On March 8, Michael Mann’s lawyers, Cozen O’Connor, sent a legal letter to Minnesotans for Global Warming (of the famous Hide the Decline video) threatening them, ironically, with misappropriating Mann’s likeness and, almost as an afterthought, defaming him “by leaving viewers with the incorrect impression that he falsified data to generate desired results in connection with his research activities”:
We are writing to demand that you cease and desist any and all use of Dr Mann’s likeness, which you have misappropriated in various videos posted on your webpage http://www.minnesotansforglobalwarming.com, including the video Hide the Decline –Climategate. You are hereby advised that the use of Dr Mann’s likeness, which you clearly misappropriated from PSU’s webpage, http://www.meteo,psu.edu/~mann/MRG/index.html, is not authorized and infringes on various copyrights. Such use also improperly misappropriates Professor Mann’s likeness for commercial exploitation, given that the video clearly supports Minnesotans for Global Warming’s efforts to sell various products and merchandize. Finally, the referenced video clearly defames Professor Mann by leaving viewers with the incorrect impression that he falsified data to generate desired results in connection with his research activities. This false impression irreparably harms Dr Mann’s personal and professional reputation.
For these reasons, we demand that you immediately cease and desist using Dr Mann’s likeness and that you immediately remove the defamatory video from your webpage (including cashed [sic] versions.) If you persist with this defamatory activity, please be advised that we will be compelled to enforce Dr Mann’s rights, which may include the recovery of damages from you. Please contact me to confirm your intentions or if you wish to discuss this matter further.
The letter was copied to Mann and to Tom Cogill, Photographer.
The original video has been removed from Youtube.
However, the story doesn’t quite end.
Earlier today, the following announcement was made:
the No Cap-and-Trade Coalition, a group that includes M4GW, responded today at an event at the National Press Club, releasing Mann’s threatening letter and an updated version of the “Hide the Decline” video.
See a release of Hide the Decline II, available here. The new version carefully avoids any use of the “copyrighted” Mann photographs. It is also more precise in its presentation, evidencing a much clearer understanding of the trick than the wilfully obtuse Oxburgh “Report” or Willis Parliament Committee Report.
A blog report here states:
Minnesotans 4 Global Warming hope Mann will proceed with his lawsuit so that the legal discovery process will force exposure of data and methods Mann has still not released and that the official whitewash inquiries refuse to investigate.
Jeff Davis of the coalition stated:
“I hope Dr. Mann does sue us,” Said Davis, “The legal discovery process would give us an opportunity to expose Dr. Mann’s research – or lack thereof to public and legal scrutiny.”