiiinnnnda works like that, but not really. Very disappointing.

pcarini said...

Sounds like their audio editing is as shoddy as the rest of their production, also. Listen around 19s to hear a bad edit on Ben Stein's voiceover. Yes, he couldn't quite manage to get through that sentence in one piece.

Quidam said...

Using copyright material (XVIVIO animation, Lennon & The Killers music) in a promo for a commercial film is also a commercial use. All this lawsuit may show is that Premise have complied with XVIVIOs request. But they will still have to answer for the promo material on DVD and YouTube - not to mention the previews shown round the country. You don't have to charge to make something a commercial activity. An advertising promo is made in the expectation of future gain - otherwise adverts would be free to use anyone's music.

Keep those DVDs safe. Each one is a copyright infringement

William Wallace said...

LOL, so, in other words, you were wrong, and DaveScot was right.

Tyler DiPietro said...

"LOL, so, in other words, you were wrong, and DaveScot was right."

William just lives in imaginary-land now, no more reality for him.

Anonymous said...

That's for blogging this. Do you have a link to the Premise complaint?

While I believe you... sometimes things are just too weird that you have to read it yourself.

Thomas S. Howard said...

William Wallace:
"LOL, so, in other words, you were wrong, and DaveScot was right."

That'd be, if not a first, at least one of the very few that's happened. Although, according to Dave, he's just like Rush Limbaugh, in that he's right >99% of the time. I'll give him the just like Rush Limbaugh part.

Anonymous said...

Just wondering, are they using the same lawyers as they did for the Dover trial?

Anonymous said...

"Just wondering, are they using the same lawyers as they did for the Dover trial?"

This is Premise Media, dude. A whole different ballgame, a whole different set of people.

Ixian said...

I think it'll be thrown out of court for lack of a justifiable reason to have jurisdiction over both parties.

@Willie boy (William Wallace) and the ID anon who posted at 5:57

Please explain, with evidence from past successful cases, why this lawsuit will even be allowed. Then proceed to explain to me how you think they have any measurable chance of winning this case. It appears that Willies post and is obvious that anons entire post is based on those two things happening, something I see as slightly less likely than everyone magically being teleported to another Earth-like planet in the next ten seconds by some random space ray.

Really, go ahead and surprise me with your answer. I've pulled out my law book on internet, media, and copyright infringement in those areas and I can't find a single page that supports this (basically that "surprise me" seen above means amuse me with how wrong you can be with confidence).

Shirakawasuna said...

That newer version has the dumbest squishy sounds I've ever heard. It made me want to slap Ben Stein *so hard*. Look at my restraint!

Anywho, did anyone else notice that the kinesin looks like stilts with massive lifesavers in the middle of the legs? It seems they've tried to diversify the sources from which they plagiarize and added on random doohickies at the same time. Who wants to bet me that the complete stupidity of the animation is to avoid looking like XVIVO and still failing a bit?

Shirakawasuna said...

D'oh! I should read more before commenting. Apparently it's dynein w/ the fruit loops. It still looks hilarious.

Bayesian Bouffant, FCD said...

I will be taking bets in the comments if you have guesses

Be careful, gambling might be illegal in Texas, or in Timbuktu.

Rev. BigDumbChimp said...

This is Premise Media, dude. A whole different ballgame, a whole different set of people.

Same stupidity and incompetence

Thomas S. Howard said...

Actually, many of the same people are involved. The DI is spewing out article after article defending the film, and many of the Dover witnesses are interviewed in the movie. I'm sure that at least some of lawyers involved are different, but that may be about the extent of the differences between Dover and Expelled.

Bob O'Hara said...

IANAL, but surely if Premise get a court order in Texas, it will only apply to Texas. If other states have anti-SLAPP laws, then any Texas decision can't apply to them, otherwise any law or legal decision in one state would be applicable across the nation. So XVIVO/Harvard could simply take them to court in another state.

Either I've mis-understood something about legal principles, or Premise are wasting their time.

Ixian said...

Bob O'Hara,

It's my understanding from the few legal classes I've had that they can't even properly file in Texas.

All they are really doing is wasting Texan tax payer money while these worthless documents clog up the legal system for a few, unless I completely misunderstood the requirements of jurisdiction to the point that they really mean the opposite of what I understood them to be. But then again, if I were that wrong I wouldn't have gotten that question right on the test about it. The only way I know of that the trial could happen in Texas is if Harvard decides to give a Texas court jurisdiction over them, which is not likely going to happen.

I'd put money on Premise trying to use the long arm statues to get Harvard under some sort of "they do business here cause they take students from every state" notion, but I don't believe that applies to colleges/schools. Well, I'd put money on that if I thought they were intelligent...

Anonymous said...

ixian is wrong. Normally, one can file a lawsuit anywhere, and Texas is a popular choice with venue shoppers.

Premise has professional lawyers working for them, so I'd put thier knowledge over your few legal classes any day, ixian!

And Texas is generally not exactly an ID-hostile place, now is it?

JES said...

Reminds of something a staunch Nixonian might do ... hmmm, Stein did write for Nixon didn't he? Not the famous "I am not a crook" speech, of course (wink, wink).

Ixian said...

Yay, Anon thinks he got something right over me.

However, I still have my books and they clearly say for a trial to happen the State MUST HAVE JURISDICTION, of which I can find no reason why Texas would have jurisdiction unless Harvard willingly submits themselves to it and accepts a Texan court as having authority over them.

I may have only had a few legal classes, but they were 100% focused on this EXACT subject, and I'm willing to bet my classes are a bit more recent than Premise Media's lawyers are on this area.

You are correct in saying anyone can file anything in any state, the question is can that state actually legitimately hold the trial. Next time read what's said before you try to form some response, as is I can't even classify your point as a strawman attack.

Ixian said...

Sorry if this comes up as a double post (hopefully someone else has posted since my last comment), but I have thought more on the subject and there is an implausible, yet possible situation where the court does happen.

Basically the judge would have to be so pro-ID that he'd be willing to break the law and unjustly (illegally) enforce jurisdiction over Harvard. This would lead to him or her no longer being a judge as soon as the appeals get to the Circuit level and out of Texas along with any pro-ID judgment being thrown out.

The trial would either be redone at the Circuit level or moved to another venue where proper jurisdiction exists. Any way this happens, based on my knowledge I don't see any way to win in court that will stand up.

This is to preempt any posts by the anon troll, lest he has actual pertinent cases that were not overturned on appeal, about why it will happen or any self-congratulation they may feel like doing should Premise find a judge willing to lose their job over this.

Anonymous said...

However, I still have my books and they clearly say for a trial to happen the State MUST HAVE JURISDICTION, of which I can find no reason why Texas would have jurisdiction unless Harvard willingly submits themselves to it and accepts a Texan court as having authority over them.

The suit was filed in Federal Court, Northern District of Texas.

midwifetoad said...

It's probably a mistake to assume a federal judge -- even one in Texas or Ohio, or one appointed by Bush -- will want to be made a fool of on appeal. I might just mention in passing that Peter Irons is qualified to practice in federal court.

My thoughts are that Premise originally made a draft using the Harvard video. They probably figured out pretty quickly that that wouldn't fly. They had the infamous brown version made, but they probably figured out that wouldn't fly either. I suspect that is the real reason they expelled PZ. He would have been able to make detailed comparisons, enough to get a restraining order.

I have no idea when the fallback video was made, but perhaps they reasoned that no one would claim plagiarism if it is shitty enough.

Ixian said...

@Anon IDiot
Again with the statement that the suit has been filed. I've addressed that twice now saying they can file it, getting a court to actually meet and rule on it DOES NOT AUTOMATICALLY HAPPEN CAUSE SOME MEDIA COMPANY FILES SOMETHING.

I don't know if there really is something wrong with your brain, from here though it appears completely dysfunctional because you're saying the same thing over and over that I've already said can happen without actually noticing the point of my post.

Really, get over yourself. It doesn't matter at all that they filed something. I can go file some lawsuit to take place on the other side of the USA if I please, the trial however will not happen just cause I sent papers there.

Cite actual cases that have happened and not been over turned on appeal where a court exerted unlawful jurisdiction and I'll consider that you may have a point after researching the case myself to make sure you aren't just BSing.

If not you can just sit down and shut up till you have something worth saying. Have some balls and step out from behind the Anon too.

terryf said...

ixian,

I am the anon that you responded to in your most recent comment and I am not the same anon you were addressing previously. Indeed, I happen to be on the pro-science side of this equation. So, you can stow the hostility.

My comment pointing out that the suit was filed in federal court was in response to your statement " I still have my books and they clearly say for a trial to happen the State MUST HAVE JURISDICTION, of which I can find no reason why Texas would have jurisdiction unless Harvard willingly submits themselves to it and accepts a Texan court as having authority over them."

It may be just that you worded this poorly, but by stating that "the state MUST HAVE JURISDICTION" implies you are referring to suits filed in state courts. Federal jurisdiction does not work the same way. As my attorney (and wife) just explained there needs to be some link to the federal circuit court where a suit is filed. Usually it is that at least one of the parties is a resident of the circuit, but it is not required. If the alleged injury took place within the circuit, the court could here the case. That is probably the approach that Premise is taking (although without seeing the filing I am just taking ERVs word for it). So, there is no prima facie reason to throw Premise's complaint out of that court. So, in addition to the substantive point of law, Premise will also need to establish that an injury did take place in Texas.

As for the rest of your screed, save it for someone else.

Ixian said...

My apologies, when anon's post it's rather hard to tell them apart and I was getting more irate than normal when the same point in my view kept getting brought up, lack of sleep problems thanks to insomnia.

Federal court does work differently... kind of missed the mention it was filed on the federal level. Guess it is just down to substantive law and the proof that Premise suffered damages in Texas.

Dunno why I was working off the assumption it was on the State level, probably time to put away the comp and try for a full nights sleep.

ERV said...

*whispers: Actually none of this bickering matters because XVIVO has never been served.*

HalfMooner said...

"But I know, because I’ve watched both, that certainly there are significant differences and improvements, and I believe that, because of those substantial differences, there isn’t any merit to the charge." [My emphasis.]

Implicitly, Mark Mathis here admits the the FrankBenStein version of Inner Life is a copy. For how could anything but a copy be an "improvement"?

illusory tenant said...

Damn, how come we never get to litigate this stuff in Wisconsin?

Love yer blog.

Bayesian Bouffant, FCD said...

Damn, how come we never get to litigate this stuff in Wisconsin?

It's the cheese.

Robert O'Brien said...

It is quite possibly the dumbest thing I have ever read in my entire life. And I have read the Bible and Atlas Shrugged.

You might want to have the Bible read to you next time.