Boycott Murdoch: #NOTW

I can’t imagine there’ll be much to be proud of in the upcoming issue of News of the World (see: ‘Missing Milly Dowler’s voicemail was hacked’), especially if Rebekah Brooks/Wade is allowed to continue as chief executive at News International, an organisation that has pledged to investigate illegal acts undertaken under her editorship… illegal acts undertaken by a man who was paid the kind of money most editors make it their business to know about.

So I have been going through this list of recent NotW advertisers and making a personal short list based on my own shopping habits. Where I am a customer, I ask the company the following question via the email address for their press or customer relations office (which is typically one of the few in the public domain):

Simple question: Will you be advertising in the next issue of News of the World (10 July 2011)?

If they do intend to advertise or won’t say, I will go on to advise them of my intentions (and reasons) regarding a boycott of their company (for a period that will be influenced substantially by their attitude to the query).

Mine is a short list, but my intention to boycott any brand that subsequently advertises in the 10 July issue is sincere, and I think realistic and reasonable.

It should be abundantly clear that no good can come of any commercial association with this upcoming issue of News of the World when News International refuse to even acknowledge Rebekah Brooks’ ultimate responsibility (i.e. according to standards she demands from others). There can be no genuine contrition without Brooks meeting up to her own damn standards.








Posted in Old Media, Rupert 'The Evil One' Murdoch | 7 Comments

Jack Hart (@jachartuk): dangerous lies for pitiful gain

Someone was moaning about my blocking them on Twitter a short while ago. Jack Hart (@jachartuk on Twitter) took the opportunity to play a game he’s been getting bolder and bolder at; using a distorted account of a private email exchange in order to portray me as abusive, aggressive, and a potential danger to himself and others.

In doing so, Jack Hart is engaging in a lie that he should know is reckless to begin with, but it’s worse than that, because he’s been specifically warned that it is a lie that puts me in danger, and puts my family in danger.

Today is not the first time he has done this, or engaged in this kind of deception targeting me (in fact, the relevant correspondence contains a prime example).

He may be doing this for his own amusement, but at times it appears he does this for approval from others. Either way, today I call his bluff, because I do not need his lies building on top of those of Nadine Dorries.

[MINI-UPDATE: And here are some Dorries-related links to tide you over… Martin Milan, Sim-O, and Richard Bartholomew have each written about that post, which I will get to myself in due course.]

The screen capture below is a composite showing his latest portrayal of our private email exchange (including some of the tweets he has replied to for context). Below that is the full text of our only email exchange, and it is entirely unedited. Keep a sharp eye out for anything that is ‘abusive’, aggressive’ or ‘offensive':

Jack Hart

The relevant email exchange (below) began after Jack Hart implied in Twitter that I was the type of person likely to stalk someone, to the extent of being likely to hang around outside their house in response to mere criticism. Even then, it was not the first time he had done something like this.

On this occasion, he was responding to entirely false implications from Iain Dale that I was likely to lurk around his house. More recently (as you can see from the screen capture), he has chosen to mimic Nadine Dorries’ entirely false claims and implications about abusive/aggressive email correspondence. Jack Hart will probably scream ‘conspiracy theorist’ if I dare to note the pattern, but it’s pretty stark, and noting it suggests nothing beyond him being a particularly unpleasant wannabe.

From: Tim Ireland
To: Jack Hart
Cc: Iain Dale
Date: Fri, Sep 24, 2010 at 6:39 PM
Subject: Your recent tweets

You have no grounds for publishing this or anything like this:

@apptme2theboard relationship with Tim Ireland… I better say no more otherwise he’ll be sitting outside my house waiting… #Odd

http://twitter.com/jachartuk/status/25414513640

Please remove it, and don’t repeat your previous attempts to cast objections to your false accusations as evidence of stalking.

Iain Dale has been CCed, as you appear to be basing your accusations on his published claims and implications, and he deserves to be made aware of how you interpret and act on them.

Tim

From: Jack Hart
To: Tim Ireland
Cc: Iain Dale
Date: Fri, Sep 24, 2010 at 9:14 PM
Subject: Re: Your recent tweets

Tim,

Your appear to be of the impression that I am unable to criticise you and your behavior without either taking direction from or allegedly copying Iain Dale.

Your delusions that people are either concerned or care about your baseless opinions are widely misjudged. Your apparent paranoia is clearly obvious in the fact that you felt not only to email me about a “tweet” you disagreed with but also felt the need to copy in Iain Dale who had nothing what so ever to do with the comment I made.

I find your behavior odd. There is no getting away from that. You may choose to disagree with me and I would be more than willing to publicly debate such a comment with you but this has been made impossible because you chose to block me on Twitter rather than conduct an open, frank and public discussion.

I personally cannot see what influence you feel you have over my choice of tweets nor the content that they contain. If I was to be being facetious I could ask you why you assumed the Tim Ireland in question was yourself, there is no evidence contained within that tweet to link you to it, you have chosen to make that link yourself out of a seemingly paranoid state of mind.

While I do not feel the need to talk of your feelings towards Iain Dale, I do wish to make one thing plainly obvious for you. I have in fact never seen any mention of your name or any allegation about yourself on Iain Dale’s website – the only place I have seen your name listed is on the rules page (and I now believe, from your paranoid behavior today, with very good reason). You may claim that references have been deleted but even if that is the case I am still unaware of any links or appearances.

I hope you have a wonderful evening and an even better weekend,

Regards,

Jack

From: Tim Ireland
To: Jack Hart
Cc: Iain Dale
Date: Fri, Sep 24, 2010 at 9:34 PM
Subject: Re: Your recent tweets

The suggestion that I lurk outside people’s homes goes way beyond criticism, acceptable or otherwise. You have no grounds for making an allegation or even a suggestion of this nature, and it can only feed a genuine campaign of harassment against me.

Withdraw it, please.

Tim

From: Jack Hart
To: Tim Ireland
Cc: Iain Dale
Date: Fri, Sep 24, 2010 at 10:05 PM
Subject: Re: Your recent tweets

You have no grounds for accusing me of following the orders of Iain Dale, you have made an assumption that I have taken on board his views as my own at his wishing. Simply because I applied for a job with someone does not mean I have lost any ability to form my own opinions of your behavior which quite frankly I find rather disturbing.

If you feel that I am feeding a genuine campaign of harassment then that is regrettable but I am at a loss as to how you feel one post on a micro-blogging website is contributing much, if anything at all. The minimal number of your followers who also follow me is hardly going to amount to anything – this again appears to be paranoia and an inflated sense of self-importance on your part.

As previously stated I am more than willing to have an open debate with yourself over how I feel your views and constant badgering of others is unacceptable and unnecessary but you appear unwilling to conduct yourself in an open manner.

I am really at a loss as what else to say to you. I find your behavior odd. I find your inflated sense of self laughable and I find your blog to be nothing more than conspiracy theory combined with the ramblings of someone who appears that he aught to be doing something far more productive with his time.

Regards,

Jack

From: Tim Ireland
To: Jack Hart
Cc: Iain Dale
Date: Fri, Sep 24, 2010 at 10:09 PM
Subject: Re: Your recent tweets

Counter-accusations get us nowhere, especially ones like this; I did not accuse you of following his orders. I didn’t even name you or vaguely allude to you in any event.

You have no evidence, cause or reason to support the quite damaging assertion that I lurk outside people’s homes, or even that I am likely to. Withdraw it, please.

Tim

From: Jack Hart
To: Tim Ireland
Cc: Iain Dale
Date: Fri, Sep 24, 2010 at 10:15 PM
Subject: Re: Your recent tweets

Tim,

You claim that “I didn’t even name you or vaguely allude to you in any event”. I hate to present you with cold, hard facts (because as you must be aware, judging by your blogging, your not a fan of them) but you appear to, vaguly, allude to me with your tweet seen below.

http://twitter.com/bloggerheads/status/25425286646

@danielh_g One person repeating the smear right now applied for a job with a certain Tory blogger. Dog knows where he gets his ideas from.
about 3 hours ago via web in reply to danielh_g

You really do need to find something slightly more productive to do with your time. This email link could go backwards and forwards (in future I shall not CC Iain Dale because I feel it is unfair to clog his inbox with your odd-ball ramblings and paranoia) but shall not achieve me to change my views of you. In fact you are only serving to strengthen them.

As previously said, conduct this discussion openly and I am more than willing to participate.

Jack

From: Tim Ireland
To: Jack Hart
Cc: Iain Dale
Date: Fri, Sep 24, 2010 at 10:24 PM
Subject: Re: Your recent tweets

1. My tweet does not identify you or even name Dale. I did not mention you in any surrounding tweets.
2. In any event, it does not include the accusation you refer to

It’s a pointless counter-accusation that serves only to divert us from the core points that you refuse to address.

I have pointed out that you have no grounds to suggest that I am likely to lurk outside your home or anyone else’s. You have repeatedly refused to address this point, and the only evidence you present of my potential for stalking is my response to the accusation itself. You further refuse to acknowledge that you maintain this groundless and damaging assertion in a climate where what you seek to defend as fairly held opinion is used against me as if it were fact.

And reasonable person would seek its withdrawal, and to know when they are dealing someone who is hostile beyond reason.

Goodbye.

Tim

From: Jack Hart
To: Tim Ireland
Date: Fri, Sep 24, 2010 at 10:30 PM
Subject: Re: Your recent tweets

Tim,

FUCK OFF and go back to your pointless blogging.

There is nothing to be achieved conducting a solid debate with you because you have shown that your paranoid and inflated sense of self prohibits you from conducting yourself in a manner than appeases others.

You really need to find something better to do with your time other than chase people around over posts on micro-blogging websites. How’s about you try the real world sometime. You are an utterly pointless example of how blogging makes people think they’re journalists when in reality they’re crackpots sitting in their bedroom spouting off utter nonsense.

Enjoy your weekend,

Jack

It was at that point that I blocked @Jachartuk in Twitter, and I would hope most reasonable people can appreciate why.

Also, in case I’ve not made this point clear enough; Jack Hart tells dangerous lies. Or, to be more accurate, he mimics dangerous lies. His exact motives remain unknown, but at times it looks like he does it just to fit in with the small crowd at the far right of the Tory party that likes to shout ‘stalker’.

[Psst! Jack Hart tried to ‘spoil’ what was coming by claiming to have deleted the exchange himself and implying that I would edit it. I have not, and as you can see, Iain Dale was CCed on all but Hart’s charming sign-off. Iain Dale has a vested interested in portraying me as dishonest, and he claims to retain every email from me. But he can’t and won’t come out and denounce this exchange as false, because it is not.]

UPDATE – Jack Hart has complained his email address was visible in these emails. I have removed them ASAP as a courtesy. Don’t know what he was expecting when I said I planned to publish ‘unedited emails’. Judging by his past efforts, he’ll now go on to claim that I edited the emails, just as he predicted I would.

-








Posted in Tories! Tories! Tories! | 14 Comments

Michael Gove puppet

I’m working on a puppet version of Michael Gove for Conservative Change Channel. How’s it looking?

Michael Gove puppet








Posted in Tories! Tories! Tories!, Video | 7 Comments

Nadine Dorries and the alleged ‘condom on a banana’ event

We begin where we left this yesterday; when Nadine Dorries was given the courtesy of a day to produce evidence, better explain herself, and/or withdraw some if not all of her claims about condoms and bananas before I started digging into the detail:

“In her unedited interview with Jane Lees Chair of the Sex Education Forum, Nadine Dorris [sic] claimed that she went to her daughter’s school and accompanied her to a lesson where the teacher put a condom on a banana. She added she’s seen even more explicit material aimed at seven year olds. Nadine Dorris [sic] has told the production team that she had been contacted by whistleblowers who support her assertion that some sex education lessons for seven year olds do involve bananas and condoms. However, she declined to pass on their details. – Email response from BBC / The One Show

There are many people who seek to give Nadine Dorries the benefit of the doubt to the extent that they speculate she may be confused about the difference between a child that is 7 years old (i.e. in Year 3, their first year of Junior school, the latter half of Primary school) and a child that is in Year 7 at school (i.e. 11 years old, and in their first year of Secondary school). However, this response from The One Show is quite clear about claims relating to 7-year-old children, and rather than retreat from the initial claim or clarify it, Nadine Dorries has sought to repeat it, and been very clear that she is talking about 7-year-old children (and not 11/12-year-old children in year 7 at school) being exposed to condoms and bananas:

Teaching a child of seven to apply a condom to a banana, without telling them that they do not have an obligation to go and do it, is almost like saying, “Now go and try this for yourself.” – Nadine Dorries, 4 May 2011

That said, while Dorries has been very, very confused about numbers before now (in a way that is not easily excused, even with her alleged dyslexia), when we isolate the daughter/witness claim from the surrounding claims and implications about what may or may have been shown to 7-year-old children, a curious thing happens:

In her unedited interview with Jane Lees Chair of the Sex Education Forum, Nadine Dorris [sic] claimed that she went to her daughter’s school and accompanied her to a lesson where the teacher put a condom on a banana.

As you can see, though she appears to imply that she has personally witnessed children as young as 7 being exposed to an intimate meeting between a banana and a condom, no age of the daughter/students is specified for the single event she claims to have seen with her own eyes. In fact, the following assertions on her not-a-blog appear to be based mainly if not wholly on what she claims she was told by “whistleblowers” she will not name (i.e. the kind of anecdotal toss Dorries relies on all too often, and tellingly refers to as “evidence I’ve heard”):

The thrust* was that girls as young as seven are taught about intercourse, safe sex, how to apply a condom on a banana, where to get condoms, how to detect an STI and that they don’t need to tell their parents anything. – Nadine Dorries, 4 May 2011

… young girls are being taught to apply a condom to a banana for the third time during their education at age 13… – Nadine Dorries, 13 May 2011

Getting back to what Dorries claims to have personally witnessed in the company of an unspecified daughter, we also have the following from the archives of her not-a-blog:

My fifteen year old is still naive, still a mummy’s girl, and still believes everything I say. The day they were being taught at school how to place a condom on a banana, I almost wept with relief that she was ill. Omigod! Am I becoming the next Mary Whitehouse? – Nadine Dorries, 10 February 2007

And anyway, what kind of government is it that thinks it’s right to provide lessons to 13 year old girls on how to place a condom on a banana and not realise that the subliminal message is ‘now go and try that yourself’? – Nadine Dorries, 30 September 2009

1. If this daughter believes everything Dorries says, then there’s no way she’ll be getting pregnant anytime soon, because she’ll be trying to avoid having a hole punched in her womb.

2. If this were the blog of that tabloid dirtbag Paul Staines (aka ‘Guido Fawkes’) and we lived in an alternate universe where that pathetic lying drunkard dared to say ‘boo’ to the most corrupt MP in the House, this post would begin and end with the first quote and a stark assertion (if not heavy implication) that Dorries lied about witnessing the event. I am hoping you expect a little more of me, and in any case, I hope to deliver more. The devil’s in the detail; that’s why tabloid scum peddle seemingly easy answers.

3. Mary Whitehouse may have been a reactionary bigot, but at least she was honest (AFAIK).

4. Dorries is wrong to suggest that any government is to blame for any of her daughters being shown how to put a condom on banana. There is nothing in any of the relevant legislation that calls for deployment of bananas or condoms, although some detail on the latter should be expected by Secondary school, as required under the Education Act 1996 (which was introduced by a Tory government, not the Labour government Dorries sought to blame in the relevant 2009 post).

5. And Secondary school is clearly what Dorries is talking about here, not Primary school (Secondary school begins at age 11).

6. If we are to assume that Dorries is being truthful about her claim to have “accompanied her [daughter] to a lesson where the teacher put a condom on a banana”, the most logical assumption one can make from the first statement is that she witnessed this event later with the same daughter or earlier with an older daughter, but none of this is likely to have happened any later than 2005 (i.e. when the youngest daughter referenced above was 13).

7. Therefore, without any gratuitous/unnecessary naming of daughters’ names and/or airing of details about what may or may not be fairly regarded as details of their/Dorries’ private life and/or whereabouts** (see: not the blog of tabloid dirtbag Iain Dale, Dorries herself, or the thug mate they both rely on to do their dirty work from time to time), I can tell you with some confidence that this leaves us with a single likely school at which the alleged mother/daughter experience of a banana/condom collision is supposed to have taken place.

So now it is a simple matter of asking the good people in charge of that school if they include showing 13-year-old children how to put a condom on a banana as part of their sex education program. Don’t worry; I have mentally prepared myself for the shock that Dorries may not have been entirely… accurate about what she has claimed.

Mind you, even if she does turn out to have been telling a truth of sorts in this instance, the subsequent revelation would do absolutely nothing to substantiate Dorries’ repeated claims and implications that 7-year-old children in the UK have been exposed to condoms on bananas and “even more explicit material” (more). Claims that are as serious and potentially damaging as these demand evidence, and Dorries has repeatedly failed to produce or even specify said evidence, despite many challenges from several different interested parties.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to ask a certain school administrator a series of rather awkward questions about phallic fruit and prophylactics. I’ll be back soon, hopefully with some direct and informative answers. Until then, I ask you to be patient, and sheath your bananas.

(But, please… not in front of children.)

[*Thrust?! Was this really the best word to use, Nadine?]

[**All three daughters are now adults and all have been employed by Dorries out of the taxpayers’ pocket. Subsequently, some might start and finish the conversation at ‘fair game’ and they may have a point but, somewhat ironically, due to Dorries own extraordinary indiscretions, there is no need to name them here, so I don’t name them. Simple as that. Further, the relevant school is made obvious by material that Dorries herself has broadcast into the public domain, but there is no need to name it here, so I do not name it, or even link to the source that clinches it. By contrast, Nadine Dorries has knowingly linked to a site that offers step-by-step instructions on how to find my house. Police have kindly passed along an urgent request that she remove this link, but Dorries has refused. Nice.]

UPDATE (20 June) – There is more detail to come, but for now I can confidently state that there is NO TRUTH to the claim that Nadine Dorries “went to her daughter’s school and accompanied her to a lesson where the teacher put a condom on a banana”. I expect she saw this coming and this is what has prompted the recent extraordinary outbursts on her site (which I will respond to in a separate post later today or tomorrow).








Posted in Tories! Tories! Tories! | 8 Comments

Nadine Dorries: bananas

I have just received the following response to my complaint to The One Show that followed a pre-recorded segment by Nadine Dorries that included the often challenged, but still unsubstantiated claim about 7-year-old children being shown how to put a condom on a banana as part of a formal sex education programme in some schools (more):

Dear Mr Ireland

Reference CAS-785874-T4N7Z8

Thanks for contacting us regarding ‘The One Show’ on BBC One. I apologise for the slight delay in replying.

I note you were concerned about the accuracy of the comments made by Nadine Dorries MP on the 20 May edition of the programme.

‘The One Show’ production team has provided the following response to complaints of this nature:

“In her unedited interview with Jane Lees Chair of the Sex Education Forum, Nadine Dorris [sic] claimed that she went to her daughter’s school and accompanied her to a lesson where the teacher put a condom on a banana. She added she’s seen even more explicit material aimed at seven year olds.

“Nadine Dorris [sic] has told the production team that she had been contacted by whistleblowers who support her assertion that some sex education lessons for seven year olds do involve bananas and condoms. However, she declined to pass on their details.

“Researching Nadine’s comments I don’t think she’s ever claimed it’s endemic, just that it happens.

“This was a personal opinion piece clearly signed as such. The production team were not in a position to dispute Nadine’s claim therefore we thought it acceptable to broadcast her view in the context of a personal opinion piece.

“However, we did insist that Nadine’s position was challenged within the piece with Jane Lees stating her bill was “not a comprehensive programme”.

“In the course of the interview Jane Lees appeared to concur that inappropriate teaching aids are on occasion used on very young children: “There is a great deal of material out there as we know some of it’s good and some of its rubbish and some of it is irresponsible but actually schools have the control and the responsibility about what’s used.”

“Taken as a whole we believe our viewers would have clearly understood that the views expressed were Nadine’s – and accepted that there were other perspectives on this controversial topic.”

I’d assure you your concerns have been registered on our audience log, which is a daily report of audience feedback that’s circulated to many BBC staff, including members of the BBC Executive Board, channel controllers and other senior managers.

Thanks again for taking the trouble to contact us.

Kind Regards

Lucia Fortucci
BBC Complaints
www.bbc.co.uk/complaints

Putting aside how thoroughly inadequate this response is and how pathetic this particular ‘challenge’ to Dorries was, we are now at least a step closer to finding out which school(s)/district(s) Nadine Dorries claims is exposing 7-year-old children to sex education that is so explicit, it involves showing these very young children how to apply a condom to a banana.

To repeat the relevant passage:

“Nadine Dorris [sic] claimed that she went to her daughter’s school and accompanied her to a lesson where the teacher put a condom on a banana. She added she’s seen even more explicit material aimed at seven year olds.

“Nadine Dorris has told the production team that she had been contacted by whistleblowers who support her assertion that some sex education lessons for seven year olds do involve bananas and condoms. However, she declined to pass on their details.

If we are to discount what I can only assume to be (at best) hearsay from unnamed whistle-blowers, we are left with the single event that Dorries claims to have witnessed herself:

Nadine Dorris [sic] claimed that she went to her daughter’s school and accompanied her to a lesson where the teacher put a condom on a banana.

Now, there are two obvious problems with further investigation here, and they are as follows:

a) Nadine Dorries has a documented track record of misleading her constituents about which school(s) her daughters have attended, and though she pretends it is due to unwelcome attention from four alleged stalkers, she has failed at every opportunity to produce the relevant evidence

b) It is clear from her attempt to lie about one police investigation and politicise another that Dorries is likely to use exaggerated if not entirely calculated hysterics in order to avoid producing evidence that probably never existed in the first place

So, knowing that Nadine Dorries requires her staff to trawl through tweeted/blogged material from the people she describes as her “haters”, I will politely extend the following invitation:

Nadine Dorries has until close of business today to name any school/district in the UK where she claims 7-year-old children have been shown how to put a condom on a banana as part of a past/present sex education curriculum… then I start digging for the answers myself.

This courtesy should allow Nadine Dorries to name a school or district that may or may not be not connected to her daughter(s)… assuming she and her alleged whistle blowers are telling the truth.

Alternatively, she may choose to admit that she cannot produce any evidence to support her claim that 7-year-old children have been shown how to put a condom on a banana as part of the sex education curriculum in some schools.

More likely, I suspect she will avoid producing any evidence and seek to mask this failure with partly if not entirely feigned hysterics about protecting her children.

Me, my concerns extend a little wider than her children, or even mine; I worry about the potential impact on all school-aged children if she is telling the truth, and I worry about the potential impact on all school-aged children if she is using a dangerous lie to push her abstinence agenda.








Posted in Tories! Tories! Tories! | 14 Comments

John Elmes and why you can’t trust Times Higher Education

Recently, staff at Times Higher Education surprised a lot of their readers and supporters by seeking to promote themselves in blogs with the name ‘bloggerheads’, and acting both arrogantly and dishonestly when it was pointed out to them that someone (namely, me) had already been using the name for 10 years:

Ann Mroz: patronising, unpleasant and dishonest
The Times Higher Education correspondence
THE tank on my lawn (and how/when it got there)

John Elmes claimed that editors senior to him came up with the ‘bloggerheads’ name for his “round-up of the scholarly web”. Editors senior to Elmes then claimed it was the work of editors junior to them.

Me, I dare to assume that because it was John’s baby, he at least had some say in naming it. He certainly sought to retain the use of ‘bloggerheads’ in a thoroughly unreasonable fashion; it was Elmes who initially asked me if I had “copyrighted” the name (i.e. before I was passed on to senior editors who asked if I had trademarked the name) and it was Elmes who, at a peak in our dispute, took to naming the feature ‘The Bloggerheads’.

That said, the arrogance and dishonesty I encountered went right to the top; Editor Ann Mroz initially pretended that I had no rights under law because I had not trademarked the name, and then changed her position when I called her bluff. The Deputy Editor (Phil Baty) claimed that Times Higher Education were not aware of my site before using the name ‘bloggerheads’, but my site tracking says otherwise, and a week after I confronted their lawyer with this finding, no-one at Times Higher Education has offered any kind of answer to this.

While I am pleased that THE have finally removed all references to ‘bloggerheads’ from their site, I am greatly disappointed by their refusal to investigate/explain this discrepancy, their general dishonesty, and their apparent last-ditch effort to pass the following off as a condition of that removal:

“I must ask you to please remove your blog post header describing our editor as “dishonest” and the picture of our employee from your website immediately.”

I was even more disappointed to later discover that no explanation or apology of any kind was in the offing (especially after I had produced evidence suggesting that it was not quite the innocent mistake Times Higher Education had made it out to be).

I was, however, entirely unsurprised to see that the new name Elmes/THE had chosen was entirely lacking in invention; John Elmes’ round-up of the scholarly web is now named… ‘THE Scholarly Web':

John Elmes: genius

(slow hand clap)

Unlike certain MPs, I am not sniffy about those who have been educated at university, but I reserve the right to point and laugh when it is clear that such an education has been wasted.

To close, for those who have some degree of faith in Times Higher Education, it is my sad duty to inform you that the magazine is staffed by the type of people who do not admit to mistakes, and instead seek to erase them, while bullying anyone who dares to make a noise about it; i.e. in one very important respect, they are no better than your average tabloid. I am sure that media-watchers especially understand what this means about taking anything THE claim at face value; they will know what a veneer of perfection usually hides.

Regrettable, but there it is. There is no getting away from the fact that Times Higher Education were entirely dishonest in their dealings with me, and then sought to erase their mistake rather than admit to any of that. They certainly don’t have any intention of acknowledging their error in print. How can you trust anything they commit to print if that’s their attitude?








Posted in Consume!, Old Media, Teh Interwebs, The Political Weblog Movement | 1 Comment

THE tank on my lawn (and how/when it got there)

The following is a copy of a letter I have just sent to the lawyer that Times Higher Education referred me to earlier this afternoon. I did not hear from this gentleman before close of business today, so I did what I normally do in these situations… I continued to dig around in an effort to find out just what the hell these people were playing at.

The letter will reveal what I found about an hour ago. Monday may reveal if it is of any significance of not.

Until then, I leave you with this…

Dear Mr [lawyer’s name snipped],

I think it only fair to warn you that I have just isolated the Service Provider for Times Higher Education (THE) in my site tracking, and have found evidence that contradicts their claim not to have known about my site before May 13 (i.e. when I first emailed them, taking issue with their use of my name).

We were not aware of your blog and I assure you that there is no attempt to hi-jack.
(Phil Baty, May 13, via email)

As you can see here, their first mention of the name on their site (as an upcoming feature) was on May 5:

“Starting next week, Bloggerheads – what the blogs are saying”
http://www.freezepage.com/1307137423LHYVOYNNTI

This, BTW, makes it clear that the feature was originally meant to be a blog about blogs from the beginning, which is something Baty et al later tried to downplay/deny (a lot), but I digress.

My point is that I am detecting a visit from before May 13. From before May 5, even.

This is an important issue, as I still have every right to be upset about how THE reacted after the fact if they had merely blundered in initially without looking, but it strikes me as a strong indication of bad faith if THE were indeed aware of my site before using the Bloggerheads name. In fact, it might be taken by some as an indication of outright dishonesty.

I shan’t tell you the exact date/details just yet. Why not have their IT people have a peek at the relevant http records first, and find out what this reveals from their end? This simple investigation should take a few minutes and may reveal someone from a different department, or perhaps even a different office in the same building accessing my site, which would leave us mainly with the reaction after the fact to deal with. Of course, I’d probably have to take your/their word for some of what they say they have found, but right now I have the added insurance of withheld details (i.e. not only the date) so in the unlikely event that THE are foolish enough to pull a fast one, there is a good chance that any fiction will be found out, if you’ll pardon my alliteration.

By the way, this is an open letter, and it has been published on my site (minus your name/details, as you’ve shown no sign of requiring exposure so far). I hope that does not strike you as too confrontational, but the fact of the matter is that THE parked a tank on my lawn and tried to claim ownership of my humble board with a nail in it.

So, please, I beg of you; don’t be moaning about my board with a nail in it until you get that bloody tank off my lawn and repair the damage to my grass.

Cheers

The Tim Ireland
www.bloggerheads.com








Posted in Consume!, Old Media, Teh Interwebs, The Political Weblog Movement | 11 Comments

The Times Higher Education correspondence

(Psst! If you are new to this issue, please read this first.)

The following is the guts of my correspondence with staff from Times Higher Education after they tried to claim ownership of the name ‘bloggerheads’, the name I created in 2001 (see screen capture below).

John Elmes and 'THE BLOGGERHEADS'

The correspondence clearly shows that their argument switches from a question of copyright to one of trade mark, and that they begin to seriously stonewall from the moment I called the latter bluff and registered the name as a trade mark. These key points have been highlighted (by me) in bold.

The overall exchange has been edited for brevity, and one individual email has been subject to a minor edit to remove details that should remain private for personal security reasons. As usual, any such edits (and/or corrections of minor typos etc.) are marked [like so]. The exchange up until the point they accuse me of bad manners is complete and unedited so you might make a judgement about my manners for yourself.

I’d like to think I showed considerable restraint when they offered to re-label it ‘THE Bloggerheads’. I made the mistake of assuming good faith, and I was confident the issue would make itself apparent almost immediately. I was wrong, obviously. John Elmes made a particular point of switching his use of the name to ‘The Bloggerheads’ at a key point in this dispute.

From: Tim Ireland
To: john.elmes@tsleducation.com
Date: Fri, May 13, 2011 at 11:38 AM
Subject: ‘bloggerheads’

Please consider a [using] new name. This one’s taken.

Cheers

Tim

From: John.Elmes@tsleducation.com
To: Tim Ireland
Date: Fri, May 13, 2011 at 3:08 PM
Subject: ‘bloggerheads’

Dear Tim,

Thanks for your email, I appreciate your concern.

I just wanted to know if you had any copyright to the name. I only ask because my column is a small addition to a specialist higher education magazine, and the subject areas tend to differ drastically from yours.

I was having a look around the net and found this:

http://www.abeano.com/bloggerheads-new-for-2011-transparent-dummy-mag-tropical-waste/

It seems as though we aren’t the only ones to have utilised the expression ‘Bloggerheads’.

Kind regards,

John

John Elmes
Editorial Assistant
Times Higher Education
26 Red Lion Square
London WC1R 4HQ
Tel: +44 (0)203 194 3315
www.timeshighereducation.co.uk

From: Tim Ireland
To: John.Elmes@tsleducation.com
Date: Fri, May 13, 2011 at 3:27 PM
Subject: ‘bloggerheads’

I raise the issue as a matter of manners. I am aware that others have shown poor manners, thanks.

Will you consider using your own, unique name?

T

From: John.Elmes@tsleducation.com
To: Tim Ireland
Date: Fri, May 13, 2011 at 4:55 PM
Subject: ‘bloggerheads’

Dear Tim,

I will raise it with my editors, but their view (they are the ones that came up with the name) was your site is distinctive enough to my column to remove any conflict. It is certainly different in terms of aesthetics, font and motivation, so we believe it won’t be an issue

Best,

John

John Elmes
Editorial Assistant
Times Higher Education
26 Red Lion Square
London WC1R 4HQ
Tel: +44 (0)203 194 3315
www.timeshighereducation.co.uk

From: Tim Ireland
To: John.Elmes@tsleducation.com
Sent: 13 May 2011 15:27
Subject: Re: ‘bloggerheads’

Please advise your editors that if you intend to promote yourself through Twitter, any hashtag you use will be the same as my username. We will most definitely intersect in a way that is an issue for me, and I will ask you again if you (or your editors) will seriously consider using a unique name of your/their own invention instead of hijacking the one I have been using since 2001.

T

From: Phil.Baty@tsleducation.com
To: Tim Ireland
Date: Tue, May 17, 2011 at 3:44 PM
Subject: FW: ‘bloggerheads’

Dear Tim,

Thanks for your emails to John Elmes.

We were not aware of your blog and I assure you that there is no attempt to hi-jack.

Times Higher Education (THE) is a specialist higher education magazine, and our “bloggerheads” is dedicated entirely to scholarly/higher education policy debates on line, covering blogs and social media. It is quite clearly distinct from your blog, with a clearly separate audience.

It is clearly labeled with the strap: “A weekly round up of the best on the scholarly web”.

We have no intention to promote this column on Twitter using the “bloggerheads” hashtag.

As a courtesy to you, we have also added the THE logo to the name, which is now: “THE BloggerHeads”

Kind regards,

Phil Baty

Deputy Editor, Times Higher Education
Editor, Times Higher Education World University Rankings
26 Red Lion Square
London WC1R 4HQ
Tel: 0203 194 3298

http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/

Twitter: http://twitter.com/THEWorldUniRank
Twitter: http://twitter.com/TimesHigherEd

From: Tim Ireland
To: Phil.Baty@tsleducation.com
Date: Tue, May 17, 2011 at 4:07 PM
Subject: FW: ‘bloggerheads’

Thank you for that at least. I would prefer there is no room for confusion, and I reserve the right to protect the name ‘bloggerheads’ should it become an issue. I really would prefer that you consider changing the name to a unique name of your own invention, though, and think it would be wisest in the long run.

Tim

From: Tim Ireland
To: Phil.Baty@tsleducation.com
Cc: Ann.Mroz@tsleducation.com
Date: Tue, May 31, 2011 at 7:26 PM
Subject: FW: ‘bloggerheads’

Phil, despite your assurances, the predictable has happened and users in Twitter are referring to you as ‘bloggerheads’ and not ‘THEbloggerheads’ as promised. I also note that you continue to bill yourself as ‘bloggerheads’ on your site, and this is turning up in the top ten for searches for my website, crowding out other web presence[s] in my name:

http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/story.asp?storycode=416093

I once again request that you create your own unique name instead of using the name I have been using for over 10 years.

(Please don’t embarrass yourself by citing others’ use of the name; this use emerged in the middle of a campaign of harassment, and I fully intend to take the issue up with this other web user, as soon as I am able.)

Bloggerheads is a unique name of my own invention. You have no business using it. I ask you again to stop using it.

Instead, try inventing your own name. Like I did.

From: Ann.Mroz@tsleducation.com
To: Tim Ireland
Cc: Phil.Baty@tsleducation.com
Date: Wed, Jun 1, 2011 at 9:12 AM
Subject: FW: ‘bloggerheads’

Dear Mr Ireland

Please forward me your trademarking documentation and I’m sure we will be happy to comply.

Kind regards

Ann

Ann Mroz
Editor
Times Higher Education
26 Red Lion Square
London WC1R 4HQ
Tel: 0203 194 3326

http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/

Follow THE on Twitter: http://twitter.com/timeshighered
Follow Ann Mroz on Twitter: http://twitter.com/AnnMroz

From: Tim Ireland
To: “Mroz, Ann”
Cc: “Baty, Phil”
Date: Wed, Jun 1, 2011 at 9:31 AM
Subject: FW: ‘bloggerheads’

Why not say what you mean? You are happy to trade off a name that I invented if I cannot defend myself with costly legal muscle, and you care nothing for the inconvenience it will cause or the lack of respect it shows.

I can easily prove that I created the name and have been using it on the web for 10 years. That has until recently been good enough for others and it should be good enough for you… unless of course, you are the type of organisation that likes to stamp on the little guy.

Even the New York Times had the good sense to modify their use of the name to ‘bloggINGheads’. They understand that marketing yourself on the web requires some sensitivity to others inhabiting the relevant community.

I will ask you one more time to show me a modicum of respect and engage your mind(s) just long enough to come up with a unique name of your own invention.

Please, show me the respect I am due. You would not like it if someone seized control of your name.

Tim Ireland

From: Ann.Mroz@tsleducation.com
To: Tim Ireland
Cc: Phil.Baty@tsleducation.com
Date: Wed, Jun 1, 2011 at 9:33 AM
Subject: FW: ‘bloggerheads’

Dear Mr Ireland

No, I would not like it if someone seized control of our name which is why I took the trouble to protect it by legal means.

I always show respect to people who are polite.

Kind regards

Ann

Ann Mroz
Editor
Times Higher Education
26 Red Lion Square
London WC1R 4HQ
Tel: 0203 194 3326

http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/

Follow THE on Twitter: http://twitter.com/timeshighered
Follow Ann Mroz on Twitter: http://twitter.com/AnnMroz

From: Tim Ireland
To: Ann.Mroz@tsleducation.com
Cc: Phil.Baty@tsleducation.com
Date: Wed, Jun 1, 2011 at 9:37 AM
Subject: FW: ‘bloggerheads’

Please do not pretend that everyone is in a position to defend themselves in this way, and please do not insult me further by calling my manners into question after the way you have treated me.

Do you intend to continue using the unique name that I created, despite my very clear objections?

T

From: Tim Ireland
To: Ann.Mroz@tsleducation.com
Cc: Phil.Baty@tsleducation.com
Date: Wed, Jun 1, 2011 at 9:52 AM
Subject: FW: ‘bloggerheads’

Allow me to explain the situation to you:

I will repeat that I have been subjected to an extended campaign of harassment, targeting myself and my family, causing great distress and considerable financial difficulty. I have never had cause to invest in a trade mark before, as for many years previous to this, simple respect within the web community was enough. I am certainly not in a strong position to rush out and do it now.

You risk compelling me to undertake this expense, and I do not think I am giving anything away by revealing that you may be able to swoop in an register it in your own name, despite your knowledge of my moral claim to it.

Neither move casts you in a good light, and I fully intend to make this dispute public if you refuse to be reasonable. I would remind you that you are seeking a brand to promote yourself in the blogging community, not distance yourself from it by charging in with a steamroller.

I will ask again: Do you intend to continue using the unique name that I created, despite my very clear objections?

T

From: Phil.Baty@tsleducation.com
To: Tim Ireland
Cc: Ann.Mroz@tsleducation.com
Date: Wed, Jun 1, 2011 at 10:19 AM
Subject: FW: ‘bloggerheads’

Tim,

We adopted the name “Bloggerheads” for a small column on page 24 of our magazine, without any awareness of your blog.

We note that the name is not protected by you, and is indeed used by others on the Internet.

We note that the content of the THE column is entirely unrelated to your blog – we look exclusively at social media on higher education issues, a very narrow field.

Our distinct content is clearly marked in a sub-heading to the column: “A weekly round-up of the best on the scholarly web”.

When you alerted us to your blog, as a courtesy, we immediately agreed to re-design the column masthead and change the name of the column to “THE Bloggerheads”, incorporating our protected brand “THE” (Times Higher Education”), to make the clear differences even more explicit.

The website now displays the column as “THE Bloggerheads”: http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/story.asp?sectioncode=26&storycode=416254&c=1

We have also agreed, again purely as a courtesy, that we will only promote the column as “THE Bloggerheads” on Twitter and other social media.

We have been courteous and considerate throughout, and have made these clear concessions as a matter of good will, without any obligation on our part at all.

We feel these concessions are quite sufficient and entirely reasonable.

I trust that in the event that you decide to make this “dispute” public, you will reproduce this response in full.

Thank you for your correspondence,

Phil Baty

Deputy Editor, Times Higher Education
Editor, Times Higher Education World University Rankings
26 Red Lion Square
London WC1R 4HQ
Tel: 0203 194 3298

http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/

Twitter: http://twitter.com/THEWorldUniRank
Twitter: http://twitter.com/TimesHigherEd

And, as you will note, that is exactly what I have done. I have reproduced their response in full. In fact the full exchange above is entirely unedited, and I am really pissed off about being compelled to have to take it to this step because it necessitates a public acknowledgement of specific difficulty my stalker has caused me. Normally, this is something to be avoided with people engaging in this type of harassment, as it tends to encourage them.

Unfortunately, to protect my sole source of income, a site I have invested 10 years of my life in, the point must be made publicly that both Ann Mroz and Phil Baty were made aware of the issues surrounding an immediate investment in a trade mark registration.

Back to the correspondence:

From: Tim Ireland
To: Phil.Baty@tsleducation.com
Cc: Ann.Mroz@tsleducation.com
Date: Wed, Jun 1, 2011 at 10:41 AM
Subject: FW: ‘bloggerheads’

How am I back talking to you now, Phil? Is it because you were the person who claimed to have invented the name, thereby causing this dispute?

I have already explained that I was in no position to protect myself from the small number of two-bit operations who also sought to capitalise on my name. I have been in contact with these other parties since you sought to capitalise on my name yourself and use their hijacking as an excuse. Please don’t embarrass yourself further by using these people as cover (or by excusing your ‘mere’ use of it in the back pages of your magazine). You already admit that you chose to use the name to promote your web initiative without first determining if someone else in the web community was using the name (a simple search in Google would have alerted you to my blog and the various other web presences in my name using this same name) so you cannot now defend its continued use by pretending that you were always aware of this.

I am bloggerheads. It is my creation, I use the name to blog about blogging, and I have done so for 10 years.

Specialised arena or not, you seek to blog about blogging, and despite your assurances/concessions, people are already using my name to refer to your web round-up.

Oh, and we are most certainly in dispute, despite what your scare quotes might imply, and I would welcome the opportunity to air this matter in full, as well as your earlier correspondence and the arrogance it reveals:

I trust that in the event that you decide to make this “dispute” public, you will reproduce this response in full.

Despite your tangential defence about what may appear in page 24 of your magazine, you are using my name, you are using it on the web as well as in print, you did not even have enough regard for the web community to check if someone was using the name ‘bloggerheads’ before committing to it, and you have been stubborn, evasive and unreasonable since I called you on it.

I have repeatedly stated that I would much prefer it if you created your own name. This challenge appears to be beyond you, or perhaps you are the type of person who refuses to back down even when they know they have made a mistake.

I will ask you again:

Do you intend to continue using the unique name that I created, despite my very clear objections?

T

From: Tim Ireland
To: Phil.Baty@tsleducation.com
Cc: Ann.Mroz@tsleducation.com
Date: Wed, Jun 1, 2011 at 10:56 AM
Subject: FW: ‘bloggerheads’

I might also add this [snipped for security reasons]

In short, you compel me to commit to considerable expense and inconvenience at a time of great difficulty.

I would really rather that you were reasonable about the matter. Why not use a name of your own invention? Where is the problem here? Have you foolishly invested money in use of the name without doing so much as a Google search for any other instances of it? Is that why you compel me to commit to considerable expense and inconvenience? Or are you merely being stubborn because of the arrogance this suggests?

T

It was at this stage I considered the only way to end the matter without wasting days/weeks of my time was to meet the trade mark challenge. We had a lonnnng discussion about it in this house. We couldn’t really afford the expense, but Bloggerheads was a vital source of income. How could we not protect this asset from someone who was so obviously hostile in their seizure of it?

After the trade mark registration process was completed and relevant documentation secured, I called their bluff:


From: Tim Ireland
To: Phil.Baty@tsleducation.com
Cc: Ann.Mroz@tsleducation.com
Date: Wed, Jun 1, 2011 at 12:28 PM
Subject: FW: ‘bloggerheads’

Congratulations. You have compelled me to undergo the expense or registering my unique name as a trademark at a time when we can ill-afford it.

Now, are you going to be so difficult that you continue to use the name in the ~6 months it will take to process the application, or are you going to finally decide to play-act at being reasonable now you’ve put us through this major inconvenience?

Tim

From: Tim Ireland
To: Phil.Baty@tsleducation.com
Cc: Ann.Mroz@tsleducation.com
Date: Wed, Jun 1, 2011 at 1:09 PM
Subject: FW: ‘bloggerheads’

Well? I’ve called your bluff. What’s your response?

T

From: Tim Ireland
To: Phil.Baty@tsleducation.com
Cc: Ann.Mroz@tsleducation.com
Date: Wed, Jun 1, 2011 at 1:27 PM
Subject: FW: ‘bloggerheads’

To be clear; I expect a response this afternoon.

Putting aside the patronising way you dismiss my moral claim to this name, you gave me the impression that if the name was protected as a trade mark you would comply with my wishes. I have today begun the registration process, and now you refuse to budge from your existing position, even though you appear to have NO CLUE about the circumstances in which the name came to be used in your magazine and on your website. You can’t even name the sub-editor you imply presented the name as an original piece of work.

Did you mean what you said about trade mark, or was it merely a bluff? I have cause to be upset with you either way, but I will be especially upset if it is the latter, after I explained my circumstances to you.

Do you intend to continue using the unique name that I created, despite my very clear objections?

Tim

From: Phil.Baty@tsleducation.com
To: Tim Ireland
Cc: Ann.Mroz@tsleducation.com
Date: Wed, Jun 1, 2011 at 2:18 PM
Subject: FW: ‘bloggerheads’

Dear Tim,

Can you please direct all further correspondence (and phone calls) on this matter to our Information Assurance Officer, Arshid Bashir.

He is on arshid.bashir@tsleducation.com
Or 020 3194 3384

Thank you.

Phil Baty

Deputy Editor, Times Higher Education
Editor, Times Higher Education World University Rankings
26 Red Lion Square
London WC1R 4HQ
Tel: 0203 194 3298

http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/

Twitter: http://twitter.com/THEWorldUniRank
Twitter: http://twitter.com/TimesHigherEd

After offering a summary of the issue that was complete bollocks, Arshid Bashir refused to engage on the matter of trade mark (and tort, as raised in the email that followed his summary):


Bashir, Arshid Wed, Jun 1, 2011 at 4:36 PM
To: Tim Ireland

Dear Mr Ireland,

If I can first of all very briefly introduce myself: I am responsible for independently assuring to the TSL board that all functions and activities comply with all legal and regularity requirements and obligations.

Looking at your concerns expressed over the exchange of emails, can I suggest that we limit ourselves to the core issue and not become embroiled or distracted by side-issues or assumptions and conjecture.

If I can summarise your position:

1. It is your contention that you have prior rights on the title ‘Bloggerheads’ which you have used on your website for a number of years, but which had not been registered as a trademark.

2. And, although an accommodation was mutually and informally agreed a few weeks back by prefixing our use of the word ‘Bloggerheads’ with the word ‘THE’, you have subsequently became dissatisfied based on search engines results ranking our content too highly, relative to yours.

3. You are also unhappy we may use ‘Bloggerheads’ as a Twitter hashtag as this is your Twitter user name. We have clarified this is not our intent.

Whilst I can appreciate your views on ‘ownership’ of this word and subsequent discontent that your web presence may have been impacted; it is clear that TSL is not, and has not been in breach of any trademarks or any other proprietary rights.

I am sorry that our position may not be one that you would like, however TSL has neither sought nor would wish to seek to undermine the rights of others. In my opinion I also think it is highly unlikely that consumers or visitors to our respective content would confuse either web site with the other and therefore unlikely to be detrimental to you or us.

Can I also advise you that all future communication from within TSL will be by myself.

Yours sincerely

Arshid Bashir

From: Tim Ireland
To: Arshid.Bashir@tsleducation.com
Cc: Ann.Mroz@tsleducation.com, Phil.Baty@tsleducation.com
Date: Wed, Jun 1, 2011 at 4:50 PM
Subject: FW: ‘bloggerheads’

Your summary of my position is rife with assumption and conjecture, but happily I do not have to explain myself any further to protect my rights.

I have now approached an experienced intellectual property lawyer and I have been informed that it appears that the THE is committing the tort of “passing off” in respect of “Bloggerheads” and that it appears you would not have a sensible defence to a claim. I have a substantial and prior trading reputation in respect of my expertise of blogging and web-related matters that pre-dates your entire website by many years.

Accordingly, please remove the references to “Bloggerheads” from your site immediately.

Tim Ireland
www.bloggerheads.com

PS – Both the Editor and Deputy Editor have been CCed, because it was they who (a) gave me the false impression that I needed a registered trade mark to protect my rights, and (b) gave me the false impression that they would cooperate were such a trade mark registered. With all due respect, this matter has been needlessly complicated by these organ grinders playing lawyer, and I have every right to inform them of their error and expect an apology to go with their immediate cooperation.

Arshid Bashir answered this challenge… by refusing to address it in any way. In a phone call (that I recorded) I asked Bashir if he had a response to the tort issue. He replied; “we do not have to answer every email you send us”. I pressed him further, and he responded; “I do not think it would be productive for us to debate the matter”. Then he hung up on me.

Arshid Bashir now refuses to answer my emails or take my calls. Any attempt to reach Ann Mroz, Phil Baty or John Elmes results in my being referred to Arshid Bashir (who now refuses to answer my emails or take my calls).

I think it’s safe to interpret not only the copyright and trade mark challenges as a bluff, but the ‘concessions’ also. Here I will remind you that the ‘concession’ of referring to themselves as ‘THE Bloggerheads’ (i.e. T.H.E. Bloggerheads) quickly changed to their use of the name as ‘The Bloggerheads’ (i.e. the one, only and original accept-no-substitutes bloggerheads) at a peak moment in this dispute.

As for some of what they claim in mitigation, most of it is laughable and contradictory in places (e.g. senior editors blamed an un-named junior editor for the decision to use the name, the junior editor I spoke to blamed senior editors), plus it clearly paints a picture where the matter is mainly insignificant from their point of view. If this were the case, then it would be an insignificant matter for them to stop using my name.

However, they refuse to stop using my name, and I think this correspondence includes several instances revealing bad faith on their part. Key to this was the stark bluff from Ann Mroz that she would respect my rights if I went through with the trade mark paperwork.

After compelling me to reinforce my ownership with trade mark, they now appear to be waiting for me to engage lawyers, at further expense they know I will have difficulty meeting.

(Instead of using a rude word here, I will let you choose your own, but I ask that you not repeat it under comments. Let’s not do these people any favours.)

UPDATE (2pm) – Times Higher Education have just emailed to say that they “can confirm we have decided to change the name of our column in THE”. Unfortunately, they offer very little detail beyond this apart from some apparent conditions (!) so I have responded to the relevant requests, and will let you know of any outcome in due course.

UPDATE (damn near 5pm) – Times Higher Education have ignored my response to their conditions/requests, and have instead referred me to their lawyer, who has not yet been in touch. It looks like they mean to leave me hanging all weekend. Charming.

UPDATE (11:45pm) – Their lawyer might not have managed to make contact today, but Times Higher Education have late this afternoon removed from sight every page on their site that used the title ‘bloggerheads’. So we’re on our way to a resolution at last.

By the way, you may note in this correspondence that THE claimed to have been unaware of Bloggerheads before May 13 (i.e. when I first emailed them, taking issue with their use of my name). About an hour ago, I looked into my site tracking data and detected a visit from before May 13:

Bloggerheads – THE tank on my lawn (and how/when it got there)

I’m a guy who likes to be positive right down to my blood cells, so I am hoping this is not the indication of bad faith it appears to be.








Posted in Consume!, Old Media, Teh Interwebs, The Political Weblog Movement | 27 Comments

Ann Mroz: patronising, unpleasant and dishonest

[MINI-UPDATE (03 Jun) – THE object to my use of the word ‘dishonest’ in this headline. I stand by my use of the word, but as a courtesy, I have placed this prominent and immediate link to the relevant correspondence so readers might better judge for themselves.]

Regulars of Bloggerheads will be aware that my family and I been through some difficult times recently. During the rolling crisis, several two-bit operations have sought to hijack the ‘bloggerheads’ name that I created, but my priority has been those attempting to associate this unique name (and mine) with paedophilia, stalking and what have you.

Recently, I complained to staff at the magazine Times Higher Education about their use of ‘bloggerheads’ – a unique name that I created to title my blog about blogs – to title a web round-up feature (i.e. their blog about blogs). I repeatedly made it clear that I wanted them to come up with their own name, especially when they clearly planned to use it to blog about other weblogs. They pretended there was no room for confusion, offered to put ‘the’ in front of it as a “concession” and left it at that. Almost immediately references to their magazine started turning up in Twitter and Google in searches for my unique name.

I complained again. They gave me the very clear impression that, were the name protected as a trade mark, they would immediately comply with my wishes.

Several times I pointed out to them that I had a significant and demonstrable moral claim to the name dating back many years, but they dismissed this notion in the most patronising way possible. I also pointed out that if they seek to market themselves on the via web/blogs, then there are far better ways of going about it than hijacking an existing name, which is one good reason why the expense of a trade mark has never been necessary before now in the decade I have been using the name ‘bloggerheads’.

I also pointed out that I was busy battling an ongoing campaign of harassment, and their position compelled me to spend money we could ill-afford at the moment, but they stood firm on their position (along with the ridiculous implication that they had searched the trade mark database but not Google when they decided on using this name as their own).

Ultimately, Times Higher Education Editor Ann Mroz left me with no choice but to trade mark the name so I might call their bluff and take further steps to protect it from recent misuse and/or appropriation by their organisation and others.

But now I have begun the trade mark registration process, they have changed their position, and plan to continue using the name as they have before!

That’s a class act, all the way. After compelling me to trade mark the name, now they’re going to compel me to await the completion of the registration process (and then, presumably, take them to court) before they will be in any way reasonable about this.

Their Deputy Editor can’t even name the sub-editor they claim ‘invented’ the word, but Times Higher Education staff are unwilling to admit that they made a mistake by using this unique name without first researching it. They even have the audacity to minimise the significance of its use from their point of view (e.g. it’s ‘only’ on page 24 of their magazine), but surely if it’s no big deal to them and a bloody big deal to me, then that’s even more reason for them to back off and do what they should have done in the first place; come up with a unique name of their own invention.

[Other, smaller, organisations who have recently sought to appropriate this name have also been contacted about this matter today. I am hoping that they will be more reasonable. I certainly can’t see how they can top this response from Times Higher Education. I realise THE are in the education sector, but surely they’ve grown out of playground games by now.]

UPDATE – Check the comments for a contribution by ‘Malcolm Kent’. It was submitted using false details, and is an obvious sock-puppet.

-








Posted in Consume!, Marketing, Old Media, Teh Interwebs, The Political Weblog Movement | 19 Comments

Anne Milton, Nadine Dorries, LIFE, bpas and fiction

[Background/details for those who are new to this; the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Health (Anne Milton) has surprised many (including me) by inviting a religious pro-abstinence, anti-abortion group (LIFE) to take part in “a new sexual health forum set up to replace the Independent Advisory Group on Sexual Health and HIV” (source). A leading abortion provider that places heavy emphasis on contraception (bpas) was displaced as a result (more). Nadine Dorries is a Tory back-bencher anti-abortion campaigner with a relaxed attitude to facts, science and what have you (example) with a history of broadcasting dark accusations/implications about ‘pro abortion’ forces, who she claims/implies are so motivated by profit, that they are likely to convince women to have an abortion when it is not the best solution for them example). All emphasis in bold (below) is mine.]

Yesterday, Nadine Dorries published this claim on her site:

The news that the Government has ejected BPAS from the new sexual health forum and replaced them with the charity LIFE is pleasing… – Nadine Dorries

But later, when she was invited on Newsnight to discuss the matter, she put this to Ann Furedi, who appeared on behalf of bpas:

Unfortunately, bpas has taken its bat and ball home and decided that because it can’t sit as well as Marie Stopes that it won’t be involved. Both organisations were offered alternate week sittings and bpas have decided not to be part of the debate. – Nadine Dorries on Newsnight (segment starts 21:49, comment appears at 25:12 onwards)

I sought a statement from bpas in response, and got the following from Clare Murphy:

We note Nadine Dorries’ blog from yesterday stating that bpas was “ejected” from the group and her pleasure at this development. She went on subsequently however to suggest that we had left of our own volition. This is not true.

bpas and Marie Stopes International (MSI) were both invited to the first meeting in January of the Sexual Health Forum but were asked to share membership, alternating attendance. At the meeting the MSI Vice President and the chief executive of bpas both said that this arrangement was problematic: bpas and MSI have quite different structures, values, objectives and approaches, and that the discontinuity inherent in such an arrangement would make it unworkable. The Department of Health seemed sympathetic and said they would reconsider.

On Thursday of last week, Ann Furedi was told by a Department of Health official that the invitation to bpas was withdrawn and that MSI were being asked to represent the independent sector. The justification was that the Minister had insisted that, in the interests of balance, only one abortion provider could attend and that as Ann Furedi had attended the previous sexual health group, SHIAG (a group made up of personal appointments rather than from representatives from each organisation) it was ‘MSI’s turn’. It was also confirmed that, since the founding meeting, the Minister had insisted that Life be invited to join the Sexual Health Forum.

On Newsnight, Dorries claimed that she had spoken to the Department of Health that very afternoon, and (steel yourselves) this does appear to be a carefully spun briefing against bpas from an unnamed source at the Department of Health (i.e. instead of the more frequent occurrence; a lie or distortion devised by Dorries herself).

So far, no-one in the Department for Health is willing to stand behind any assertion that a bpas decision to exclude their organisation from the debate resulted in LIFE being invited in their place.

There is also this, which I will repeat. It’s a matter of interest to anyone surprised by Anne Milton’s stance on this:

It was also confirmed that, since the founding meeting, the Minister had insisted that Life be invited to join the Sexual Health Forum.

On what grounds did Anne Milton specify LIFE for inclusion (or does she perhaps dispute what bpas claim)?

Either way, I think the public have a right to call Milton on this; to ask her to properly explain her thinking/actions, and to take a clear position on what Dorries has claimed on her department’s behalf.

That said, I am not used to straight answers from Anne Milton, and I fear a sense of disappointment looms.








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