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Tags court cases , Josh Timonen , richard dawkins

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Old 23rd October 2010, 12:33 PM   #1
cj.23
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Richard Dawkins brings court case

I found this interesting.

http://www.courthousenews.com/2010/10/22/31283.htm

Bloody shame all round, hope resolves well

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Old 23rd October 2010, 01:05 PM   #2
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That name, Josh Timonen, rings familiar. He's the same guy who was behind the clamping down of the Richard Dawkins forum. I wonder if Dawkins now looks in a different light to that episode...
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Old 23rd October 2010, 01:17 PM   #3
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So he is. Well, that'll resonate with all the forum refugees.
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Old 23rd October 2010, 01:35 PM   #4
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It is sad, even more so because Timonen and Dawkins had been close friends (see the dedication page for The Greatest Show on Earth).

Here's a blog post with some behind-the-scenes perspective on the closing of the forum.
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Old 23rd October 2010, 01:36 PM   #5
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That's what you get for trusting an atheist (nobody ever embezzles money from churches).

Last edited by Cain; 23rd October 2010 at 01:37 PM. Reason: Question pre-emptively answered
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Old 23rd October 2010, 02:13 PM   #6
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Wow. He didn't just skim off the top, he took everything and left the skim. From a charity. And he was on $100,000 a year too. Greedy little bugger.

Last edited by Virus; 23rd October 2010 at 02:15 PM.
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Old 23rd October 2010, 02:23 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Virus View Post
Wow. He didn't just skim off the top, he took everything and left the skim. From a charity. And he was on $100,000 a year too. Greedy little bugger.
Eh anecdotaly it been something I've seen a fair bit with small charities of late. Perhaps I just know about the wrong charities.
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Old 23rd October 2010, 05:07 PM   #8
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Tinomen is certainly in the wrong, but I found this a bit nauseating (from the article):

Quote:
In his 18-page complaint, Dawkins describes himself as "the world's best known and most respected atheist."
Seriously? He has the nerve to call himself the 'most respected atheist'? Best known I understand, but it takes cajones to call oneself the 'most respected' anything. My Dawkins love is falling a few major pegs.
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Old 23rd October 2010, 05:12 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by KateHL View Post
Tinomen is certainly in the wrong, but I found this a bit nauseating (from the article):



Seriously? He has the nerve to call himself the 'most respected atheist'? Best known I understand, but it takes cajones to call oneself the 'most respected' anything. My Dawkins love is falling a few major pegs.

Well, I am sure he didn't write that document himself, but I see where you're coming from.
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Old 23rd October 2010, 05:17 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by AdMan View Post
Well, I am sure he didn't write that document himself, but I see where you're coming from.
Yes, it doesn't sound like something Dawkins would say about himself.

I hope that SOB Timonen gets his luxury homes, allegedly improved by the foundations money, seized by the courts.
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Old 23rd October 2010, 06:17 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by KateHL View Post
Tinomen is certainly in the wrong, but I found this a bit nauseating (from the article):



Seriously? He has the nerve to call himself the 'most respected atheist'? Best known I understand, but it takes cajones to call oneself the 'most respected' anything. My Dawkins love is falling a few major pegs.
In any case the likes of stalin and the chinese leadership are probably the best known athiests.
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Old 23rd October 2010, 06:24 PM   #12
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Hey, crap happens, humans being human, ragrdless of religious belief or lack thereof. I critisiced Timonen on my blog over the forum closure fiasco - yes the ex-members in exile are celebrating (how I heard - http://www.rationalskepticism.org/ne...en-t14455.html ) but it's just one of those things. Felt sorry for Dawkins though - but I will wait for the court judgment before I take it all too seriously. There might still be some misunderstanding or something


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Last edited by cj.23; 23rd October 2010 at 07:26 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 23rd October 2010, 06:49 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by geni View Post
In any case the likes of stalin and the chinese leadership are probably the best known athiests.
They were also shown quite a bit of respect in their lifetimes as well:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fik2-...ext=1&index=74
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Old 23rd October 2010, 07:25 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Virus View Post
Wow. He didn't just skim off the top, he took everything and left the skim. From a charity. And he was on $100,000 a year too. Greedy little bugger.
Quote:
KateHL says Tinomen is certainly in the wrong, but I found this a bit nauseating (from the article):
I guess guilty until proven innocent is the theory here.
I wonder if he also looking for criminal charges or just money.
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Old 23rd October 2010, 07:32 PM   #15
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Yes, let's please remember the adverb "allegedly" here, okay?
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Old 23rd October 2010, 07:32 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by AdMan View Post
Timonen and Dawkins had been close friends (see the dedication page for The Greatest Show on Earth).
When some people at the forum were pissed off about things being changed or the forum closing, Dawkins apparently always defended Timonen and all that he did, essentially saying if you have a problem with JT, you have a problem with RD.

Originally Posted by cj.23 View Post
I critisiced Timonen on my blog over the forum closure fiasco - yes the ex-members in exile are celebrating (how I heard - http://www.rationalskepticism.org/ne...en-t14455.html
14 pages in 9 hours!

I didn't really follow the details of that mess when it was happening. Did people who didn't like it or some aspect of it tend to blame JT and not RD?

Last edited by Delvo; 23rd October 2010 at 07:34 PM.
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Old 23rd October 2010, 07:47 PM   #17
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Yeah, he was responsible for the decision to close the forum -- from my blog

http://jerome23.wordpress.com/2010/0...orum-to-close/
http://jerome23.wordpress.com/2010/0...ns-of-history/
http://jerome23.wordpress.com/2010/0...-at-the-forum/
http://jerome23.wordpress.com/2010/0...-josh-timonen/
http://jerome23.wordpress.com/2010/0...kepticism-org/

but rather shorter and better (as they were all written as events transpired), and from a former mod (Peter Harrison) http://realityismyreligion.wordpress...ill-open-soon/

Even shorter, JT closed the forum, the mods and admin staff were sidelined, RD came to JT's defence when he was criticised, and now many of the ex-forumites are rather amused at the turn of events.

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Old 23rd October 2010, 07:47 PM   #18
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Unless there was a written work-for-hire contract, it's going to come down to the exact nature of the relationship between Dawkin's foundation and Timonen. There is some mention of Timonen working through his own company, in which case he was not legally an employee of the foundation. If the works in question were produced under that arrangement, then without a written work-for-hire agreement the works belong to Timonen.

I myself have run into work-for-hire disputes before. Unless you're an employee or you otherwise agree in writing to relinquish ownership of works you produce, they're yours.

http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ09.pdf
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Old 23rd October 2010, 07:48 PM   #19
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While I still absolutely love Richard Dawkins, perhaps he has learned a lesson from this about being too proud to admit he hired the wrong guy

Life is a learning experience
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Old 23rd October 2010, 07:52 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by daSkeptic View Post
Unless there was a written work-for-hire contract, it's going to come down to the exact nature of the relationship between Dawkin's foundation and Timonen. There is some mention of Timonen working through his own company, in which case he was not legally an employee of the foundation. If the works in question were produced under that arrangement, then without a written work-for-hire agreement the works belong to Timonen.

I myself have run into work-for-hire disputes before. Unless you're an employee or you otherwise agree in writing to relinquish ownership of works you produce, they're yours.

http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ09.pdf
Excellent point daSkeptic!

That was my undertanding as to how the law applies here in the UK as well. As the company was independent fo the charity, the creator of the goods well may be legally the owner. Best wait and see. I still think this may resolve amicably, but I have no vested interest either way.
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Old 23rd October 2010, 09:41 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by daSkeptic View Post
Unless there was a written work-for-hire contract, it's going to come down to the exact nature of the relationship between Dawkin's foundation and Timonen. There is some mention of Timonen working through his own company, in which case he was not legally an employee of the foundation. If the works in question were produced under that arrangement, then without a written work-for-hire agreement the works belong to Timonen.

I myself have run into work-for-hire disputes before. Unless you're an employee or you otherwise agree in writing to relinquish ownership of works you produce, they're yours.

http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ09.pdf
According their 2008 and 2009 Form 990 filings, Timonen was not an employee at all. He was a contractor. He claimed rights to the DVDs, but contributions to audio-visual productions are specifically exempted as being considered work-for-hire, so his claim there is wrong. As for the website and the logo, if there's no work-for-hire contract, there can still be the issue of joint copyright if they worked cooperatively. If the foundation wrote the blurbs for the DVDs (like if they were taken directly from the DVD cover or included quotes from the DVD itself), the copyright will most likely belong to them, and that will be resolved with the effort put into making it into a web page.
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Old 23rd October 2010, 11:19 PM   #22
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Timonen's response.
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Old 23rd October 2010, 11:28 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by cj.23 View Post
... but I will wait for the court judgment before I take it all too seriously. There might still be some misunderstanding or something ...
My crystal ball says this never sees the inside of a courtroom. There will be a negotiated settlement which will include the proviso that the parties button their lips. In this case, you'll never get the full story.
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Old 23rd October 2010, 11:29 PM   #24
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Its all falling apart
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Old 23rd October 2010, 11:43 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by roger View Post
Timonen's response.
After composing an eloquent, thoughtful, nuanced, and reasoned post on his blog, Timonen worked out the remainder of his teen angst by slamming his bedroom door shut, heaving himself onto his bed, and screaming along with the All-American Rejects.
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Old 24th October 2010, 12:02 AM   #26
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Why did Dawkins put so much faith in this man?
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Old 24th October 2010, 01:05 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Yes, let's please remember the adverb "allegedly" here, okay?
Also, that JT is apparently a member here, too.
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Old 24th October 2010, 01:17 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by KateHL View Post
Tinomen is certainly in the wrong, but I found this a bit nauseating (from the article):



Seriously? He has the nerve to call himself the 'most respected atheist'? Best known I understand, but it takes cajones to call oneself the 'most respected' anything. My Dawkins love is falling a few major pegs.
I seriously doubt he wrote that himself. He's always rather humble in his books, at least. Maybe he's getting senile.
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Old 24th October 2010, 03:11 AM   #29
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Complicated. Doing business with a friend is ever fraught with danger, even if both parties see themselves as honest. One man's idea of reasonable reward can be another's idea of embezzlement.

I can't, personally, see what the age of Timonen's girlfriend has to do with anything.

I also have problems understanding what the RDF auditors were doing throughout all this.
Are such trusts subject to audit , as a PLC would be? I have no idea. I do know JREF, as a 401 charity, IS required to produce annual financial statements.

As for JT's response, his memory of his own conduct during the RDF forum shutdown seems to have been airbrushed a tad.

Dawkins is old school. If he thinks he / RDF has been the victim of a crime, I suspect he will pursue it to a possibly excessive extent. Whether that would be in the interest of RDF is open to doubt. The legal niceties of intellectual property ownership must be sorted first though. Maybe JT had a legal right to what he took. If the numbers are remotely correct , I cannot see how he could claim a moral right.

My psychic powers predict some lawyers are about to get richer.
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Old 24th October 2010, 03:24 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by zooterkin View Post
Also, that JT is apparently a member here, too.
A member search for "joshtimonen" returns no results at this time.
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Old 24th October 2010, 03:31 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
A member search for "joshtimonen" returns no results at this time.
Probably hasn't been approved yet.
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Old 24th October 2010, 03:36 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by Soapy Sam View Post
Complicated. Doing business with a friend is ever fraught with danger, even if both parties see themselves as honest. One man's idea of reasonable reward can be another's idea of embezzlement.
Just as an aside, I do business with friends/family one of two ways. Either I charge my "best customer" rate and treat them like a customer or I substantially discount it (or do it for free) with the understanding that regular customers come first. I give them the choice up front, and it really does help reduce bad feelings.

Quote:
I can't, personally, see what the age of Timonen's girlfriend has to do with anything.
You're not using your imagination.

Quote:
I also have problems understanding what the RDF auditors were doing throughout all this.
Are such trusts subject to audit , as a PLC would be? I have no idea. I do know JREF, as a 401 charity, IS required to produce annual financial statements.
I'm not an expert on the law, but I don't think audits would have been required for RDFRS. Their yearly revenue was under $400K, and I don't think audits became required until you're in the $2M range (not 100% sure).

Quote:
Dawkins is old school. If he thinks he / RDF has been the victim of a crime, I suspect he will pursue it to a possibly excessive extent. Whether that would be in the interest of RDF is open to doubt. The legal niceties of intellectual property ownership must be sorted first though. Maybe JT had a legal right to what he took. If the numbers are remotely correct , I cannot see how he could claim a moral right.
I'd say that's a fair assessment. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

Quote:
My psychic powers predict some lawyers are about to get richer.
I wrote a quatrain when I was 17 that predicted this lawsuit.
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Old 24th October 2010, 04:26 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by cj.23 View Post
Hey, crap happens, humans being human, ragrdless of religious belief or lack thereof. I critisiced Timonen on my blog over the forum closure fiasco - yes the ex-members in exile are celebrating (how I heard - http://www.rationalskepticism.org/ne...en-t14455.html ) but it's just one of those things. Felt sorry for Dawkins though - but I will wait for the court judgment before I take it all too seriously. There might still be some misunderstanding or something


cj x
Well, I'm not celebrating. But I don't feel particularly sorry for either Josh or Richard either.
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Old 24th October 2010, 04:28 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by stijndeloose View Post
Well, I'm not celebrating. But I don't feel particularly sorry for either Josh or Richard either.
I do, it must be hard for both, but I am laughing heartily after how they treated us in the past. Still I'm trying to forgive. I was never a very god Christian, but I do try!

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Old 24th October 2010, 04:30 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by Soapy Sam View Post
I can't, personally, see what the age of Timonen's girlfriend has to do with anything.
Nothing. Actually, as far as I know, his girlfriend doesn't have anything to do with the matter at all. I'm having trouble understanding why she's even being discussed.

Originally Posted by Soapy Sam View Post
As for JT's response, his memory of his own conduct during the RDF forum shutdown seems to have been airbrushed a tad.
Just a wee bit. I wonder if he remembers who deleted a number of members' entire posting history.

Originally Posted by Soapy Sam View Post
My psychic powers predict some lawyers are about to get richer.
Yes.
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Old 24th October 2010, 04:32 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by cj.23 View Post
I do, it must be hard for both, but I am laughing heartily after how they treated us in the past. Still I'm trying to forgive. I was never a very god Christian, but I do try!

cj x
Ha! Well, I don't believe he's really sorry anyway.

So Josh isn't here yet? I, for one, hope he doesn't join up.
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Old 24th October 2010, 04:34 AM   #37
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Originally Posted by roger View Post
Interesting... it seems to be mostly about the forum closing, instead of being about the lawsuit.

Originally Posted by Puppycow View Post
Why did Dawkins put so much faith in this man?
When it seems to be earned by experience, reputation, or evidence, it's not faith. The word then is "trust".

Originally Posted by UncaYimmy View Post
I'm not an expert on the law, but I don't think audits would have been required for RDFRS. Their yearly revenue was under $400K, and I don't think audits became required until you're in the $2M range (not 100% sure).
Remember to do the conversions; they use metric money over there.

Originally Posted by UncaYimmy View Post
I wrote a quatrain when I was 17 that predicted this lawsuit.
I'll admit that the bit about the two owls seems to fit, but which one is the one that ate the snake, and who's the snake? And seriously, that part about the river of orchids was just weird.
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Old 24th October 2010, 04:47 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by stijndeloose View Post
Nothing. Actually, as far as I know, his girlfriend doesn't have anything to do with the matter at all. I'm having trouble understanding why she's even being discussed.
Well, allegedly she received some of the money under discussion, but her age seems to be irrelevant to that.
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Old 24th October 2010, 04:49 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by Delvo View Post
Remember to do the conversions; they use metric money over there.
I was referring specifically to the RDFRS in the USA. I don't know where to find the numbers for the UK entity or their laws.
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Old 24th October 2010, 04:50 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by zooterkin View Post
Well, allegedly she received some of the money under discussion, but her age seems to be irrelevant to that.
Ah, I must've missed that. But yes, her age is irrelevant. As are her looks.
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