Maybe you’ve seen this image before:
And you possibly might have even seen the other two images that go with it:
Well, that’s me. I am the guy who got those e-mails.
I used to run violentnation.com, a website named for a collective of musical and visual artists who were concerned with the violent aspects of American culture. Since nobody seemed to ever contribute to the site but me, I shut it down and move everything to my new site, closing the domain and deleting my photos from the server (actually, I kept the domain for a while debating about what to do with it but that’s neither here nor there).
Anyway, a few days later or so I get the first e-mail.
I ran a search of the referrer logs on the old site, found his site pretty easily and responded asking him about it:
I must say I was quite surprised to receive your e-mail. Before we
discuss this, I need to verify something.
Is this your website?
Please respond as soon as possible. Thank you.
He responded that it was and had more legal threats (as you can see). I responded educating him on fair use, intellectual property and hot-linking.
He responded back the next day, then the day after that with the third e-mail after apparently talking with a lawyer apologizing and the whole thing is over.
He called me “Mr. E_B_A” which is a continual source of amusement to my on-line friends to this day.
Anyway, his was a geocities free-hosting website with one of the popular free-hosting providers (I’d rather leave his site a mystery as he had some very sensitive personal information on it and I suspected, on the second day, this might start making the rounds on the web one day – as you can see).
Here’s some popular questions I was asked.
Why did I conceal his identity?
I guess because while he did a profoundly stupid thing, it wasn’t terrible enough that he deserves life-long harassment and phone calls, etc.
Why didn’t I goatse him?
At first, I thought it was my cousin pulling a prank on me. Him being the fine, upstanding Christian prude he is, I doubt that would have gone over well. Then I started getting really paranoid and scared I would have to really go to court and the very notion of explaining the guy with the wedding ring to a bonafide judge seemed, well, somewhat risky on my part. So I elected to play it safe.
Is it fake?
No. Well, maybe. I still haven’t ruled out the possibility that someone I know wasn’t playing a prank on me. I have some rather mischievous friends. If it is fake, I’m not responsible for the fakery and I’ve been just as scammed as you.
What happened to the photos?
He replaced them with photos from someone else’s site, last time I saw, apparently learning very little from the ordeal. I checked his code just to be sure. One of them was watermarked so I’m guessing there may be future legal action for THAT infraction.
Did you ever talk to him on the phone?
No. I had the opportunity but I knew I might get riled up enough to cuss him out and my only concern at the time, which looks relatively lame now, was to get rid of him lest he actually sued me for real. I’m a poor bloke with no lawyer, no money for a lawyer and no real legal experience to speak of. I had no clue at the time how serious he was or wasn’t so I chose to take him very seriously and handle him with kid gloves. Put yourself in my position.
Can you show us his site?
I recently dug up the original site. This is not what it looked like then (no doubt because of stolen images) and again, I’ve censored out anything that would identify the poor fellow:
Will I link it up? No, thank you. If he sued over this, imagine what he’d do if I started sharing his site to a bunch of devious internet folks with plenty of tricks up their sleeves that border on harassment. Thanks but I don’t need any more drama then I already got from the duffus.
Has he contacted you since?
Thankfully, no. And I’d like to keep it that way.
Anyway, that’s my little piece on the tragic turn of events that was my near brush with jurisprudence.
This article has been translated into Serb-Croatian!