from the about-time dept
Update: And... another one's gone too.
by Mike Masnick
Wed, Nov 13th 2013 4:07pm
by Mike Masnick
Wed, May 15th 2013 7:34am
Here's a fun fact...my husband sues people for pirating porn and the phone companies for putting it in the hands of people under 18...the men caught really hate his firm and have tried to harm him physically and financially, but they are the worst kind of thieves imaginable and shame on all the mobile carriers for allowing people to move X rated material to the hands of minors. Someone we know paid an undisclosed amount to settle a case so that we would not release his name to the public.It's worth pointing out that the folks involved in various trolling efforts have generally bent over backwards to avoid saying that they're getting people to pay them to avoid being named, because, you know, that's illegal. As former federal prosecutor, Ken "Popehat" White notes, this "sounds like a confession of interstate extortion to me." And remember that Judge Wright, in the Southern District of California, has already claimed that Duffy's actions (along with Steele and Hansmeier) should be investigated by the US Attorneys for racketeering -- and extortion is generally a key part of many racketeering schemes.
Whoever, with intent to extort from any person, firm, association, or corporation, any money or other thing of value, transmits in interstate or foreign commerce any communication containing any threat to injure the property or reputation of the addressee or of another or the reputation of a deceased person or any threat to accuse the addressee or any other person of a crime, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.Admitting that the person paid up to avoid being named, and not because of any merit in the accusations seems to be a pretty clear admission to violating that law. We've heard of stupid criminals getting rung up for their own social networking posts, but how about their wives "bragging" about their actions and admitting to federal crimes in the process?
Tue, Mar 12th 2013 1:02pm
Sadly, for my purposes at least, internet trolls aren't always as entertaining as the antics of On press Inc. In fact, often times childish and uncreative trolling can produce some really unfortunate results. In particular, I'm recalling the twitter troll whose efforts culminated in a SWAT team and TV crew showing up at the wrong guy's house. That story aside, there is a certain amount of truth to the notion that anonymity can spark horrific behavior, with keyboard cowboys feeling safe in saying incredibly hurtful things to people. Twitter couples that occasion with a connection to public figures, allowing those who wish to, to engage in trollish and hurtful behavior with the rich and famous. Typically, those attempts are shrugged off by targets, and often times the shrugging off is done by whichever PR team is handling the celebrity's Twitter feed. Those that man their own Twitter posts can always use the helpful "block" button to keep the worst aggressors at bay.
Or you can go the Curtis Woodhouse route, which is to sleuth your way to finding the street the troll lives on and go hunting. And if any trolls out there don't think this is a scary enough prospect on its own, consider that Woodhouse is a professional boxer. To be fair to the troll, his tweets aren't the worst I've seen:
@woodhousecurtis Haha u lost u silly mug fight a 10 year old next time if u want to actually win u waste of spunk
— the master (@jimmyob88) March 11, 2013And:
@woodhousecurtis Whats funny u put so much effort in sacrificed all that time and failed to defend your mickey mouse title #wasteofspunk
— the master (@jimmyob88) March 11, 2013As I noted, certainly not nice, but not unlike the kind of thing we see in our own comments section from time to time. I'm not particularly sure what this guy thought he was getting out of antagonizing a professional boxer on Twitter, but I can be certain he didn't think this was going to happen.
Unfortunately for the troll, Woodhouse decided that he wasn't going to take such abuse sitting down. Somehow, he managed to discover what street his antagonist lives on, and he set out to pay him a visit while mercilessly live-tweeting his trip.Oops. Woodhouse live-tweeted all the way up to parking on the guy's street, indicating that he was "coming over for a brew" and asking anyone who knew to tell him what number house he lived at, so that he wouldn't have to "knock on every door." Predictably, the troll first went silent, and then moved on to the kind of apologies reserved for someone who knows they are about to meet a pissed off pugilist face to face.
by Tim Cushing
Tue, Feb 19th 2013 12:55pm
on press inc.
On Press must have realized something was up, what with the sudden (and huge) increase in non-attributed poem quoting. For a little while, the On Press accounts fell nearly silent. In a few hours, however, its responses suddenly became a whole lot friendlier.
It would appear that On Press Inc. has realized (thanks to a very public airing of dirty laundry) that its previous tactics weren't earning it any friends, customers or respect. This new approach is bound to be more successful on all counts, if for no other reason than the old way did nothing more than paint both Shaun Shane and On Press Inc. as overbearing thugs, hardly the sort of people anybody wants to comply with, much less support. All in all, I imagine it was a very long and hectic day for whoever's running the On Press Twitter horde. This tweet (my new favorite!) pretty much sums it all up.
So, On Press is to be applauded for turning this whole experience around and using the additional exposure to generate some sales and additional Shaun Shane fans. In fact, someone claiming to be On Press added this comment to the original post late Saturday afternoon.
We'd like to thank youNow, I'm not going to comment publicly on the veracity of those sales figures* because that's beside the point. I have to believe there has been an increase in sales for two reasons: 1. additional exposure and 2. a more pleasant "On Press experience" on Twitter. I'm also not going to comment on the penultimate sentence... yet.
This is On Press. We actually have to thank you Mr.Cushing. While at first we dimissed your post as simpleminded reactionism, you have brought quite abit of attention to Shane's work. So much so, that we have sold 3219 (as to this hour)of Shane's book in the last two days( more than we do in a month) and have recieved thousands of emails stating how much people like his work. So, by all means keep going. Your the best advertisment we have. Most people seem to not accept your position that using someone's work without credit is acceptable. With much thanks, On Press Inc.
All well and good, except that several hours later, a comment from someone claiming to be On Press appeared on a two-week-old post of hers to leave a comment/rant about copyright, infringement, giving proper attribution, etc. Another comment followed (credited to "onpress17"), but this one was a bit nastier.
Here let us speak for ourselves, This is On Press Inc. Tim Cushing (Techdirt) posted Shane's Poem on his Twitter account without credit to Shane. He was told to remove the post. Which is our legal right to demand. He then responded in what can only be characterized as juvenile ranting.He has selectively posted what he wants on his bizarre rambling on his webpage.But we have screenshots of all his conversation. You cannot post Author's work without credit to them. Not only is it illegal but unethical. If you published something and someone put it on the internet without credit to you and you contacted them and they refused to credit you and then post your work on the internet without your credit and then encouraged their friends to post the work without credit to you,w e wonder how you would feel. As we do. Shane should credit for his work. And that is all that was asked of Cushing to doFinally, onpress17 appeared again to add a comment to her current post.
You post was not for commentary or reporting it was to incite. Which is not Fair Use. We understand that some people have a limited and overly simplistic understanding of Copyright Law, which to be expected of amateurs. But, let us put Mr.Cushings efforts in perspective. Of all the issues we deal with daily, he is quite minor and is hardly the first of his kind that we or other publishers have had to deal with . And we have quite abit of experince with resolving these types of issues. Though they take a little time. Secondly, Mr. Cushing has committed quite a few criminal and civil infractions that we are in the process of bringing to bare against him. But as we stated, legal proceedings take time. We have, and are sure that we will have too in the future, deal with sorts like Mr.Cushings as we have in the past. But, that is the nature of Publishing in this era and this issue will be resolved in our favor. However, we would suggest for you that you become better acquainted with the limitations of Fair Use.So, it appears that On Press (or people pretending to be On Press) is playing nice on Twitter, but is still just as brutish (and confused) everywhere else. Someone claiming to be On Press also visited Boing Boing's writeup on this story to add the following:
We would really like to see if you'll come out from hiding behind this cowardly shield of words, on some poorly excuted blog that list no way of getting a hold of you and give us some real world contact information. For surely, if you presume you are right then there can be no harm in having us settle this in court. Or perhaps your just a wanna be revolutionary that does nothing more than talk hiding behind some silly childish ranting on a webpage. Or are you really up " to putting your money where your mouth is " as they say. So give us some contact information and stop being so cowardly.All of this coming from the very anonymous On Press Inc., which has yet to supply anyone with a URL, email address, contact name or anything else. Someone claiming to be On Press also visited Michael Geist's blog to set the record straight on a "misquote," using the name "Tammy." (h/t to Eric Lorenzo). And there's plenty being said in the reviews section of On Press' solo book offering over at Amazon. "Michael Bradshaw" has waded into every opposing review to deliver gems such as these:
"...he (Cushing) acted like some idiotic kid and wrote this fake review. Notice he has not bought the book... And anybody who would go to these lengths rather than first credit an Artist is seriously deranged... Anyone who support this type of unethical childish behavior is as emotionally disturbed as Cushing is ."In addition, on the day of the original post, this email was sent to Techdirt's Facebook account. [Interjections in brackets are my comments.]
"Cushing never read Shane's book he's just an immature idiot who knows how to nothing more than respond like a child when confronted with his immturity."
"Tim Cushing and the other guy have posted fake reviews when Cushing posted Shane's poem without credit and was asked to credit him instead of being a decent human being decide to write a fake review in immature retaliation. Only a moron does stuff like that"
Ah, Mr. Cushing we are quite amused by your efforts. Your investigation techniques need some work, but they are interesting to review nonetheless. As, for some of the misinformed opinions you've stated in your post ( quite bizarre in it's length) let us correct you. Shaun Shane is dead and died of cancer in 2010 and is buried in Connecticut. [Link to an obituary, perhaps?] He willed all his work and ownership of his copyright to On Press Inc. [Documentation?]I'd also like to address that last sentence of the self-congratulatory comment left here at Techdirt by On Press.
As for Tim Roth, who attempted to verify that you were employed and Techdirt , he is in New York.
[There don't appear to be any Tim Roths registered to practice law in New York. There's a "Timothy Rothwell" in New Jersey. And as for it being "Tim Roth" who called, the voice on the phone (which sounded quite similar to the voice in Shaun Shane's videos) clearly said "James Roth" and the call itself was made using a Texas phone number (the same number belonging to one of the names that has been going around supporting Shaun Shane online, Anne Murphy). It's possible that there is another Tim Roth out there not listed in the official listings for NY lawyers, but who is a lawyer. It would help to see some proof though. For now, it's a misdemeanor to impersonate an attorney in New York. If any impersonation is being done in Texas (where the calls originated), it's a third-degree felony. There may not be any impersonation going on, but we pass along this info as a courtesy to On Press.]
But most importantly after being contacted to remove your post of Shane's poem ,which you used illegally and not in compliance with any copyright law. ( Your use of it on Twitter does not meet Fair Use protection Guidelines; and despite your protest to the contrary, you cannot use copyrighted work - and it is copyrighted - without permission from the publisher) you showed willful intent to incur further infringement of our property and encouraged other to do (quite illegal Mr.Cushing)
[You'll have to point out where exactly I "encouraged others to do" so. I believe your tactics, once exposed, had more to do with any uptick in uncredited poem tweets than anything I said in my post. And, once again, I'd like to see some proof of your claim that On Press holds this copyright. So far, all I've seen is one phrase in the opening pages of a print-on-demand book composed of someone else's poems.
And as for your claim I showed "willful intent to incur further infringement," please take some time to point out exactly where that occurred.]
Additionally, we have just been in contact with Amazon concerning your fake review of Shane's book and have forwarded them the complete conversation with you ( we take screenshots of all conversations involving copyright infringement.) we had on Tweeter and your Twitter post stating that you had just made a review on Amazon in retaliation for being legally contacted to credit Shane or remove the post. Additionally, Twitter can, and does terminate accounts for copyright infringement.
[Good thing you made screenshots because all of your accounts are suspended. In fact, as of the evening of Feb. 18th, I can't find a single one up and running.]
Copyright Infringement is a crime and you cannot use anyone's copyrighted work without crediting them, period. There are no exceptions. We have to say that you have provided with us quite a lot of material to begin prosecution against you for copyright infringement. Also, Mr. Cushing we suggest you become more informed about how legal proceedings are conducted. it takes roughly a month to three months to begin the initial stages of prosecution. On Press Inc.
[I've got nothing to add to this -- other than that there is a whole body of law that talks about limitations and exceptions in copyright law, so to say that "there are no exceptions" is simply incorrect. Moreover, I suggest a crash course on the difference between criminal copyright law and civil copyright law.]
"Most people seem to not accept your position that using someone's work without credit is acceptable."["Most people" apparently being "Bob."] Reading the entire post would show that my position is very clearly the opposite. Just like every other writer for Techdirt, I properly attribute the work (and words) of others. Every article posted has links to the source material. Quotations from the source are clearly set off by the use of blockquotes and italics. As I stated in my post, I don't have any problem with seeking attribution. I just didn't care for the method On Press was using. "Using someone's work without credit" has never been acceptable, professionally or privately.
Speaking of Twitter profiles, it appears the background photo On Press is using is a Shutterstock offering. This doesn't mean On Press hasn't paid the license fee (only $19!), but if it just grabbed it thoughtlessly from somewhere on the internet (without attribution), that would be a real shame.
Then there's the issue with its claim of ownership of Shane's work. On Press claims it owns it, despite it never having been registered at the Copyright Office. This doesn't necessarily rule out ownership, but it does make one wish for a bit more proof than an uploaded video/flipbook. If Shaun Shane is dead (as On Press has repeatedly stated), who or what is controlling his work?
Shane's only "published" book is a print-on-demand title from a company that doesn't seem to exist outside of tweets and comments. Without any more information to go on, this book (and its attendant copyright) seems about as legitimate as a scraperbot's Amazon offering compiled from eHow articles and Wikipedia pages. Some sort of chain of evidence needs to be presented before anyone can start filing copyright infringement lawsuits. If On Press has any information related to this, I greatly encourage it to clue the rest of us in on its existence.
Now, On Press has made some great strides in its day-to-day attribution work and I'd like to see it continue down that positive path. I'd also like to see it drop its "division of Knopf" wording and be a bit more open about its relationship to Shaun Shane (or his estate), but I'm not expecting any miracles. I'd also like to see it drop the legal threats but, understandably, it's quite angry with me right now and I don't expect that to change anytime soon. On the bright side, I did receive this little note in my Twitmail late last week.
As someone's who's witnessed the awesome power of the Popehat Signal, I'd hate to be the entity whose legal threats have prompted the lighting.
All in all, though, I'd say more good than bad has come out of this. At the very least, unsuspecting teen retweeters aren't being smacked around by baseless threats involving IP addresses, police departments and lawsuits filed against their parents. While there is evidence that On Press is a bit more "aggressive" away from the confines of Twitter, for the most part it looks like a more positive effort is being made. Old habits die hard, but hopefully the newer, friendlier face of On Press will become the new "normal." Perhaps this will lead to enough book sales that On Press/Shaun Shane can set up an actual web site and offer more than one title. As I've said before, I have no problem with giving proper attribution. I have a big problem, however, with using threats, insults and good, old-fashioned trolling to get these results.
by Mike Masnick
Thu, Aug 9th 2012 6:36am
by Tim Cushing
Wed, Aug 8th 2012 4:02am
"It all started with Scam School Book 2 – Brian’s magic book," Justin said. "He found out as he was pushing that book that the top ten in iTunes was all erotic fiction. Even to the point where established authors, like Janet Evanovich, couldn’t break into the top five of the iBooks store—because of all the erotic fiction that was capitalizing on Shades of Grey. And he thought—we could do that!"The twist here is that Brushwood and Young didn't write a single word. The entire book is compiled from the contributions of their listeners. Held together only by the appearance of the same main character in every chapter, The Diamond Club has more in common with anthologies of Penthouse Letters (such things actually exist) and its inspiration, Naked Came the Stranger, than an actual cohesive novel. No matter. It crashed the iTunes best-seller chart, placing at #4 -- directly following the Fifty Shades of Gray trilogy.
Justin said, "It’s a hoax in that we are not erotic fiction writers. We don't genuinely think it’s any good. But I will stand behind our product that it delivers what we believe to be the most important component in this genre: sex."Some may see this as yet another indicator of how opening ebooks to the masses is going to result in piles of lousy writing popping up everywhere. Maybe so, but I just can't see it as being solely a bad thing. If the customers are happy with their purchases, it doesn't seem to be much of a problem. The advantage here is a ridiculously short turnaround time that would be nearly impossible to emulate running through a second party, which allowed The Diamond Club to take full advantage of a trend before the audience moved on.
And the book does deliver. Though it has over 1,000 user reviews, only one of them calls out the hoax. "If you look at it, right now," Justin said, "There’s only one comment that says it’s a joke. One review says: Don’t pay money for this. It’s what they want."
Users are the content creators today – so they made the listeners of their podcast the authors.Nothing builds loyalty like including your fans in the creative process, and nothing builds word-of-mouth faster than loyal fans.
by Mike Masnick
Wed, Mar 28th 2012 2:43am
the court needs to consider the impact of the letter of claim upon ordinary consumers who may not have access to specialised legal advice, who may be innocent of what is alleged against them and who may be embarrassed and/or distressed by being alleged to have been involved in filesharing involving pornography.From there, the court actually goes on to critique the "draft letter" -- noting that the original letter Golden Eye wants to send is "objectionable in a number of respects," specifically in misleading recipients of the nature of the threat and their options. It also attacks the specific demand for £700, noting that the amount is "unsupportable." The reasoning here is quite interesting, with the final reason being the most telling. The judge slams Golden Eye for admitting that it chose £700 because "only a small proportion" of people they send the letter to will actually pay up. As the court notes:
This comes quite close to an admission that the figure of £700 has been selected so as to maximise the revenue obtained from the letters of claim, rather than as a realistic estimate of the damages recoverable by the relevant Claimant from each Intended Defendant.The judge also points out that each defendant may be a different situation, and some may not have infringed at all. Having a blanket settlement fee simply is not appropriate, and clearly is not an accurate representation of damages. Additionally, the court notes numerous other problems with the nature of the shakedown letter:
First, the reference to the Code of Practice is inappropriate both for the reasons given by HHJ Birss QC and because it was not designed for letters to ordinary consumers.All in all, it's good to see the court recognize how such copyright trolling can and is abused, and try to limit that. It's too bad that it still comes down on the side of having O2 give up a bunch of user information, still knowing that this is likely how it's going to be used. However, at least it's trying to minimize the abuse.
Secondly, the draft letter does not make it clear that the fact that an order for disclosure has been made does not mean that the court has considered the merits of allegation of infringement against the Intended Defendant.
Thirdly, the draft letter asserts under the heading "Infringing Acts" that the Intended Defendant is liable for infringement. Although the last paragraph under that heading implicitly acknowledges the possibility that the Intended Defendant may not be the person who was responsible for the infringing acts, this acknowledgement is not sufficiently explicit. Furthermore, the reference under the heading "Proposed Settlement" to "inaction, by permitting a third party to use your internet connection" undermines the effect of the implicit acknowledgement. As HHJ Birss QC has explained, nothing less than authorisation suffices for infringement, at least in the context of a claim for damages.
Fourthly, the second paragraph under the heading "Legal Consequences" is too one-sided in that it sets out the consequences to the Intended Defendant of a successful claim without acknowledging the consequences to the relevant Claimant of an unsuccessful one. Fifthly, the reference to "other intellectual property" under the heading "Proposed Settlement" is unjustified. There is no evidence that any other intellectual property rights of the Claimants have been infringed.
Sixthly, I consider that requiring a response within 14 days is unreasonable given that the Intended Defendants are consumers and that there is no urgency in the matter. 28 days would be reasonable.
Lastly, the threat to make "an application to your ISP to slow down or terminate your internet connection" is unjustified. Counsel for the Claimants accepted that the word "application" was inappropriate, and said that "request" would better convey what was intended. I do not agree that a threat even of that nature is justified in a letter of this kind, however.
by Mike Masnick
Thu, Jan 26th 2012 3:11pm
by Mike Masnick
Thu, May 5th 2011 10:13am
by Mike Masnick
Thu, Dec 9th 2010 1:55pm
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