On how I ended up suing Phoenix NAP, LLC ; on how Ira R. Cadwell's mom Stephanie's going to lose her Chula Vista home ; on how Marcus Bohn is going to catch a lot of shit for that ; on assorted other drama.
What a title, huh ? Well... let's get the show on the road.
So, CWIE Holding Company, Inc is a tax shelter operatedi by Bohn for the Cadwell family. Among its holdings one finds Phoenix NAP, which runs a datacenter in Arizona, worth perhaps a million or two ; CCBill, which people involved in porn during the silver ageii probably still remember as the hands-down shittiest of the shitty processors only the desperate ever used ; and all sorts of other junk.
All this would be uninteresting, save the circumstance that for many years the otherwise unremarkable Arizona datacenter enjoyed the great honor of hosting Trilema, and the occasional side projectiii.
Now, when you run a major blog, you are guaranteed to see periodic attacks. The web is ample, idiots abound, the expectations of every head of anonymous cattle so overwhelmingly inflated that if you're not getting at least one piece of maculature aspiring to the status of legal menace a year (plus social engineering attacks, plus normal attacks, plus plus plus) you're definitely doing things wrong. Moreover, when you run a blog like Trilema, which more than once changed the course of history for various groups of people, you'd better expect some blowback.
Which is exactly why, when the datacenter reported a confused complaint as to imaginary "trademark rights" being infringed by the series of articles discussing the abject failure of Bitlove, LLC to implement anything even remotely similar to security on their Fetlife product, I barely noticed. Yet there's little more active than a mendacious asshole scorned, and so some dude purporting to be representing Bitlove, LLC actually filed a proper DMCA notification. To which I promptly filed a counter-notification, as the law provides.
This is where the events took a most bizarre turn. The datacenter informed me that they will not forward the counter-notification to the complainant, unless I amend it. Imagine that! I told them to stuff it, they told me that they won't be sending it, I told them that if they do or if they don't is entirely their problem - if it ever comes to it they'll be liable under the law, but it probably isn't ever coming to it so whatever, suit yourselves. For that matter, the counter-notification had been prominently displayed right under the notification itself on the pages in dispute, so it's not like anyone could pretend they "didn't know" and convince anyone.
So after that I waited the 10 legal days to see if James Huesmann actually speaks for Bitlove or is just lying on the Internet. It turned out that James Huesmann wasn't actually speaking for Bitlove, but merely lying on the Internet, as nothing was actually filed with the court. So I put the material in question back online. As the law provides.
This all happened late February / early March, and so as you might imagine I had forgotten all about it. Whatever, another bunch of Bitdaytrade idiots doing stuff "from the ground up with security in mind" and "bcrypt is the best on the market, the thing market" inept posturing online. So many of these, so little time...
Except Friday evening I came back from lunch to a bunch of emails from the person in charge of the smooth function of this particular part of the MP empire, explaining that the DC paged him about how they're going to nullroute the Trilema IP and what do I want to do about it. Well... what does one do about something like that ? Shrug, mostly. I did send instructions to another person, in charge of another particular part of the MP empire, telling them to proceed with a legal case against Phoenix NAP, LLC, CWIE Holding Co, Ira R. Cadwell and Marcus Bohn, seeking the various damages available for DMCA fraud and assorted misbehaviour.iv
I must say that at this point it is entirely unclear to me whether the original lying scumbag (James Huesmann) made a different complaint, or whether other people made phone calls, nor do I particularly care, to be honest. For one thing, it will all come out through court mandated discovery, and for the other... what possible difference does it make ?v There's even the remote possibility that a bunch of agitation on Facebookvi resulted in the datacenter being flooded with emailsvii, a sort of DSEviii. Whatever it may be, some points probably deserve a little sublineation.
I. Access to the disputed material was at no point disrupted. Sure, I took the lists off for two weeks, two months ago. What's two weeks do ? Sure, Trilema was offline for a weekend. So what of it ? For one thing, archives exist. Anyone that gave a shit (which is roughly "nobody" rounded to the closest million) could have trivially found copies. Or, for that matter, made the lists himself. It's not like the original article didn't include exact recipes for how to extract Fetlife's entire database off the web, it's not like they ever fixed the hole in question.ix For the other thing... seriously, you are going to supress information ? On the Internet, in 2015 ? Just how stupid are the sort of muppets who flock to Fetlife ?
II. This dispute has made me significantly richer. Because some silly people somewhere on the web conveniently found a clink in a corporation's armor for me to exploit, and because I am equipped to exploit it, some unfortunate US outfit is going to pay me in legal settlements more than I paid it in fees for delivered work and services over a decade. If anyone imagines this sort of nonsense is sustainable, that someone should probably run for Congress.
III. This dispute has made the people who don't like you stronger, and the people who do like you weaker. It's not just that the poor datacenter lost a customer it couldn't really afford to lose (and if you think independents can afford lost custom in 2015 you should probably run for a wall). It's not just that very badly written legislation makes it impossible for them to even conduct business.x It's also that I went and hired a bulletproof host nowxi. The dollars that used to go to Phoenix NAP so Phoenix NAP could pay the sort of derps who derp on Facebook about how spooks are people too and wives aren't the chattel property of their husbands a salary, and pay the US Congress taxes do not go to Phoenix NAP anymore. Consequently, there's less money for derps to derp on Facebook about how spooks are people too and wives aren't the chattel property of their husbands, and less money for the US Congress to enforce - and in short order even pass - legislation.
Instead, those dollars now go to some people who principally work to tear the entire derps-and-Congress assemblage down. And so soon enough more spooks won't be people and more wives won't have clits, and an Internet hero is you for having made it all not merely possible but outright necessary!
Well done, if this was the goal, but somehow I suspect the matter wasn't even considered at all, so used is the muppetry with their imaginary lala-land where there's no alternative, and the powerful will submit to whatever indignities rank stupidity may come up with. Wake up and smell the coffee, yo. That wet dream is not actually how the world works. I have the option whether to pay any tax or not. I have the option whether to follow any law or not. Stop wasting your time with posturing and start polishing the knob, because otherwise in a decade or two it'll be you in the reservations and the Indians calling the shots.
IV. Frantic activity is not much of a cover-up for impotence. The true driver of all this "we protest Trilema for making a fool of Fetlife" is exactly the same mental process that drives "Dancing Man", and "kickstarter successes" where some randomly selected derp gets paid a chunk of change for inventing a can of Pepsi or whatever : the derps wish to convince the world, and in convincing the world convince themselves that their appreciation is valuable, and their displeasure dangerous. Because if it were the case that indeed their upvote was worth something, and their downvote had some sort of impact, then they themselves could be said to have value. Some, perhaps not much, but some. Some! Which some is a whole heck of a lot better than none whatsoever, which just so happens to be the case.
For this great cause no sacrifice is too great, they'll literally do anything, say anything, think anything it takes. Does the world have to reduce to "the country", does the world have to reduce to "the mall", to Windows, to whatever it may have to reduce, fine, great, no problem. They'll do it.
The only problem is that... well... it doesn't take. Factually, the unreserved appreciation, esteem, love of the entire world of muppets is not worth much, with their boundless ire following close behind. It's not just that the "social media" clicks aren't worth squat. It's that the very people behind those clicks are not actually worth squat. Whether they like or don't like, whether they agree or disagree, whether they love or hate - it's not even a statistic. They could be gone tomorrow - indeed they will be gone tomorrow - and nobody will even notice.
So... yeah, tl;dr : Trilema was briefly offline because I raped some idiots again. This time I also get paid for having done it.
Oh, and since I moved hosts anyway, I'm also going to publish the full Fetlife Meat List (ie, women under 30). Wasn't going to bother with dumping the rest originally, but now I feel obliged to do something for all those $$$ the legal dept's going to be bringing in. I'm a fair man, after all.
- More or less delinquently [↩]
- Porn made people very, very rich for a few years right after the collapse of the Berlin Wall. The sudden explosion of technology and the shift in societal mores (compare late '80s depictions of "common sexuality" in mainstream media with the same a decade later) resulted in absolutely fabulous profits being reaped out of a very eager, entirely virgin market. You'd pay the women a few thousand dollars a head (in currently inflated dollars, more like 10-15k) and sell the scene for a million or two. Large fortunes were made (and of course - squandered) in this grandiose golden age.
Success brings imitation, and by the time the collapse of the United States rolled around (September 11, 2001), the tubes were already awash in bare cunt, cleanly shaved, closely splayed. This pushed prices down, but it also widened the market. If a 1995 scene would be seen by a hundred thousand people each paying ten bucks for the priviledge, a 2005 scene would be seen by ten million chipping in ten cents a head. Obviously, the 2005 million was split among a lot more pornographers, making their per-capita income significantly less than what the golden age golden boys brought home, which is why this gets to be called the silver age.
Amusingly enough costs stayed the same throughout, and perhaps counterintuitively, if you're naive. If you're not naive you probably figured out on your own that while "the easiest way to separate a woman from her clothes is with a camera", and while cocksuckers will suck cock for whatever it pays, a grand or a dime or a half-eaten sandwich, nevertheless the market saturation drives the complexity of the offer. And so yes, models' pay nosedived while the workload exploded - a lousy girl took home $2`000 for half hour's work in the 90s, and about half that (nominally, otherwise a fifth or less in real terms) for a full day's hard work a decade and change later - but none of this translated into profits for their masters. You could get away with one girl sort-of fingering herself almost in the general area involved, at some point. At some other, later point you needed five girls, a pile of (less expensive, more numerous) gear and three dudes (and you had to - horror of horrors - pay the dudes!) for even a hope at a faint whiff of market success.
This is all done, by the way. Every girl twelve or older is a porn queen these days, every woman under 30 that's not seriously touched in the head has done at least some cam work in the nude (and a good chunk of the touched ones also), the market is so badly driven in the ground the only people still making any sort of profit at it are the likes of Google. Which in the end is unsurprising, who in his right mind would pay to see women naked ? There's a vast oversupply of naked women, seeing how they're all naked under their clothes. The only short stock in the sex market is the erect penis - which is why human sexuality has in all times and places gravitated around it. The entire porn market only existed because inept regulation (societal, rather than governmental, but what difference does it make ?) drove specific inefficiencies which were eventually unwound. And now are gone. That's it. [↩]
- Fain was hosted there, so was Qntra, etc. [↩]
- For instance, consider the incidental that CCBill does billing for Fetlife. There's a word for "breaking federal statute to further business interests of associates", and it ain't a pretty word at all. [↩]
- To me, I mean, not to whether a nice old lady from California gets to keep her house. [↩]
- Judging by a sudden uptick in FB referrals. Normally FB is completely unable to drive any sort of traffic worth the mention, but that Friday it was almost like in the top 10 referrers for the day or something. [↩]
- What's known as "Internet Brigading" - the situation where a lot of people with no money and no practical importance complain loudly, as if anyone cares what the stupid poor say or think on any topic. [↩]
- Distributed Social Engineering attack. Much like the DDoS, it takes advantage of the limited ability of the receiver to process incoming communications. Much like the traditional social engineering attack, it takes advantage of the countless ways in which the memory hole effect makes people unable to act rationally. [↩]
- Chew on this one for a moment : a company whose exclusive claim to... not revenue, obviously, but let's say value is the list of muppets it managed to trick into believing its ridiculous claims has done exactly nothing to protect that list from being extracted by anyone who could be bothered. For months.
Obviously I'm now leaning on everyone to stop providing them with liquidity, which generally means that they're going out of business in a year or two anyway, but even ignoring that part : would you wish to invest or otherwise become involved with an outfit this clueless ?
I get it, a list of three million abject chumps, naive enough to believe Bitlove seems superficially valuable from a marketing point of view - who knows what you could manage to sell them if Baku managed to sell them "security". Nevertheless, consider that whatever you invest into climbing to the top of the pile, where dubious photo studios and assorted knick-knack merchants peddle their 5.99 to 19.99 wares probably has to amortise before 2017. This leaving aside that no, they don't have 3 million users. Not even close. 50k active is probably a generous estimation. [↩]
- It is very badly written. The way the DMCA is intended to work is so that large concerns (like, say, Disney) can effectively swat tiny pirates, the sort of people who sell a truckload of fake figurines or whatever. To make sure it works that way and no other, it has draconic provisions against small concerns pretending to avail themselves of its magical powers against their enemies. It doesn't however bother to say this, it's not titled "A Law To Help Disney - Don't Fuck With This If Your Name's Bitlove For It Will Fuck You Up Horribly". It would be helpful if it were so named, but that would be... unacceptable. So it doesn't say it. Because that's what "the consumers have come to expect" : not to not be fucked with a spiked club in the ass good and hard, but to not be told that they are. Whatever works, I guess.
As a result of all that, it's just not feasible for a million-and-a-half outfit to afford the sort of legal counsel they would need to be able to navigate the situations they actually encounter in the field, exactly for the reasons a cab company can't run its fleet on NASA astronauts. There's just no way. For which very plain reason the whole duct-tape-spit-and-chewed-gum construction is based on the hope that nobody leans. There's somebody trapped there in that tower of junk, making fifteen an hour while trying to discern who might be leaning. The process is obviously error prone - if a beaver and a tank happen in the same vicinty at the same time what's the guy to do ? Fear the beaver, of course, because while small enough to not be able to do any real damage, it is nevertheless familiar. What's a tank anyway ? [↩]
- Actually a couple. The server you're currently seeing is provided by by offshoreseovps.com, which seems like a reasonably competent outfit. I also have backups spun up and ready with abusehosting.ru (site's mostly in Russian but they support English via email ok) and a few others.
Probably worth noting that I did pay for a server with kevlarhost.com and godmodehost.com, both of which simply absconded with the money, so steer clear of those. I also reviewed anonymoushosting.in, which is very cheap (I usually pay 150-200 for a server, this is more like 25) and while the tools available are very limited (directadmin is really not whm), they'll still do the job as long as you're patient. If you're new and your site is small they may actually be a better option. [↩]