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Complementary and alternative medicine Medicine Quackery

Marc Neumann or Dr Rolando Arafiles? You be the judge!

The silliness about Morgellons and Marc Neumann continues. This time around, it’s someone sending me e-mail from Dr. Rolando Arafile’s website. In my e-mail last night I found this gem:

From: “Health2Fit” [email protected]
Subject: Violation
Date: February 12, 2010 3:54:59 PM EST
To: “Orac” [email protected]

Please remove our videos that you have on your blog. There are not there with any permissions.

I will not get into the politics of all this, everyone has an opinion, just remove the videos.

Webmaster
H2F

My response follows:

Dr. Arafiles (or is it Mr. Neumann?):

Three points:

1. The videos were posted to YouTube. Once they are on YouTube, anyone can link to them or embed them. That is the whole reason YouTube exists. The account holder can change the settings to disallow embedding or to make the videos private, although that rather defeats the purpose of YouTube). However, unless the YouTube account holder does that there is absolutely nothing that can be done to prevent anyone from linking to the videos or embedding them. After all, I am not the one who originally posted them to YouTube. If you don’t want them disseminated through blogs linking to them or embedding them, then take it up with Marc Neumann, who is the person who posted them to YouTube. If you are Marc Neumann, as I suspect, then take it up with yourself.

2. I ask you what I asked Mr. Neumann (or you before): Show me the proof that you are the lawful copyright holder, and I will consider your request. As I also cautioned Mr. Neumann, unless he is the legal copyright holder or has explicit permission to use these videos, then he is the one in violation of copyright. In any case, I do not take his word for it that he is the legal copyright holder or that he has permission to use the videos.

3. You apparently haven’t bothered to notice that Mr. Neumann already set the videos to be private; they don’t work any more. You have to be invited as a friend to view them. Rather cowardly of him, don’t you think?

Finally, let me just take this opportunity I’m very, very happy that Anne Mitchell was acquitted and hope you lose the shirt off your back in the civil suit. You, Sheriff Roberts, and County Attorney Tidwell deserve it. The hospital too, although I regret that the obtuseness of its administration could hurt the people of Winkler County, as could the corrupt stupidity of its Sheriff and County Attorney. Maybe they will be wise enough to vote them out in the next election.

Sincerely,

Orac

P.S. The answer to your demand is no. I will not remove the videos. There’s no point anyway. Mr. Neumann made them private. Perhaps he is asking me to remove them so that he can make them public again?

If there were any better evidence that Dr. Arafiles is working with Marc Neumann to spread Morgellons woo, I have a hard time thinking of it. If it is Dr. Arafiles or his webmaster who sent that e-mail, then clearly, Marc Neumann has been in contact with Dr. Arafiles or his webmaster. If it is Marc Neumann (as I suspect), then he apparently has access to the Health2Fit website’s e-mail address. My guess is that Marc Neumann really, really wants to make his videos public again but doesn’t want to do so as long as I have them embedded in my post. Sorry, Marc, but I’m not going to do it.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

30 replies on “Marc Neumann or Dr Rolando Arafiles? You be the judge!”

Orac, don’t you see? You’re impinging on his right to scam people. He–wait…What? No right to scam? Oh…hmm. Scratch what I just said.

Orac, man, you’re, like, crampin’ his groove, dude.

There are no memory holes in the Information Age. Why do people like him keep trying to dig them?

Naturally, my first guess would be that the light of scrutiny and accountability is rather inconvenient for him.

I’m sorta surprised he/they care. What percentage of likely customers are likely to read Respectful Insolence anyway?

Again, I don’t see why anyone would want their videos taken down from an opponent’s site, since it allows their own side to be fairly presented. If Orac made videos, he’d be thrilled to see them put up on alt med sites. Surprised, but happy. A skeptical audience is finally being directly exposed to someone’s best case. Wouldn’t that be a good thing?

So the complaint fails to make sense on multiple levels. One of the identifying aspects of alt med, apparently.

I’m amazed that you take the time to deal with these guys’ complaints specifically, explain yourself to them, and actually tell them why they’re wrong. You have a lot of patience. I guess this is why you blog about doctor stuffs and I just sit and read it and feel smug because I read really cool blogs. I know how my response would go:

Dear Dr. Arafiles,

No.

Sincerely,
Metatwaddle

Why doesn’t he just take them down and re-upload them if he wants to do that? Of course, I would be watching the channel’s behavior and as soon as that happened I would cheerfully update my original post to point to the new videos.

Actually, I’ve downloaded the videos, having had the foresight to anticipate just this move. However, it would be copyright infringement if I were to upload them to YouTube because I’m not the copyright holder. They’re just in my possession in case I need proof that Neumann and Arafiles did say what I said they said.

Whoa, Orac–I would never want to truly piss you off! This is really becoming quite humorous because Neumann is so transparent and his tactics so pathetic.

On another note, Dana Ullmann has got a very pathetic and longwinded tirade against skeptics over on HP and not enough were defending themselves last I checked. He cites “studies” from all sorts of ridiculous sources, including his own “works” an refers to them as “scientific”.

The English version of the Morgellons page (www.morgellons-research.org/morgellons) seems down right now although the German version remains. The English version had a notice at the bottom of the page that read:

“ALL TEXTURES AND PICTURES ARE THE PROPERTY OF M-R-O. YOU MAY COPY AND PUBLISH THEM IF YOU JUST LEAVE A REFERENCE TO THE SOURCE M-R-O TO INSURE ALL RIGHTS AND THE RESPECT FOR THE HARD WORK OF THE AUTHOR !! SITES WHICH ARE SELLING OR PROPAGADING PRODUCTS ON THEIR PAGES ARE NOT ALLOWED TO COPY M-R-O !!! THANKS A LOT THE AUTHOR MARC NEUMANN.”

Note that I’m left a reference to the source of that texture in this comment so I guess I’m in the clear…

Are you sure Dr. Arafiles and Marc Neumann are not one and the same person? A real-world sock-puppetry?

It’s the syntax. Not only is English not the mother tongue for either entity, but the usage vagaries are remarkably similar. There are other ways to tell, but I won’t mention them as I don’t want Arafiles/Neumann to figure out what he’s doing wrong in this regard.

Direct Hit!
He’s on his way to Davy Jones’ Locker!
And he deserves a good stretch in the Jug, while I’m tossing out old sayings.

Not having completely followed what’s going on here, is it that an alternative medicine kook is harassing you via your personal e-mail account? If so, I can relate.

Not long ago, I made a comment in a local newspaper blog about how there was really no such thing as Adrenal Fatigue. Adrenal Fatigue had been the subject of an interview between the blogger and a local chiropractor. So what did the blogger go and do? She went and gave my personal (required) e-mail address to the chiropractor. And what did the chiropractor go and do? He started sending me harassing e-mails. Including ones with ‘I’m stuck in an airport, can you send money’ level of silliness. Of course, all my additional comments confronting the blogger and exposing the chiropractor got deleted. Eventually, I had to make telephone contact with the newspaper’s editor in order to bring things to a halt (sadly, though, the editor still somewhat failed to see where the actions of the blogger were completely inappropriate).

The ilk of people who are involved in alternative, holistic medicine are not only weird, they’re kind of scary too!

Good luck.

E, in a few states (North Carolina is one), harrassing e-mails are not just “inappropriate”, they are a misdemeanor.

I am currently pressing charges against a GSO NC blogger who typed my home address (which he obtained off the Internet) into the header of almost 30 threatening/insulting e-mails that he hurled into my Inbox over the course of an hour once evening last Novemember (threatening, among other things, to report me to the authorities because he deemed me “crazy”).

In the wake of the Mitchell case, I think you can understand why I took his threats very seriously. I even contacted the N.C. Medical Board that very night to tell them what was going on.

My “crime” in this man’s eyes was disagreeing (vigorously, I will admit) with a post on his blog (in which he had viciously attacked another blogger – a local government whistleblower – who has terminal cancer) . . . and taking up the subject matter up on my own blog after he started banning and deleting comments in his thread.

When I did not back down, he began publishing some really nasty/libelous stuff on his blog. I think he’s also the source of some very ugly comments left anonymously on “Housecalls” (they were not published).

The “cyber-stalking” case (still pending) made the local news. While I refused to participate in the side-show (by giving interviews), this guy went on TV and confessed to sending the e-mails . . . even admitting that the methods he used may have been frightening to me.

The stupid it burns.

Among other things, he’s asserting his right to free speech in his “defense”. He’s hired a lawyer (who happens to be a member of the local City Council) and he’s gonna bring me down.

But the thing about “free speech” is that it does not protect communicating threats – or libel.

So Arafiles and Neumann could be the same person? Real-world sockpuppetry? *hoots* If true, that is . . . well, profoundly sad, really. At first I just thought it was funny, but the more I think about it, that would make Arafiles even less qualified to practice medicine, ethically speaking, and also a very sad and pathetic person if he craves attention so much that even with the attention he’s obviously already got, he feels he has to invent some more. It would also explain why Neumann took it so oddly personally when Orac criticized Arafiles. Expressing sympathy for the nurses could be just a crude misdirection.

I will continue to assume they are different people, however. I have seen cases where two distinct people had very similar language usage, especially when both were non-native speakers, and so there is room to give them the benefit of the doubt.

Dr. Mary Johnson: That’s creepy. Makes me want to look up exactly what the laws in my own state are. Certainly hope your situation works out in your favor. Gee, knowing how these types are pros at endearing themselves to the media, the part about him going on TV is fairly easy to envision.

Mary is fine.

It was creepy. It remains creepy.

Please do not get me started on the discerning judgement of the media in my particular part of the world.

I expect it ranks right up there with the GOB’s in Texas;)

Maybe my understanding of copyright law is incomplete, but isn’t the process that you have to get the copyright holder’s permission *first*, then use the material, rather than use the material, then wait for the copyright holder to catch you?

I don’t see that excuses anyone if their source is also violating the copyright.

I think you would have had a better rebuttal with a “Fair Use” argument.

Scott,
This issue was discussed on other posts about this topic as well. Fair use has come up, Orac wrote about it in an e-mail. In general though I think if the video is made embeddable on a site like youtube it is likely that you do not need to obtain permission to embed it on your site. I am not sure if there has been any cases that have come up to guide one on this issue though. It sort of defeats the purpose of youtube and the internet to stop videos from being spreadable.

I am not a lawyer, but as I understand it, if you are claiming a “fair use” right to use something, you should not ask for permission: the letter of request may be used as evidence that you think it isn’t fair use.

Other than that, yes, copyright law is like many other laws in this: while in practice the copyright holder has to notice the infringement in order to take action, “they didn’t ask me to stop until $date and then I did” is not a defense against infringement before then.

As I understand it, while immediately complying with a takedown request doesn’t absolve you of guilt, it may make it more difficult for them to collect damages from you, since you did cooperate as soon as you were made aware that they objected to the use.

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