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Sociopathic former disgruntled web dev
DMCA abuse
JeffreyLebowski



 
Msg#: 4452410 posted 10:26 pm on May 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

Hi all.

This story probably starts like many, but it gets better. It goes:

-Boy meets web dev
-Boy hires web dev to do some work on web site
-Web dev offers to host the site for free to facilitate his work
-Web dev does piss poor work
-Boy wants web site back so new web dev can work on it (all bills payed)
-Web dev realizes he's getting canned, promptly comes up with $1100 of new charges, will not release website.

Of that $1100, about $700 are a copyright dispute. The other $400 are equally outrageous (e.g. $300 for SQL dump and tarball of webroot, which took 5 seconds to make through a plugin for the CMS).

You may be thinking "there are two sides to every story".

That's exactly what the State Police Cyber Crimes division thought, until I granted them access to my e-mail, at which point they clearly saw that this is a typical case of "I'm getting fired so now I own your site".

At the first signs of the criminal investigation the former web dev releases the site.

The end...

But there's a sequel to this B-Movie

The former web dev is now angry as a hornet. He thought he had the leverage, and it was taken away, and to my discredit I did spike the football in his face afterwards. Then I left it alone, have not contacted him since.

But, he's contacted us. Over and over and over again, he's contacted us.

The bottom line is that he's still trying to shake us down.

We were just ignoring this snake, and his rambling quasi-legal sounding threats of lawsuits and promises of speaking to his (imaginary) lawyer right after dictating this e-mail to his (imaginary) personal assistant.

Meanwhile, we decide to remake the site from the ground up using the new web dev, and using a different CMS all together, simply because it was time.

Guess what: he says he owns this site too!

My new web devs are now at the focus of his shakedown, poor guys. He files a DMCA take down notice. He claims the *entire site* is a copy of his in order to set up a situation where there is no specific content in question which we could just take down to get rid of him.

The new wev devs respond with a counter notice, and further threats of lawsuits ensue which he promises to proceed with (yeah, right), just as soon as he leaves his (imaginary) Berlin Office.

We have hired a lawyer, which we fully intend to unleash on him. We're just waiting to see how far he wants to go with the perjured DMCA takedowns, as by law he incurs significant liability to us in so doing.

I wanted to give all that background in case someone has some general advice. I don't want to assume that the interests of the attorney and myself are 100% aligned.

Here is my question:

My understanding is that after filing the counter-notice the onus is on the bad web dev to get an injunction. He's claiming in more rambling e-mails that he will just continue to file takedown notices.

Can he really do that?


I know I could get hosting in Sweden (or some such), but I don't want us to do anything that could make us look bad in the upcoming litigation.

Thanks in advance,
JL

 

Leosghost

WebmasterWorld Senior Member leosghost us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4452410 posted 10:44 pm on May 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

IANAL
But
We're just waiting to see how far he wants to go with the perjured DMCA takedowns, as by law he incurs significant liability to us in so doing.

By what "law" ? DMCA ? he is in Berlin ?

Filing a wrongful DMCA has no penalty for him DMCA is a USA law..

USA laws do not apply to him..( you can't enforce penalties under them outside of the USA ), without going to incredible expense with international lawyers and injunctions etc

Keep records of all correspondence..

If required ..send copy to your host..

Copy to Google..

Info .. [copyright.gov...]

Other than that ..the advice of any one of us here is the advice of "someone" on an internet forum

JeffreyLebowski



 
Msg#: 4452410 posted 1:48 am on May 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

He doesn't really have a Berlin office, and all his work is out of the USA.

His permanent residence is in the USA.

He just makes these things up, just like his made up lawyer, his made up billing department, and his made up Mexico City office.

I added that for color, so you could get an idea of the type of whackadoo we're dealing with.

Leosghost

WebmasterWorld Senior Member leosghost us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4452410 posted 1:58 am on May 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

general advice ..you get more help/accurate responses if you "stick to the facts" and avoid the "colour"..

lucy24

WebmasterWorld Senior Member lucy24 us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4452410 posted 3:02 am on May 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

Hm, well, you could get your own lawyer and start bombarding him with equally spurious threats to zap him for Abuse of Process...

dezinerite



 
Msg#: 4452410 posted 12:53 am on Jun 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

This happened to a company I worked for. They hired devs to build a web product, devs heard that they were being fired so they claimed copyrights on the source codes. Worst: the devs were the registrants of the .com!

The real owners had to take the .net and then published the whole case on a section of their website. I did viral marketing for them, and I noticed that these devs were continuously sabotaging their business (e.g. bad product reviews, etc.).

You're dealing with a jerk and instead of focusing on the damage he is doing on your business, I suggest you draw attention to his own business. You've paid him so you know his real name and other details about him. Tell him that if he doesn't stop harassing you and refuses to get off your case, you will have no choice but to alert the entire online webmaster community in all webmaster forums that he is a scammer and give elaborate details of what actually happened.

I did that to someone who tried to mess with me a few weeks ago. What he didn't know was that he was dealing with the wrong person that day. I made sure that "scammer" came up when his full name was typed in Google. He panicked and spent days begging me to take it down because it was affecting his business.

incrediBILL

WebmasterWorld Administrator incredibill us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4452410 posted 5:06 am on Jun 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

I made sure that "scammer" came up when his full name was typed in Google. He panicked and spent days begging me to take it down because it was affecting his business.


LOL

This guy should be careful because the internet, thanks to search engines, never forgets.

Other useful things come to mind like ROR (Rip Off Report) the BBB and bad reviews anywhere appropriate reviews can be placed, including LinkedIn and Facebook perhaps.

I've witnessed a band of unhappy customers with similar stories virtually tag team some bad dev out of business.

FYI, even letting a developer use your server isn't safe as I knew some poor schmuck that had a developer that once granted access to the server, sent password reset requests to the owners registrar and actually transferred the domains to a different registrar. It gets better, he transferred them out of country so the owner had no legal jurisdiction.

References, always get references, preferably from people you know.

dezinerite



 
Msg#: 4452410 posted 8:24 pm on Jun 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

What's annoying though, is that when someone files a DMCA takedown warning it's almost like web hosts just don't want to get involved so they end up warning their own clients to take down what's being claimed as copyright infringement. Some hosts won't even bother knowing who's right and who's wrong, they won't care about reading the emails. It's absolutely ridiculous.

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