Consortium for Plant Biotechnology Research rips off writer, threatens to sue him for plagiarism


36 Responses to “Consortium for Plant Biotechnology Research rips off writer, threatens to sue him for plagiarism”

  1. maybe they’re just following his tip #27   
    “If you get really bored at a poster session, pretend that somebody’s poster is actually yours. Make things up, make a scene, etc. Timeless fun. Oh, the stories…”

  2. GlyphGryph says:

    I’m not sure he actually makes the claim that educational use isn’t fair use. He makes the claim educational use is not an excuse to plagiarize (with which I agree 100%).

    Maybe there’s more elsewhere I’m missing though…

  3. Wowbagger_Infinitley_Prolonged says:

    Not to worry, the Consortium will be the first against the wall when the revolution comes.

  4. usfoodpolicy says:

    Hey, thanks for the carefully nuanced account, highly attuned to the rights of both copyright holder and fair use.

    • -hms- says:

       I agree, this is great, and the analysis shines light on the murky edges of the various competing viewpoints that are often expressed. If only “I agree with this fellow on some points, but would constructively engage him on some other” were as killer a headline as “SCANDAL!” more writing would help us think, not just light the torches.

      The linked resources are great too, always excellent to follow a frustrating or unclear reality with a path toward a reasonable understanding and clarity. I’ve been (totally fairly…) bonked with the “just google it, stupid” when asking for more follow-up or information in comments before, but nothing beats some well-curated resources.

    • blurgh says:

      I don’t think it’s particularly useful to go into such depth on the minutae of fair use when it’s clearly pretty tangential to the main point of the article.

      It came across to me as Cory being unable to avoid getting on his fair use hobby horse. But that’s just me. (Perhaps he’d like to correct everyone who misunderstands the nature of the GPL while he’s at it?)

      • -hms- says:

         I think it’s fair and useful for a blog to have a point of view, a specialty and even an agenda, which would elevate certain topics above “hobby horse” status. BB seems to take these particular issues as central to its being, and thus, can use individual occurrence as a lens to explore them. I don’t think any pixels have been needlessly slaughtered in this particular pursuit, and for relatively new readers (the internet makes them all the time!) this is pretty helpful context, something sorely lacking in a lot of “headlines only please!” media

  5. Don Hosek says:

    Grammar nit: It’s WHOEVER answers their phone. 

  6. The reason I was annoyed with a Fair Use claim is that people were claiming it allowed them to copy me without crediting me (is that so wrong to desire??).  For the record, I checked all the scintillating legal verbiage about Fair Use before telling them they were wrong about this. But, that said, I have removed my mention of Fair Use from my site so that people can better focus their ridicule on The Consortium for Plant Biotechnology, who seem to deserve it more than I do. But I’m biased, I suppose.  By the way, the reason my letter to them (Purdue University, initially) was so rude was because it was the 3rd or 4th time (I’ve lost track) that people had plagiarized from my site, and I was getting increasingly annoyed.  Anyway, huge thanks for covering this!

    • Completely right re: fair use, and keeping this focused on the trolls. Good luck.

    • GlyphGryph says:

       Well, that explains what I was missing when I read the post and got confused!

      I think we all wish you luck here, anyway. I don’t think anyone disagrees with you being in the right here against these jerks.

  7. EH says:

    And overlay ads arrive at BB.

  8. yumtacos says:

    If you do a bit more digging, you may see suggestions that Ms. Schumacher’s organization thinks they own his intellectual property precisely because they administered and funded the research grant that covered its creation via his university.

    • dr says:

      As this was evidently created as part of his instructional activity, the only possible claimant would be the college, but Swarthmore has formal intellectual property policy that explicitly defaults the rights to such work to the faculty member.

  9. Aloisius says:

    I still can’t believe scientists make posters like they were entering their middle school science fair or that my middle school forcing me to make what was inevitably an ugly, overly information-dense poster was actually preparing me with a useful skill in case I wanted to be a scientist.

    • ChuckTV says:

      Yep, I’m having to make a poster right now for a college course. It feels completely ridiculous.

      • Antinous / Moderator says:

        I went to design school. Pretty much the only thing that you do is make posters. Occasionally models.

  10. tomrigid says:

    Nice post, Cory; you’re a regular copymensch.

  11. lafave says:

    The post and comments at Popehat on this matter are worth a read.

    • Waine Vines says:

      til I looked at the check which was of $7473, I accept that my mother in law trully bringing home money in there spare time online.. there best friend had bean doing this for only about 11 months and a short time ago repaid the loans on their place and purchased a top of the range Mercedes. go to……….. ZOO80.ℂom

  12. ymr049c says:

    OK, who besides me is going to name their next cat Professor Purrington?

    • OK, can anyone who names their cat Professor Purrington please stay in touch so that I can collect photographs from you?  Would love to feature them all on my blog some day.  Some future day when all is calm, that is.  Would be cute.

    • EH says:

      Somone from every comment thread on this topic so far, by my count.

  13. spacedmonkey says:

    Well, a big google footprint like this will help, but it would be nice if some public spirited citizen who is in a position to do so made sure that anyone who might be reviewing an NSF grant proposal made by this organization in the future was aware of how they’ve been behaving.   

    • spacedmonkey says:

      I just checked out Purrington’s website, an it seems like he’s actually in a perfect position to do this, which is funny, because as far as I can tell, what The Consortium for Plant Biotechnology Research was plagiarizing and is now fraudulently claiming copyright on, didn’t have anything to do with his particular specialty.  

      I really hope that I’m not being too idealistic in hoping that the scientific community (or the part that  Dorin Schumaker is connected with) will be less tolerant of this kind of bullshit than our society in general is.

      • Actually, I’ve applied to a few granting agencies for plant biotechnology research (not from CPBR, though) and also spent a year away from Swarthmore College at a major biotech corporation that is a member of CPBR.  Wouldn’t surprise me at all if CPBR first found my website via my research on safety of genetically modified crops. If you want sample, please see

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