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  1. Hats off to Mr. Joseph donahue
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    Stole my ideas.. Should I sue him?


    Hi guys,
    This is serious.

    In the final Semester, we had to complete a project to be a Graduate. The Head of the department of our course asked me to re-implement the MD5 encryption algo in Java from RFC 1321. I did that.

    Later he asked me to try and fine tune the implementation to get the results. All he asked me for was speed. I disregarded all the security concerns, and gave him speed. I gave him all the source code via gmail. Along with a comparative analysis of both the codes in graphical format.

    Afterwards he told me that he will use my code, screenshots etc in his research papers (As he was pursuing PhD), and will give me credit for what I did. I said ok.

    Even after almost 6 months, he was reluctant to share the link of the published paper, I googled it, found the link and was shocked to see that he used all my graphs, my screenshots as well as the comments I used in the code without altering a single word, but all the acknowledgement I get is for "testing".

    Here's what it said -
    "We would like to thank one “XYZ College” to test the behavior of Implemented Version of MD5.
    What the hell am I supposed to do now? Any ideas? Should I let it go???
  2. #2
  3. Did you steal it?
    Devshed Supreme Being (6500+ posts)

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    For pretty much anything you do for school in some sort of scholastic project, the school gets everything you do. Check the handbook or student manual or whatever: there's always some language to that effect.

    I'd just let it go because it'd take too much work to pester him about it.
  4. #3
  5. Banned ;)
    Devshed Supreme Being (6500+ posts)

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    Have you graduated already? If not, wait until you've graduated before doing anything. If you've already graduated, call academic fraud on his a$$. Send a letter to his superior and to the dean of your school explaining matters.

    Unfortunately, this sort of crap is pretty common in Indian schools. My Head of Department wanted his name to be mentioned in our thesis as our guide, even though he did nothing to guide us and in fact spent most of his time discouraging us, claiming he didn't think we could finish it (we later won a prize for best final year project in the state from an industry consortium!). He did get a mention in the introduction as he wished, but what he didn't know was that the two names thanked before him were actually my two team-mates dogs, who I figured deserved more credit for our project than the HoD, for general morale improvement and not trying to lick us to death too much .

    Comments on this post

    • RAJ_55555 agrees : too damn funny! Don't know how I missed it earlier
    Up the Irons
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  7. Hats off to Mr. Joseph donahue
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    Originally Posted by requinix
    For pretty much anything you do for school in some sort of scholastic project, the school gets everything you do. Check the handbook or student manual or whatever: there's always some language to that effect.

    I'd just let it go because it'd take too much work to pester him about it.
    I don't know! It wasn't really the school that used the work. He used it for personal benefit. I doubt that the school will support him.

    BTW latest update is that I sent him a mail asking him for the link again (pointless to add that I acted as if I didn't knew it already). He said that it's not the final version. He will share the link when the final version is published.
    Maybe I should ask him what part of my projects did he use. He is reluctant to reply to my mails though. Keeps it as short as possible.
    Last edited by RAJ_55555; March 17th, 2012 at 04:48 AM.
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  9. Hats off to Mr. Joseph donahue
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    Originally Posted by Scorpions4ever
    Have you graduated already? If not, wait until you've graduated before doing anything. If you've already graduated, call academic fraud on his a$$. Send a letter to his superior and to the dean of your school explaining matters.
    I have graduated an year back. I guess I could send the letter to his superior. My dad being the Dean, I don't think that would be much difficult .
    But I was wondering whether I should be straight forward and tell him that I'll sue him if he doesn't get this fixed.

    Originally Posted by Scorpions4ever
    Unfortunately, this sort of crap is pretty common in Indian schools. My Head of Department wanted his name to be mentioned in our thesis as our guide, even though he did nothing to guide us and in fact spent most of his time discouraging us
    Exactly! The same thing happened to me and my group in the mid semester Project. At that time I thought how could he even ask, but didn't mind that much as it wasn't that important to me.
    But for this one I have worked harder than anything else. Maybe I should take some legal advice on this.
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    My dad being the Dean, I don't think that would be much difficult
    If your dad is the Dean you should probably ask him for advice about it. He's in a much better position to help you make any sort of decision than we are.

    I was wondering whether I should be straight forward and tell him that I'll sue him if he doesn't get this fixed.
    I would only do that if you're completely serious and as a last resort. And yes, you should get actual legal advice on it beforehand.
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  13. Hats off to Mr. Joseph donahue
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    Well! Even before I started working on this, my dad suggested me not to work on this project. Maybe he suspected something like this down the road.

    I pursued it anyway, and now he wants me to make my own decisions and come to him only "professionally" with a written complaint.

    In the meanwhile I contacted the guys at the Global Journals (they published it). They asked me to submit an objection against plagiarism stating the details. They looked quite supportive.

    Also I am in touch with a lawyer, after going through the facts he stated that the circumstances are in my favor. Although he advised me against calling him, didn't give any reasons though. Let's see.
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    A few things:

    Typically, the university has rights to whatever you work on while under their roof (unless you can prove zero of their resources were used in the making of your product; which in this case, doesn't look good.)

    That said, the *university* has ownership of said material, NOT your professor.

    Now, what do you do? The lawyer is right, talk to the journal, like you did. I wouldn't be holding out for getting anything monetary out of a lawsuit, however. You might end up paying the lawyer for more than you get. If all you want is either proper recognition or your professor to be ruined a lawsuit isn't necessary.

    If you choose to write a letter to the dean (your father) you can do so very professionally by stating that what happened in factual terms and stating that you feel cheated and that the professor acted in ill will and receive some consequences to his actions. Don't speculate as to what, just keep to the facts.

    Your lawyer is correct in you not speaking to the professor because it's possible he could get you to agree to something you don't know you are agreeing to or understand. This is just a precaution.
    Adam TT
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  17. I <3 ASCII
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    Glad to see you're talking to a lawyer, but I'd make sure you have a hard copy of everything, print your e-mails print his papers, establish a timeline, etc.

    As others have said it's likely that in all of this it's the university that owns this, so while you aren't likely retain property rights, there's nothing wrong with looking for credit where credit is due.

    Hope it works out for you.

    -MBirchmeier
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  19. Hats off to Mr. Joseph donahue
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    Originally Posted by MBirchmeier
    Hope it works out for you.
    -MBirchmeier
    Well! So do I.

    He called me up today. First he threatened me, and said he was the one who came up with the idea. When I came down to the facts, he asked me to sue him. After a minute or two of heated conversation he asked me what I want. I asked him to give me credit for what I did by adding proper acknowledgement.

    He then said that it's not possible as the paper is already published.

    Later he went to my dad and asked him to talk to me. He dismissed him though.

    I tried contacting the global journals guys, they aren't responding to the live chat or the mails. I called them up on their Asia Headquarters number. Nobody picks up..

    Originally Posted by Adam PI
    "I wouldn't be holding out for getting anything monetary out of a lawsuit, however."
    I am not after the money. But even if he agrees to add a proper acknowledgement for my work (which he will), don't know if Global Journals have any such process in place or not.
    On the contrary I am ready to spend if required.
    The dilemma is whether to let this go if the Global Journals can't add this extra acknowledgement, or to file a lawsuit anyway. Both ways I don't get the credit for my job.

    P.S. I did let him know that his research is a piece of cr*p. He just used my work out of context in a 6 page research paper and suggested all the cr*p in it to the world.
    I really want to post the link to the paper here, I don't know what's stopping me. You guys would laugh at it.
  20. #11
  21. I <3 ASCII
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    Originally Posted by RAJ_55555
    I don't know what's stopping me. You guys would laugh at it.
    Honestly if you're talking to a lawyer about things I'd be incline to just be quiet. I'd even consider scrubbing this thread for the time being until things are resolved in a satisfactory way.

    Even though it's unlikely that he find this thread, I don't think there's anything here that can help you and can probably end up harming your case if he finds it, but I'm not a lawyer, so what do I know.

    -MBirchmeier
  22. #12
  23. Hats off to Mr. Joseph donahue
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    Point noted. No more posts.
  24. #13
  25. Hats off to Mr. Joseph donahue
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    Just an update to this thread. Although it took an Year, I finally got him to update the paper with proper credits. Now it says that
    "We would like to thank one “XYZ College” who implemented the algorithm and conducted a comparative study with the standard java implementation on which the paper is based"
    It's something.

    Comments on this post

    • requinix agrees : glad you stuck with it
    • MBirchmeier agrees
    • SimonJM agrees : Glad it worked out for you!
  26. #14
  27. Banned ;)
    Devshed Supreme Being (6500+ posts)

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    Congratulations on the win. By the way, I'm assuming the name of the twat who did this is Dr. S. K.?

    Comments on this post

    • RAJ_55555 agrees : Thanks scorp :)
    Last edited by Scorpions4ever; April 12th, 2013 at 02:45 AM.
    Up the Irons
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  29. Hats off to Mr. Joseph donahue
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    No It was the other one, Mr N. B. I doubt whether Dr S. K. was even aware that my college project was being used as a part of the paper. Any way it wasn't really worth all the trouble.
    I guess I was infuriated at that time because I put in some real hard work in college for this. Now I am pretty sure I can do better.

    __EDIT___
    From what I heard from my dad, he was later sued by another professor from our college for stealing his work and publishing without his consent. Not sure how that story will end.
    Last edited by RAJ_55555; April 11th, 2013 at 10:38 PM.
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