Monday, March 15, 2004


Beware undergrads, copiers of your posts

Just so you know, there are people who might copy your posts and put them up on a webpage!


and the post he copies is YEARS old, so don't think that posts you make here might not come back later, on a webpage, used by people who don't like you.

Sure, posts are archived anyway, but people have to dig for those.

Here if you notice by doing a Google search on my name and "math" that Dik Winter's webpage comes up prominently.

He's stolen my writings and used them to promote himself, banking on the attention that my work garners, and when I requested that he remove them, he refused.

He lives in the Netherlands. I guess they don't care about copyrights there, which surprises me since it is a European nation, but then Europe isn't what it used to be.

Then again, maybe he isn't so safe in the Netherlands, but he sure is acting like he's safe.

In any event, you're fair warned. You can look here to see what could happen to you.


Abstract Algebra Question, Please Help!

I received an email from Dik Winter proclaiming that he would not remove my writing from his webpage, and he claims he is not violating international copyright laws.

Dik Winter is in the Netherlands, and I think his bravado is based on confidence that he's safe in his country from worries about such petty things as copyright, but I want you all to consider his behavior in context.

For instance, Dik Winter's argument would mean that he can take Ben Peterson's post here, and put it on his own webpage. (Ben Peterson) wrote in message news:<>...
> On a recent homework assignment, we were given the following question:
> If, in a ring, each element equals its SQUARE, show that
> multiplication must be commutative.
> To which I answered:
> 0 = 0
> abab-ababa-abab+ababa = baba-baba-ababa+ababa
> abab-ababa-abaab+abaaba = baba-baaba-ababa+abaaba
> (ab-aba)^2 = (ba-aba)^2
> ab-aba = ba-aba
> ab = ba

On that webpage he might comment on Ben Peterson's lack of grasp of this or that, or say that maybe Ben Peterson just has issues which is why he's stupid enough to post on Usenet, when anyone can copy his post to their webpage, and comment about it.

> But now we've been assigned this similar question:
> If, in a ring, each element equals its CUBE, show that multiplication
> must be commutative.
> And I am baffled. Anyone got any hints?

Or, someone could just wait until they knew Ben Peterson, and possibly was in conflict with him or fighting for a job promotion or who knows what, and thought it might help to rattle him by putting up this post, where he's asking question—hey YEARS from now it might be relevant—to push the case that he isn't an independent thinker and relies to heavily on the opinion of others.

A Dik Winter might then argue that Ben Peterson has waived any rights to keep his post from being put on webpages because he posted on Usenet.

And when Ben Peterson emailed him to cry foul, he might email back from the Netherlands basically laughing in his face, thinking that in the Netherlands, copyrights don't matter.

Usenet is obviously just a place where people can cruise for neat things to put on their webpages, right?

Sunday, March 14, 2004


Copyrights, fair use, and Internet realitie

Some of you may think it's ok for Dik Winter to copy from a post I made to Usenet and put that on a webpage without my permission and keep it up despite my protests.

But it can happen to you.

Now then, what if you accept that anyone out there can cruise through Usenet, pick various posts of yours, and put up a webpage using your writings, against your permission, as long as they do a few tricks to cover themselves?
  1. Claim they are doing it for educational purposes

  2. Claim that their work is a critical review

  3. Make sure there's no advertising on their webpage to claim it's non-commercial.
Now then, let's say that Andrew Wiles, for instance, decided to help out some poster on Usenet just for the fun of it.

Later…not surprisingly…he finds that half a dozen people have now copied what he posted to webpages, and when challenged they claim it's "fair use".

But you see, neither Andrew Wiles, nor Ribet, nor any mathematician who believes they will ever be worthy of note will deal with such a thing.

They will not post on Usenet because of the issue, and the reality of people like Dik Winter.

A person like Dik Winter needs to copy my work because he can't put up something of his own to draw attention, or even if he can, he STILL feels a need to try and draw attention to himself using me.

That's the issue, using another person's work for your own personal gain, and here it's about drawing attention.

I noticed Winter's pages by doing a Google search on my name and math.

Now then, a LOT of you clearly hate me. I know that from a lot of posts where people express that hatred. But here you're shooting yourselves in the foot by thinking you gain some points by cheering Dik Winter on, as if as long as it's being done to me it's ok with you.

Sure I'm no Andrew Wiles or a Ribet, but they can learn lessons from this issue anyway, and see how the reality of the Internet today means that they can't come out on a forum like this one, unless they've already decided that whatever they post is fair game for anyone in the world to toss up on a webpage.

But I guess, they and you knew that already, as people like Dik Winter are out there.


Copyright Issue: Dik Winter publishing my work

Unfortunately Dik Winter seems intent on continuing to use my writing on his webpages without my permission.

My guess is that he feels that there's little I can do about it from here as he's in the Netherlands.

I need advice on handling this person.

How do you get someone to obey basic laws when they're hiding out in another country?

Here's one of his webpages:

And no matter how much you hate me, I hope that you understand that there's a reason why people aren't allowed to just copy someone else's writing and publish it at their whim.

And part of it is common decency.

What can I do about Dik Winter?

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