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Bringing Down A Copycat Site 468

Nigel Cross wrote in with an interesting story from the world of software fraud. Cross writes "I found a copycat site fraudulently selling my own software and kept a record of the steps it took to bring him down."
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Bringing Down A Copycat Site

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  • Step One: (Score:5, Funny)

    by Icarus1919 ( 802533 ) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @05:13AM (#11207388)
    Step one: Find out name of evil twin from mother.
    • by Datasage ( 214357 ) *
      I think he was the evil twin.

      You don't have permission to access / on this server.

      Additionally, a 404 Not Found error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.
      Apache/1.3.33 Server at Port 80
  • From article:
    > Dec. 24, 2005: I received an e-mail from

    Now, how did you know that? :-P
  • Har Har Har (Score:5, Funny)

    by acxr is wasted ( 653126 ) * on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @05:14AM (#11207391)
    Dec. 24, 2005: I received an e-mail from a former colleague...

    Talk about the mysterious future!
  • /. it (Score:5, Funny)

    by Pmkool1 ( 827418 ) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @05:16AM (#11207400)
    That's the solution to everything: /. it!

    Think about it... Just post a link to that site saying that it's a fake, and just watch as it takes a slashdotting.

    Now THAT'S how a nerd kicks some butt!
  • by procrastitron ( 841667 ) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @05:19AM (#11207412) Homepage
    I know that a lot of people are going to compare this with suprnova/etc to support their stance on copyright law. Rather than take a side right now I would just like to point out that this is not just simple copyright violation. The site in question was also committing fraud and trademark violation, both of which are separate issues in addition to the copyright violation.
    • so, hang on, let me get my head wrapped around this - it is somehow okay to rip off somebodies hard work ("just a simple copyright violation"), but to rip off his *logo* is somehow mean and nasty and below the belt? dude, you have some serious prioritisation issues.....
      • I didn't actually take a stance on the (im)morality of copyright violation in my previous post. I didn't say "just _a_ simple copyright violation" but rather "just simple copyright violation", meaning not only copyright violation.
      • by dn15 ( 735502 ) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @06:08AM (#11207568)
        it is somehow okay to rip off somebodies hard work ("just a simple copyright violation"), but to rip off his *logo* is somehow mean and nasty and below the belt? dude, you have some serious prioritisation issues.....
        Well, in most cases people redistribute content without the right to do so and that's the end of the story. But this thread is about someone who redistributed content without rights and impersonated the creator in the process. Neither is particularly honorable, but the latter is arguably more devious.
      • Yes. Trademark infringement is generally considered to be more serious by the courts around the world.

        The difference is that people are under the impression they are buying from the person who created the software or someone authorised by them.
      • by zakezuke ( 229119 ) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @06:36AM (#11207624)
        so, hang on, let me get my head wrapped around this - it is somehow okay to rip off somebodies hard work ("just a simple copyright violation"), but to rip off his *logo* is somehow mean and nasty and below the belt? dude, you have some serious prioritisation issues....

        Piracy is one thing. You are getting something for nothing. You *could* place a dollar value based on what the software would normally cost but that's about it.

        To misrepresent your self as another company is a form of flat out fraud. In this case someone was getting money for someone else's work, taking credit for someone else's work, and one could argue causing them harm through this misrepresentation. After all the guy was asking for credit card numbers. Not only is there the dollar value of the software someone else profited from but the possibility of harming the character of the rightful owner. Would you do business with a fraudster? Would you use their software or reject it? Would you tell others to reject it?

        I will not say piracy is OK in this reply. I will say that bootlegging is greater offence. And to misrepresent your self as being the owner of code that doesn't belong to you and use this lie to make money one would be no better than.... I don't know.... SCO.
      • There is a difference between me allowing n users to upload a given movie from me, and trying to sell it. The point where I draw the line is when money comes into play.

        Also the main point was the misrepresentation of the product. When I download a movie, I dont rename it "The Dean Movie" and mess with all the credits.

        I am more than happy to give out any of the movies, music, paintings, or code that I have worked on over the years, but if someone were pretend it was thiers and sell it to make money,
        • by JuggleGeek ( 665620 ) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @12:30PM (#11209767)
          There is a difference between me allowing n users to upload a given movie from me, and trying to sell it. The point where I draw the line is when money comes into play.

          So, you'll download free software, but you draw the line at paying $2 to download pirated stuff, because you are far too honorable for that. Got it.

          Either way, if the software author can't sell his software because it's being distributed (for free, or for cheap) by someone else, he ends up out of business.

    • by Ilgaz ( 86384 ) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @07:12AM (#11207724) Homepage
      Forget everything. Fraud etc...

      People who gets tricked gives their personal details, credit card number to such an asshole.

      I think developer was too polite or something. I'd do what network solutions suggest, call law department.

      His problem is solved but that guy will definitely continue to do business (!) with other peoples software. Why? He didn't have cops showed up at his door.

      Remember, because of Bin Laden asshole, Pakistan and USA law departments are nearly connected to each other. I liked to note it for those people who thinks Pakistan is (yes) backward country and they could do nothing about it.

  • Great job (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hexed_2050 ( 841538 ) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @05:28AM (#11207438)
    Awesome! Great work on taking the copycat's site down. There are way too many punks on the internet these days that will stoop to massive lows just to make a buck or two, it's pure garbage. I have many ideas always in the mix and I dare tell a couple people about them before the official release date - I've been ripped off by people before like this.

    sadly, you know as well as I, it won't be long before your copycat starts up on a new hosting server and does the exact thing again.
  • by lodn ( 532801 ) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @05:29AM (#11207443)
    To bad the hosting provider didn't take his complaint seriously. This guy can just pick the next company and start all over again.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I've heard here [] that people trying to protect their IP should just give up on their quaint old ways of doing business.

    Google cache
  • Link to it on Slashdot!
  • by Omniscientist ( 806841 ) <<moc.ohcedab> <ta> <ttam>> on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @05:45AM (#11207489) Homepage
    After doing a Google [] of "MailList King", there unfortunately seems to be an abundance of sites that have his software for download. On the official website, you must pay first, so it appears he has quite a bit of copycats/pirates to track down.

    Good luck buddy.

  • secure server? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ardiri ( 245358 )

    thats a nice and secure server if i must say myself. in one of the emails, he was specifically referring to being part of the esellerate affiliate program - if so, he should e using the esellerate e-commerce engine.. this guy smells danger everywhere, anyone who purchases software from this guy probably gets their credit card number stolen in addition to getting their email address added to the spamming lists (that he also sells)..

  • I'm thinking Nigel hasn't won yet. []

  • by statusbar ( 314703 ) <> on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @06:04AM (#11207553) Homepage Journal [] and [] still allows you to enter in credit card info to purchase the stolen program.


    • by dasunt ( 249686 ) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @07:09AM (#11207719) and still allows you to enter in credit card info to purchase the stolen program.

      That's okay, the resulting slashdotting will kill it. :)

      In all seriousness, this guy doesn't seem to be beyond the reach of US law. His hosting appears to be from Pakhost, who *tada* keeps their servers in Michigan and Texas.

      Remember that DMCA thing we bitch about? Time to write a takedown notice [] to the hosting company citing the infringing material in question. In addition, once you have collected that information, take a few extra minutes tracking down the legitimate owners of the other software on the site, explain what you did, and share that information.

      [ If I'm wrong and his hosting company isn't in the US, a careful inspection of the online store reveals no validation of ording information other than a valid email address. A bitter, wronged coder could write a script to string together valid-looking names, locations, emails, and credit card numbers, then flood their ordering page. It appears that the order information is checked manually, so the above action would end up DOSing their ordering channel. Depending on your location, and the location of the server, this may be very, very illegal, and thus I don't advise it.]

  • by neXus_umr ( 844373 ) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @06:05AM (#11207556) Homepage
    It looks like his pirater just changed the name and icon of the software. [] now has a program called Maillist Pro with a different icon but the exact same key features (minus extraneous whitespace) and a description that only differs in that the word King doesn't appear.

    Check it out: []
  • i mean his product is called "maillist king", right?

    well, sign the copycat loser up to every known source of spam in the universe, as befitting the skills of someone whose product is called "maillist king"

    and then watch the copycat's server melt /didn't rtfa
  • Not far enough. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by marcushnk ( 90744 ) <senectus@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @06:25AM (#11207607) Journal
    You should NOT have stopped at the pulling of your gear.
    Send all the emails to the admin at the host.
    Do not give this bastard an even break. He obviously will not give others a break.
  • I'm curious, he sent some mails and ended up with a smartass reply from the copycat who promised to remove the software.

    A few days later the software is up on the site again ...

    How is that "Bringing down a copycat site" ????

    Wheres the screenshots of a hacked and defaced Copycat website?
    Wheres the sentence from the judge putting Mr Copycat behind bars?
    Wheres the info about the other 5 sites that went down at the same time?

    Nobody has brought down anything yet, except maybe some laughter that can be heard
  • by hkmwbz ( 531650 ) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @06:39AM (#11207630) Journal
    First of all, why all the comments about Xequte selling spamming software? Did you all even take the time to visit the site and actually look at the software available []? Most of these have to do with image manipulation, and not a single word about bulk e-mail or selling e-mail addresses.

    MailList King is a piece of mailing list software, you know, the kind where you can set up a mailing list for discussion, or use it to send information to your customers. He explains it clearly on his site! Sure, you can probably use it for spam, but that's not the author's fault is it? If MailList King is spamming software, then GNU Mailman [] from GNU.ORG is too. Can you all see how ridiculous all this spam talk sounds?

    If you people had actually bothered to visit the page and read the text, you would have known that the screenshot is of the scammer's site []. Yes, those bulk e-mail programs, e-mail addresses for sale, and so on, are all completely unrelated to the author of MailList King software, apart from his program and the content of his site being ripped off by a spammer/scammer [] (it seems that the scammer has just renamed the software, but he still has the text from the actuall MailList King [] page on his site).

    As far as I can tell, all the evidence so far clearly shows that the MailList King author is not a spammer or involved in such activities. Until someone posts evidence to the contrary, I suggest that you all stop shouting about spammers when the only spammer here is the guy who ripped off Xecute's software. Seriously, people.

    One thing I'm disappointed about, though, is that he didn't follow up on this. The site clearly belongs to a spammer, and he rips off other people's sites and software, making money from spamming and scamming. As mentioned above, he simply renamed the mailing list software, but the product page on the scammer's site [] still shows text taken directly from the original page [].

    I would have hoped that this spammer/scammer could have been nailed down and kicked off the 'net. Perhaps someone else can pick it up from here and track down the scammer to put an end to his online adventure?

  • by Albinofrenchy ( 844079 ) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @06:44AM (#11207646)
    When I read the article write-up, I just assumed I was in for some great tale of some peice of scum getting fscked. This was as mundane as going to see a batman movie and batman handles the final foe by calling his mom names.
  • You don't "win" against copyright infringers if you simply take them down. This would in effect make it a zero-penalty game - infringe all you want, but if you get caught, you just have to stop the activity without actually paying any sort of actual penalty. Sounds stupid, doesn't it? It seems obvious to most of us that a punishment (or at least a legitimate threat of punishment) is necessary in order to deter the negative behavior. If you just got warnings every time you got pulled over for speeding, t
  • Leaving aside the question of whether or not MK itself is a spamtool, was it really smart to post the steps that led to resolution? Nothing really forced this person to stop his actions; it was just threats with no guaranteed teeth, as the posting now explains to him. So why wouldn't he now just put the site back up, knowing that the threat was potentially empty?

    Maybe the Pak site would have objected to his forged email, but maybe they don't care a bit - the article certainly makes it sound like Nigel wa
  • in this story:

    "bring him down."

    ^ usually in this sort of thing they talk of

    `ways to defend oneself` and `defending your business`

    so it's a bit over sensational don't you think
  • Nigel, you haven't won yet.

    First you need to consider that this asswipe might just start selling your software under another name or from some other URL. You need to continue to protect yourself.

    Second you need to consider that he is still out there doing this to someone else. It looks like he's selling other software still and I don't think it's too big of a leap to assume that he stole that as well. You need to continue in order to protect your community.

    Third you need to consider that revenge is sw
  • by benna ( 614220 ) <mimenarrator@g m a i l .com> on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @07:16AM (#11207735) Journal
    if this scammers site [] suddenly got knocked off the face of the internet by thousands of large UDP packets?
  • A Better Strategry (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ann Elk ( 668880 ) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @07:30AM (#11207772)

    Forward a pointer to the bogus site [] to Microsoft's legal department. Notice the name? Notice the font used? Doesn't it look like it's designed to resemble Microsoft's logo? This is precisely the type of thing Microsoft Legal prosecutes with a vengeance.

    Hey, just because you hate Microsoft doesn't mean you can't use them to your advantage occasionally...

    • by myov ( 177946 )
      Reminds me of the time I was spammed by (note the v v instead of a w). I could have reported it as spam, but has lawyers :)
  • by Martigan80 ( 305400 ) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @07:41AM (#11207803) Journal
    Well goto here [] and all he did was change th icons and the names a little. Match the previous link with the one in the article [].
  • Overkill? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by skinfitz ( 564041 ) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @08:10AM (#11207899) Journal
    Within minutes I received the following:

    okey I had remove the logo and the software completely.

    And with that single line I had won. I checked his site and all references to our software were gone.

    Boy that really showed him! I'm sorry but I don't think emailing someone and asking them to remove the software "otherwise you will complain to the hosting company" quite constitutes the phrase "steps it took to bring him down". I was hoping for a story of how you chartered a private bounty hunting squad of ex-navy SEALs and pursued him through the jungle while your software was tied to a site under threat of being sold - hell it would have been nice if he'd been sued for $50 but asking him to remove it? Come on - more like "steps it took to send an email asking him to remove it" may be more appropriate!

    Make the bastards suffer!
  • by merc ( 115854 ) <> on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @08:27AM (#11207945) Homepage

    Nigel: I don't know if the original story was dealing with "", as someone on slashdot already pointed out it appears they just changed the name of your software and altered your logo (if at all):


    Some interesting things I've noticed about the domain:

    Name: []

    root@argc:~> g | m

    OrgName: Internet Services, Inc.
    Address: 1333 North Stemmons Freeway
    Address: Suite 110, Dallas, TX 75207
    Phone: 214-782-7800, Fax: 214-782-7801

    Inverse DNS: [] Registrant Contact:
    Khalil Ahmad (
    +92.427596659 , Fax: +92.427583039
    6-L, 73 Business Center, Shadman
    Lahore, PUNJAB 54000 PK

    I take it that's where your pak***.net (and also is the same company, maps to the same IP address and WHOIS registration data)

    WHOIS Administrative Contact:
    Ahmad, Khalil
    116 Salem Road, North Brunswick, NJ 08902
    732-297-8908, Fax: 732-297-8906

    They are a U.S. company. The phone number confirms they are paksys software, also a gander at their website shows the same address and phone number. Calling the New Jersey phone number reveals someone with a thick Arab accent announcing "you have reached paksys software..."

    They are located INSIDE the U.S., telco exchange shows that prefix (732-297) to be in Franklin Park, NJ.

    Their hosting website also shows the same information, their "U.S." address available for visits by appointment only (could be a residence)

    The State of New Jersey will sell you the company filing information for a nominal fee, it looks like PAK SYS SOFTWARE is listed, their file # is
    ID: 0400053874, go to the State of NJ's Business Entity search at ar ch.asp

    Start with filing a complaint with the New Jersey state attorney general, this could get you some type of response (though I noticed you're
    in New Zealand.

    Consumer Complaint form:

    Franklin Park, NJ is in Somerset county, start at:
    • Nice detective work. Really helpful.

      Except for this part: Calling the New Jersey phone number reveals someone with a thick Arab accent announcing "you have reached paksys software..."

      Pakistanis are not Arabs, nor do they speak Arabic, nor are Arabic and Urdu (the language spoken by most Pakistanis) belong to the same linguistic family.

  • by Skiron ( 735617 ) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @08:58AM (#11208025) Homepage
    This happened to Tony Arts - only worse - his domain was ripped away from him, and then whoever done it started charging for his free[ware] software!! (and he codes some good stuff - I used to use a few in my winders days)

    The 'Official' Toni Arts page now: m []

    and the unofficial 'ripped off' one: []

    If ever a site needs removing, it's that one :-(
  • by wehe ( 135130 ) <wehe&tuxmobil,org> on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @02:18PM (#11210968) Homepage Journal
    My project TuxMobil: Linux with Laptops, Notebooks, PDAs, Mobile Phones and Portable Computers [] has been under the attack of content thieves some times. Therefore I have decided to sign all my pages with a steganographic watermark. Also I often watch out for stolen content using a special search engine, e.g. CopyScape []. In case I detect a fraudulent site, I contact the FBI to Report Internet Fraud [] and the FTC's Consumer Complaints [] site (this applies only if the thief is located in the U.S.). And I complain to the thief's ISP.
  • by RonBurk ( 543988 ) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @03:42PM (#11211953) Homepage Journal
    1. Immediately(!) purchase the stolen software, using a Mastercard or Visa. The resulting download is evidence, and the purchase itself will be used later. Make every effort to identify who (URL, domain name, contact info, company name, etc.) is actually processing this credit card transaction (hint: it's usually not the kid in Pakistan).
    2. Notify the contact info of the domain of the infringement. Use a DMCA-compliant notification.
    3. Notify the next upstream ISP of that domain of same.
    4. Notify the domain's registrar. Some have TOS which forbid illegal activity.
    5. Is the bad guy still up? Then start notifying the credit card processor that they have participated in a sale of stolen goods. Use a letter that calmly documents the date of purchase, how you identified the download as a stolen copy of your software, etc.
    6. When your credit card bill arrives, follow the instructions on the back of the bill to contest that purchase. Inform the credit card company of everything that's happened, including dates and times and copies of correspondence
    7. Join the ASP []. It's a chance to notify fellow software producers that their software is being ripped off along with yours (and increase the pressure on a particular pirate site). It's also a way of supporting an organization that works to support your right to make a living selling software.
    The linchpin in this effort is credit card processing. I don't care if you live on a small island that you rule yourself, if you take Mastercard/Visa transactions, you rely on American companies and American law. These giant companies grant smaller companies the right to parcel out merchant accounts, and they can cause non-trivial financial pain for merchant accounts that generate too many complaints for them.

    The wheels of the law can take much time to grind to a conclusion, and not always in your favor. Visa/Mastercard can issue a $20,000 fine in a much shorter time, and they don't have to consult a jury.

    In the Wild West of Internet fraud that involves money flow, Mastercard/Visa is judge, jury, and executioner. Most victims simply don't know enough to bring their case to them, or the amount of fraud would be dropping.

  • Just a question (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ducomputergeek ( 595742 ) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @05:06PM (#11212940)
    Yesterday there was a story about a priacy ring and people being sentance to 15 years for charging for access to pirated materials. There were a number of highly modded post about how wrong it was to sentance that guy to years in prison and a few posts about the evils of the DMCA and closed source software that always accompanies just stories.

    Today we have this story where someone was selling pirated software taking credit from the creator, but because this wasn't some giant software company overwhelming there are modded responses about "way to go", "stick it to 'em", etc. etc.

    My questions is what is the difference between yesterday and today? Both folks committed copyright, trademark, and fraud, but because its the work of some smaller outfit it is more of an evil than the same thing happening to "Evil giant corperations"?

    Piracy is theft. Fraud is Fraud. Infrigement is Infrigement. End of story. It doesn't matter if its small guy or giant huge megacorp.

    I hope that the creator(s) of this program nail this guy and take 'em to the cleaners. Its times like these that lawyers are not an evil word and lawsuits in federal court aren't either.

Logic is a pretty flower that smells bad.