As many readers are aware, John Cook of SKS refused to provide complete data on his 97% Consensus Project (flatly refusing date-stamp and anonymized rater identification.) Ironically, Cook left the data lying around the internet (to borrow a phrase from Phil Jones). In an incident remarkably similar to the Mole Incident, Brandon Shollenberger alertly located the refused data, which he has provided a teaser at his blog.
The University of Queensland sent Brandon Shollenberger a threatening cease-and-desist letter. Brandon has been discussing the events at his blog. This morning, he announced his surprise at discovering that the University’s threatening letter had been parodied as a Hitler video online.
In the letter, the UQ asserted that the data was “owned” by the UQ and ordered Shollenberger to immediately “cease and desist” from “any and all activities that involve the use or disclosure in any manner of the IP; and any further correspondence with Mr Cook.”
Eerily reminiscent of the U of East Anglia, they stated that the University had “contractual obligations to third parties regarding the IP [intellectual property]” and that any publication of the IP “will expose the University to civil actions from third parties”.
They stated that the UQ had conducted a “forensic investigation” which determined that the “site where the IP was housed” had been “hacked”.
They even claimed that “any publication” of the legal letter “and/or publication of defamatory comments” about the UQ “will be the subject of action” by the UQ. For good measure, they stated that the University held the copyright of the legal letter and that “any publication by you of this letter, or persons acting in concert with you, will constitute an infringement of The University’s copyright” and that the UQ “reserves its right to take any and all legal action against any person, including you, who publishes this letter”.
The UQ letter raises a variety of interesting issues:
- the original Consensus rating project was carried out by SKS volunteers: how did title migrate from SKS to the University of Queensland?
- if the ratings data has been owned by UQ all along and the UQ had confidentiality obligations, why did they leave it lying around the internet (apparently) without password protestion?
- are there any documents that actually demonstrate the existence of “contractual obligations to third parties”? This is eerily reminiscent of the U of East Anglia.
- on what conceivable basis can the University justify its refusal to provide anonymized rater information and datestamps?
- etc etc
For the record, the 97% consensus thing is not an issue that has particularly bothered me. Although this topic has been a sore point at some blogs, I’ve always presumed that the views of IPCC and various national academies represented a form of consensus among the climate science community. However, I doubt that the consensus endorsing the proposition that 2 deg C is “dangerous” is as unanimous as the consensus endorsing the propositions that temperatures are currently warmer than the 19th century and that CO2 has a direct impact on temperature – a proposition uncontested by Lindzen, Christy or Spencer. (Please do not discuss such general issues in the comments. Please restrict your comments to the UQ letter and to Brandon’s work.)