As I began the first part of this series, which oddly enough began as an exploration of NSA’s code of ethical conduct, I raised questions related to Martha Petrie Sue’s being found liable of “Copyright Infringement” and the ethical impact it might have related to her membership and designation within NSA (the National Speakers Association).
As part of my work, I felt that since I had reached out to Dr. Lillian Glass to gain her perspective – much of which she would not allow me to publish as she stood by her news release – it was appropriate to provide the same opportunity to extend the same to a fellow speaker and NSA colleague. In the interest of fairness, I did find Dr. Glass to be open in her expressions related to the case and I felt that, while the win was limited in scope to two lists, my interpretation was that Dr. Glass felt that not only had she stood up for her intellectual property, but in doing so struck a victory for others demonstrating that those who copies another’s intellectual property would experience consequences. For those that follow my work you know that I open each presentation on ethics with the phrase – “Every Choice has a Consequence.” I believe in the power of choice and the inevitability of consequence!
But, (I know you never start a sentence with ‘but’)…but – when I reached out to Marsha Petrie Sue, I, too, found a person who was very open to sharing her side of the story – and we all know that every story has two sides. Below you will see the questions I posed to Marsha Petrie Sue and her responses verbatim. Beyond her comments, from time to time you will find my own and I will do my best to make sure that mine are clearly noted so as not to be confused with Marsha’s words.
1. In December 2010 you were found liable, by a jury in Federal Court, of “Copyright Infringement”. Were you surprised by the verdict?
“Shocked because I did nothing wrong. I prevailed on the majority of the lawsuit. See below!”
2. Assuming you were (if not skip this question), before this ever got to Federal Court, what attempts did you make to settle the dispute that arose between you and Dr. Glass?
“Yes – many. See PDF 154-24. We tried mediation and Glass would not even be in the same room as me. Finally she agreed and would not shake my hand or even recognize that I was there except when she yelled abusive and vile comments at me. Her lack of maturity and hate for me, for whatever reason, were very apparent.”
3. Did Dr. Glass – when (I assume) she raised the issue at the beginning of copyrighted material request a non-court settlement? And if so, what were her demands?
“Partly, but her settlement requests were ridiculous. For example, in the original claim she said that she coined “Sticks and Stones will break my bones and names will never hurt me” and that I had stolen that from her books. I believe it was Rudyard Kipling. She said I should never be allowed to use that statement again.”
4. According to published media reports, you had material (two lists) in your book, “Toxic People” that was previously included in Dr. Glass’s book – “He Says, She Says.” How did you come about that material?
“Many years ago, as people often do, I was sent two lists with very generic information concerning men and women in the workplace. I asked the person if I could use their information and they said yes. The language was so common and the information so generic, containing 132 words that I didn’t think there was an original author and that the person that approved this was the originator. Being a professional speaker and author people often send me quotes, quips, lists and other information they deem of interest. I’ve even had people pass me notes after a presentation. Glass’s He Says, She Says, where the lists originally printed is a full chapter, Paragraph style and over 1900 words. So they are NOT exact.”
5. Were you aware of Dr. Glass’s book – “Toxic People” – before you penned your book?
“No and I never heard of her either. I began writing “Toxic People” in 2004 and Google searching was not something I did. My original submission to Wiley had the title of “Decontaminate Toxic People” and they changed the name to “Toxic People.””
6. Based on your earlier email (Chuck’s voice here – I had sent an email requesting an interview) in which you said or inferred that the lists were sent to you by a connection, did you make any attempt to search the wording to find out if it was copied from another source?
“The lists are VERY generic. I knew many people had come up with similar information. They were too common to search.”
CHUCK’S VOICE – There are ways to scrub your material to compare it to copyrighted material and/or to evaluate whether it might be subject to a claim of plagiarism. Apparently this is how many in the academic community are now being discredited with respect to former writing. Years back technology was not available to scrub material in the same way it is today. Was it available in 2004/2005? I don’t know, but I would assume that publishers would protect themselves and their authors by using such technology. Perhaps they don’t!
7. As you know from the Dr. Lillian Glass website – Stanford University Professor Robert I. Sutton accused Marsha Petrie Sue, an Arizona professional speaker, of “plagiarism” – what comments do you have regarding the Sutton allegation?
“I’ve never heard of him, and don’t know who he is. He never contacted me. You might also find interesting http://www.pogowasright.org/?tag=dr-lillian-glass”
8. NSA has specific rules related to “intellectual property” and being found liable in Federal Court of “Copyright Infringement” would seem to fly in the face of those rules. As a CSP and respected NSA member, what comments would you make regarding your conviction and the NSA position on “intellectual property”?
“I have done nothing wrong. I have no control over a vindictive person who in the summary judgment had all issues thrown out except for the 132 words in the list. The case is not finished. Please also refer to below information re: details of the case – and I have more.”
9. Likewise, NSA has specific ethics rules that we (NSA members) are held accountable to follow. Some would say that you violated Article 4 – Intellectual Property. What would you say in defense of that ethics violation claim (please note I am aware that no such claim has yet been made – however some at NSA feel that a formal complaint will be forthcoming)?
“Gosh – and this is the first I’ve heard of it. I guess my colleagues and friends would rather solve this problem behind my back. No. I have done nothing wrong.”
CHUCK’S VOICE: I regret the manner in which the question was asked as it inferred I had some inside information with NSA and I do not! Rather, I have heard from a number of NSA leading speakers that they expected that a formal complaint would be filed since a finding of being liable of “Copyright Infringement” would almost certainly be deemed by most to be a clear ethics violation, especially since that is directly connected to “intellectual property” and NSA has taken a clear stand on such issues. I accept responsibility for my poorly worded question and apologize to Marsha and NSA if I inferred something inaccurate.
10. From a different ethics perspective, it seems that Dr. Glass has gone to extraordinary lengths to expose your being found liable including material front and center on her website, notices on Facebook and a make shirt blog on WordPress. What do you make of all the public and national attention this case seems to have received?
“I believe Glass is trying “ruin” me because she is jealous and vicious. Also believe that she is trying to sell her own books creating a platform from my visibility. I think she should be pitied.”
11. I have been told your book – “Toxic People” – can now NOT be sold since it contains “Copyright Infringement” material – is that accurate?
“Not true. She settled with Wiley with no monetary exchange. They still sell the book on all outlets (Amazon, B&N, etc.) The book is still there and I am still selling.”
12. Do you plan on revising the book to remove the offensive content and then reissue?
“The content was not offensive nor copied. This is Wiley’s call not mine.
Here are my lists – and her list was over 1900 words and set as an entire chapter – and in paragraphs.
What women need to do in the business world when working with men:
1. Do not minimize your accomplishments at work.
2. Keep discussions to job-related issues or news events.
3. Lower the pitch of your voice.
4. Get to the point and include who, what, when, where and how.
5. Do not use tag endings, such as “isn’t it?” or “right?”
6. Drop your tone down to make a declarative statement.
7. Monitor your head-nodding and smiles.
8. Do not apologize unless you are wrong.
What men need to do in the business world when working with women:
1. Use more terms of politeness like “Please” and “Thank you.”
2. Do not be afraid to ask for help – forget about your ego.
3. Provide more facial and verbal feedback.
4. Make more polite requests instead of barking out commands.
5. Control your temper and handle yourself in a professional manner.
6. Be aware of addressing women with condescending terms like honey, sweetheart, babe or dear.
7. Do not interrupt or monopolize conversations. “
13. According to your website – the publisher was John Wiley and Sons, the publisher of record – wouldn’t they “scrub” the book for content and compare it to other material so any issues of plagiarism or “copyright infringement” would be discovered in advance of printing?
“The material is so generic that is would be very, very difficult to “scrub” – see above comment.”
14. If you were on the NSA Ethics review board (it may not be called that) – as a CSP – if this came up for another member and you were to judge whether an ethics violation had occurred – what would your opinion be? And, what outcome do you feel would be appropriate considering all the facts and circumstances?
“I would want to fully understand out members side and why this has come about. She sued Wiley and me in New York – and the case was thrown out (maybe not the right term) Her attorneys work on contingency and I believe this round of attorneys is her third group. And with a settlement of $31,000 – they and she lost a considerable about of money.
Pat the member on the back for not stooping to Glass’s level of vile attack and upholding the character and professionalism of NSA.”
FOLLOWING ARE ADDITIONAL COMMENTS MADE BY PETRIE SUE (in her words and unedited):
Glass was not the prevailing party because there can only be one “prevailing party” and Glass was not such a party. Glass alleged that I infringed copyrights to four of Plaintiff’s books: Say It Right; The
Complete Idiot’s Guide to Understanding Men and Women; Toxic People: 10 Ways to Deal with People Who Make Your Life Miserable; and He Says, She Says. This Court granted Ms. Petrie Sue’s motion for summary adjudication on first three of those books. Although Glass prevailed at Trial on the fourth book, that is not enough to overcome the fact that her copyright claim as to three of her books had no merit as a matter of law.
A plaintiff who prevails on one copyright claim, but loses on even more copyright claims (as well as all of her non-copyright claims), see Riffer Decl. ~~ 2-4, is not “the” prevailing party.
Glass’s motion which cites 24 cases, does not even address the dispositive fact for this motion — that she lost more copyright claims than she won. This is further evidence (as explained below) that
Glass’s counsel looked at this case as creating a billing opportunity.
Glass had no interest in resolving her dispute with me in a reasonable manner. She wanted a Trial, irrespective of the value of her case or the cost of litigation. She retained her attorneys on a contingency, so cost did not matter to her; her attorneys viewed the case as an opportunity for an attorney fee award, so the higher the cost, the better. She viewed the Trial as a publicity event that could generate stories about her to help her sell her books. Her final settlement demand ($233,000) was more – about $85,000 more — than the maximum a jury could award her ($150,000) for statutory damages.! The $85,000 figure was no coincidence either.
Her counsel candidly admitted that she really wants to go to trial – again publicity stunt material. I believe her counsel’s motivation was to create a billing opportunity. Her motivation was to generate publicity to help her sell her books. Taking the energy and resources needed to tear me down could have been used to sell her latest books – and even the old ones.
Why would I pay more to settle than it risked even if lost a Trial, especially after such I had prevailed on all the other (copyright and non-copyright) claims in the case?
So, Glass received her wish. She had her Trial. She so she claims to have ‘won’, even though she:
~ lost on three of her four copyright claims; ~ lost on every other claim in the case; and ~received a jury verdict of $31,000 when her last settlement demand, made only a few days before Trial, was $233,000.
Obviously, anyone who is “very happy” with such “results” had her own agenda, which was not to resolve the case in a reasonable manner, but rather to generate publicity to sell her other books.
REMOVED COMMENT due to factual dispute… Couple that with her counsel having their own agenda as well. Obviously, anyone who represents to a Federal Court that the outcome of this case — a $31,000 jury verdict on one claim after losing all other claims — was “exceptional,” “very successful” and an “excellent result” had his own agenda, which was not resolving the case in a reasonable manner.
WHERE FROM HERE?
I guess I now need to retake the content control and say – WOW! My intent was to open the door to an ethics discussion and I think I got a bit more than I bargained for. While I am sure both parties will take offense to my next comment I suspect that those who care to read will agree…this is a bit of a cat fight!
Dr. Lillian Glass, who I will admit handled herself professionally in my interview of her, clearly had a strong emotional charge to the outcome and the fact that (whether Petrie Sue likes it or not) Glass won in a federal court. Whether you win one count, four or forty…being convicted is being convicted! Based on my personal experience, and I’ve had personal experience in Federal Court, if you’re found guilty – a good dose of humility and reflection is in order.
Marsha Petrie Sue, on the other hand, is (in my opinion) in defensive mode related to her conviction. That is common when someone finds that they are in unfamiliar territory and for most, being convicted in Federal Court is unfamiliar territory.
Rather than making a judgment on Dr. Lillian Glass’s or Marsha Peterie Sue’s actions – pre or post jury decision, I’d rather quote from my book as I leave the issue of an ethics violation to NSA and you – the readers.
Every choice we make in life will have either a negative consequence or a positive result. The outcome we receive is directly connected to the choices we make. As we live our outcomes, the more aware we become of how our choices impact the results we live, the greater power we have to produce the outcomes we desire. Choices made without self-integrity or ethics result in negative results, while choices made with self-integrity result in positive results. My life demonstrates both extremes. –
from SECOND CHANCES: Transforming Adversity into Opportunity – by Chuck Gallagher
Perhaps it’s time for both Glass and Petrie Sue to look in the mirror and ask the more significant question – what choices am I making today that reflect self-integrity and will be deemed to empower and benefit others?
Meanwhile…is it possible that one can become the title of one’s book?
YOUR COMMENTS ARE WELCOME!