Liar, Liar

Even when applogising Bill Demski can’t get a story straight. The story, as told at ERV is that Bill Demski – notorious evolution denier and creationist ID proponent – used a video in his talks. The problem was that the video was copyright Harvard University and XVIVO, and the video Demski used was substantialy altered from the original, adding a voiceover and removing the credits.

In his apology, he states:

The video was so good that I wanted to use it in some of my public presentations, but when I tried to purchase a DVD of it (I sent several emails to relevant parties), I was informed it wasn’t ready.

Which is entirely irrelevant. Mr Demski – biochemist, and darling of the ID movement – is apparently blissfully unaware that simply owning a DVD does not grant you the right to publicly show the contents of the DVD, or to show an edited version of the contents on that DVD. Mr Demski apparently believes that owning a DVD grants him the right to infringe on the copyright holders reserved rights in anyway, shape or form.

Note also a pertinent piece of information: Mr Demski had seen the original film which includes the credits and a specific copyright before he started showing the infringing version at his talks. Keep that in mind:

Demski notes that:

  1. He did not personally modify the film, and
  2. He did not strip the copyright information
  3. He did not retitle it as “The Cell as an Automated City

Points 1 and 2 may be true. Demski does not link to a source showing where the edited version he was using came from. Nevertheless, having seen the original film, he would have been aware that the version he was seeing was an infringing – and therefore illegal – derivative work of the original film. This is willful infringement. He knew he could not use the original format that was on the web, so he initially attempted to buy a DVD so he could deliberately infringe copyright on the DVD. When he was thawrted in that attempt, he deliberately and willfuly used a version of the video that he would most certainly know was an illegal derivative copy.

Regarding point 3, he claims that he did not re-title the video, because removing the title from the video, and presenting a completely different title in a power-point presentation immedeatly preceding the showing of that video – i.e. presenting a title to a film that – is not “retitling” the film, because Demski says so. I Am Not A Lawyer (I just play one on Slashdot), but I strongly suspect that such actions would constitute “re-titling”.

The second point, that the copyright was shown at the end, is entirely irrelevant, and quite possibly libelous (again, IANAL, BIPOOS). The copyright information at the end should really have reminded Demski that neither he, nor the people who created the final video he showed, were the copyright holders, and therefore had no right to do what they did, but worse: It gave the deliberately false impression that the opinion expressed in the voice-over was that of the original copyright holders, when nothing could be further from the truth.

In attempting to “explain” his errant behaivour, Demski has simply shown that he knew perfectly well that what he was doing was illegal. That was not an apology, it was a signed confession.

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