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, 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?*******_********/*****_******.html

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.

My story, sort of, has made it’s way to Fark, kottke and Digg.

This article has been translated into Serb-Croatian!



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  1. Colleen    

    Thanks for posting this! It was one of the best laughs I’ve had all week! Let’s hope his mama doesn’t have anymore like him at home.

  2. Blain    

    I’ve managed to see this on a message board I’m on, and have to say that it’s the most hilarious thing I’ve ever seen in regards to websites and the use of images. Thank you for making my experiences, and probably many others, with people who nick images briefly enjoyable xD I do have to admit that I’m a bit jealous I haven’t got anything fun like this haha

  3. Andrew Carpenter    

    His name is Edward. You’ve neglected to blur that out from the final image.

  4. Vo    

    you should have sued that fucking gay.

  5. Zach    

    Sounds Like Eric Bauman…. eBaum’s World…. Hahaha


  6. sasi    

    prank like reality :D

  7. Stolen server    

    Witch hunt anybody? i say we hunt him down >:)

  8. Gracey    


    …the guy’s “business” is helping others to market their online business. OMG.

    Besides that…all his images and text are copyright?, o hahahahahaha, yeah, but whose copyright.

    That’s too sad.

  9. Brrr    

    This is not as uncommon as one might think. Increasingly, people are taking the attitude that if it’s posted online, that makes it public property. I’ve had people insist to me “if I can google it, I can use it, end of story”.

  10. Danny    

    I had someone hotlink to my images.
    I changed them in my directory to pornographic images and messages like “I steal images from otehr sites, because I have a small penis”

    They soon removed them from their site…

  11. Mikkel Johansen    

    Ha ha… This is just too funny :)
    I can’t believe how dumb people can be.

    Heres a link to how I found your story:

  12. Cmabrian    

    I think it‘s a good joke……you make me laugh……

  13. Steven Hart    

    This is hilarious! Though on a serious note it might be cool to share the wording used in your communications. If this happened to me I wouldn’t know where to start in regards to stating my legal rights, and to see exactly how you dealt with this would be pretty useful to a lot of freelancers, should it happen to them.

    Though Danny’s suggestion of replacing images with porn sounds like a fun idea! :)

  14. Harold    

    Hello dude, can you re-upload the images of this post? This post is pretty hilarious, and I enter here today to show this to a friend, but the images are gone…? All the fun were there… I think I’ll have to contact my lawyer.

    Just kidding ;) Please if we get the images back would be nice!



    1. E_B_A    

      I fixed them. Sorry about that. My site got hacked and I’ve been having to rebuild everything from scratch. Hadn’t gotten that far yet. It’s fixed now, though.

  15. David Sugden    


    The first thing I thought of when I read this was of the Owl & Crow story on: Search for THE CROW AND THE OWL by Louise Szente when the page launches.

    I’m glad you ended up ok. The guy initially complaining might easily have been a crow.

    Nice story.


  16. Donagh Mc Sweeney    

    Haha just saw the most recent images. Now that’s priceless! People tend to think that something is on the internet and freely available that they have some predefined rights to take and use it as they wish! This has been entertaining though to say the least!

  17. Steve Smith    

    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.

    I respect your reasons not to publish his site address but his site is a website. The intention of all websites is to be able to be seen by anyone (unless password protected).

  18. littleoslo    

    haha that guy sucks n u really are a nice gay and the whole story is as funny as those urban legend online lol.

  19. littleoslo    

    haha that guy sucks n u really are a nice guy and the whole story is as funny as those urban legend online lol.

    sorry i mistype the word guy to gay pls delete the previous msg

  20. Jim Abell    

    Wow, this reminds me of a friend of mine. I know the most basic of HTML and was helping him build his web-business. Each time I’d get his page running right he’d send me more links and banners to add to it. I had his site uploaded into a seperate folder of my personal website so that he could see and test the site as it was coming together, so one day he suddenly happens to decide that the site is ready for the public and sends out a mass e-mail directing people to his URL which then promptly re-directed to the folder on my website. As soon as I found out I promptly changed the extensions on all of the files and changed the main page to simple text explaining that his content was not available becuase it wasn’t his website which then got him all bent out of shape because he had already sent out “invitations” to his potential clients.

  21. xx    

    You should just send this person an invoice for unlawful use.
    For everyone month he has been using your image, bill him $100 per month, go back to 2005 if you will.
    Theft of images are too common and unless we start invoicing and start teaching them about honoring the copyright law, this sort of thing will happen too frequently.

  22. Mauran    

    LOL, LOL, LOL, LOL! xD…serious how stupid can the human being be D:?

  23. John    

    ROFL Bet he tried to sue geocities because he was using them to “build up his business” and now they deleted all his work!

  24. Kitty Addict    

    now this was beyond stupid LOL
    but you handeled quite nicely!
    congrats… really

  25. Kels    

    This only porvees that we’re a sue-happy society that’ll look for any excuse to go to court. Whether the excuse is good or not.
    But you handled it very professionally. Well done on your part.

  26. CS-80 Cliff    

    Hahaha! What a silly twat! If it was my images, I would have switched the images he was linking to for photos of my arse with my web-address and a ‘copyright’ logo written across it in marker-pen! That would give him the message!

  27. Roi    

    I like how the Geocities service is closed now!

  28. Victor    

    ROT in HEll, you and your pictures which are of no consequence.
    Thank God I have nothing to do with you, and I don’t use your images for NOTHING!
    Haha, God made me a smart guy, not to use crap from others, that is why I am an autodidact and I learn alone, I learnt English alone without going to school!!
    That is something I GAVE TO MYSELF, i did not ask it from PEOPLE LIKE YOU, heh heh.

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  33. Souldysfunction    

    You know it doesnt surprise me at all that someone tried to sue over something that wasnt his. We do all remember what started (or atleast news wise started) this sue happy trend when that ritard of a old woman burnt her self with HOT coffee and won a law suit against MCDs just because hot wasnt printed on the Hot coffee she just purchased. I do have to say that is guy handled the situation with much better kindness then I would have.This is what the political politeness movement has created, self-important sue happy i look down my nose at everyone society. Glad to see that for once that the self important ass didnt win what was never his in the first place. Way to go ‘Mr E_B_A’ I commend you for your level head, restraint, and not giving in to the bullshit.

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