Adam Machanic’s libelous statements


This blog is the response to Adam Machanic’s (@AdamMachanic) tweets and Jennifer McCown’s (@MidnightDBA, blog from October 18th, 2011 (Rat Sues Corn! Rather, rat accuses corn of thought-theft! Or something!). Jennifer McCown’s blog, which also appeared on, published scattered sentences from Carmen’s emails out of context.
The texts published here show the entire communication.

Complete email conversation with Adam Machanic, on October 10, 2011. The email is related to Adam Machanic’s tweets on the day SQL Workshops released sponsored email via PASS promoting the freely downloadable webcasts This email does not deal with plagiarism; it is about damages due to libel/ defamation by Adam Machanic.

On Oct 10, 2011 Adam Machanic (Microsoft Most Valued Professional) replied:
Subject: Your Unfair Competition by Mindless Defamation
Hi Carmen,

Having now reread my tweets, I am happy to note that I never said that Ramesh was a future mass murderer. I said that watching the video might help someone understand that thought process. Clearly not an attack on Ramesh. SQL Server is a frustrating product that can make us all feel violent from time to time!

My statement about going crazy? My opinion of what my own reaction might be. I can’t stand sitting in classes!

And the MPD statement? I said “relatively certain.” You see, I was very concerned about Ramesh when he abruptly switched topics during the video. I am so glad to hear that he’s feeling better now!

Your videos embarrassed me by highlighting in a very public forum my failure to be appointed to the PASS board. This resulted in numerous questions and rumors and I am still working hard to recover my image. I agree with you that it would be great if we can find a fair way for you to compensate me.

Adam Machanic

On Oct 10, 2011 Carmen replied:
Subject: Your Unfair Competition by Mindless Defamation
Hello Adam Machanic,

We never used your name libelously. All we did was reading and showing your own statements. Those statements were already public in the internet at that time and they are there until today:

1. Your statement about PASS (starting with the words “The PASS board process has been a failure for years…”)

2. Your testimonial about Redgate’s tools (starting with the words “Red Gate’s tools are generally considered to be the gold standard…”)

Those statements were read/ showed in Webcast 3 Part 2 of 3. We referred to you as an “industry expert”.

How could your own statements be considered libelous and cause you financial loss?

On the other hand, your defamatory statements were completely false.

I still hope we can find a solution.

Best regards,
Carmen Pentek

On Oct 10, 2011 Adam Machanic replied:
Subject: Your Unfair Competition by Mindless Defamation
Hi Carmen,

How about the damage you did to me by using my name libelously in your video? I feel that it caused me financial loss.

Note: Please consider all future communications with me to be public. I reserve the right to blog, tweet, forward, or otherwise publish any communication from you, from now on.

Adam Machanic

On Oct 10, 2011 Carmen wrote:
Subject: Your Unfair Competition by Mindless Defamation
Hello Adam Machanic,

My name is Carmen Pentek, I am the owner and director of SQL Consulting, (Our website is

I am writing to you because it was brought to my attention that you made a series of libelous statements concerning the webcasts that we published partnering with PASS in 2010. (These webcasts are still freely downloadable at

Those defaming statements of yours in Twitter include “serious case of multiple disorder personality” as well as “future mass murderer”, deterring others from watching the webcasts, and the affirmation that you would “go insane at the end of the week” after attending our workshop.

Neither Ramesh Meyyappan, the speaker of the webcasts, nor me, co-author of the webcasts, have any history of mental disease, nor do we have any criminal record.

Here is the feedback, given to Microsoft Switzerland on June 24th, 2011, by the attendees of Ramesh’s workshop:

Question on Instructor Quality Score – In a Scale of 1 (Poor) to 9 (Excellent)
The instructor was prepared for the class 9 out of 9
The instructor was knowledgeable in the subject matter 9 out of 9
The instructor provided a valuable learning experience 8.8 out of 9
The instructor was able to answer questions effectively 8.9 out of 9
The instructor checked for understanding of concepts 8.8 out of 9
The instructor was available for assistance for hands-on exercises 9 out of 9

I do not think that a mentally disturbed teacher or person with criminal intent could receive such a feedback.

To get to the bottom line: While we are always open and thankful for constructive criticism – it helps us improve our services – we retain the right to defend ourselves against defamation and mindless slander or libel.

You, being a key speaker at major conferences like Microsoft TechEd and PASS Summit, being a Microsoft SQL Server MVP, co-owner of, founder of “Data Education” and prominent member of the SQL community with more than 2000 followers on Twitter, have a great influence on people’s opinion. The unfair competition you started with these statements are harmful to SQL Consulting’s image and caused us financial loss.

I am writing to you to see if we can find a reasonable solution on our own. Can you suggest ways how the damage to our business caused by your actions could be recompensed?

Awaiting your reply,
Best regards,
Carmen Pentek

Tweets that preceded the publication of this email and immediate reactions after the publication:

@TopSQL (!/TopSQL/status/126406856418672640 Retweeted by @AdamMachanic):
Thank you for all the posts and mentions. Some facts were described correctly, some wrongly. I will give a full picture in the weeks to come
@AdamMachanic (!/AdamMachanic/status/126413193445777408):
Can’t talk now, need to go make something up to cover myself. Give me a few weeks, okay? #sqlsue

@AdamMachanic (!/AdamMachanic/status/126648582425161730):
@RumblingDBA won’t end until we hear from the guilty parties… Or they wait long enough for us to forget before they return to obscurity.

@mrdenny (!/mrdenny/status/126414238125277184):
@TopSQL if you want to get your side of this out in public, now would be the time. Waiting isn’t going to help only hurt.

@PaulRandal (!/PaulRandal/status/126417789706706944):
Why not now? We’ll have forgotten you in a few weeks… RT @TopSQL: …. I will give a full picture in the weeks to come
@TopSQL (!/TopSQL/status/126765242607865856):
@PaulRandal Here it is! Full Text Version~
@PaulRandal (!/PaulRandal/status/126768746370052096):
@TopSQL Thanks for posting your side of things!

@AdamMachanic (!/AdamMachanic/status/126783021968916481):
Lesson learned: If you believe someone to be mentally disturbed, don’t say anything! They probably are, and won’t react well.

SQLBits X Sponsorship Experience

Update November 25th, 2012:

Ten days ago, James Rowland-Jones and Tim Kent contacted us and offered to settle below described issue by refunding half of SQLBits X Silver Sponsor Fee. We accepted their offer and have meanwhile received the payment.


SQLBits X is over, we hope you enjoyed it just like we did.

Upon our return we experienced the following:
James Rowland-Jones (Big Bang Data Company), the SQLBits organizer in charge of sponsorships, sent us a thank you letter including exactly 500 opt-in delegates email addresses.
We were quite surprised about that given the fact that the sponsorship pack included “Complete opt-in delegates email address list (approx. 4,000)”. When asking James Rowland-Jones about the missing email addresses we received the following answer:

From: James Rowland-Jones
Sent: 05 April, 2012 00:04
To: Carmen Pentek
Cc: Tim Kent
Subject: RE: Opt in list for SQLBits X

Hi Carmen,

This is a shame indeed. We found this issue in the sponsor pack and corrected it a while back. You don’t need to prove this to us. It was a case of one too many zeros. We have 4000+ in our database but only 400+ have opted in for 3rd party marketing from the event itself.

We thought we’d followed up with everyone about this particular error as we did realise that this could be an issue.

We have also had an unexpected challenge in synchronising the data from Regonline into our systems. We are working on this and hope to have news for you on this very soon. Tim will keep you updated. However, the list I have given you is the hottest part of the list (registrations from the most recent event that signed up for 3rd party marketing) so I didn’t want you or anyone else to have to wait for that. That said even when we are all done there is no chance that this list will get anywhere near 1000.

The bottom line here Carmen is that we want you to be happy with your SQLBits experience and we will be fair. I do understand that this was an important part of the event sponsorship for you. However, I am sure you will agree that it was a part of a bigger package and in all other areas I think we represented you both fairly and kindly. Rest assured that we will do the same with regards to this matter too.

… (Unrelated text, removed due to privacy)

Kind Regards, James

We have not heard back from James or Tim until now… ;o(


Email to PASS

Email to PASS on Clarification about Possible Plagiarism

(Wikipedia) “Plagiarism is defined in dictionaries as the ‘wrongful appropriation,’ ‘close imitation,’ or ‘purloining and publication’ of another author’s ‘language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions,’ and the representation of them as one’s own original work, but the notion remains problematic with nebulous boundaries [...] Plagiarism is not a crime per se but is disapproved more on the grounds of moral offence, and cases of plagiarism can involve liability for copyright infringement.”

@MladenPrajdic (!/MladenPrajdic/status/126397092603232256):
@AdamMachanic I’ve been to Ramesh’s precon here in Slovenia where he covered same stuff as you and it was good! But to sue! Wtf?
@SQLWorkshops (!/SQLWorkshops/status/126769568646569985):
@MladenPrajdic nice feedback, Slovenian precon was similar to webcasts, BTW we never threatened to sue for plagiarism
@AdamMachanic (!/AdamMachanic/status/126397381364297728):
@MladenPrajdic well I didn’t attend his precon. And I watched only enough of his videos to see the inane rants about Quest.

In the entire conversation with Adam Machanic and PASS we enquired about clarification on possible plagiarism, not about copyright infringement and never threatened to sue.

SQL Workshops noticed one spotlight session abstract that partially resembled webcasts published in 2010. That session was called “Query Tuning Mastery: Zen and the Art of Workspace Memory (AD-500-S)”

After reading Brent Ozar’s blog about Plagiarism, SQL Workshops contacted the speaker, Adam Machanic. There was no claim of IP or copyright over topic or concepts, just a simple question about clarification on possible plagiarism, whether he would cover also content from the webcasts. We know Adam Machanic watched our webcasts (and commented on it in April 2010). SQL Workshops tweeted to Adam Machanic:

@TopSQL (!/TopSQL/status/114232767751000064):
@AdamMachanic Hi, I read #sqlpass “Query Tuning Mastery”, found it interesting. Will you also cover concepts from ?

@AdamMachanic (!/AdamMachanic/status/114295918534197248):
@TopSQL couldn’t say. I haven’t sat through any of his training.

@TopSQL (!/TopSQL/status/114313425332617216):
@AdamMachanic I was referring to the concepts presented in 3 webcasts that you watched and commented on in 2010 #sqlpass

@AdamMachanic (!/AdamMachanic/status/114317521993203712):
@TopSQL You mean the videos where he was ranting about a mysterious character called Mr. JLR? You paid attention to the content?!? Wow.

@AdamMachanic (!/AdamMachanic/status/114319989149929472):
@TopSQL just read your profile. Are you Mr. JLR? Those rants are hilarious.

Since we did not get any answer from Adam Machanic SQL Workshops emailed PASS, following Brent Ozar’s advice (Plagiarism Article) on contacting the organizer of the conference.

On Sep 30, 2011 Carmen wrote:
Subject: Clarification about Possible Plagiarism
Dear Summit Organizers,

First of all I would like to thank you for organizing such an interesting Summit this year. Many good sessions with established and also new speakers have caught my attention.

However, I have noticed one spotlight session abstract that partially resembles concepts we explored and published in 2010 via technical webcasts. That session is called “Query Tuning Mastery: Zen and the Art of Workspace Memory (AD-500-S)”

I contacted Adam Machanic, the speaker who also viewed our webcasts last year and commented on them in Twitter, asked him if he will also cover concepts from those webcasts ( in his upcoming session.

Instead of giving me an answer he replied that he never sat through any of our trainings. When I reminded him of the webcasts he still did not answer and started asking me other questions back.

I am coming to you with the request to help in this matter. Surely SQL Pass also has an interest in maintaining the intellectual property of individuals and companies and does not want to support any plagiarism.

All I want at this stage is to help me get a clear answer from the speaker whether or not our concepts will be part of his presentation.

I am sure that with your, the conference organizer’s, assistance we can resolve this matter objectively and gracefully.

Thank you very much and best regards,

Some of Adam Machanic’s Tweets:
@AdamMachanic (!/AdamMachanic/status/126365450635448321):
Discovered that a training company is making threats to everyone who dares present on the same topics they do. #sqlpass #thisisNOTcommunity
@AdamMachanic (!/AdamMachanic/status/126376059804454913):
RT @PaulRandal Seriously? @topsql wrote threatening letters to other trainers to try to stop them presenting at #sqlpass? -> Indeed.
@AdamMachanic (!/AdamMachanic/status/126376718754783232):
. @PaulRandal Apparently my ABSTRACT on a similar topic to that which @topsql teaches is enough to call that IP theft! #sqlpass
@AdamMachanic (!/AdamMachanic/status/126377086888849408):
. @PaulRandal And @topsql had the gall to make this claim, not to me personally, but rather directly to the #sqlpass board.

SQL Workshops did not write threatening letters to any one to try to stop them presenting at PASS. SQL Workshops did not accuse Adam Machanic of IP theft but wanted clarification on possible plagiarism. Before asking PASS SQL Workshops contacted Adam Machanic by twitter, but got no answer.

@sqlagentman (!/sqlagentman/status/126404424087257088):
@DBArgenis all of SQL Bloggers should do a post on memory spills tomorrow. Copy all content from @adammachanic ‘s blog? (For added irony)
@AdamMachanic (!/AdamMachanic/status/126404627968167936):
@sqlagentman @DBArgenis I wouldn’t recommend it. I won’t sue you. I’ll kick your ass.

@AdamMachanic (!/AdamMachanic/status/126380904565313536):
@PaulRandal how can someone think that just because they’ve published on a certain topic is a guarantee that someone else has read it?

SQL Workshops knows Adam Machanic watched the freely downloadable webcasts and commented.

@NikoNeugebauer (!/NikoNeugebauer/status/126390898824192000):
@AdamMachanic @paulrandal I have had enough contact with them, I know that Ramesh a kind of protective of anything he does.Maybe I can help?
@AdamMachanic (!/AdamMachanic/status/126391531828551680):
@NikoNeugebauer yeah, you can tell them to slither back into their cave if they don’t want total fallout at this point (cc @PaulRandal)
@AdamMachanic (!/AdamMachanic/status/126392834818453504):
@NikoNeugebauer @paulrandal it’s certainly not your fault! Just a very warped mindset, trying to “claim” a SQL Server feature.
@AdamMachanic (!/AdamMachanic/status/126393380589682688):
@NikoNeugebauer @paulrandal oh, I take it VERY personally when someone writes to the PASS BOD and asks to get me banned from the show.
@AdamMachanic (!/AdamMachanic/status/126392013062012928):
@NikoNeugebauer @PaulRandal this behavior is some of the most unprofessional I’ve ever heard of in my entire career to date

SQL Workshops did not claim copyright on any SQL Server feature, our entire conversation was about clarification of possible plagiarism. SQL Workshops did not ask PASS to ban anyone, either. If Adam Machanic had answered our question when we asked him in twitter it would not have been necessary to involve PASS at all. His decision not to answer made things unnecessarily complicated.

Email to Klaus Aschenbrenner

Update November 2, 2011: Klaus Aschenbrenner ( retracted his statements about SQL Workshops: Correction of my unfair and incorrect words against SQLWorkshops.

This blog is a response to Klaus Aschenbrenner’s tweets on Oct 18, 2011, where Klaus Aschenbrenner, author of “Pro SQL Server 2008 Service Broker” (Apress, 2008), claimed having received “hard threatening emails” from SQL Workshops. To show that SQL Workshops did not threaten Klaus Aschenbrenner the original email along with Klaus Aschenbrenner’s tweets are published here.

Klaus Aschenbrenner
@datachick They wrote me and @AdamMachanic *hard thretening* emails, because we were presenting on memory spills at #sqlpass

Klaus Aschenbrenner
@MladenPrajdic At least I and @AdamMachanic got a #sqlsue email, because we have presented on memory spills at #sqlpass

Klaus Aschenbrenner
Blog post by @MidnightDBA on #sqlsue:
Klaus Aschenbrenner
@MidnightDBA Am I allowed to publish that link on my Facebook site? Would be interesting for some of my friends in the community….

On Sep 30, 2011 Carmen wrote:
Subject: Your demo script
Hello Klaus,

Someone pointed out that your demo script “InsufficientMemoryGrants.sql“ has very similar content to the material we presented in our webcast ( . I took a look at it now and noticed that you even copyrighted the script.

One can only copyright one’s own material. Furthermore it is usual business practice to give credit to the source (in this case to our copyrighted webcast that you viewed).

Hope we can work together in a future project.

Carmen Pentek

(Klaus Aschenbrenner did not reply to Carmen’s email as of Oct 18, 2011).

The copyright message (see text in red below) Carmen was referring to in the above email belongs to Klaus Aschenbrenner’s InsufficientMemoryGrants.sql demo script:
Summary:  Demonstrates Sort Warnings because of insufficient memory grants
Written by Klaus Aschenbrenner,

(c) 2011, All rights reserved.

For more scripts and sample code, check out

You may alter this code for your own *non-commercial* purposes. You may
republish altered code as long as you include this copyright and give due
credit, but you must obtain prior permission before blogging this code.


Since Klaus Aschenbrenner’s (red color) code from InsufficientMemoryGrants.sql demo script published in 2011 looks similar to SQL Workshops’ (blue color) code from the Webcast 1 published in 2009, his restrictive copyright message on alteration seems strange to us. We know that Klaus Aschenbrenner watched SQL Workshops’ freely downloadable webcasts because Klaus Aschenbrenner tweeted about it – see tweets at the end.

In our opinion, if one alters somebody’s code and publishes it without giving credit to the original author one should at least allow others to freely alter as well. Otherwise, if someone alters SQL Workshops’ original code, Klaus Aschenbrenner could suspect it was altered from his code and claim “due credit” and “prior permission before blogging”. That would not make much sense, would it?

Klaus Aschenbrenner’s downloadable demo script with the above quoted copyright message was presented at the following conferences:
SolidQ Summit,, September 21-23, 2011
SQL Days Conference,, September 28-29, 2011
SQLBits Conference,, September 29-October 01, 2011
SQL PASS Summit,, October 12-14, 2011

Klaus Aschenbrenner’s InsufficientMemoryGrants.sql demo script published in 2011:
Column2 INT,
Column3 CHAR(2000)

SQL Workshops’ Webcast 1 published in 2009:
create table tab7 (c1 int primary key clustered, c2 int,
c3 char(2000))

Both have exactly 3 columns, int, int and char(2000).

Klaus Aschenbrenner’s InsufficientMemoryGrants.sql demo script published in 2011:
SELECT @x = column2 FROM Table1
WHERE Column2 = 2
ORDER BY Column3

SQL Workshops’ Webcast 1 published in 2009:
select @c1 = c1, @c2 = c2, @c3 = c3
from tab7
where c1 < 3000
order by c2

Both use local variable in the select, which is a very unusual practice.

Klaus Aschenbrenner’s InsufficientMemoryGrants.sql demo script published in 2011:
WHILE (1 = 1)
SELECT @x = column2 FROM Table1
WHERE Column2 = 2
ORDER BY Column3

SQL Workshops’ Webcast 1 published in 2009:
select granted_memory_kb, used_memory_kb, max_used_memory_kb
from sys.dm_exec_query_memory_grants
where session_id = 52
while 1=1
declare @c1 int, @c2 int, @c3 char(2000)
select @c1 = c1, @c2 = c2, @c3 = c3
from tab7
where c1 < 3057
order by c2

Both use while 1=1 to demonstrate memory estimation using sys.dm_exec_query_memory_grants.

Klaus Aschenbrenner’s InsufficientMemoryGrants.sql demo script published in 2011:
Column2 INT,
Column3 VARCHAR(2000)
master.dbo.syscolumns sc1
SELECT @x = Column1 FROM Table2
ORDER BY Column3

SQL Workshops’ Webcast 1 published in 2009:
declare @i int
set @i = 1
while @i <= 3000
insert into tab7char values (@i, @i, replicate(‘aaa … aaa’))
set @i = @i + 1
declare @c1 int, @c2 int, @c3 char(2000)
select @c1 = c1, @c2 = c2, @c3 = c3
from tab7varchar
order by c2
create table tab7varchar (c1 int primary key, c2 int,
c3 varchar(2000))

Both use 3000 rows and exactly 3 columns, int, int and varchar(2000) to demonstrate 50% memory estimation for varchar data type.

Klaus Aschenbrenner’s questions about SQL Workshops’ webcast ( on April 17, 2011:

Klaus Aschenbrenner
@SQLSoldier Just seen an example of this here: (1st part of 1st webcast) #sqlhelp
Carmen Pentek
@Aschenbrenner Was about to answer you, am happy you found it by yourself. Servus nach Wien- #sqlhelp
Klaus Aschenbrenner
@TopSQL No, the why was currently not answered and explained ;-) #sqlhelp
Carmen Pentek
@Aschenbrenner I see. You don’t just want to tackle the problem you want to understand the very root of it… ;) #sqlhelp
Klaus Aschenbrenner
@TopSQL Yes, it doesn’t help anything, when the WHY is not explained. You can’t learn from it… #sqlhelp
Carmen Pentek
@Aschenbrenner That’s the way SQL works. It is a bug / limitation. #sqlhelp
Klaus Aschenbrenner
@TopSQL And is it possible to calculate/predict at which point #sqlserver spills the sort over to tempdb? #sqlhelp
Carmen Pentek
@Aschenbrenner No general point, in some scenario it does not spill. Each case is different. Even 32/64 bit is different #sqlhelp #sqlserver