Category Archives: Law

I Saved $4.5 Billion

I was going to buy a Nimitz class aircraft carrier today, but instead I bought lunch at Rubio’s.

And to be totally honest, I would rather have a burrito from Rubio’s even if an aircraft carrier was the same price.

I’m a saving machine… I just saved $4,500,000,000 and I didn’t even have to switch to GEICO!

Math Has No Relevance

Is there some sort of Congressional entrance exam where you need to NOT be able to pass 1st grade math?

Watching the whole deficit stuff unravel is like watching kindergardeners argue about something they don’t understand. :)

So let’s forget for a second that the US has around $115 TRILLION in unfunded liabilities, and just focus on a much “smaller” amount… the US debt is currently around $14.5 TRILLION.

Now the latest plan for debt reduction goes something like this… “We will only borrow and extra $800,000,000,000 per year instead of $1,200,000,000,000.” And it’s being billed as “saving $3 trillion over the next 10 years”. Last time I saved money, it was money I DIDN’T spend at all.

Let’s say I have $10,000 to my name, and I wanted to buy a new phone for $176,400 (the price of a Princess Plus iPhone)…

It’s $166,400 more than I can afford, so I decide to take out a loan for it. I decide that I’m going to instead get the less expensive version for $66,150 (less quality diamonds), so I only need a loan for $56,150.

I don’t know much about math, but I DO know that I’m amazing… I only had $10,000 to my name, yet I was able to save $110,250! If I do this every year for 10 years, I can save $1,102,500.

I’m a FUCKING GENIUS… I just solved my lifelong debt problem! The amount of money I can save is limitless.

Government Economics or Ponzi Scheme?

Here’s an interesting exercise… Let’s take the first two paragraphs from Wikipedia about a Ponzi scheme…

Ponzi Scheme (from Wikipedia)

A Ponzi scheme is a fraudulent investment operation that pays returns to separate investors, not from any actual profit earned by the organization, but from their own money or money paid by subsequent investors. The Ponzi scheme usually entices new investors by offering returns other investments cannot guarantee, in the form of short-term returns that are either abnormally high or unusually consistent. The perpetuation of the returns that a Ponzi scheme advertises and pays requires an ever-increasing flow of money from investors to keep the scheme going.

The system is destined to collapse because the earnings, if any, are less than the payments to investors. The system eventually will collapse under its own weight.

Now let’s swap a couple words here…

US Budget

The US government budget is an operation that pays for [medicare, social security, pensions and funds wars] on behalf of it’s citizens, not from any actual income “earned” through taxes (or any other method), but from money paid by subsequent taxes. The US budget usually entices new citizens by offering services that other taxes cannot guarantee. The perpetuation of the liabilities that the US budget advertises and pays requires an ever-increasing flow of money from citizens to keep the scheme going.

The system is destined to collapse because the income, if any, are less than the expenses. The US budget/economy eventually will collapse under its own weight.

What Does Carmen Electra, Cyber-Terrorism and Meg Whitman Have In Common? eBay!

Note: This was moved from blogs.digitalpoint.com to here, because well… blogs.digitalpoint.com is no longer a sub-domain we use (user blogs were wiped when we migrated to XenForo).

I haven’t said much about it to date about the dealings between myself and eBay, because well… I didn’t see a point. But now with people’s imaginations running wild about what did (and didn’t) happen, I suppose I’ll talk about it. The story itself is far more interesting than you would think possible within an affiliate program.

The Beginning
I started doing things with the eBay affiliate program in the fall of 2004. On October 20, 2004, I decided I would see if I could rank well for one of the “holy grail” SEO keywords… “eBay“. On November 9, 2004, I was in the top 10 in Google for “ebay”… specifically I was #9 (at the time, the top 50 results were just the various official eBay sites for various countries). On December 10, 2004, I held the #4 *and* #5 position in Google for the keyword “eBay” and this was a position I held in Google until April, 2006 (when Google updated their algorithm, and I no longer cared about the ranking). I also held the #1 spot for other things like, “eBay Registration” (even higher than ebay.com’s registration page). The rankings were partially done with the Co-op Ad Network. People saw me outranking eBay’s own domain for the keyword “eBay” and in December of 2004 the Ad Network exploded in popularity. All of a sudden we had hundreds of millions of pages on the Internet serving billions of Ad Network ads every day.

I got the attention of eBay because my affiliate income was going crazy and they assigned someone to be my “go to” person for anything I needed within the eBay program. This person was assigned to me in early 2005.

Personally I was more than happy with the income I was getting as an eBay affiliate, but eBay was not and helped me come up with new/innovative ideas for driving more traffic to eBay.

Spring 2005
Due to the overwhelming popularity and reach of the Ad Network, eBay came up with the idea in the spring of 2005 that we should use our ad network for more than just helping people rank well in search engines. The logic was that we are serving billions of ads every day, so why not use it as a traditional advertising delivery system? It made sense, so we tried it out by using a small percentage of the Ad Network ad space to serve up tens of millions of eBay ads every day that ultimately were affiliate links. Affiliate income jumped another 300% around that time (as expected).

The Promise Made

At this time, the eBay contact that was assigned to me was constantly complaining about how they need to get a new car because their car was crappy. I finally got tired of continuously hearing about their crappy car and promised that I would buy them a new car if I ever made over $1M/month, but they could never talk about their car again starting now. I honestly never thought I would make anywhere remotely close to $1M/month at this point, so it was an easy way just to get them to shut up about their car.

Summer 2005
eBay was pleased… they were getting massive amounts of traffic and it sure made their affiliate program look good. In the summer of 2005, eBay decided it needed more traffic from me. I told eBay I couldn’t drive any more traffic. They responded that I should “experiment” with what they deemed “grey area” things (this is what eBay called anything that violated their terms of service).

At this point, things started to seem strange to me. eBay was paying affiliates millions per month, when they had no competition… for the most part it was traffic they would receive anyway. And why was eBay *happy* (and they were) that I was outranking them for their own company name and paying me for it? Someone searched Google for “eBay”, came to my site and I would send them to ebay.com to get affiliate revenue. Finally I confronted eBay about it all. I told them numerous times that I didn’t understand even why they HAD an affiliate program, and that I would gladly do what I do for them for 1% of what they were paying me. The response I was met with with ultimately was (and I quote), “Well don’t tell anyone that. Why do you not like ‘Free money’?”

When I asked them why they would knowingly allow affiliates to violate their terms of service, they were very good at avoiding answering my actual question. Finally after pestering them with the same question for weeks, they broke down and informed me that their terms of service (and even the entire affiliate program to some degree) was a bit of a facade. It allowed eBay to do things they wanted to do (like spam search engines, deploy in countries where they had no actual presence, etc.), while also giving them a way to wash their hands of any wrong-doing when any of their large partners (like Google) would question them about it (like why there are so many spam sites directing people to eBay). They could simply say, “It’s our affiliates, and they are violating the terms of service we set forth.” To me, I suppose it sort of made sense and I stopped questioning them about it. BTW, one of the times this was explained to me was at PubCon in Las Vegas, *while* an eBay employee was going around to each public access computer with a USB dongle he developed that would automatically install something that would redirect any user to eBay when they tried to access Yahoo Auctions.

I was informed by eBay that they understood that in order to keep the interest of their large affiliates and keep them creative/innovative they allowed them to experiment with doing pretty much anything as long as the affiliate let them know if they put something into large-scale deployment and it violated their terms of service. So in the summer of 2005 I played around with all sorts of things (most things did not violate their terms of service, and most things were ultimately bad ideas for driving a decent amount of traffic). One of the things that was toyed with was a mechanism to force the end user to click through to a site that they didn’t actually click on.

I first heard the name Ben Edelman towards the end of the summer. Apparently eBay contracts with Ben to do random compliance checking on their affiliates and issues a monthly compliance report to them. I showed up on his compliance report because this was the time they gave me the go ahead to play with non-compliant things. eBay then proceeded to amend what they told me prior. I was free to do experiment with whatever I wanted, as long as I didn’t show up on any outside compliance reports. They said outside compliance was something they had to do as a publicly traded company, but wasn’t something they paid much attention to internally. When I first showed up on Ben’s compliance report eBay told me it would be best if I just blanket filter (via geo-targeting) the area were Ben worked as well as locations Ben Edelman might be. This included the bay area, Santa Barbara (CJ was located there), Boston, Washington DC as well as an area in upstate New York. eBay even sent me a copy of the “secret monthly compliance report that no one was supposed to know about”. The fact that I showed up on his compliance report was a bit irrelevant anyway since I wasn’t experimenting with any grey area stuff any longer by the time the report was given so in the end there wasn’t anything I needed to change.

Geo Visitors
eBay knew how widely used our Geo Visitors tool was (installed on millions of web pages, MySpace profiles, etc.). So they asked me to direct traffic to eBay when someone clicked on the Geo Visitors button that was widely installed, which looked like this:

Instead of sending the user to the map they were expecting, they would end up on eBay (this was done sometimes, not all the time). I actually brought up the point to eBay that this violates their own terms of service… specifically the part of their terms of service that state you can’t mislead the end user or trick them into clicking something. After further discussion my eBay rep came back, saying they talked to their legal department and I was in fact correct. Their solution wasn’t to stop the traffic though, but instead make the Geo Visitors button display as a small eBay ad instead. Specifically, the Geo Visitors button would sometimes show as:

Personally, I was not okay with this, as it really seemed like a bait and switch… The whole reason I brought up the original implementation as a violation of their terms of service was because I didn’t want to do it anymore and was hoping they would stop applying pressure for me to do it. In the end, the pressure eBay put to leave it as a “sometimes” eBay ad won out. And affiliate revenue again nearly doubled.

The Promise Kept

This was also the time that my affiliate revenue from eBay broke over $1M in a single month, which is significant because now I had to make good on the “promise” that I never thought I would have to follow through on. My eBay contact called me immediately after I broke $1M in a month and said, “Okay, you broke $1M… buy me a car.” Sadly, I’m a man of my word and I did try to buy them a car… unfortunately the car they wanted was backordered everywhere, so instead of buying them an actual car I told them I would give them the money needed for the car and they could go find one themselves. It wasn’t extortion or anything since I was the one that offered, but it sure felt like it to me in the end. That was a promise I made that ultimately cost me $50,000.

On top of that, I was coerced into buying my eBay contact a plasma TV, a really nice laptop (while I had a crappy TV and crappy laptop of my own… hah), etc. I kept asking if this was “normal”, and was only told, “Yes, all the affiliates buy their contacts stuff like this.”

Spring 2006
My life started to get very strange. People were finding out how much money I was making by being an eBay affiliate, which made people go a little crazy I think. My servers were getting around 100,000 hack attempts per day, people were showing up on my doorstep from Europe (literally) threatening me with crap if I didn’t tell them what I was doing for eBay. My car got stolen from a “secure” parking structure. More than one person found where I was building a house, broke into the development to take pictures and post on their blog, etc.

I didn’t like the attention and this was not the life I wanted.

I proceeded to inform eBay that I no longer wanted to participate in the eBay affiliate program… but every time I brought this up with them (which was every time I talked to them at this point), I was guilted into staying, with them asking me to stay “one more month” or “can you just wait until the end of the quarter so it doesn’t wreck our numbers?”. Finally I REALLY wanted to be done and not strung along anymore and again was guilted into staying with them telling me how many hours they spent getting me a “special rate”, etc, etc. and now it would all be for nothing if I was going to quit.

eBay Live! – June 2006
The top affiliates get invited to an eBay affiliate conference that takes place during eBay Live! each year. The conference was in Las Vegas this year and eBay affiliate program managers (along with some other eBay executives) invited me to a “secret meeting/dinner” where I was the only non-eBay employee invited. We had dinner at Mix, a swanky restaurant at THE Hotel.

Who cares, about a private dinner, right? Normally yes, until you get into what the topic of discussion at this dinner was. This dinner meeting had two main topics… 1. How can I drive more traffic to eBay (always the topic with eBay) as well as something far more interesting.

The Black Budget
One topic that was discussed was eBay secret “black budget”. This was described as a large allotment of money that eBay was free to do what they wanted with, without it being reported on accounting sheets (and in turn shareholders). eBay wanted me to REALLY ramp up spamming the web with eBay ads. I told them I wasn’t interested at ALL and in fact still wanted to quit the program completely, not “ramp it up”. I explained to them that Google was pretty good to me as far as sending me traffic and that I had no interest in spamming Google search results. Then they offered to buy any hardware I wanted with their black budget and get it co-located offshore if I wanted so that no one could trace the spamming back to me or digitalpoint.com. I still told them I wasn’t interested.

Then they made it very clear that they have no love for Google at all and would actually pay me whatever I wanted from their black budget to “hurt Google in any way I can”. I didn’t really understood what they were asking or even why they would want to “hurt Google”. I pointed out that Google is not their competitor and hurting Google ultimately would only hurt them in the end since they get traffic FROM Google. Finally they came out and said they were angry at Google because eBay was one of the largest AdWords advertisers and Google recently changed their AdWords pricing to take into account “ad quality” (more on that here) and it was costing eBay exponentially more in advertising dollars. I still wasn’t clear exactly what they meant by “hurt Google”, and pressed them to be a little more specific. Their answer was, “You are creative… think of anything you can think of and just name your price. Maybe you could figure out a way to take down Google datacenters somehow?” eBay even flew down an executive from their pay per click advertising division to talk about this.

Yeah, no. eBay asking me to engage in cyber-terrorism against Google… thanks, but no thanks. I’m not going down that road.

After I made it blatantly clear that I was not interested in “hurting Google” for any price the topic turned back to how I could drive more traffic to the affiliate program. I told them that I really didn’t think there was a way I could drive more traffic. They questioned me about any of the “grey area” stuff I experimented with in the previous summer and if there anything in there that could drive traffic. I told them that it was *possible* to add additional traffic, but the only traffic they could get from that would be non-compliant. Their response was, “As long as you don’t show up on compliance reports, it’s compliant as far as we are concerned.”

Carmen Electra & The Super Bowl
In 2006, I had a new idea for driving traffic to the eBay affiliate program that started as a joke. I had the idea to “Win A Date With Carmen Electra” (or some other person along those lines that would agree to it). The idea entailed running a Super Bowl ad that directed you to a site that passed traffic through to eBay via an affiliate link. My joke became serious when eBay actually wanted me to run the Super Bowl ad. They even went so far as to get special approval from their legal department after I expressed my concern about spending the money to run the ad when they could decide they didn’t want to do it (or pay the commissions on it) after I already foot the bill. There wasn’t enough time to get it ready for the Super Bowl that winter (and eBay was rather annoyed I couldn’t do it that year).

Fall 2006
I don’t recall the exact time, but I believe it was in the fall of 2006. I showed up on Ben Edelman’s monthly compliance report again, and this time he was absolutely furious with eBay employees about it. What *I* heard is that during the conference call with the eBay affiliate managers, he did a lot of yelling and screaming about why I was still participating in the eBay affiliate program when I should have been terminated last time I showed up on his report.

eBay’s response to him? “We’ll take care of it.”

eBay’s response to me? “Ben can only cross reference affiliates by PID. Please change your PID in case you show up on Ben’s report in the future.” Yep, that’s right… eBay only wanted me to change my tracking ID so Ben Edelman couldn’t see it was an affilate that was on his report in the past.

Private Jets
eBay knew I was not driven by the money (clearly since I told them constantly I didn’t want to participate in the program any longer and that I would do what I did for eBay for 1% of what they were paying). They ended up getting creative to keep me interested in the program for the last year. Going so far as to trying to get clearance so I earned hours on a private jet instead of commissions (even if those commissions were worth more, it was more interesting to me).

Rover
In the fall of 2006 eBay was switching over to their in-house rover links and I was very slow to switch my links to rover. I didn’t see a point in it really… the old links were working just fine. They were oddly insistant that I move my links to rover, but would never actually tell me why. Their refusal to tell me why made me not want to do it, so we went around and around for months with this. I told them I would switch my links to rover as soon as they told me why it’s so important. Finally they said it was important to them because traffic going through rover links had no compliance checking.

The End
In June of 2007, my affiliation with eBay ended. And truthfully, I was very happy about it (in the previous year, nearly every communication I had with eBay, I would bring up the fact I didn’t want to participate in the eBay affiliate program any longer), so it was an easy way out without them begging/pleading that I stay in the program “just a little longer”.

eBay’s Numbers
eBay was clearly driven somehow by the overall commissions paid out to affiliates. There were months where their numbers would be “low”, so they would give retroactive bonuses out to all (or at least the top) affiliates for the previous month, and were constantly upping the payout rate to affiliates (which is odd only because they had no real competition).

I suspect eBay’s management staff within the affiliate program were probably getting quarterly bonuses based on how much commissions were paid out to affiliates.

Non-Compliant Traffic
eBay’s “favorite” traffic source back then was also technically violating their own terms of service. Cloaking search engines via server-side redirects was the thing they loved the most. But again… they stated their terms of service acted more like a scapegoat they could point to when their partners (notably Google) would question them about it.

So What Happened?
This part is purely speculation, but the feeling I get is that someone higher up in eBay got wind of what their affiliate program managers were doing and encouraging affiliates to do and “cleaned house”. I heard a rumor that the majority of the top 100 eBay affiliates were axed at the same time I was. I also heard a rumor that the eBay affiliate program managers inside the company were also “let go” (or at the very least relocated to different departments) at the same time. Did it have something to do with Meg Whitman’s (eBay’s CEO at the time) departure from eBay? Who knows, but I can only assume eBay knew of Meg Whitman’s departure at least a few months before it was official and started to bring in the new management team. It would all coincide with a timeline of someone from the new management team looking deep into how things were run.

So if someone higher up wanted to “clean up the department”, what do you do after you get rid of most of your top affiliates and replace the internal employees running the department? You take your previous top affiliate (me) and attempt to make an example out of them. In the course of this lawsuit, eBay has even said it’s not about the money.

Okay, So Why The District Attorney Then?
Off the record, one FBI agent told me that they (personally) thought this whole thing was a waste of their resources, and was a civil matter between eBay and myself. Politics is politics, eBay is eBay and coincidentally one of eBay’s civil lawyers used to work in the district attorney’s office. :)

Philip Garrido’s Blog

So the fruitloop that kidnapped an 11 year old girl, held her captive in his backyard shed for 18 years while she bore 2 of his children has a blog.

http://voicesrevealed.blogspot.com/

So here’s the deal… Google is really good at determining relevancy of a webpage and what a webpage is about. Maybe they should modify their algorithms a bit to detect crazy people automatically.

Quotes from his blog…

“…the Creator has given me the ability to speak in the tongue of angels in order to provide a wake-up call that will in time include the salvation of the entire world.”

“THE U.S. FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IS NOT THE SOURCE OF MIND CONTROL

These areas are off limits and a danger to anyone believing they can experience this type of freedom. It belongs to God for the direct application of His Word.”

“THIS ALL BEGAN BY GOD REMOVING A PROBLEM FROM MY SHOULDERS THAT BEHAVIORAL SCIENTIST BELIEVE IS NOT POSSIBLE TO REMOVE. SINCE THEN MY LIFE HAS SEEN MAJOR IMPROVEMENTS ALLOWING ME TO STAND HERE TODAY A FREE MAN.”

Astronaut Charged With Attempted Murder

Sweet… how would you like to be isolated on the International Space Station with a murderer? :)

NASA astronaut Lisa Nowak was ordered released Tuesday on an additional $10,000 bond on an attempted murder charge in Orlando, where she allegedly tried to subdue a purported romantic rival with pepper spray and kidnap her from an airport parking lot.

Nowak also was ordered to wear a global positioning satellite, or GPS, device.

Nowak, 43, appeared in court Tuesday afternoon to face the attempted first-degree murder charge.

Nowak is accused of accosting Air Force Capt. Colleen Shipman, 30, in the Orlando airport parking lot early Monday, telling police she only wanted to talk with Shipman.

http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/02/06/astronaut.arrested/

If You Steal, The IRS Wants A Cut

This is hilarious… who in the hell comes up with this crap? Do they really think some thief is going to report it as “Other Income”? And even if they did (which would be funny), wouldn’t the government sort of be an accomplice since they are benefiting from criminal acts? It almost makes me want to go out and steal a pack of gum just so I can put something in the stolen property section of my tax return. haha

This is clip from page 88 of the IRS handbook for individuals (PDF version here).

So what do you learn from this? If you steal a car, return it before December 31 so you don’t owe taxes on it! haha

Alternately, treat it as “borrowed property without the owner’s permission”, but that’s a little more grey area and might not fall under the IRS’ safe harbor guidelines.

5V ≠ 12V

A couple weeks ago my network router at home finally died (it was a Linksys WRT54G), but I certainly got my money out of it (I got it when it first came out which was probably 4 or 5 years ago). Every light on it flashed, which couldn’t be good… so I replaced it.

Long story short is I bought another one (same model) and just swapped it out with the new one (using the old power supply). Well it was doing some weirdness every 24 hours or so where the power light would flash and it would loose Internet connectivity (all other lights were fine) and if you unplugged it and plugged it back in, you were golden again. Everything I looked at online was saying a flashing power light meant the firmware was screwed up (I didn’t change anything with it). Finally I decided to look closer at the power supply… even though it was the same model, the new version runs on 12 volts and the old one ran on 5 volts.

So I guess you can run a 12 volt piece of equipment on a 5 volt power supply and it will work (for awhile anyway).

Update

Ironically, you would think I would have learned my lesson about wireless security especially after the MPAA/Universal are suing me. But alas I didn’t… I have better things to do than muck with it. Rather annoying that Linksys routers come configured to be wide open (wireless) by default… Hopefully no one did any nastiness from an IP address I “own” in the last 2 weeks. :) I probably would have never noticed it except I was in the config area trying to figure out what the hell was wrong with it.

Worlds Hardest Head

This woman was shot 6 times in the head… the bullets were lodged under her scalp, but none of them penetrated her skull.

Pereira was shot Friday in the small city of Monte Claros, about 900 kilometers (560 miles) north of Sao Paulo, after quarreling with her former husband, who was reportedly upset because she refused to get back together with him. She was also shot once in the hand.

Doctors could not explain why the .32-caliber bullets did not penetrate Pereira’s skull and didn’t even need to be extracted immediately.

http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/americas/11/11/shot.in.head.ap/

Burger King Now Serves Weed Burgers

Two police officers sued Burger King Corp., claiming they were served hamburgers that had been sprinkled with marijuana.

The lawsuit says Mark Landavazo and Henry Gabaldon, officers for the Isleta Pueblo tribal police, were in uniform and riding in a marked patrol car when they bought meals at the drive-through lane October 8 of a Burger King restaurant in Los Lunas, New Mexico.

http://www.cnn.com/2006/LAW/11/07/pot.burgers.ap/

Naked Man Arrested For Concealed Weapon

Uhm, what goes through people’s minds sometimes??? hahahahaha

A man was arrested on suspicion of carrying a concealed weapon after police found him outdoors — naked — and he told them he had a tool in his rectum, authorities said.

The man was lying on a tree stump, masturbating beside a nature path, near a Bay Area Rapid Transit station Thursday, police said.

John Sheehan, 33, of Pittsburg, was initially arrested on suspicion of indecent exposure. But when asked whether he was carrying anything police should know about, Sheehan mentioned the tool, said El Cerrito Detective Cpl. Don Horgan.

“You can’t get much more concealed than that,” Horgan said.

Officers drew their weapons and firefighters were called to the scene. Sheehan removed a 6-inch metal awl wrapped in black electrical tape without incident.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061104/ap_on_fe_st/armed_and_naked_6

Oh Wait… We Don’t Own The Copyright

This is something I’ve known about for a few months (obviously), but now that I ran across the information on other sites, I don’t see any issue with posting about it now…

Universal City Studios Productions (the entity suing me [more or less] on behalf of the MPAA) doesn’t actually have a legal right to sue because they didn’t own the copyright. {lol}

You can read the motion to dismiss over here if you are bored.

It is of course a technicality, and assuming the whole case is indeed thrown out, I’m sure once they get their heads screwed on straight they will probably start the whole process again with the correct entity (you know, one that actually owns a valid copyright). :)

Regardless if they do (or don’t) want to come after me again (again, assuming it is thrown out), it opens up a whole new can of worms. For the hundreds of people that “settled” for $2,500, are those settlements even legal/valid? If they turn out to be invalid, what can I do to help everyone get their settlement money back from Universal/MPAA? They’re legal right to make settlements with people would be along the same lines as me settling with you for downloading Star Wars. I’m thinking if people were paying me because I told them I owned the copyright to Star Wars (but I didn’t really) may be illegal in itself.

Request

I never received a copy of the proposed settlement agreement (I didn’t request one since it wasn’t an option in my mind), but if anyone happens to have one or know anyone who has a settlement agreement for allegedly downloading Meet The Fockers, could you leave a comment here on this post (I’ll contact you to coordinate getting a copy). That way my lawyers can go over it and see if it’s legally binding if Universal City Studios Productions never owned the copyright to begin with.

I saw it on Tech Dirt, but I knew about it first (I swear!).. hah

http://techdirt.com/articles/20061031/192204.shtml

White And Nerdy

I have to thank my old roommate Tracy for this… she apparently thinks of me whenever she hears this song. haha Great.

The RIAA/MPAA should take a note here… I never heard of this song until Tracy told me to go find it on YouTube… and I just purchased the whole album via iTunes Music Store because of it. I would have never gone to the store to buy it, but one-click purchasing of the album makes it easy. Now if you could just do this with DVDs, I would buy/watch more. And I guarantee I don’t have a unique viewpoint.

Update

Hahahaha… speaking of which, I’ve been listening to the album and just heard “Don’t Download This Song”, which you can download for free over here.

Lyrics

Once in a while
Maybe you will feel the urge.
To break into national copyright law
By downloading mp3s
From file sharing sites
Like morphous or grogster or limewire or kazza.
But deep in your Heart.
You know the guilt would drive you mad
And the shame would leave a permanent scar
Cause you start out stealing songs
Then you’re robbing liquor stores
And selling Crack
And running over school kids with your car

[Chorus]
So Don’t Download This Song
The record store is where you belong
Go and buy the CD like you know that you should
Oh Don’t Download This Song

Oh you don’t want to mess
With the R I Double A
They’ll sue you if you burn that Cdr.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a grandma
Or a seven year old girl
They’ll treat you like the evil Hard-bitten criminal scum you are

[Chorus]
So Don’t Download This Song (don’t go)
Pirating music all day long
Go and buy the CD like you know that you should
Oh Don’t Download This Song

Don’t take away money
From artists just like me
How else can I afford another solid gold Hum V
And diamond studded swimming pools
These things don’t grow on trees
So all I ask is everybody Pleaseeeeee

[Chorus]
Don’t Download This Song (Don’t do it No No)
Even Lars Urlich Know it’s wrong (You could just ask him)
Go and buy the CD like you know that you should (You Really Should)
Oh Don’t Download This Song

Don’t Download This Song (Oh please don’t you do it or you)
Might Wind up in Jail like Tommy Chong (Remember Tommy)
Go and buy the CD (Right Now) like you know that you should (Go out and Buy it)
Oh Don’t Download This Song.

Don’t Download This Song (No no no no no no)
Or you’ll burn in hell before to long (And you deserve it)
Go and buy the CD (Just buy it) like you know that you should (You should get it)

New Business Model For Catching Movie Pirates

Well first of all, I was just checking this site out because this is probably the most amazing homemade halloween costume ever made, but it gave me a really good marketing idea for the MPAA…

They should just setup an affiliate program and pay affiliate marketers 25% of the fees they collect from the lawsuits/threats. Dude, I would be the biggest affiliate marketer for the MPAA in the world (seriously, I can guarantee that). Anyway, here’s a freebie for the MPAA (if they want to do an “under the table” affiliate program, they have my address for the check)… ;)

Nate used Photoshop to enlarge an image of Wolverine’s claws from the X-Men movie that he had downloaded.

Oh also, I would like to turn in Mark Cuban for movie piracy. :)

http://www.muc.muohio.edu/~natedogg/main.htm

How The MPAA Launched My Blog

Someone pointed out something kind of funny/ironic… Since the MPAA decided to sue me, they have actually made my blog a few times more popular than their own site (mpaa.org). If you look look at the Alexa graph below, the green line is the old URL for this blog, the blue line is the new URL (when I switched over to my own domain) and the red line is the MPAA’s website.

The orange arrow coincides with the day I first heard about the lawsuit (and posted about it).

The odd thing is it actually looks like their site is getting less traffic over time (not a good direction to go). Maybe they would like to buy some advertising space on my blog for their anti-piracy propaganda? :) Hey, you never know… it could happen!

Marketing Lesson #1

Figure out how to get the MPAA to sue you.

Another MPAA Partner On The Pyramid Of Piracy

So back in June, I made a post that helps people understand the MPAA’s “Pyramid of Piracy”. As I pointed out last month, BitTorrent.com (the company, not the software), which is one of the MPAA’s partners is actually one of the biggest “facilitators” by their own definition.

Well now the MPAA has at least one other partner that is also on the Pyramid of Piracy… and this one is higher up in the pyramid. Guba.com is a Top Site on the pyramid.

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1759,2019308,00.asp

It will be interesting to see how long before an MPAA partner is at the top of their pyramid as a “Supplier”. Oh wait, maybe the MPAA is saving that slot for itself. ;)

Update

Speaking of movies, I went to the movies last night for the first time in a long, long time and I saw Black Dahlia. A pretty crappy movie… up there on the “crap scale” with A Thin Red Line. Not only was it not worth the $10 movie ticket, it wouldn’t be worth the bandwidth to download it (legally or illegally).

Now I remember why I don’t go to the movies… Because they are are boring compared to real life and an utter waste of time. Maybe if someone would make a good movie, the MPAA wouldn’t be pissing and moaning about declining ticket sales. :)

They Found My Stolen Car

I just got a call from the San Diego Police Department letting me know that some Federal investigators recovered my stolen car somewhere in Sonora, Mexico and that they are going to mail me something and that I can come pick it up.

Well first of all, I don’t have the keys for it anymore because my insurance company technically owns it now. Secondly, how does a US Federal something-rather have jurisdiction to recover my stolen car in another country (not that I’m complaining)?

Would be funny (and nice) if my personal stuff happened to still be in the car. hah

Only 3 months and 2 weeks after it was stolen. :)

The Film Is Not Yet Rated: Unsuitable For Minors

I wonder if the MPAA is just pissed off they were busted for illegal movie copying when this movie was submitted to them or what?

The documentary that is critical of the MPAA was given an NC-17 rating by the MPAA. In their own words, it means this:

This rating declares that the Rating Board believes this is a film that most parents will consider patently too adult for their youngsters under 17. No children will be admitted. The reasons for the application of an NC-17 rating can be excessive violence, sex, aberrational behavior, drug abuse or any other elements which, when present, most parents would consider too strong and therefore off-limits for viewing by their children.

I can’t wait to see this movie now… Something critical of the MPAA, and we might get excessive violence, sex and drugs thrown in there as well (I’m hoping for all of the above). Either way, it surely will be interesting to see what’s in there that the MPAA is trying to protect our youth from. ;)

While I can’t be 100% critical of the MPAA since I haven’t seen the movie (for all I know, maybe 50% documentary and 50% porn), from the description it sounds like every other PG-13 Hollywood flick to me…

We’ve had investigative documentaries about Wal-Mart, about Enron, about burgers and newspapers and the whole military-industrial can of worms. So it was high time we had one about the corporate world of Hollywood moviemaking, and that is what Kirby Dick has given us, indirectly, with this extremely watchable study of the Motion Picture Association of America, or MPAA: a bureaucratic creature of the Hollywood studio system which enforces self-regulatory censorship.

Dick reveals it to be a bizarre institution: secretive, cantankerous and paranoid, high-handedly slapping certificates on movies ranging from G – all ages allowed – up to an R (under-17s need parent or guardian present) and then an R-17 (no under-17s allowed at all). This last rating is the equivalent to our 18 certificate, less strict by one year, but still commercial catastrophe for film-makers hoping to get their product out to the all-important youth market. The MPAA never discusses its reasoning, and never reveals the identities of its “raters” or members of its absurdly pompous “appeals board” which, in certain cases, will grandly condescend to reconsider its verdict, prior, in the vast majority of cases, to solemnly announcing that the original decision was correct.

Maybe the fact that it’s a documentary and not a work of fiction makes it more damaging to our youth or something. If that’s the case, then I guess the MPAA more or less confirmed the movie’s validity that the MPAA’s rating system is whacked out. {shrug}

http://film.guardian.co.uk/News_Story/Critic_Review/Guardian_review/0,,1862074,00.html

A trailer for the PG-13 “Teaching Mrs. Tingle” was rejected when a shot of a dog licking a wine bottle was said to promote teen drinking.
Update

Maybe the MPAA shouldn’t press the internal “red alert” button if someone is critical of them. It’s actually quite fun to see what people *really* think about you (at least IMO). This guy thinks I’m an ‘egocentric homosexual’ for example. And a ton of environmentalists have no love for me over here as another example. See? It’s fun. :)

Plus it would be super lame and boring if everyone in the world liked you.

Download Meet The Fockers Via BitTorrent

You may or may not know, the MPAA and BitTorrent “joined forces to protect film copyrights” (the MPAA’s words, not mine) last November (see press release).

Search for Torrent Files

  

From Bram Cohen (BitTorrent CEO):

“BitTorrent, Inc. discourages the use of its technology for distributing films without a license to do so. As such, we are pleased to work with the film industry to remove unauthorized content from BitTorrent.com’s search engine.”

From Dan Glickman (MPAA Chairman and CEO):

“We are glad that Bram Cohen and his company are working with us to limit access to infringing files on the BitTorrent.com website,” said Glickman. “They are leading the way for other companies by their example.”

So, uhm… I wonder how well that’s working out for the MPAA these days… They are the MPAA’s strategic partner, so I can only assume that what they do with movies has the MPAA’s full blessing. With that in mind, I went to BitTorrent.com, and did a search for the movie that I allegedly downloaded via BitTorrent. BitTorrent.com will give you 15 different options for downloading Meet The Fockers.

They are even kind enough to give you some HTML you can copy/paste so you can find anything you want (see search box in the upper right of this post).

Now by the MPAA’s own definition, BitTorrent.com is a “facilitator” on the Pyramid of Internet Piracy.

It seems to me like it’s a very odd and confusing message the MPAA is giving to everyone. On one hand, they promote the usage of BitTorrent.com in their own press releases, yet they issue another release outlining the “Pyramid of Internet Piracy”, which includes one of their major strategic partners.

Huh? So the MPAA wants to sue the bottom feeders on the pyramid, but publicly promote the facilitators. Maybe the MPAA will just keep moving up the pyramid and start promoting “top sites” and “suppliers” too. {shrug} I don’t generally consider myself a stupid guy, but I’m confused.

Although when you think about it, it may actually be a brilliant idea… “Let’s show consumers how to download our movies, then we can extort bill them for $2,500. Check it out, we just sold a $9.43 DVD for $2,500 (a 26,500% markup).”

Update

WTF??? Talladega Nights (a movie that just came out in theaters today) is available for download via the MPAA’s partner site. I didn’t download it myself, but I can only assume it’s a free download?

The MPAA’s press release let us (consumers) know that BitTorrent.com has been working with the film industry to remove unauthorized content from their search engine. So I can only assume these are authorized distributions of movies? Giving away movies via the Internet on the day the movie comes out in theaters just seems like an odd business model to me. They should put together an affiliate program, so we can trick our friends into illegally downloading movies and then we could get a cut of the settlement. Gimme 40%, and I’m down. I’ll promote the hell out of it. :)

I’m starting to think that maybe it’s not me that’s destroying the movie industry, maybe it’s the MPAA.

Funding A Movie

Here’s something kind of funny/ironic with the whole MPAA thing going on…

I got a proposal in the mail today from a film production company that wants me to invest/fund their movie for a 14% return on the investment plus title of “Executive Producer” on the movie.

“Based on those factors, it should receive a PG-13 rating from the MPAA.”

I wonder if they know that if they submit a movie for rating to the MPAA with me as the executive producer that it will automatically be stamped NC-17? :)

Wow… Crazy Traffic.

First I got wired, then someone came along and slashed me, then someone dugg me, then I was farked by someone I hardly know. After basking in the afterglow, a vampire came by and slashed me (again!) and told me I was delicious.

The last 24 hours saw more traffic to my blog than any other day (it was a good stress test for WordPress, and my caching mechanism seems to have worked well).

But here’s the low down… Wired Magazine issued their August issue in the last few days, which had an article about the whole MPAA lawsuit in there. Slashdot picked it up, and made it’s front page. Digg then picked it up (front page there too) and it was one of the most popular stories for the week within a few hours. Then Fark picked it up and it was a front page story there too.

Now here’s the funny part… today Slashdot is running a front page story about how popular that Slashdot article was yesterday. :)

Looks like it also made the front of del.icio.us too.

The Important Part

Okay, so now that I have 150 million eyes, I want to take advantage of that situation for the greater good of mankind, and ask a favor… if you are reading this and you happen to know Alessandra Ambrosio, will you send me her phone number? :) (BTW, if you don’t know who she is, click here.)

Update

Someone saw it in a print edition of some big Swedish newspaper and sent it to me:

http://www.aftonbladet.se/vss/it/story/0,2789,862915,00.html

No idea what it says, but who’s that handsome chap? :)

Update #2

Hahaha! I was just getting dinner and some random person recognized me.

Wired Magazine Article

Okay, okay… I’ve had the issue for a couple days now, and I was a bit torn if I was going to post anything about it on my blog or not. I didn’t like a few things about it… For one thing, I’m not a “hero” (I’m a pretty normal guy), but they titled the article Shawn Hogan, Hero. Anyway, today it seems everyone knows because I’ve been bombed with emails, phone calls, etc. about it. People have scanned the article and posted it around and it also made the front page of Slashdot today.

So I guess at this point the world knows about it, so if you want to read it, here it is…

http://wired.com/wired/archive/14.08/start.html?pg=3

P.S. – it was kind of funny to see my mug shot in Wired Magazine’s table of contents (in the August print edition).

Update

Just saw someone dugg the Wired article and it made the front page of digg.com too.

Update #2

I’ve been getting bombed with requests from people to donate. If anyone really wants to donate, take that money and donate to the EFF instead.

I Figured Out Where My Car Is

Okay, so you know how my car got stolen a few weeks ago? I just had an epiphany and realized what really happened to it…

The MPAA/Universal Studios hired someone to steal my car. They didn’t do it because just want to annoy me or because they thought it had anything cool in it (which it didn’t… except for my sunglasses). Nope… the real reason is they want to see if I would lie to my insurance company to try and claim I had other stuff in it which I didn’t, then have my car magically turn up with whatever stuff they were hoping I would claim not there. Then they could somehow use that against me to show my “bad character”. :)

Disclaimer

In case you are brain-dead, this is a JOKE by the way. As much as I would *love* for it to somehow be true (man that would be hilarious), I don’t REALLY think the MPAA stole my car. :)

So everyone reading this can just take your panties out of a bunch… this is a work of fiction out of my overly active imagination, and as far as I know has no truth at all to it.

Oh… speaking of my car, it looks like it’s going to be around 7 weeks before I have a replacement. I had to put in a special order to get the exact one I had before (color and options), so they have to build it especially for me. Lame.

Rock, Paper, Scissors

I ran across a funny news article this morning… basically two lawyers have to play rock, paper, scissors to resolve their disputes. :)

Faced with the inability of two bickering attorneys to resolve even the most innocuous scheduling questions without his intervention, a Florida federal judge yesterday ordered the two to meet on the steps of the federal courthouse and resolve their latest quarrel by playing “one (1) game of ‘rock, paper, scissors.’ ” (Read the ruling.)

Judge Gregory A. Presnell of Orlando ordered the unusual measure, which he characterized as “a new form of alternative dispute resolution,” after the two Tampa attorneys had proven unable to agree upon where to hold a deposition, even though both of their offices are just four floors away in the very same building in Tampa.

http://money.cnn.com/2006/06/07/magazines/fortune/rps_fortune/

You can find the original ruling over here.

I’m Destroying The Movie Industry

One of the allegations of the whole MPAA lawsuit is that I’m more or less destroying the movie industry because I allegedly downloaded a movie that I own.

So here’s two pictures of some DVDs I own in my living room. I don’t even feel like counting how many movies I have (maybe someone reading this will do it for me and post a comment letting me know how many), but I’m guessing well over 200. The dumbest thing is that of the movies I own, I’ve probably watched (in its entirety) 40 of them. And I’m guessing that 50+ of them, I’ve never even put in a DVD player to TRY to watch (I just don’t have the time to watch TV/movies anymore… but it’s nice to have them in case you ever have nothing else to do… like on a plane).

When it really comes down to it, I’ve probably spent $5,000+ on DVDs that I never watch more than once (and in most cases, never at all) because I’m too lazy to make two trips to Blockbuster (one to rent and then again to return it). And since I buy movies (but don’t immediately watch them), sometimes I forget which movies I already own, so I end up with 2 copies (see 2nd picture).

So uhm… if I’m damaging the movie industry, who in the heck is supporting it? Hell, I support the movie industry so much that I be willing to feed (okay, buy dinner) some movie stars (see this post).


BTW… when shopping for furniture, I realized that entertainment center/media storage units was the hardest stuff to find when looking for something that is quality. So if you are ever looking for good stuff, check out Salamander Designs (Synergy line for me). Good stuff.

Top Sites

I saw the MPAA’s “Pyramid of Internet Piracy” on Digg this morning, and I’m curious if anyone knows what a “Top Site” is (without reading the PDF file below I mean)? I’ve spent countless hours educating myself on everything related to my MPAA case, and this one is new to me.

…clusters of high speed computers known as “Topsites.” The extraordinary speed and power of a Topsite triggers the avalanche that is global Internet piracy.

{scratching head} All I know is clusters of high speed computers with extraordinary speed and power are f’ing expensive (I happen to have first hand knowledge of this – digitalpoint.com gets so much traffic that I’m in the process of building out web and database clusters because a couple servers can’t handle the traffic).

Forgetting about the legality of running a “Topsite” for a second, from a pure business standpoint, why in hell would anyone spend what I can only assume is 6 figures on server clusters to distribute something for free? Whoever is running these “Topsites” should find something better to do with their money/resources IMO. Then again, maybe Topsite servers are cheap (but still having extraordinary speed and power). If that’s the case, maybe I should have purchased some Topsite servers and converted them into web/database servers and saved some money. :)

I Googled “Top Site(s)” and “Topsite(s)” and I couldn’t find any information about it.

I always thought “top sites” were those stupid directories that list the top 10 sites for a category or whatever…

According to the MPAA’s pyramid of piracy, bittorrent.com (which has partnered with MPAA) is a “Facilitator” (see previous post). Strange.

From this: http://mpaa.org/press_releases/pyramid_of_piracy.pdf (don’t ask me why they insist on using PDFs for everything, including images)

I hope the MPAA won’t sue me for using their image. Oh wait, they already are… my bad.

BitTorrent.com Needs To Clean Up Their Act

So apparently the MPAA and BitTorrent, Inc. are working together to clean up piracy (specifically film piracy in this case [of course since they are the MPAA]).

From Dan Glickman (MPAA Chairman and CEO):

“We are glad that Bram Cohen and his company are working with us to limit access to infringing files on the BitTorrent.com website,” said Glickman. “They are leading the way for other companies by their example.”

Okay, that sounds like a good first step (and hopefully down the road they will start selling movies for download). But uhm… they seem to be failing miserably at this. If you do a search for a movie using the search function right at the top of BitTorrent.com, it looks like you can download pretty much anything (and this is the company that the MPAA thinks is “leading the way for other companies by their example”?). I suppose BiTorrent, Inc. could be logging everything that people download and giving it to the MPAA so they can file lawsuits, but wouldn’t that be some sort of entrapment?

All this stuff is very bizarre, but terribly interesting at the same time. We have the MPAA promoting BitTorrent’s site, yet you can download anything illegally right from the site they are promoting. You have Warner Brothers getting ready to distribute movies legally via BitTorrent (and promoting BitTorrent as well), but then at the same time Warner Brothers own message board is full of people helping each other to download Warner Brothers material that is under copyright via BitTorrent (and WB doesn’t currently offer any legal downloads via BitTorrent that I know of).

Either way, if I was the MPAA (or any movie studio like Warner Brothers), I would tell BitTorrent, Inc. to piss off/clean up their crap and at the very LEAST I certainly would stop sending them traffic.

The underlying technology for BitTorrent is nothing short of revolutionary, and if done properly it could change the way any sort of media is distributed (legally), but for some reason they don’t seem to be leveraging what they have. If they can “fix” their issues, I hope they go public, because I would be the first in line to invest in them (the ideas/technology behind it is amazing). BitTorrent, Inc. needs me as a software developer/business consultant I think. :)

Links:

Update

It looks like I’m not the only one shares this viewpoint. Mark Cuban is pretty much saying the same thing over here. While the MPAA isn’t going to do anything to him of course, it’s funny to see him admit to copyright infringement on his blog. :)

“Now I did have to go through some interesting chinese porn to get Scary Movie 4, but i got there.”

I’m Not Trying To Save The World

This is just more blah, blah about the whole MPAA vs. me thing.

One thing that I think people are not understanding here is that I’m not trying to change the world with this. I’m not trying to “take down the MPAA”, change any copyright or file sharing laws or anything else as grandiose as that. Hell, I have expensive billing software that I wrote that is pirated every day (I’m just too lazy to sue them… too much hassle and work IMO).

I’m still not 100% certain what the details are for the stuff the MPAA has against me (other than it was downloading “Meet The Fockers”), but I’m sure it will come out in the discovery process. I do think it will be very interesting to check out their methodology for pinpointing users for their John Doe lawsuits. Even if the world jury lost their minds and I was somehow found guilty and had to pay whatever the court sees fit, the whole process would have been a cool story to tell. And maybe I could even learn something in the whole process. I’ve learned a TON about all sorts of interesting stuff already as a result of this case – for example BitTorrent technology is actually pretty amazing from a purely technical standpoint [other companies like Apple, some Linux distributions, etc. seem to think it's a pretty good technology too]. Even Warner Brothers is going to be distributing movies via BitTorrent (legitimately with DRM intact of course), which I think will be *awesome*. When it comes down to it, it’s all about decentralization and utilizing whatever resources are available. I’m still hoping Apple will do an iTunes Movie Store, and if the backend works with file sharing/swarming technology where users could earn credits for ultimately footing Apple’s bandwidth bills, then all the better.

Anyway, my point is that I’m not trying to save the world… I’ve received countless emails/phone calls from people who treat me like the second coming of you-know-who, and just think people are blowing everything out of proportion (obviously). I’m not interested in writing a book about it or making a movie about it (well, unless maybe someone can somehow slip in a love scene for me with someone like Rachel McAdams… haha!)

Some useful advice from me… “Don’t ever take things at face value if your gut tells you that something is fishy. Ultimately knowledge is power, and the best way to get knowledge is to figure it out on your own. Sometimes you might even come up with a better way of doing things by ‘thinking outside the box’.”

BTW – if Rachel McAdams is reading this… can you call me please, I must have lost your phone number… ;)

Update

OMG dude, I just re-read what I just wrote and I’m an f’ing rambler. Sorry, just ignore me. (but seriously… Rachel – call me.)

Early Neutral Evaluation Conference

Just got back from the Early Neutral Evaluation Conference with Judge William McCurine, Jr. (who was a remarkably nice and likable guy). Overall it was a waste of time (as expected) though because they really just want the two opposing sides to figure out a way they can settle without going to a full trial. Judge McCurine asked ██ â–ˆ █████ ██ ██████████ ██ ████████ ███ ████ (not that the MPAA/Universal offered that)… which of course â–ˆ ████ ██ █████ â–ˆ ████ ██ ████████ ██ ███ ██ ███ ███████████ ███ â–ˆ ███ ███████ ██ █████ ███ ██████ ██ ████ ██ █████ █████ ██████ ████ ████ ████ ████████ ██████ ███████ they asked for it. I guess he isn’t a regular reader of my blog, because if he was, he would have known that already (heh.. that’s a joke BTW).

I almost was late for the whole thing because I forgot how to tie a tie. hahaha!

Their lawyers were blabbing about ███ ██ ███ █████ ██ ████ â–ˆ ████ ████ █████████ ██ ███████ ████ ████████████. Hahaha… that’s a weird argument for a court, eh? Thanks for the compliment… I would pay to hear that argument in court. :)

Since I have no interest whatsoever in their extortion settlement offer, we will be going for a trial. Judge McCurine did say ██ ███ █████ ██ ███ ██ ████ ██ ██ █████ ████ ████ (█████ â–ˆ █████ ██ â–ˆ █████ ██████), so that’s cool.

I guess next up is a mutual discovery plan which is due in 3 weeks.

Also… in the last week, I’ve done a couple different interviews regarding this case, so I’ll post links to them when they are published. :)

Update

I guess these conferences are confidential, so I wasn’t supposed to post all that, oops. :)

Tanya Andersen vs. RIAA

I know this is old news for people that have been following the RIAA and MPAA lawsuits, but it’s new to me (now that I’ve been dragged into it, I’ve been reading all I can find). This entry is more of a bookmark entry for myself.

http://p2pnet.net/story/8273

Some interesting stuff that I may find useful for my suit.

I’m sure they are going to want to go diving into my computers, which is fine with me as long as I have assurances they destroy everything afterwards. I’m certainly not going to let them take clones of every computer I own if I can help it. I have enough source code and trade secrets on my computers that I’m sure millions of people would love to get at it.

A judge ruled Andersen could name her own investigator who’d search only for specific files.

And the RIAA will have to pay his or her bill.

But the most interesting part to me is that she brought forth RICO (Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organization) allegations against the RIAA about 6 months ago. Since they haven’t been thrown out of of court yet, I’m assuming the counterclaim has enough merit that it will be forced to go to a full trial. I’m thinking I may be able to do the same thing, considering they “offered” a settlement of $2,500 based on no valid information (a random IP address they could have pulled out of thin air). Then when I refused, they flat out threatened me saying that if I didn’t pay, they would take me to court, and my costs incurred would be much more than $2,500 even if I beat their charges.

If they really believe they have a case against me, why are they “letting me off” for $2,500? They have much more to gain by going the court route. Oh wait… maybe because they are extorting money from people.

I’m not a lawyer (so someone please correct me if I’m wrong), but if I’m able to file a counterclaim that doesn’t get thrown out in court, would this prevent them from dropping their original suit against me (forcing it to go to trial and final judgement)?

Preparing For Early Neutral Evaluation Conference

It’s amazing how no matter how many times you tell someone something, they don’t seem to “get it”. Someone called me letting me know they are preparing whatever paperwork they have to file for next weeks Early Neutral Evaluation Conference. They keep letting me know they are working on getting the issue settled.

But here’s the problem… It’s not about the money for me, it never was. I’ve already spent more in legal fees than what I could have settled for.

I will never sign any sort of admission that I did anything (since I didn’t) in exchange for them to drop it. There is nothing the MPAA/Universal Studios could say or do that will make me settle (I wouldn’t settle for $1). I know technically I can’t prevent them from dropping the case, but if I could, I would force it to go to a full trial with final judgement. As far as I’ve been able to research, out of the tens of thousands of RIAA and MPAA lawsuits, not a single one has gone to a final judgement. Does that seem odd to anyone else? (If anyone knows differently, please let me know.)

The bottom line is I would gladly prefer to spend whatever it takes out of my own pocket, rather than just hand over the $2,500 in extortion money they wanted. Regardless of the money spent, there is always a way to indirectly recoup the costs. For example paid advertising displayed to people reading about my case (which at this point is well over 100,000 people, and we haven’t even really begun). Another idea I had was why not put together a website where people could use it to defend themselves from the RIAA and MPAA lawsuits. The only reason people settle with them is because they can’t afford the cost of going to court. Maybe put together a site that generates all the filings/forms they need to defend themselves for a couple hundred bucks or something. BTW, if any lawyer(s) want to do a joint venture on something like that, please let me know.

More info on this whole case can be found over here.

Update

For everyone asking how to contact me in the comments, my email is shawn at this domain. Please put MPAA in the subject so I know I will see it (I get way too much email).

The Wrong Guy Kewney

The BBC was doing a news piece on the Apple music vs. Apple Computer case and they were trying to do an interview with Guy Kewney, but instead they accidentally pulled his cab driver into the interview. :)

“I am very surprised to see…this verdict to come on me because I was not expecting that. When I came they told me something else and I am coming. So a big surprise anyway.”

Update

Okay, it turns out the dude wasn’t a cab driver, but instead someone named “Guy” who was at the BBC for a job interview for an IT position. Still funny though.