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epic GSP

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We need little reminder that the state of funding for the natural sciences is not exactly rosy. We need little reminder that artists are faced with game-changing technical and social upheavals. But apparently we do need some reminder that there are brightly shining bits of glory here and there, often carried out on the backs of people who simply don’t want to accept that we are neglecting science and science education.

We need this reminder in the face of Greg Paul’s tirades against open community involvement… and I do not say that lightly. Greg Paul began with a completely sound campaign to respect copyright and to organize as artists for a better working conditions. Well – to be more precise, to respect his copyright and his conditions. And for all I can see, that’s where the arguments have been stranded. He made no attempt to clarify his positions, to define where the wiggly line between scientific reference and intellectual property nor to propose how a just pricing  system can accommodate for up-and-coming artists or those from countries with lower costs of living.

Greg Paul is the antithesis of how I view science – whereby I refer more to his means of (non) communication than any specific demand. He states ubiquitously and accepts no other opinion. He writes private cease and desist mails that one desist replying to the open forum to which he’s posted to. And he attacks people like Heinrich Mallison, Mark Witton and Wilbur Wateley for expressing opinion and requesting clarification.

The crux of the issue is that instead of rallying all the parties together to address the very real issues of neglected science and science outreach, he pits the artist against the scientist and the amateur against the professional. Following his arguments, Mark Witton is “ruining paleoartistry” by having illustrated some papers for friends. I certainly am for having illustrated blogs in non-monetary gratitude that such people are sharing their incredible knowledge with me and others via their unpaid(!) blogs. Which makes Mark and Dave Hone and Heinrich Mallison and Darren Naish all guilty of ruining paleo-literature. And PZ Meyers is soliciting useless, supine, negative, defeatist, inadequately informed nay saying, accomodationist, pessimistic artists just like me. (Actually – that suddenly sounds like a cool t-shirt.) It’s just all so short-sighted and self-centered that the very real issues are not done justice. I prefer to jive with Heinrich,  the artEvolved, Michael Habib and anyone else who is interested.

Mr. Paul’s emails:  first, second, third and the mail that broke the camel’s back; the artEvolved community responses and the no GSP logo above is yours to do with what you wish, rights or no rights. Its a symbol that I’ll no longer rely on his work as a source of information and that I will pose my figures in a species-specific extreme gait because that is a pose which conveys essential information about that animal and would not hold up to Mr.Paul’s copyright claims.

(Note: the lat mail from Paul hasn’t appeared in the archive yet, I’ll correct that link as soon as it does.)

There are 2 Comments to this article

Heinrich says:
03/17/2011

I guess this has spread so far and wide by now that it gets really confusing: who wrote what, when, where – thank you for collecting the initial development links here.

I am QUITE PISSED that Paul feels he can insult and snub people let and right. The “straw” wasn’t a straw, it was a whole truckload of rainforest giants.

ScottE says:
03/24/2011

Myself, I do not intend to cease using information he has already made available for the express purpose of communicating information. That is why I buy his books and read his papers.

GSP validly assumes all rights for his work (as must we all). Using his work as reference, however, is neither derivative nor an infringement, though where appropriate, I have cited his (and others’) work as an influence.

Beyond this, I owe him nothing.

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