Great Moments In Legal Questioning: IT Boss In Cuyahoga County Cannot Identify A Photocopier

from the say-that-again-now? dept

A few of you have passed along this rather epic moment in legal questioning in which lawyer David Marburger (who we've discussed in totally different contexts before) tries to get a Cuyahoga County IT boss to answer a simple question about whether or not the recorder's office has a photocopying machine during a case being heard before the Ohio Supreme Court. The entire transcript, which we repeat below, takes up 10 pages. If you're reading this on the front page or via the RSS, the transcript is so long that we're moving some of it to the article page, so click on through if you want to read the whole thing (which is worth it). Marburger is the lawyer asking questions (representing some title companies in the lawsuit). Patterson is Lawrence Patterson, acting head of IT for the recorder's division at the county fiscal office, and the guy being questioned. Cavanagh is Matthew Cavanagh, the lawyer for the county who seems quite upset that anyone might pry into the nature of the machinery at work in the county offices:
Marburger: During your tenure in the computer department at the Recorder's office, has the Recorder's office had photocopying machines?

Cavanagh: Objection.

Marburger: Any photocopying machine?

Patterson: When you say "photocopying machine," what do you mean?

Marburger: Let me be -- let me make sure I understand your question. You don't have an understanding of what a photocopying machine is?

Patterson: No. I want to make sure that I answer your question correctly.

Cavanagh: Dave, I'll object to the tone of the question. You make it sound like it's unbelievable to you that he wouldn't know what the definition of a photocopy machine is.

Marburger: I didn't ask him to define it. I asked him if he had any.

Patterson: When you say "photocopying machine," what do you mean?

Marburger: Let me be clear. The term "photocopying machine" is so ambiguous that you can't picture in your mind what a photocopying machine is in an office setting?

Patterson: I just want to make sure I answer your question correctly.

Marburger: Well, we'll find out. If you can say yes or no, I can do follow-ups, but it seems -- if you really don't know in an office setting what a photocopying machine is, I'd like the Ohio Supreme Court to hear you say so.

Patterson: I just want to make sure I answer your question correctly.

Cavanagh: There's different types of photocopiers, Dave.

Marburger: You're speaking instead of -- you're not under oath. This guy is.

Cavanagh: I understand that, but I understand what his objection is. You want him to answer the question, but I don't think it's fair.

Marburger: It's not fair?

Cavanagh: It's not a fair question. A photocopy machine can be a machine that uses photostatic technology, that uses xerographic technology, that uses scanning technology.

Marburger: I don't care what kind of technology it uses. Has your offices -- we don't have technocrats on the Ohio Supreme Court. We've got people like me, general guys --

Cavanagh: Objection.

Marburger: -- or gals. I'm not really very interested in what the technology element of it is. I want to know --

Cavanagh: That's what's at issue in the case, Dave.

Marburger: Not in my judgment. Do you have photocopying machines at the Recorder's office? If you don't know what that means in an office setting, please tell the court you don't know what it means in an office setting to have a photocopying machine.

Patterson: I would like to answer your question to the best of my ability.

Marburger: I'm asking you to answer that.

Patterson: So if you could explain to me what you mean by --

Marburger: I'm not going to do that because I want you -- I want to establish on the record that you really don't know what it is. I want to establish that.

Now, do you know what it is or do you not know what it is? Do you understand what that term means in common parlance or not?

Patterson: Common parlance?

Marburger: Common language.

Patterson: I'm sorry. I didn't know what that meant. I understand that there are photocopying machines, and there are different types of them just like --

Marburger: Are there any in the Recorder's office?

Patterson: -- there are different cars. Some of them run under gas power, some of them under electric power, and I'm asking if you could help me out by explaining what you mean by "photocopying machines" --

Marburger: That's a great point.

Patterson: -- instead of trying to make me feel stupid.

Marburger: If you feel stupid, it's not because I'm making you feel that way.

Cavanagh: Objection.

Patterson: I have self-confidence and I have no problem.

Marburger: I don't think you're stupid.

Patterson: I think -- I don't have any problem answering the question.

Marburger: I think you're playing games with me.

Cavanagh: Dave, the word "photocopying" is at issue in this case, and you're asking him whether something is or isn't a photocopy machine, which is a legal conclusion --

Marburger: This isn't a patent case. There's no statute that defines -- where I'm asking him to define technology for me. I'm asking -- I want to find out from a layperson's perspective, not an engineer's perspective, not a technician's perspective, but from -- I have an idea.

Marburger: How about this: Have you ever heard the term "photocopier" or "photocopy" used in the Recorder's office by anybody?

Patterson: Photocopy? I'm sure in the time I've been there someone has used the term.

Marburger: And have you ever heard them use it in referencing a particular device or machine within the Recorder's office? By way of example, "can you photocopy that for me?" That's an example of office parlance.

Patterson: That particular terminology I've not witnessed.

Marburger: What was the context that you've heard the term "photocopy" used in the Recorder's office?

Patterson: I'm sure it's been used. I didn't say I remembered a specific instance.

Marburger: All right. But you have a general understanding that people have used the term "photocopy" within the Recorder's office in terms of something that could be done there; is that true?

Patterson: I'm sure it's been used. I don't remember a specific instance or how it was used. I'm sure it's been used.

Marburger: And is it fair to say that it's been used in terms of being able to copy one piece of paper onto another piece of paper using a machine? No? Not sure of that?

Patterson: I'm sure it's been used. I don't recall a specific instance in which it was.

Marburger: Do you have a secretary?

Patterson: No.

Marburger: Does anybody there have a secretary?

Patterson: Yes.

Marburger: Have you ever heard a secretary use the term "photocopy"?

Patterson: No.

Marburger: Have you ever--do you have machines there where I can put in a paper document, push a button or two, and out will come copies of that paper document also on paper? Do you have such a machine?

Patterson: Yes, sir.

Marburger: What do you call that machine?

Patterson: Xerox.

Marburger: Xerox. Is the machine made by the Xerox Company? Is that why it's called Xerox?

Patterson: No.

Marburger: So Xerox, in the parlance that you've described, the language that you've described, is being used generically as opposed to describing a particular brand; is that right?

Patterson: All of my life I've just known people to say Xerox. It's not commonplace to use the terminology that you're using.

Marburger: You mean it's more -- people say Xerox instead of photocopy?

Patterson: If you're referring to a type of machine where you place a piece of paper on the top and press a button and out comes copies of it, they usually refer to it as a Xerox.

Marburger: Have you ever heard it referred to as photocopying?

Patterson: Not with my generation, no.



Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Nick Burns (profile), Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 11:24am

    So, if he asked Patterson "Are there any cars at your office?" Would Patterson ask, "I don't understand what you mean by 'cars'." Sheesh!

     

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  2.  
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    rubberpants, Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 11:47am

    This reminds me of Bill Gates' deposition; arguing over the definitions of common words.

     

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  3.  
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    Nick Burns (profile), Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 11:49am

    @rubberpants:
    Bill Gates or Bill Clinton about the word 'is'?

     

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  4.  
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    crade (profile), Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 11:50am

    He is just lying by omission and trying to avoid answering, can't you just charge him with contempt or something for that? Do you really have to waste all day playing stupid games just because he wants to?

     

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  5.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 12:02pm

    Re:

    If I'm talking to a lawyer, I would totally make him define what he means by 'cars.'

    Also, 'office.'

    Also, 'any.'

     

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  6.  
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    A Dan (profile), Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 12:09pm

    Re: Re:

    Definitely define cars. You would need to know whether SUVs, light trucks, crossovers, minivans, vans, tractors, truck cabs, trailers, etc. were included.

    Also, you could point out that you don't know whether there are any cars there, because you are not there to observe them.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 12:11pm

    Well this story was a waste of my time..

    Next.

     

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  8.  
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    Greg G (profile), Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 12:11pm

    Re:

    I think that's what he means.. "It depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is."

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 12:13pm

    Re: Re:

    Exactly, because after you answered the question the lawyer would twist every word you said to mean something else.

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 12:15pm

    We have the incident that happened according to court records. What we don't have in this article is the reason why
    Patterson doesn't want to give a straight answer.

    I suspect that his omission that copy machines exists within the county office might be key to part of the setup for Marburger's case.

    Patterson is being an uncooperative witness on purpose.

    I've always wondered why all these companies are hell bent on infringement issues but no one ever makes mention that infringement goes on all the time in court. Making copies of documents (or book exerts) with a copier to use as working documents rather than the original evidence itself that needs to be preserved. That's as blatant as it gets for infringement.

    When necessary a document is shared with the jury, the judge, and all parties involved. How many actual times have you heard during these times that anyone within court went to get permission to use it? I would suggest the answer to that would be nil or next to never.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 12:16pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Just to make this clear I need you to define the meaning of define.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 12:16pm

    If you are being deposed, the answer to the question "do you have a favorite color?" is never "red." It's "yes" or "no."

    Is it possible he has never heard of a photocopier referred to as anything but a Xerox machine? Yes.

    When the attorney asking questions finally clarified what he meant instead of haranguing the guy, did he get an answer to his question? Yes.

    Is it possible he wanted clarification on whether the computer hooked up to a flatbed scanner with access to a network laser printer constituted a "photocopying machine" before he answered "yes" or "no?" Yes.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 12:18pm

    Re:

    It wasn't a waste of my time.

     

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  14.  
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    Simon, Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 12:19pm

    I can't tell who's worse, the idiot who thinks he's smart while dodging the question or the prosecutor for perservering, or come to think of it, the judge sitting there tolerating so much time wasting and obvious avoidance.

    I suppose all the key players in this "Yes you did, No I didn't" scenario care about is that they're getting paid while they play their schoolyard games.

    What a fucking joke.. take 'em out the back and shoot the fucking lot of them.

     

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  15.  
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    crade (profile), Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 12:20pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    How would you know if anything really exists at all! All my senses are suspect! I can't be sure of anything :)

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 12:22pm

    Best line

    Marburger: If you feel stupid, it's not because I'm making you feel that way.

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Poster, Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 12:25pm

    Wow.

    Just...wow.

    I think I need to question the definition of the words "my brain" after reading this, because I think it might have turned into mush after reading that.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 12:25pm

    Opposing counsel is not your friend. Never forget that.

     

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  19.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 12:26pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    All I see are shadows on the cave wall.

    Next question.

     

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  20.  
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    Atkray (profile), Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 12:29pm

    Re:

    How could that waste your time? It was most entertaining.

    Wait..Is your name Patterson?

     

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  21.  
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    Hugh Mann (profile), Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 12:29pm

    Yeah, not so unbelievable, actually.

    I've lived in Ohio, and I would not be at all surprised if the guy really didn't know "photocopier" was the more accurate generic term for "Xerox machine". Honestly, I would shake my head in dismay, but I wouldn't be particularly surprised. And, yes, I know he's supposed to be the IT guy for the county.

    However, it appeared that (according to the County's attorney), photocopying technology was potentially an issue in the case, so he possibly instructed his client to not answer questions about "photocopiers" unless it was about a specific kind of photocopying technology or something.

    And, of course, we're all happy to point to the other guy as being difficult and/or stupid, but just wait until you believe your side of a dispute depends on a particular interpretation of a word or concept.

    HM

     

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  22.  
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    V, Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 12:29pm

    I find..

    I find the witness guilty of criminal stupidity. I sentence you to 20 years in the public school system.

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 12:35pm

    I know what this is

    its the long lost Monty Python script.

    i mean it has to be there is no way that was an actual conversation (specially not in a court of law)

     

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  24.  
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    John Doe, Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 12:36pm

    If the President can do it...

    If the President of the United States can't define "is" then this guy shouldn't be expected to define "photocopier".

     

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  25. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 12:39pm

    Damn, get that guy a job at Techdirt. He does double talk and ignoring reality better than any of the student posters, and is about equal to the master himself.

     

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  26.  
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    mischab1, Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 12:40pm

    Re:

    I have to agree. At first it seemed like Patterson was being deliberately obtuse but based on his last comment I don't think he was. Of course it would have helped earlier if he had admited that he only had a vague understanding of what the words meant.

     

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  27.  
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    The eejit (profile), Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 12:42pm

    Re:

    Won't you PLEASE think of the lawyer's wallet?

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 12:43pm

    Re:

    Yes, the judge! Had he fallen asleep or something?

    I've been at flipping town zoning meetings where lawyers or witnesses have been virtually head-cracked for such blatant obfuscation, evasion, and general time wasting.

     

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  29.  
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    Ron Rezendes (profile), Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 12:45pm

    Re:

    You really don't believe in "Fair Use" for any reason whatsoever, obviously.

    "Patterson is being an uncooperative witness on purpose."

    The fact that he explains the term his generation uses is "Xerox" has completely escaped you and your superior mind reading capabilities.

     

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  30.  
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    Pippers, Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 12:47pm

    He has a VALID point.

    Most people in IT don't touch the classical "copying machines". Like Xerox machines and such. The older ones are not considered computers, or networked, and IT has absolutely NOTHING to do with them. They last for 10, 20+ years and the only people who touch them are service people. IT generally handles scanners, and multifunction printers which sometimes have built in scanners which can also do scanning.

    The person asking the questions obviously has no idea what they are asking about. If they are simply asking about copying machines in the classical sense, then they should not be talking to someone in IT. They should be talking to head of their facilities. The guys who place desks, chairs, and usually handle copying machine placements. Maintenance is almost always contracted out because you need special certifications from the manufacturer to even touch them.

     

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  31.  
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    Coises (profile), Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 12:48pm

    It seems ambiguous to me

    My immediate reaction was that if someone insisted that I answer, yes or no, whether I have a photocopier in my house, I’d be puzzled as to how to reply. I have a printer/scanner which can be (and has been) used to make photocopies. I don’t have a dedicated photocopying machine. If I were sworn to tell the truth, yet not allowed to explain that simple ambiguity, I’d be frustrated and angry... I’d feel like I was being set up.

     

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  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 12:49pm

    Re: Best line

    The immediate objection to a simple yes or no question at the very beginning got me.

    "Are there any chairs in your office?"
    "Objection!"

    Lolwut?

     

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  33.  
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    PRMan, Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 12:51pm

    Re: Yeah, not so unbelievable, actually.

    Well, he IS a government worker...

     

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  34.  
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    Pickle Monger (profile), Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 12:54pm

    Re: I know what this is

    The photocopier's name is Eric?

     

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  35.  
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    pixelpusher220 (profile), Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 12:55pm

    Re: Re:

    I *sure* hope he never used 'Xerox' in any government document. They are rather touchy about the name...

     

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  36.  
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    Bob Vila, Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 12:56pm

    Re: He has a VALID point.

    Also, "photocopier" implies that there is some machine in the office that is specially made to copy photos. It threw me for a second when I trying to figure out what the prosecutor was talking about.

     

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  37.  
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    pixelpusher220 (profile), Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 12:59pm

    Re: It seems ambiguous to me

    If asked if you have a 'photocopier', then the answer is clearly no.

    If asked if you have the ability to make copies at home? the answer is yes.

     

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  38. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 1:00pm

    How to write an article on Techdirt:

    1. Assume you are the smartest person involved, including all the principles being discussed.

    2. Assume you know everything about the context of the issue being discussed.

    3. Assume that all lawyers, politicians, and government officials are maximally corrupt, ignorant, and lazy.

    4. Assume anything you don't like or doesn't make sense to you about the status quo is the result of corruption, willful ignorance, and/or malice.

    5. Start typing.

     

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  39.  
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    DS, Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 1:08pm

    Re:

    Define "waste of time".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    identicon
    DS, Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 1:11pm

    Re:

    How to write a stupid comment on Techdirt

    1. Be 'that guy'.

    2. Assume that nobody knows anything except yourself.

    3. Hate Mike.

    4. ???

    5. Be an ass.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
    icon
    Meek Barbarian (profile), Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 1:16pm

    Re:

    How to be a troll:

    1. Be a Dick.

    2. Ignore most points, attack Mike. Maybe pirates, nazis, or other posters, depending on mood.

    3. More dickisheryness. Hey, look, trolls can create new words! We have to be smarterish than Mike now.

    4. ... PROFIT???

    (5. PS: Just dicking with ya. It's what we trolls do.)

    (6. PPS: Bitch that someone infringed - i mean pirated - i mean stole - my profit from step 4, even if I haven't made it yet.)

     

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  42.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 1:17pm

    Re:

    Could you define waste?

     

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  43.  
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    Kris B, Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 1:24pm

    Who's on first?

    that's all...

     

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  44.  
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    Killer_Tofu (profile), Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 1:27pm

    Re: Re:

    Darnit! Beat me to it. Was going to say the exact same thing when I read their post.

     

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  45.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 1:28pm

    IT

    Nothing strange here. Sounds like most IT people to me. If you don't want an engineer's answer, don't ask an engineer. If you choose to do so anyway, don't expect the engineer to understand.

     

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  46.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 1:29pm

    Re: Re:

    this was a deposition, not testimony from the witness stand. In a deposition, there is no judge present, just the witness, the attorneys, and the court reporter.

     

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  47.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 1:34pm

    Our VP of IT is also VP of Accounting (his primary position). He wouldn't know a photocopier from a laptop. Sad...

     

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  48.  
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    David Liu (profile), Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 1:36pm

    Re: Re: He has a VALID point.

    Pleaaaaaaase tell me that's not what you think a photocopier is...

     

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  49.  
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    Stephen, Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 1:45pm

    Declarations...

    I think the lawyer should just declare all the variables and constants he's going to be using in questioning IT people next time.

     

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  50.  
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    Ven, Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 1:47pm

    Re: Re: He has a VALID point.

    Umm, yes, that is in fact almost exactly what the word means. A machine that makes photographic copies. Where the prior common method to make a copy of a document was to have a secretary type up a copy, possibly introducing significant errors, a photographic copy machine or photocopier is capable of making a copy by way of a photographic technique, producing a copy that is nearly identical to the original.

     

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  51.  
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    DS78 (profile), Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 1:53pm

    After reading the original article and what the case was about, its my opinion he was coached about questions partaining to copies.

    To all those who have never heard the term "photocopy machine" or "photocopier". Really? It would be the same as the lawyer asking if the guy knew what a soft drink was, and in the end the guy admitting that "Oh, well, we call it 'pop' or 'coke'" after going through all that.

     

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  52.  
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    Jay Blanc, Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 2:00pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Define meaning?

     

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  53.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 2:03pm

    Re:

    The examining lawyer is playing games too.

     

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  54.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 2:04pm

    Re:

    "That's as blatant as it gets for infringement."

    Not really.

     

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  55.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 2:07pm

    Re: Re: It seems ambiguous to me

    "If asked if you have a 'photocopier', then the answer is clearly no."

    Not so clear to me. He has a machine that makes copies of photos, right? That's a scanner.

     

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  56.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 2:08pm

    Re:

    LOL.

     

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  57.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 2:11pm

    Re:

    One definition of "soft drink" is any beverage without alcohol. If the examining lawyer wanted facts, he could have rephrased his question. Rather, he wanted something that sounded like an admission, regardless of any nuance or factual distinctions.

     

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  58.  
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    Joe (profile), Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 2:13pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Define "define."

     

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  59.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 2:13pm

    Re:

    Clinton my dear man, you mean Bill Clinton.

     

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  60.  
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    DS78 (profile), Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 2:21pm

    Re: Re:

    You're right he probably did want an admission. He probably wanted either A) for the guy to admit there was a copy machine in the office or B) that the guy didn't know what a copy machine was.

    The guy being questioned was stuck either way. Option A he answers a question his lawyers/employer didn't want him to answer (Bad for his employer's case). Option B the tax payers find out that they are employing an "IT" person who doesn't know what a photocopier is (Bad for him keeping his job).

    Also, not sure where you're going with the soft drink comparison, but to the common person that's the only definition of soft drink, unless you're trying to weasel out of a question by twisting words.

    Xerox is to photocopy machine as
    Coke is to soft drink.

     

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  61.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 2:23pm

    living outside the US I've never, ever, heard anyone refer to a photocopier as a Xerox, and I'm from that "generation".

     

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  62.  
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    weneedhelp (profile), Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 2:23pm

    Re: He has a VALID point.

    Most people in IT don't touch the classical "copying machines".

    IT has absolutely NOTHING to do with them.

    Please convince my boss of this...please.

     

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  63.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 2:32pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "to the common person that's the only definition of soft drink"

    Hardly. For example, most people I know wouldn't refer to juice, water, or milk as a "soft drink," although those are all beverages without alcohol.

    The deponent was perfectly happy to tell the guy whatever facts he wanted to know (i.e., we have machines that make copies that we refer to as Xerox machines), but the deposing attorney appeared interested in a sound bite that made the guy look dishonest rather than the facts OR was two stupid to realize he could get the facts he was looking for by rephrasing a question (which I think is unlikely, but there are some pretty dumb attorneys out there).

     

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  64.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 2:34pm

    Re:

    In the instance of use as evidence, as long as the item is referenced in some Bibliographical form (this is an exert from "X") there is no legal infringement since a legal case is not considered use for gain or profit. If the item happens to be a government document (excluding monetary) then there is no infringement issues at all.

     

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  65.  
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    bjupton, Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 2:35pm

    Re:

    You forgot "Use the wrong homonym for 'principals'.

     

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  66.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 2:37pm

    Re: Re: I know what this is

    Eric the Half a Bee.

     

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  67.  
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    weneedhelp (profile), Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 2:44pm

    Never heard of a photocopier gimme a break. The xerox machine phrase went way out while I was still in high school.

    I guess after this he went to his horseless carriage that has a Bent eight, and stopped at the malt shop, for some pop, then stopped to visit his big daddy, then picked up his baby for some back seat bingo where he would Go ape, and his friends could see he was radioactive, (take deep breath) but, then the Blue Meanies showed up and we had to Agitate the Gravel, so the flat foots wouldn't discover that my baby is an Ankle-biter and throw me in the can.

     

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  68.  
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    DS78 (profile), Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 2:48pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Yeah, you're right about the soft drink thing. In the US, soft drink refers to a carbonated beverage. Apparently I need to read things twice. The WORLD English dictionary says "a nonalcoholic drink, usually cold"

    I think my point still holds true though. I think he was avoiding the question.

     

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  69.  
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    Sneeje (profile), Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 2:50pm

    Re: Re: Re: I know what this is

    Was this trial conducted in the Ministry of Housinge?

     

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  70.  
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    Sneeje (profile), Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 2:52pm

    Re:

    (cricket)... (cricket)... (chirp)...

    I'll be here all week folks!

    (silence) (nervous cough)

     

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  71.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 2:53pm

    Re:

    Define Time!

     

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  72.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 2:55pm

    Mimeograph

    Perhaps .... they just had a Mimeograph

     

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  73.  
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    crade (profile), Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 3:00pm

    Re: Re:

    If he's playing games it isn't with the question: "do you have a photocopier?". It's a straight forward question and it's completely dishonest to pretend you can't answer it. If he tries to twist your answer later then just call him on it then.

     

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  74.  
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    DS78 (profile), Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 3:01pm

    Re:

    Exactly. Then Patterson would later admit that "Oh, You mean Chevy? Yeah we have a Chevy at the office."

     

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  75.  
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    DS78 (profile), Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 3:04pm

    Re:

    We do have a link in the TechDirt post to the original article though (Which everyone seems to ignore).

    "The overall case is about whether deeds and other records at the county recorder's office -- records that were collected and are maintained with your taxes -- should be readily available at reasonable cost. "

    That gives us plenty of context.

     

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  76.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 3:05pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    He gave the guy an answer once he clarified what he was asking. Not sure what else he's supposed to do. He's certainly not supposed to give a yes/no answer under oath to a question he's not clear about.

     

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  77.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 3:08pm

    Re: Re:

    He may very well mean Bill Gates, who questioned deposing attorney David Boies about the definitions of words such as "compete" and "concerned" during a deposition for the Microsoft antitrust suit.

     

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  78.  
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    DS78 (profile), Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 3:12pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Or was he forced to answer because he was in danger of looking unqualified for the IT position he currently holds at the county?

     

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  79.  
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    DannyB (profile), Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 3:18pm

    Re: Re:

    Maybe we could just rename photocopying machines to be infringement machines?

    Oh, wait. I don't want to give them any ideas.

    Nevermind.

     

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  80.  
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    DannyB (profile), Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 3:20pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Despite lack of a judge, objections are stated so that they can preserve that side's right to use that objection later before the judge or in other court filings. If you don't object, you may lose your right to later.

     

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  81.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 3:22pm

    Re: Re: Define "waste of time".

    Reading and replying to comments like this!!!

     

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  82.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 3:24pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    It's not the question that's a problem, it's the attorney's refusal to clarify what he means.

    It's not dishonest to ask for clarification before answering a question. When the attorney *finally* clarified, the IT guy answered the question.

     

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  83.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 3:28pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    That's some mighty fine speculation, but what we know is the guy asked for clarification and gave an answer once he finally got it.

     

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  84.  
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    Doug D (profile), Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 3:29pm

    Re: He has a VALID point.

    I've been in IT for long enough to say that you're full of it. In the last 6 companies I worked for in an IT capacity, ranging from 25 to 4,000 employees, IT always has something to do with the copiers. It may not be true in all companies but it's a far cry from a rarity.

     

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  85.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 3:36pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    #define define define

    Defined.

     

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  86.  
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    The eejit (profile), Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 3:37pm

    Re:

    Counsel is never your friend

    FTFY.

     

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  87.  
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    The eejit (profile), Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 3:38pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: I know what this is

    No, it was conducted in the Defense Against Fruits class.

     

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  88.  
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    The eejit (profile), Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 3:39pm

    Re: Re: Re: He has a VALID point.

    So it's NOT imps drawing frantically to make the copy?

    My worldview is ruined!

     

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  89.  
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    Rabbit80, Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 3:46pm

    Even photocopiers aren't photocopiers...

    These days the push is for them to be called MFDs or Multi Functional Devices. Typically the MFD does all the office printing, scanning, faxing, emailing of paper documents and copying. Copying in the digital age has taken a back seat and is now one of the lesser used functions of the MFD. I know of plenty of offices where the copying capability of the machines is disabled entirely unless the user obtains a PIN number.

     

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  90.  
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    Steven (profile), Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 4:15pm

    Re: I find..

    I though 20 years in the public school system sentenced you to criminal stupidity.

     

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  91.  
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    robin, Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 4:18pm

    We call 'em document capture devices. digitize the document then forward it to a business process in the doc mgmt system, to a file share, a fax number or an email address. Do people still create hardcopy duplicates of a document? Egads, why? Insufficient hard drive space or a desire to fill the file cabinet so you can add another to your workspace?

    I love the fact that this guy forced the lawyer to do his job. It's a reminder why lawyer jokes are so funny.

     

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  92.  
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    robin, Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 4:21pm

    I think the lawyer is more desrving of the sentence but has likely already served.

     

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  93.  
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    xenomancer (profile), Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 4:26pm

    Re: Re:

    That stuff the Langoliers eat after we get done with it.

     

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  94.  
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    crade (profile), Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 4:32pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    If the question were not the problem, then no clarification would be required in order to answer it. It is so dishonest to pretend you don't understand the question when you do or to pretend you need clarification in order to answer it when you don't.

     

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  95.  
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    crade (profile), Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 4:54pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    If I was the lawyer, I would ask him to swear under oath that he doesn't know what the question means when I ask him if his office has a photocopier. Only if he still lied after that would I get a dictionary for him.

     

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  96.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 5:00pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Why do you think it's so obvious what he means, or that the deponent knew what he meant?

    You act as if there is only one way his question could possibly be interpreted.

     

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  97.  
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    JP, Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 5:03pm

    I'm sad

    I'm sad because I live in Cuyahoga county and because I also work in IT (in the private sector of a local business)... If this is the type of incompetence that we have working in IT in Cuyahoga public sector, I'm truly and utterly dissapointed and saddened. *sigh*

    I'd offer to submit my resume to be head of IT for the County... But I'm afraid I'd have to undergo a lobotomy to come down to this level of stupidity... Anything less and I'd probably be considered over-qualified for the job.

     

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  98.  
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    as a tech person, Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 5:11pm

    I sort of sympathize, actually.
    In the world of modern technology it's pretty hard to know what's what.

    I mean, if I saw no, we don't have a photocopier, and then it comes out later that somewhere in the office somebody had a 3-in-one inkjet/scanner/fax machine, have I committed perjury?

    With all the different devices around today it's not super clear what's what. And people from different generations use completely different words for things, too. Like I never say xerox or photocopy is I want a copy of something. I usually just say send my a copy or pdf it or something.

    Now I admit I don't really have any notion of the context for which this information is requested, but I can sort of understand being that way in court.

     

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  99.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 5:22pm

    Re:

    "has the Recorder's office had photocopying machines?"

    Honestly I would not know how to answer that either, especially if it was key to a case. At my office I have several different multi-function printers that can copy but none of them are Photocopying machines. Because of all of their features, I'm not comfortable with the idea of answering yes, and then having that functionality being glossed over, or assumed. It may or may not be important to know that the Hard Drive on my Multi-function printer keeps a copy of everything it makes copies of, but either way its not what in common parlance is considered a copier.

    Instead of being a punk, the prosecutor could have asked, "have you or anyone else at you office ever made copies? What did you use?"

     

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  100.  
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    Any Mouse (profile), Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 6:48pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Then explain to the class what different meanings there are for the term 'photocopier.' By all means, if it could mean so many different things, then you can answer that question, right?

    The man works in the IT department. This is simple technology that has been in offices for YEARS. To say he doesn't know what a photocopier is makes him look like an idiot who shouldn't be doing the work he is doing.

     

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  101.  
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    Nick Coghlan (profile), Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 7:09pm

    Re: It seems ambiguous to me

    If that had been the problem, the answers to some of the questions would have been different.

    The last part of the transcript does make me think it may have been a genuine dialect problem, though.

    (e.g. similar to the way lots of people in the US South use "coke" as a generic term the way others would use "soda", "pop" or "soft drink")

     

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  102.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 7:22pm

    I am not going to comment on this article

    Damn

     

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  103.  
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    Nick Coghlan (profile), Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 7:28pm

    Terminology problem

    Notice the complete change in the tone of the responses as soon as the deposing lawyer describes a photocopier by its *function* (i.e. stick a piece of paper in, push some buttons, get a copy out) without reference to the specific term "photocopy".

    For words that are quite common for almost everyone (such as photocopy), it can be quite hard to come up with a non-circular definition to bridge the gap in understanding to somebody else that uses a different term for the same thing (such as Xerox). Once you manage to link the terms, suddenly enlightenment dawns and a conversation that was going in frustrating circles can start moving forward again.

    If the obstruction had been deliberate, then the switch to a functional description shouldn't have produced such a complete change in the nature of the responses. Just look at the last six answers - after all the dithering about whether or not people ever photocopied anything in his office, he was quite happy to say they had a xerox machine that they used to xerox stuff.

    While I find it surprising that anyone could have avoided learning the "Xerox = photocopy" equivalence by the time this deposition was taken, the transcript certainly has the right feel for it to be a genuine case of simply not knowing what the word means. A definite failure on the defence lawyer's part if true, though - if the term was so important to the case, he should have made sure that both he and the deponent knew what it meant going in (and it doesn't take much Google-fu to find out what a photocopier is).

     

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  104.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 7:32pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Egad, I stand corrected, thanks!

     

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  105.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 7:41pm

    Re: Mimeograph

    They're the ones that smelled so yummy, right?

    (there's a scene from a movie - Fast Times at Ridgemont High? Ferris Bueller's Day Off? - where all the kids in class pick up their fresh 'dittos' and give them a good, long, happy sniff)

    Sigh. I can still smell them in my head. :)

     

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  106.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 7:46pm

    Re:

    When you need a copier, you need one. If you'd seen all the copies I had to make of this, that, and the other for the State and IRS for my father's final taxes...guh.

    I think the IT guy was being deliberately obtuse but the lawyer could've phrased the question better. Or at least earlier.

     

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  107.  
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    Joe (profile), Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 8:47pm

    Re: I'm sad

    It very well may not be stupidity, but just the appearance of it. Playing verbal dodgeball may have kept him from giving testimony that could be used against him or his company. Also, keep in mind that many depositions have a time limit. This IT guy managed to get the lawyer to waste an incredible amount of time over ONE question. Someone else said that they felt the guy was coached to respond that way and I tend to agree. I'd say that it was a pretty decent job by the IT guy (if those were his intentions).

     

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  108.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 9:17pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You can't define a word with the same word (only the dictionary can do that).

     

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  109.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 9:20pm

    Re: Re: Mimeograph

    Is that film available at torrents sites?
    have you ever gone to a torrent site?

    You dirty pirate LoL

     

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  110.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 9:32pm

    That transcript is comedy gold.

     

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  111.  
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    C Gochay, Mar 24th, 2011 @ 12:14am

    I recall seeing ads or public notices in books and publications about writing (Writer's Digest possibly) from trademark owners reminding writers to use generic terms such as tissue or copy instead of Kleenex or Xerox. Seemed odd to me as I'd thought you'd want the "free" publicity or your brand to define the entire market. Not so it seemed.

    And with that in mind it seems Xerox for one has done a good job at this. I'm pretty sure I can recall using the term Xerox when I was after copies. I think I also use to use the term "photostat" when I was very young. Short for photo-static copy I guess. It was the early '70's and the newspaper office my father worked at recently had purchased a new photostat machine and I'd get him to make copies of collages and 'zine type pages I'd made. I'm trying to recall but it may have been at this time I was corrected in my terminology - but this may seem odd I don't remember from which term to which I was being directed to use. I think my father or someone at the office was confused by or didn't the term "Xerox" and suggested photostat instead.

    Confusion way back then.

    As to the terminology used in the office in the article and the specific fluidity of things going on with tech and its nomenclatures today, I'd say there is not enough info here to condemn this witness.

    His office, he says or implies uses the term Xerox with respect to taking a paper document, putting it in a machine and getting a paper document out that is a replica or facsimile of the original. So everyday, clerks, secretaries and managers et al. are Xeroxing documents, producing paper copies for people (or so I assume base on what the case was about). Now can clients or the public ask that copies be put on a disc or USB drive instead? Or can they call back later after a visit to the office and ask for a document previously "photocopied" to be emailed to them, emailed because part of the copying process they were (hypothetically) told involved scanning and storing an electronic copy? And does one process versus the other cost less or more than the other (ya, we are talking crazy government bureaucracies here, but that's a whole other ball of wax)? And/or do clients have only one option or right to receive documents in a certain format? If this is the case, the witness certainly needs to know the terms as understood by all. Mind you, yes the questioning could have been handled differently but it's quite evident both sides know something we don't and that something is important to the direction the questioning and case is going. And that the outcome is going wind up doing one or two things. One, costing taxpayers money (apart from the cost of the apparent inanity of the case) and two, creating regulation or procedure that likely should be done by regulators or office managers (well, sorta maybe cuz ya, once again we're talkin' civil service and gov bureaucracy her).

     

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  112.  
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    ethorad (profile), Mar 24th, 2011 @ 4:59am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    That reminds me of an entry in a comp sci book's index:

    Recursion - see Recursion

     

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  113.  
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    Richard (profile), Mar 24th, 2011 @ 5:13am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    And only for the word "recursion"

     

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  114.  
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    Richard (profile), Mar 24th, 2011 @ 5:16am

    Comedy

    The writers of "Yes Minister", "The Thick of It " and/or "The Long Johns" would have been proud to have written this!

     

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  115.  
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    Ven, Mar 24th, 2011 @ 6:05am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: He has a VALID point.

    "So it's NOT imps drawing frantically to make the copy?"

    Only if you live on the Discworld.

     

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  116.  
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    Snidely, Mar 24th, 2011 @ 6:47am

    2001 or 2011?

    Did anyone else get the feeling he was arguing with HAL from 2001? "There's different types of photocopiers, Dave." "That's what's at issue in the case, Dave." Just waiting for the "I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that."

     

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  117.  
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    JEDIDIAH, Mar 24th, 2011 @ 7:07am

    What you say WILL be used against you.

    Lawyers are great at twisting what you say in order to use it against you.

    This is why you never talk to cops.

    You have to be very careful when you are answering questions from a lawyer or in any other legal context.

     

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  118.  
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    JEDIDIAH, Mar 24th, 2011 @ 7:13am

    Re: Re: He has a VALID point.

    I have worked in a wide variety of companies.

    Unless a particular copier was infact a multi-function printer, the IT guys never touched it. A proper copier is something that is usually out sourced to a specialist. They tend to be expensive machines that rate that sort of thing.

     

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  119.  
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    freak (profile), Mar 24th, 2011 @ 8:28am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "The man works in the IT department. This is simple technology that has been in offices for YEARS."

    That could also be why he needs clarification; I have a scanner and a printer, is that a photocopier? It can fulfill the same function.

    On the other hand, it's easier enough to explain the need for clarification without F***ing about and wasting the court's time.

     

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  120.  
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    Adam G (profile), Mar 24th, 2011 @ 11:35am

    Although it was probably said in another comment, I still feel I need to re state the following.

    I could clearly understand the need to define a photocopier. The lawyer could have tried to be more creative in such that he could use other terms such as Copy Machine, Copier, Xerox, or as he eventually did, describe the function of the device.

    Because in the modern world, technically couldn't a cell phone be called a copymachine? You can take a photo of something and then wirelessly print it to a printer.

    As someone who works with a lot of various technical fields. There is a constant confusion over what is common acronyms and other technical slang. I think its short sighted of the lawyer simply because he is so familiar with a term that he deemed it as "common language."

    The lawyer constantly tried to push the same angle, repeatedly, instead of trying to approach the question at different perspectives and terminology.

    Also, it could potentially be that a photocopier only copies photos and a document copier only copies documents.

    I've met people who believed they needed to buy the Office Max's CDs with the label printed "Music CDs" to make a music CD and they would argue that a regular any CD wouldn't work.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  121.  
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    nasch (profile), Mar 24th, 2011 @ 9:55pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I have a scanner and a printer, is that a photocopier? It can fulfill the same function.

    In a case like that, the most honest answer would be something like "I have a combination scanner/printer, so if you would consider that a photocopier, then yes." Not "I don't know what you mean by photocopier."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  122.  
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    nasch (profile), Mar 24th, 2011 @ 9:57pm

    Re: Re:

    there is no legal infringement since a legal case is not considered use for gain or profit.

    Gain or profit is not a necessary component for copying to be copyright infringement, though I agree (or at least hope) for court documents it would be fair use.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  123.  
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    nasch (profile), Mar 24th, 2011 @ 10:00pm

    Re: Re:

    At first it seemed like Patterson was being deliberately obtuse but based on his last comment I don't think he was.

    I have to disagree:

    "Marburger: Let me be clear. The term "photocopying machine" is so ambiguous that you can't picture in your mind what a photocopying machine is in an office setting?

    Patterson: I just want to make sure I answer your question correctly."

    That was a perfect opportunity to either just say "no, I don't know what a photocopying machine is" or explain why he was having difficulty with the question. His answer seems evasive. It neither answers the question nor explains why he cannot answer it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  124.  
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    nasch (profile), Mar 24th, 2011 @ 10:01pm

    Re:

    If you are being deposed, the answer to the question "do you have a favorite color?" is never "red." It's "yes" or "no."

    Right. "Yes" or "no", not "I don't know what you mean by color."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  125.  
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    nasch (profile), Mar 24th, 2011 @ 10:13pm

    Re: Terminology problem

    Notice the complete change in the tone of the responses as soon as the deposing lawyer describes a photocopier by its *function* (i.e. stick a piece of paper in, push some buttons, get a copy out) without reference to the specific term "photocopy".

    Perhaps that was the point where he could no longer reasonably claim to not understand the question. As we can see, before that point he could claim confusion and people can reasonably believe it is genuine (not that I know for sure it wasn't). Once he's asked in terms a five year old could understand, he can't stall anymore.

    I think he was intentionally stalling and obfuscating, and he got the most mileage he could out of it. He did it so well it's even possible that's not what he was doing.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  126.  
    identicon
    RS, Mar 24th, 2011 @ 10:23pm

    Re: Re: Re: He has a VALID point.

    Actually the term derives from photostatic copier. Not copying photos. That is what Xerox made its trade on.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  127.  
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    Adam Wasserman (profile), Mar 25th, 2011 @ 9:35pm

    Re: Re:

    I may not be able to define "lame" but I know it when I see it.
    .
    .
    .
    And I am not talking about the transcript.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  128.  
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    Hooter McBus (profile), Mar 29th, 2011 @ 12:10am

    I'll save alot of people some effort with my concise version...

    Marburger: During your tenure in the computer department at the Recorder's office, has the Recorder's office had photocopying machines?

    Patterson: Yes.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  129.  
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    Tomas S P, Apr 1st, 2011 @ 3:53am

    definition and meaning of a word

    What Patterson did was the correct responce to the question because a word could have two similar but different meaning. Look at the definition of the word hiway in webster's dictionary and its definition in a law dictionary, similar but very different. I know this because i ended up in jail because of it. The problem is that in school growing up we used webster's dictionary not the law dictionary.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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