Yet another entry for the Office Thieves Hall Of Shame web-site has materialized. This time the company is called CyberNet Charleston, based in as you can guess, Charleston, South Carolina, USA. The company’s web-site shows that CyberNet Charleston does “computer support” (which got labeled as tech support after the removal of the image of my Home Office), network wiring, data recovery, website designs and website hosting.

However, a far more interesting thing could be found on their site under their contact-us page. That page contains the following statement:

We are a Christian-based company and have been working under the same management for over 2000 years.

Oh, my. That’s a rather long period of management, please let me contain my sarcasm about the cheeky nature of such a marketing statement. But more importantly it raises several questions. I am not a bible scholar and certainly never studied theology but to the best of my recollection I seem to remember that the bible clearly states “thou shall not steal”. Something about the ten commandments in which it certainly stated “do not steal”.

I have very little experience with “Christian Based” companies so wouldn’t know how they normally operate and go about their “business” but based on the example set by CyberNet Charleston I think it means that copyright infringement doesn’t equate to stealing. Likewise, using an image of my Home Office for the purposes that they chose to do so looks to me as if they did so to try and make their “tech support” or “offices” look impressive and appealing. Again, I don’t know about that but I believe the bible also talks about things like vanity.

After the discovery of the CyberNet Charleston website they immediately received a summons with the demand to cease and desist and take down the image they had so happily infringed upon. Within a day the image was replaced with something else entirely but no further word has come forth from CyberNet Charleston.

Normally a company tends to respond with one of various lame-ass excuses such as “we didn’t know we were infringing on your copyright” (ignorance of the law is no excuse and never held up in any copyright case that went to court) and “we didn’t know it was your office” (as if they hadn’t yet noticed it wasn’t their office?!) or the hallmark of most copyright infringers, “it was the webdesign company we hired that did that” (yes, and you’re still responsible and liable as a company and you can go figure it out later with the indemnification clause you might have had in the contract with such a web design company).

Again, with the example that CyberNet Charleston sets for “Christian Based” companies it seems they want me to conclude that being a “Christian Based” company means you try and avoid any and all responsibility and stick your head in the sand until something may or may not blow over entirely. I don’t know where it says that in the bible but perhaps someone more informed about that could let me know.

Of course, the one thing that went through my mind was “God may not punish you but I sure will” and that certainly has materialized for CyberNet Charleston.

Any lawyer or attorney that one consults in cases of copyright infringement will tell you that not responding and hoping things will magically (or by devine intervention in the case of “Christian Based” companies?) go away is by far the worst possible approach to the problem. But it’s entirely possible that a place like CyberNet Charleston does not accept man-made laws and looked up in the bible where it said anything about copyrights and only found the copyright notice of the book itself.