Dr. Lillian Glass responds to the Interview with Marsha Petrie Sue. Where are the ETHICS with a verdict of Liable for Copyright Infringement?

February 20, 2011

On January 15, 2011, I wrote a series of blogs about the ethical implications of NSA Certified Speaking Professional – Marsha Petrie Sue – being found liable for Copyright Infringement.  Since NSA (National Speakers Association) has some clear guidelines related to ethics and the use of intellectual property, I wondered what the outcome would be when a recognized speaker is found liable (Copyright Infringement) for something that is clearly inappropriate use of intellectual property.

As this blog is written I have no further information regarding any NSA ethics complaints or resolution regarding this matter.  However, after posting the second in my series of two blogs on the subject, I found that Dr. Lillian Glass had some issues with the responses Marsha Petrie Sue gave in my interview with her.  Dr. Glass contacted me recently and ask to have the opportunity to respond to Petrie Sue’s comments.  Below is the exact information that Dr. Lillian Glass provided to me yesterday.  Other than correcting the spelling of my name…the material is printed via cut and paste…so I attribute all the content below to Dr. Lillian Glass as it is her response to the former blog.  As you can see, the blog is an entire reprint of my blog with Dr. Glass’s comments being highlighted in blue for ease to the readers.

Dr. Lillian Glass states:

Dear Mr. Gallagher,

I am addressing copyright infringer and accused plairgerist Marsha Petrie Sue’s false allegations in red with evidence to back up my responses.

Dr. Lillian Glass


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!”


Marsha Petrie Sue’s being “shocked that she” did nothing wrong” clearly shows, in my view, that she may very well be in a state of denial. She did a lot “wrong” by copying my materials and placing these materials in her book without attribution. A unanimous jury of 8 in a US Federal Court in Los Angeles found that she did indeed do something wrong as she was found liable of being a “willful copyright infringer”. Glass v Marsha Petrie Sue Case # CV 09-08570-RGK (SHx).

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.”


It should be noted that any mention of what occurred at the mediation settlement conference is confidential and improper.  So,  Marsha Petrie Sue has once again done what she is not supposed to do by her even mentioning it. This case went before a mediator working with a top mediation firm.  Everyone attending such a mediation (lawyers   and clients) signs a pledge to keep everything that happens at the mediation confidential.  Obviously, this helps parties reach an agreement and allows them to speak freely.  Thus, I will not respond about anything that happened at the mediation and I and my attorneys are  very disturbed with Marsha Petrie Sue’s actions  to see it mentioned here.

However, I will say that I was indeed in the same room as Petrie Sue,  so her  above statement  that “I would not be in the same room as her”  is clearly  a false statement. It is true that I did not shake her hand as I did not want to be a hypocrite and shake the hand of a person who copied my materials and claimed them as her own.

I never yelled any abusive or vile comments to her during that mediation which took place in Los Angeles, and have witnesses to prove this from my attorneys to the mediator to everyone else attending the mediation proceedings. So once again Petrie Sue’s statement is false and defamatory.

After she completed her deposition in Arizona and I heard what she had to say, I spoke to her directly face to face off the record where I told her that “her actions were despicable” and that she was “an embarrassment to any author.” Anyone who does not do a book title search when they write a book on a specific topic and does not give attribution to the original source in my view is   highly unprofessional. I told her this directly to her face. There was no yelling or vile  comments made by me. My attorney Eric Bjorgum can validate my statement.

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.”


This statement where Petrie Sue wrongly states that in the original claim I coined
“ Sticks and stones can break my bones and names will never hurt me” places Marsha Petrie Sue in jeopardy of yet another lawsuit.

This time the lawsuit against her would be for Defamation of Character. There was never any allegation in the case that I said   that I coined “ Sticks and Stones will break my bones and names will never hurt me” This is a false statement.  I never said that she” should never use that statement again.” This is completely false as verified by my initial claim against her which is now part of the public record.

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.”


Petrie Sue’s statement reflects her unprofessionalism in my view. No reputable author I know or well educated professional would ever ask a person if they could use their information without attribution. That information that she claims was sent to her by a yet to be named unknown third party, happened to be MY information and MY material that she used in her book and on her website without  MY permission.

Every bit of information has a source and I was the originator of that source. In the deposition and in the  court proceedings Ms. Sue could not even come up with the name of the person who allegedly gave her that list and whom she allegedly asked if she could use the list, which made the jury doubt her credibility. She also could not produce that information she was given in court and claimed that she threw everything away.

It does not matter if my original list had 1900 words in it and she only copied 132 of those words, word for word.  If someone comes into your home and steals your TV but leaves your couch and your coffee table and your jewelry they have still stolen your TV and committed an illegal act of theft. Marsha Petrie Sue still took written material which was not hers and claimed as her own.

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.”


The fact that Marsha Petrie Sue claims she never heard of me validates her unprofessionalism in my view. My “Toxic People” book was written in 1995 and I popularized the term by appearing on countless television shows and in the media on the topic over the past 13 years. In fact, I became a staple on daytime TV back in the 90’s because of the “Toxic People: book I wrote.

A Google search would have shown over 100,000 references to me in relation to the book “Toxic People”. Any reputable professional author would have done a Google Search for the title to see if there was any other book out there with the same title. I have written 15 books to date and every time I write a book the first thing I do is a Google search for the title I plan to use for the book.

Stating that it was “not something she did”  also speaks volumes about  her lack of unprofessionalism  and sophistication in my view, as doing a Google search on the topic is basic common practice.

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!


Despite what Ms. Petrie Sue thinks, the lists are not VERY generic.  They were VERY specific and many people did NOT come up with the same material that I did in the lists which I created as she wrongly reports.

My lists were original and I was the one who proposed what to do in the workforce for men and women.  Prior to my book which I wrote in 1992, no one else had done that. I had been researching the topic since 1974 and was one of the early pioneers in the area of gender differences in communication. I conducted my own research studies and even commissioned Gallop polls to come up with the original information in those lists back in the 1980’s. While other researchers have studied gender differences they had never done the  original research I put forth in the specific lists I put forth in the specific order that I put forth which Petrie Sue lifted and placed in her version of “Toxic People”.

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


Marsha Petie Sue has blatantly lied here. Of course Professor Sutton contacted her. He contacted her directly  on her Amazon blog.  Here is the exact quote from the blog which she subsequently removed. She obviously knew that he contacted her because she was the one who removed the post from her own Amazon blog.
Robert I Suton says:

The quote about Lars Dalgaard is taken nearly word for word from an article that I published in the McKinsey Quarterly earlier in the year called “Building the Civilized Workplace.” There are some words omitted, but there is no attribution to original source and note below how you have pretty much simply removed some of the words from the opening of the original article. Note that I am a professor at Stanford, and directly taking text from a source with providing any attribution fits our definition of plagiarism.”

He goes on to say to Petrie Sue, whom he contacted:

“Perhaps Amazon blogs don’t need to follow the Stanford  honor code, but I would never use so much text from another source without attribution, and I think that nearly  all other universities –and authors –would agree that acknowledgment of the source is appropriate.”

Ms. Petrie Sue provided a link to a site called pogowasright .  That link displays an assemblage of quotes by or about  me  that are taken out of context and are misleading.  The original material was propagated by an anonymous blogger who’s  identity I was able to personally discover. She is a Tourette’s  Syndrome psychologist named Leslie E. Packer who writes the blog pogowasright and chronicles of dissent. According to numerous postings throughout the internet about her, she is considered to be a” discredited”  and “unethical psychologist”  who I believe has been  removed from the American Psychological Association and her state  psychological associations.

Suffice it to say that these allegations are not true and in themselves are defamatory. Marsha Petrie Sue’s reference to  this irrelevant material has nothing to do with the fact that another professional, a Stanford University professor accused Marsha Petrie Sue of plagiarism in  her copying the work of Professor Lars Dalgaard, word for word and claiming it as her own by not giving any attribution to him.

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.”


Once again Marsha Petrie sues claiming “ I have done nothing wrong” clearly appears to me that she is in denial as a  unanimous jury of 8 in a US Federal court has found her liable  of copyright infringement.

She has once again opened herself up to a defamation suit by calling me “ a vindictive person”. Protecting my copyright is not “vindictive.” It is my right as an American citizen- to protect what is rightfully mine. The case is indeed finished as the jury has spoken with a verdict of Marsha Petrie Sue being a “willful copyright infringer.”

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.”


Once again by Ms. Petrie Sue stating “No. I have done nothing wrong.” It appears  to me that she that she has not yet digested the fact that a unanimous jury in US Federal Court found her liable of doing something “wrong”-  copying my copyrighted material and claiming it as her own.

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.”


I am not trying to “ruin” anyone as Ms. Petrie Sue wrongly claims.  Ms. Petrie Sue has “ruined” herself and her own reputation by being accused of plagiarism by a Stanford university professor and now by being found liable in a US Federal court of willful copyright infringement.

Once again Petrie Sue has set herself up for a defamation suit by calling me “jealous and vindictive”. I am neither of those adjectives she has called me. I am also not “trying to sell my own books by creating a platform from her visibility” which is yet another false claim made by Ms. Petrie Sue.

I believe the world needs to know that her egregious act will not be tolerated.  They need to know that it serves as an example  that  by copying my material and claiming it as her own not only in her version of “Toxic People”  but on her website,  where she had the audacity to give readers permission to use my material as long as they shared her email address and website, there are serious consequences.

My sharing this information in a public form has empowered others to take action against those who have plagiarized their work no matter what field they are in. They are inspired as they no longer have to feel victimized. They are now aware that they can take  the  copyright infringer through the legal system where justice will be served. My experience with taking Petrie Sue through the legal system serves as a powerful example of what is possible in this great country.

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.”


Marsha Petrie Sue mentions my settlement with Wiley.  That   settlement was supposed to be confidential and was only  produced to Petrie Sue’s attorney Jeff Riffer only in response to a subpoena. The details of the settlement were supposed to be confidential as Marsha Petrie Sue has no business whatsoever revealing my settlement or even mention of the name of the publisher with anyone, let alone in a public form which she did. In essence she violated my confidentiality in this regard.

Also, Petrie Sue states that “The book is still there and I am still selling.”  It may interest you to know that my motion for a permanent injunction against further sales by Petrie Sue is still pending.

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.


The content was indeed copied as determined by a unanimous Federal Court jury.

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.”


The material is not generic at all. The material is very specific in terms of what men and women need to do in the workplace. Prior to my writing this list in my “He Says She Says “book, this specific information did not exist.

Petrie Sue could have re-phrased every one of those sentences on the list in many different ways and changed the order. Had she taken the time and effort to do so,   she would not have been found as a copyright infringer.

Instead, she lifted my exact words and phrases in the same order I used them. Those were my exact words that were based on my original research efforts, which she clearly copied as you can see.

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.”


Marsha Petrie Sue states that I “sued Wiley and her  in New York – and the case was thrown out (maybe not the right term).”  That is not true.  This again sets Petrie Sue up for a defamation suit.

A state court in New York eventually found that New York did not have personal jurisdiction over me.  Marsha Petrie Sue was never a party to that suit or involved in it, and I did not instigate it.  Thus her statement is completely false.

Also, technically speaking, there has been no “settlement of $31,000.”  That was the amount of the verdict.  My motion for attorney’s fees has already been determined by the court as well as the amount for costs which Petrie Sue is now liable for. This has increased what she owes. Also, the  motion for permanent injunction is still pending.


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


Marsha Petrie Sue’s above statement is really nothing more  than a brief filed by Petrie Sue’s attorney Jeff Riffer, which she obviously copied, which is  taken out of context with a few nouns and pronouns changed to make it read correctly.

The question of who “prevailed” is a legal question that was be decided in connection with the pending motion for fees.  Hon. Judge Klausner did indeed rule that I was the prevailing party on 2/8/11 so Ms. Petrie Sue has given false information.  In fact below is the exact judge’s ruling on the matter:

On December 9, 2010, the jury found in favor of Plaintiff on her copyright infringement claim, awarding Plaintiff $31,000 in statutory damages. Defendant argues that Plaintiff is not the prevailing party because only one of Plaintiff’s claims proceeded to trial. However, a plaintiff can still be the prevailing party if the plaintiff recovers less than what was originally sought. Wall Data Inc. v. L.A.

County Sheriff’s Dep’t, 447 F.3d 769, 787 (9th Cir. 2006). In Wall Data Inc., the Ninth Circuit held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in awarding attorneys’ fees to the plaintiff, even though the plaintiff’s copyright infringement claim was the only one that went to trial. Id. In the current case, Plaintiff similarly prevailed on only a single copyright infringement claim. Plaintiff recovered damages for this single claim, resulting in a material alteration of the legal relationship between both parties.

Therefore, Plaintiff is the prevailing party for the purpose of awarding attorneys’ fees.”

Petrie Sue continues:

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.


The statements regarding the motivations of my counsel by Petrie Sue are not appropriate, though I  along with my attorneys  understand they not much more than hyperbole and will be discounted by intelligent readers.

The detail of the settlement negotiations is misleading.  If Ms. Petrie Sue wishes to engage in a blow-by-blow on the settlement discussions, the really important fact is that she made no offer to pay anything until one week before trial, at which point my attorneys had spent countless hours on this case.  That offer Petrie Sue gave was a mere $7,500 and never changed.

Her statement “She viewed the Trial as a publicity event that could generate stories about her to help her sell her books.” is completely false.

This trial was not used as a means to sell books in any way. Media appearances are used to sell and promote books, not trials. This trial was not a publicity event as she erroneously stated.

It was a very serious event that took place because she had violated the law and infringed my copyrighted material and I was protecting my rights. She was unwilling to settle and offered nothing until one week before trial where she offered a mere $7,500.

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.


My counsel has one agenda and that was to represent me in protecting my legal rights which they did. The outcome of the case according to the jury shows that I won the case and according to the judge showed that I was the prevailing party, despite any other claims.

To me, that is a “very successful” and “excellent result” as this case was not just about the money. It was about holding Marsha Petrie Sue accountable for taking what was not hers and presenting it as her own. It was about justice and about inspiring others to do the same thing if someone infringes on their copyright.

It was about Truth and Justice and indeed Justice was served against Marsha Petrie Sue- a willful copyright infringer.


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!


This is by no means a” cat fight” by two women and I find your comment objectionable.

This is a very serious matter Mr. Gallagher and sets a precedent. This was a legal fight  not only for my rights as an author but for the rights of every single person in America who creates, whether it is a songwriter, screenwriter, architect, inventor, scientist, sculptor, painter, composer, artist, architect, photographer, or designer.

No one in this country has the right to take someone else’s work and claim it as their own. If someone had taken any of the material from any book which you published  and claimed it as their own I am certain you would feel the same way and take the action I took through the legal system.

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.

You are indeed correct in this statement Mr.Gallegher when you say “whether you win one count, four or forty…being convicted is being convicted!” If this was a criminal trial Petrie Sue would have been convicted, but since it is a civil trial she is instead found liable of willful copyright infringement.

Your next statement   if you’re found guilty – a good dose of humility and reflection is in order.” I have yet to receive an apology from Ms. Petrie Sue for her egregious act. Instead as we have all seen in her response, a  stubborn refusal to admit in this public forum   that she outright copied my material,  as  repeatedly said that she “did nothing wrong”  .

When a US Federal Court says she was found guilty and a judge states that I am the prevailing party, it is clear that she did indeed do something wrong.

Ms. Petrie Sue also had the audacity in her deposition and in a US Federal Courtroom to say that she thought there was nothing wrong with manipulating the system and purchasing her own  books  (retail) so that they could be called a “best seller”. Apparently Ms. Petie sue spend over $30,000 of her own money to buy her own “Toxic People” books so that it could receive “Best Seller Status”. In my view that is very wrong and highly unethical.

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?

I have indeed looked in the mirror and can proudly answer that  I made the choice that reflects my- self integrity by sticking up for myself and not allowing anyone like Marsha Petrie Sue  to violate my rights or to take my hard work and claim it as her own.

I have definitely empowered others  based on the countless comments of support which I have received. My actions have definitely benefited others as they know they have recourse. They now know that they can use the legal system to protect what is rightfully theirs so that justice can be served.

Meanwhile…is it possible that one can become the title of one’s book?



Final comments.  First as a point of clarification.  In my original blog I used the terms guilty, convicted and liable as equal terms.  I was corrected and once again here clarify that Marsha Petrie Sue was found LIABLE for Copyright Infringement which is the appropriate and legal term when deciding a civil matter.

The questions raised here are significant.  From my perspective the primary interest is ethics and the ethical implications that arise when an NSA member is, in fact, found liable for inappropriate use of intellectual property.

Beyond that…as I’ve opened the blog up for Marsha Petrie Sue’s comments via the interview and Dr. Lillian Glass’s response…either Petrie Sue or Glass may continue to comment via responses and yes, as always – YOUR COMMENTS ARE WELCOME!

Dr. Lillian Glass vs Marsha Petrie Sue – Does being found liable of “Copyright Infringement” equal an NSA Ethics Violation? Part 1 of 2

January 15, 2011

Have you ever had one of those issues that seem to stare you right in the face – an issue that forces you to look in the mirror and ask yourself – “What am I going to do with this one?”  This issue is one of those defining questions that forced me to think carefully and evaluate “ethically” what I should do.  Do I ignore a major ethics question and issue within my profession, leave it alone, sweep it under the rug (so to speak), or do I discuss what, to many, is a subject that should see the light of day for the benefit of the profession?   I suspect that many will doubt the choice that I am making, but I have to say that “transparency” and “truth” for me prevails, as I ask the tough questions related to a major legal and ethics issue.

In the middle of December, 2010 – major news outlets from USA today to Businessweek to CNBC were reporting on the unanimous jury verdict in the trial of Dr. Lillian Glass in her copyright infringement trial against Marsha Petrie Sue – an NSA member and CSP (Certified Speaking Professional).  The decision was handed down in a Federal Court – 2:09- cv-08570-RGKL-SH, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Los Angeles).

According to a news release that followed: “Dr. Glass had alleged that Petrie Sue’s 2007 book “Toxic People” had wrongfully copied from two lists in Dr. Glass’ 1992 book “He Says, She Says.” The jury of eight agreed and Bloomberg reported that, “According to a December 9 court filing, the jury awarded her $31,000 for the unauthorized use of content from her work.”

In communication with Dr. Glass she said she discovered Petrie Sue’s word for word copying of her materials after doing an Amazon search for her own book called “Toxic People.”  Surprised to see another book with the same main “Toxic People” title, Dr. Glass ordered Petrie Sue’s 2007 book and was even more surprised to find similarities in stories and examples.

So what happens – ethically that is – when someone is found guilty of what would appear to be a violation of one of the eight specifically listed Code of Ethics Standards established by the National Speakers Association?  Note, I said, “appears” because as of this writing there is no active ethics complaint or investigation underway with the National Speakers Association.

The NSA Ethics Standards are listed below:

Article 1 – Representation

The NSA member has an obligation to oneself and to NSA to represent oneself truthfully, professionally and in a non-misleading manner. The NSA member shall be honest and accurate in presenting qualifications and experience in the member’s communication with others.

Article 2 – Professionalism

The NSA member shall act, operate his/her business, and speak in a most professional and ethical manner so as neither to offend nor bring discredit to oneself, the speaking profession or one’s fellow NSA members.

Article 3 – Research

The NSA member shall exert efforts to understand each client’s organization, approaches, goals and culture in advance of a presentation, in order to professionally apply one’s expertise to meet each client’s needs.

Article 4 – Intellectual Property

The NSA member shall avoid using – either orally or in writing – materials, titles or thematic creations originated by others unless approved in writing by the originator.

Article 5 – Respect & Collegiality

The NSA member shall maintain a collegial relationship with fellow members that is based on respect, professional courtesy, dignity and the highest ethical standards.

Article 6 – Confidentiality

The NSA member shall maintain and respect the confidentiality of business or personal affairs of clients, agents and other speakers.

Article 7 – Business Practices

The NSA member is obligated to maintain a high level of ethical standards and practices in order to assist in protecting the public against fraud or any unfair practice in the speaking profession and shall attempt to eliminate from the profession all practices that could bring discredit to the speaking profession.

Article 8 – Diversity

The NSA member shall not participate in any agreement or activity that would limit or deny access to the marketplace to any other speaker, to a client, or to the public. This includes, but not limited to, economic factors, race, ethnicity, creed, color, sex, age, sexual orientation, disability, religion, or country of national origin of any party.


Just the other day, being interviewed as a business ethics speaker and author on a radio show, I was asked about the definition of “ethics”.  While many would think the answer would be simple – the reality is – ethics and ethical choices are those choices that are “right” based on the facts and circumstances of the situation at the time they are made.  Beyond ethics – right and wrong choices that have a moral fiber running through them – is the question of legal.  Sometimes what may be unethical may nevertheless be legal.  Many would say that actions that our financial institutions took with sub-prime mortgages were unethical – yet, they were legal.

Some might question whether raising the question (as an NSA member) is a violation of Ethics Article 5 – Respect & Collegiality. I hope that those who read understand that discussing or opening a forum for dialogue about ethics within our profession is not, in and of itself, disrespectful.  Likewise, for clarity, I have interviewed, in one form or another, both Dr. Lillian Glass and Marsha Petrie Sue – seeking their input first as this forum is opened.

But what if a choice made is illegal?  Does that make it also unethical?  That seems to be the issue that likely will be facing an NSA colleague – Marsha Petrie Sue.  As a speaker in leadership and a leader herself in NSA, having earned the coveted CSP (Certified Speaking Professional) designation, the likelihood is that an ethics investigation resulting from her conviction will happen sometime in 2011.  According to a conversation I had with Stacy Tetschner, CAE and Executive Vice-President of NSA, an ethics investigation will only happen if a formal complaint is filed with NSA.

Beyond the specific Ethics Standards, NSA has clear guidelines related to “Intellectual Property Guidelines” when it comes to presenters and presenting at NSA Conferences.  The guidelines are listed below:

  1. Understand the definition of intellectual property. Intellectual property is broadly defined as the original expression of ideas, as well as symbols and words that represent the products or services of a company or person.
  2. Respect the intellectual property of others. Below is a partial list of items considered to be intellectual property: cartoons, speeches, photographs, written material, overheads, signature stories, videos, logos/trademarks, movie/TV clips, drawings, audio-taped artwork, interviews, and other proprietary music materials.
  3. Comply with the law and the code of ethics. If you utilize any type of intellectual property that is not your own, get permission from the owner. Either obtain a formal license or obtain written permission to use the material. Please note that in some cases, the creator of the property is not the owner.
  4. Share with the audience that you have that permission. Include a simple, brief statement such as, “These photos are used with the permission of….” Sometimes the owner may require you to use a more formal notice, including for example, a copyright notice.
  5. If you use handouts that duplicate intellectual property with permission, be sure to add the phrase, “Used with permission of….” Your handouts might also explain that you have permission to use other materials (cartoons, photos, music, etc.) in your presentation. For example: “All of the materials presented in this presentation are either original, licensed or used with permission.”
  6. Know that NSA has obtained some limited rights to music. NSA has secured certain performance rights for your presentation from leading performing rights organizations. This will allow you to sing or play certain music during your presentation. This allows you to play certain prerecorded music as well. However, if you wish to synchronize your music to another media (sound on slide, video, etc.), then you must obtain a separate synchronization license. This is your responsibility, not that of NSA. In other words, NSA has obtained licenses for you to sing or play a CD of many (but not all) of the latest hit songs. As soon as you play it in conjunction with a slide show, you are breaking the law, unless you have obtained the further necessary permissions yourself.
  7. Notify NSA’s recording partner, Content Management Corporation, if you intend to use music. Then they can (at their option) either secure a mechanical license to duplicate the music or else they will need to edit out the musical selections from the tape of your program. Because it is unlawful to duplicate intellectual property without permission, you should also help CMC obtain the permissions necessary to fulfill their legal responsibility. In other words, you can sing songs NSA has obtained a license for. Should CMC duplicate/ distribute your performance, however, without a mechanical license, they might be breaking the law. For video-taped programs, the same notification is required for any visual media that would be reproduced, such as photos or cartoons.
  8. Tell the audience when you have created or commissioned your own intellectual property. If you have gone to the expense of creating and/or commissioning your own intellectual property, the NSA audience needs to know. You might use a brief phrase such as: “I had these cartoons especially created for my seminars.”
  9. Remember, as an NSA presenter, you represent the standard of ethical behavior.

Since NSA has gone to the trouble of listing specific guidelines with respect to the use of intellectual property, it would seem logical that being found liable in Federal Court of copyright infringement (violating intellectual property) would create quite a stir.


Some might say I’m grasping at straws here, but is it possible that something could be found liablous (by a jury in a court of law) and not be found to be an ethics violation?  In communication with Dr. Lillian Glass – she says, in her opinion, no.  But what does Marsha Petrie Sue have to say?  In the interest of fairness, I raised a number of questions directly with Marsha Petrie Sue which, (in the interest of space), will appear in Part Two of this business ethics article.  For now, what is clear is that there are significant unanswered questions.


Whether there is an NSA ethics challenge is a function of whether a formal complaint is filed.  Assuming one is filed – the ethics committee will review the relevant material and make their determination based on the facts and circumstances.  Their findings will be published in the Speaker magazine and could include the following: (1) no action (assuming no violation is found); (2) letter of censure either public or private; (3) NSA CSP designation be revoked; and/or (4) NSA membership be revoked or suspended.  Likely, any action taken would be any of the above or a variation on the theme based on what NSA feels it appropriate.  Certainly, the negative publicity is, in and of itself, significant.

YOUR COMMENTS ARE WELCOME… (see Part Two for the Marsha Petrie Sue Interview and comments)