John Wiley & Sons / Wiley Interscience, JL Kirk, and Courage

Afarensis, Entertaining Research, Evolution Blog, Galactic Interactions, Jim River Report, John Hawks Weblog, Rebecca Hartong, Mike the Mad Biologist, Sharp Blue, Synthesis of Thought, The Panda’s Thumb, Thought Capital, and Thoughts in a Haystack are all writing about John Wiley & Sons / Wiley Interscience attempted takedown of Retrospectacle’s critical article on their “alcohol is good for you piece. These articles, joined by A Blog Around the Clock, Abnormal Interests, Adventures in Ethics and Science, Evolving Thoughts, Kitchen Table Math, Mixing Memory, Parentalcation,
Notes from Dr. RW, Open Reading Frame, Pith and Substance, and Sandwalk, point out that Wiley Interscience / John Wiley & Sons is attempting to censor a blogger in retaliation for a critical look at data. While JL Kirk used the cover of defamation, Wiley Interscience is using copyright.

Of course, I wish the very best to Retrospectacle and her “fair use piling on,” I am skeptical on whether or not it can work. And the reason is obvious: Retrospectacle has already caved.

Retrospectacle complied with Wiley Interscience’s demands. You can view the original critique yourself, and see that this isn’t exactly a “profiles in courage” case. It’s nice and fine for Retrospectacle to curse John Wiley & Sons, after submitting to them, but it’s hard to get worked up about it. Unlike Kat Coble v. JL Kirk, unlike (modesty aside) tdaxp v. Nationmaster — unlike even King Leonides v. Persia — Retrospectacle calmly submits and then complains about the unfair treatment.

If Retrospectacle is serious about defending her rights, criticizing John Wiley & Sons / Wiley Interscience, she will restore her post to how it was before the threatening letter. Otherwise, don’t expect a kirking.

Otherwise, as Larry Moren points out, this bruhaha is just another reason to use PLoS and digital commons. Which is too bad, because John Wiley & Sons / Wiley Interscience has resorted to this thuggery before.

4 thoughts on “John Wiley & Sons / Wiley Interscience, JL Kirk, and Courage”

  1. Sorry, guess I’m not as brave as you.

    Perhaps its is all well and good for people to try to take a confrontation stance on these issues however my first line of defense will always be trying to come to a rational agreement.

    I prefer to work things out and avoid lawsuits. Not sure of your financial situation or how much time you have on your hands, but I have better things to do (like my thesis) than engage in lawsuits over blogposts. I am also a grad student (read: POOR) and in the event I lost (which itsn’t inconceivable) it would be devastating to me financially. If anyone contacted me about footing the bill, I may have considered it. No one did.

    Therefore, feel free to criticize me for not standing up to the man by refusing to comply, but I didn’t see any reason to escalate an event that could be resolved amicably. They apologized, and granted me use. Lawyers did not need to be involved, and thats the point I wanted to make all along.

  2. Are you willing to offer to pay the legal fees? If not, perhaps you might reconsider how courageous you are in this matter.

  3. John,

    Not sure what “legal fees” you are referring to — as Shelley capitulated before she received any note from a lawyer, she lives safely away from lawyers.

    If you mean, “would you stick your neck out,” the answer is yes — because I already did. [1] As I mentioned at Retrospectacle [2], it would be nice if more people would read the blogs they criticize before they criticize them


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *