Monday, July 14 2003

By their threats shall ye know them

Hey, what’s a web site without fraudulent threats of legal action? There’s a guy out there who has bullied and blustered his way into a business running pay web sites for Playboy models under various names, primarily “Alpha Interactive” (no links provided; after all, my goal here is to convince you to spend your money elsewhere).

This is old news, but I couldn’t resist the urge to yank his chain by reposting his threats and explaining his motive in making them.

His first strike looked like this. It was sent to abuse@munitions.com, abuse@webtv.net, and abuse@microsoft.com, but addressed to EarthLink. It’s a half-assed attempt at a DMCA infringement letter, alleging that some or all of the contents of my web site infringed his intellectual property, his name, and his business practices. Several mostly-identical copies followed within a few hours, each looking slightly more legitimate than the previous one.

The problem? My site contained precisely zero bytes of infringing IP (trivially proven), and no reference whatsoever to either his name or his business practices. All it had was a link to someone else’s web site, hosted at EarthLink.

The connection? He’s the abusive ex-boyfriend of a popular model — a woman whom I consider a personal friend — and the EarthLink-based site summarizes the incidents that ended their relationship and business partnership. I posted the link as a public service to her fans, saying only that I believed that the claims he was making were nonsense.

Not much to hang an IP-theft claim on, is it? Never mind that a proper DMCA infringement letter requires an honest-to-gosh signature, certifying under penalty of perjury that the complaint is accurate. After I pointed this out to Scotty and practically begged him to send me such a letter, he shut up and went away. Pity.

He’s also sent phony legal threats to the person who hosted the letter I’ve linked above, as well as the woman who wrote it, another friend of mine.

Since this incident, I’ve heard numerous stories about poor customer service and generally obnoxious behavior by Scotty, directed at both fans and Playmates. Taken as a whole, the available evidence suggests that he’s an insecure, manipulative bastard who charms women for his own personal gain. Sadly, his tactics have had some success, tainting the reputations of some of the models he hosts sites for.

Steer clear.