JLBCTech Houston Computer Repair

Thanks to someone who recognized the picture of my office and e-mailed me about it we have yet another contestant for the annual hall of shame awards for being the crummiest office thief. This time it’s a company called JLBCTech, located at 1200 Smith St, Suite #1600, Houston, Texas 77002 (713-623-1266). According to the blog associated with their business website for JLBCTech;

We provide computer support in Houston with both Home Offices and Small Business since 2007 and we have been fortunate to be to work with some amazing home office setups. Here’s a small collection of some of our clients that have home offices that have blown our minds and redefined the word Home Office

JLBCTech, Houston Texas, Cardoza, Computer Repair and Services, misleading advertising material

The crap above was posted by them on September 21, 2012. So let me get this straight, then. The text above comes associated with a picture of my home office. A home office that, based on the pictures used, was located in THE NETHERLANDS (and is currently being moved to California) and most certainly not in Houston, TX.

Even more offensive is the fact that JLBCTech claims the pictures on their site are of home offices of “some of their clients”. That’s news to me because I certainly am not, nor ever will be, a client of this JLBCTech place. I wouldn’t trust them as far as I could throw them based on how they have taken images from different places, clearly without permission, and then using them to make their business look either interesting or “high tech” to those who may not know any better. Where I’m from we have a word for companies and folks like that; scammers!

If you look at the other offices they have on their site you may suspect that these people at JLBCTech are pretty big LIARS. If you look at the image titled “Home Office in The Woodlands” you may recognize the office as belonging to Mickey Slater in Portland Oregon. Likewise, the image titled “Mac Setup in Home Office in The Woodlands TX. Apart from the beautiful Mac Setup that this is, what caught our eye was the custom chair…Very relaxing chair” actually belongs to Carl-Johan Kihlbom from Sweden.

JLBCTech, Houston Texas, Cardoza, Computer Repair and Services, misleading advertising materialThe company JLBCTech is run by Jonathan Cardoza, Bessy Cardoza, Josue Cardoza and Sergio Meza, according to the website’s “about” page. I assume these Cardoza’s are all family. They might not be, but if they are, then I must conclude that copyright infringement and lying must “run in the family” because certainly, any of these people at JLBCTech Computer Repair must have been very aware that these offices are not of their so-called “clients”.

JLBCTech reminds me a lot of AwareBear Computers (a computer repair place in Pittsford, New York). They claim to do virus removal, data recovery, small business solutions, and Web Design and SEO Social Media. Again, I should warn everyone reading this to ever do any business with a company that so clearly lies about their stuff and have no problem using copyrighted material they have had no permission to use. You want these people to design your site? So you can be liable for whatever material they might integrate on it?

It is almost creepy to see how much JLBCTech reminds me of Andre Alves and AwareBear. Maybe there is something really wrong with a lot of these types of “computer repair” places that appear to have a need to show off things they have absolutely no involvement in. I wonder if it’s a virus that’s going around at these places. Clearly it’s a virus they have not been able to remove and will need a little extra “help”.

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Jared Grey of MultiPlex PC

This is an article to educate you, my readers, about copyright infringement, but also to have some satirical laughs at the expense of a copyright infringer who might not have foreseen how copyright matters could be the trigger that uncovers more about your business than you would want people to notice. You will learn:

  • What does not work in defense of Copyright Infringement.
  • Why you should never hire an SEO company to SPAM the internet.
  • Why, if you engage in other questionable business behavior, you should hope to never run into someone who happens to be adequately capable of exposing that.

Jared Grey, the Copyright Infringer

MultiPlex PC in Orlando Florida, owned by Jared Gray, BUSTED for image theftIt came as a bit of a surprise to me (thanks for the tip Nathan!) to see thousands of web pages showing videos of a company called MultiPlex PC LLC (Orlando, Florida) that include a picture of my Home Office (the 5.0 version of that particular setup).

I was able to identify 6 videos, all of a similar nature, a slideshow of products and multi-monitor setups, used as a marketing vessel for the products and services of MultiPlexPC, that included this image of mine. And, as it appears they have been on there for over two years (since May 2009, to be exact). And of course, the videos and images on the MultiPlex PC Blog also reflected that, as you can see here.

When searching for videos using MultiPlexPC as the keyword it became very clear that YouTube was not the only place these videos and MultiPlex PC’s “marketing and advertising” could be found. Out of about 3100 results, half of them were all copies of those original YouTube videos, and about a fourth of all of those appear to be local copies and local uploads to various other video storage services. Still, the total number of domains that would need to receive a DMCA ran in the dozens. It seems MultiPlex PC really wanted to cover the entire internet wit their marketing goals.

Jared Grey of MultiPlexPC in Orlando Florida, BUSTED as an office thief!Of course, anyone using the images of my office, without permission, either willfully or by reckless behavior and committing an act of copyright infringement can understand that sooner or later such things tend to catch up with you.

And it certainly has for MultiPlex PC and its owner Jared Grey. A DMCA takedown notice had already been sent to YouTube while Mr. Grey, the owner of Orlando Florida based MultiPlex PC LLC responded to the matter.

Mr. Grey explained that they did “not have login credentials to the Youtube account anymore” and that “the email account associated with it had been hijacked some time ago” and “because there has been no documented revenue generated from the YouTube videos I did not find it advantageous to recover the account”.

Why would I care if the videos did or did not generate any revenue, documented or otherwise? 🙂

But what’s even funnier was the request for documented evidence that the pictures are actually mine. Or, as Mr. Grey put it;

“If I can recover the account I will remove the videos in question, but I will need to see documented (time stamped and watermarked photos should do) evidence that the pictures are actually yours and that you’re not simply claiming they are yours to try and generate income by threatening litigation.”

I can understand Jarod Grey’s desire to know that I am indeed who I say I am but asking for proof when anyone with access to a search engine could easily tell certainly made me laugh a bit. Of course, my attorney would be laughing even louder while presenting tons of volume of proof in court. 🙂

The Law

Mr. Jarod Grey of MultiPlexPC was very adamant in stating that he would not pay for monetary damages for the following reason;

“I find claim that a couple of pictures buried deep in a YouTube video are generating the kind of revenue for our business that you claim. Since you cannot prove that we have made money from the videos, and I can more likely prove that we haven’t”

Mr. Grey offered to remove the videos from YouTube, something which would have been taken care of by the DMCA that went out, and it became clear that once again we have encountered someone who is, indeed, ignorant about copyright law. After a little educational response it might have gotten a bit more clear, or perhaps not quite yet, but in case you are wondering why MultiPlex PC’s concept of not having had any financial gain from those advertisement videos does not hold water;

  • In the civil context, the term “willful” has a well established meaning and most courts use a “recklessness standard” to enhance statutory damages for copyright infringement. And while the statute does not define “willful”, it consistently defines it as including reckless behavior.
  • In a copyright infringement case you, as the owner of the material in question, do not always need to prove that the infringer profited from their actions. But it does help you build a better case and often gets you higher damages awarded. Instead, one can easily sue for punitive damages which are damages which punish the infringer for wrongful conduct.

Committing acts of copyright infringement as part of creating and spreading around video material used as marketing material or advertisements for your business, products, or services, does not require much effort to take to court. Depending on the situation the actual case itself may not require a lot of effort either.

A follow-up e-mail from Mr. Grey said that he was going to take care of removing the videos from YouTube (I guess the credentials had materialized quickly) but asked me why there is no public section on my website that presents the commercial licensing and cost of my images. Now that’s certainly one I never heard before. Probably because nobody else ever brought it up because it is quite irrelevant.

In a free market the owner of any property, intellectual or otherwise, can set whatever price they wish. And it may very well be that larger corporations end up paying more for something that smaller businesses can get cheaper.

The Cost of DMCA takedown notices

After a little further education, provided for free, to Mr. Jarod Grey of MultiPlex PC, I also made it clear that removing all the material from dozens of places through the DMCA process can become quite expensive because of the time and effort involved. And that I certainly did not see a valid enough reason why I should be picking up the tab for thousands of dollars worth of DMCA’ing.

In the meantime, Mr. Grey of MultiPlex PC has been going about removing videos from different places and told me that various SEO companies in the past might be responsible for the content having spread so widely over the internet.

That’s possible. It doesn’t absolve one from the responsibility and legal liability. And in this case it should be a lesson for everyone else that if you are not 100% sure of the source of the materials you use, and there is a chance that you might have been infringing on someone’s copyright, that having an SEO company help you spread the material far and wide is likely to only further harm you down the line.

The “we’re a poor company, don’t sue us” approach

Mr. Grey told me they did not “have any money to pay” me and that with their small margins the profits go back into “trying to grow” (the company) and “paying bills”. Well, welcome to small business 101. That sums up the bulk of all small businesses. But, of course, is not an excuse for copyright infringement. Mr. Grey also informed me that they didn’t have money for an attorney to battle a lawsuit, would not do any more than remove the videos in question (before I provided only a partial list of those I had found), and that I should feel free to sue because if I get a default judgment there’d be no money anyway. So being poor and defenseless is now a good enough excuse for copyright infringement? 🙂

At that point the decision is up to me, of course, but you have to wonder how much of what Jarod said is true and how much is just a collection of words in order to discourage someone from spending a few bucks on a lawsuit that yields nothing at all. After a quick round of investigating Jared Grey and MultiPlex PC I am currently convinced that this is not a very trustworthy individual.

It is possible that the cost of engaging in a discovery process during a legal case would show otherwise. But the first thing I recommend doing is to dig up as much information about the other party before making any decisions. And this is where it gets really interesting because the behavior of Mr. Jared Grey of MultiPlex PC in Orlando Florida, claiming to be “The Leader in Multiple Monitors” and being a computer building company dedicated to providing the avid market trader, video game enthusiast, poker player, engineers, and graphic artists with “unmatched computer buying experience”, has started to show some really interesting and deceptive practices.

What Trading Technology Review wrote about MultiPlex PC

Others already exposed Jared Grey of MultiPlex PC in Orlando FloridaThe Trading Technology Review website, owned by Market Pirates LLC, has made some very observant comments about MultiPlex PC, LLC. Please allow me to highlight some of those here;

“It is interesting that they offer a FXBootCamp trading computer since Wayne McDonell (the owner of FXBootCamp) just bought a trading computer from another vendor.”

“They show a number of companies under the heading “A Few Companies that trust us…”. This statement seems to be a stretch since we know that some of them have strong relationships with other computer vendors.”

“You will need to pay an extra $200 to get a 3 year warranty with on-site service. the warranty is listed as “complete” and not “limited”. There is no legal definition of a warranty that is “complete”. The correct legal term is “full”. I don’t think they know what they are getting into with their lack of legal understanding.”

“Like many who aren’t, they call themselves “The Leader in Multiple Monitors!””

After my little bit of research I have to agree with Trading Technology Review. Those who call themselves leaders in anything usually aren’t. Those who say they are the most trusted usually aren’t. And the comment that MultiPlex PC has a lack of legal understanding is something I became quite aware of when I received the initial response from the founder and CEO, Mr. Jarod Grey. It is a bad idea to be in business without at least basic legal knowledge about your products and services.

Meet Jared Grey, the trader who is raking in the money!

Jared Grey of MultiPlex PC pretends to make money and then says they are a poor companyHow about this one? An article on Ezine@rticles from someone who recently upgraded their computer to run multiple monitors and noticed a great improvement in their day trading productivity. The article claims “Since I have upgraded to just 4 monitors instead of 1 I have made an extra $24,000 this year”.

But then also mentions “If you’re in the market to purchase a day trading computer and multiple monitors, check out Multiplex PC”.

Does it surprise you that the article is attributed to someone named Jared Grey?

The somewhat incoherent writing of the article could be interpreted in different ways but to me it reads as if Jared was trying to get some internet marketing going while trying not to be too outrageously blatant about using a place like Ezine@rticles to post pure advertisements (like many others do and will use it for).
But that was back in November 2008. Jared Grey has certainly picked up on how to do more of it and I will show you exactly how in the next paragraphs.

How Jarod Grey of MultiPlex PC tries to get sales

Disclosure is everything. Posting comments and statements online, pretending you are a satisfied customer of a business, not disclosing that you either work for the business or own it, is a very bad thing to do. Because sooner or later it comes out and your reputation is forever destroyed by your own actions.

Even if at some later time a miracle occurs and real customers, if there are any, would start posting raving reviews of your products, people would no longer believe it because it is entirely possible that those too are fake. Don’t believe me? Just ask Andre Leite Alves of Aware Bear Computers in Pittsford New York just how he dug his own grave with that one.

MultiPlex PC Orlando Florida TOTALLY BUSTED!!!

Here is a comment on a blog article about multiple monitor setups. Notice the inclusion there to my old 5.0 setup over at another site? Notice anything about the name of the person leaving the above comment? Yes, jgreyorl is short for Jarod Grey Orlando, as in Orlando Florida. You can find a lot of interesting things if you search for that short name and many of the things you find will lead straight back to MultiPlex PC in some form.

Also notice how Jarod Grey is pretending he recently bought a triple monitor array and plugs MultiPlex PC in there with a link to the site?

“Glad to see other people putting their rigs up for us to see”, however, I’m not sure how to interpret that because to me it actually reads more like “Great to see pictures of stuff we can grab and use in our advertisement videos because we clearly have nothing of our own to show so we will just pretend we have been involved in any of the setups of which we just stole the images and we hope nobody is ever going to find out”.

Someone always finds out. And if your past behavior is like this, and if that is the way you wish to run your business, then don’t start crying when your business ends up losing any reputation it might have gained in the future.

Jared Grey of MultiPlex PC copyright infringement

At about.com there is a similar post by a similar “jgreyorl”. Asking to see more pictures of multi monitor setups that his “fellow day traders” use. Asking for images so there would be fresh material to grab and use for the commercial purposes of MultiPlex PC? And again, in this post Jared Grey once again plugs his business without actually disclosing that he is the owner.

I would not trust MultiPlex PC and Jared Grey after all this crap

Over at ecoustics.com Mr. Grey responds to someone and tells them to try out MultiPlex PC because “THEY” have much better products. Why would the owner of MultiPlex PC have a need to refer to his own company as “THEY” instead of “I” or “WE”? Oh, because he was once again trying to not be too blatantly obvious about him plugging his business everywhere he can and doing so in a very “spammy way”!

Jared of MultiPlex PC PRETENDING to write as his own customer

And there the deceptive Mr. Jarod Grey of MultiPlex PC is doing it again! Passing himself off as a satisfied customer and this time trying to cover it up by saying “I spoke to all the other companies out there and Kevin at Multiplex PC was super nice and helpful.”.

Uhm, if there is a Kevin there, which there might be, I don’t know, why would Jared need to refer to him in this particular way? And why would the owner of MultiPlex PC need to speak to all the other companies out there only to decide to buy from his own company? Jared, you’re busted again!

MultiPlex PC Multi Monitor Company by Jared Gray, deceitful practices on the internet

OK, just because you like reading how Jared Grey has completely failed to realize that doing this stuff under his own name is generally something that only really stupid con-artists end up doing, let’s have another one. Over at the trade2win forums, Jared Grey “personally recommends MultiPlexPC” because he “purchased a Proplex 2100 from them” and because “they burn-in the components for 24-48 hours”. Once again, posted jgreyorl, once again using “they” to refer to the company he owns.

It’s getting a bit boring now, isn’t it? Feel free to google around yourself and see just how much more of this you can stand to laugh at. Of course, Mr. Grey might only now realize, gee, what if I do all that and instead use different names and… oh, wait, I might actually be educating Mr. Grey again and I don’t think it would be in anyone’s best interest for him to get better at this tactic of trying to do business. Even Project Honey Pot has an interesting bit on Jared and MultiPlex PC and the spam violations it implies:

The Project Honey Pot system has detected behavior from the IP address consistent with that of a comment spammer. Below we’ve reported some other data associated with this IP. This interrelated data helps map spammers’ networks and aids in law enforcement efforts

Of course, anyone googling Jarod Grey or MultiPlexPC are very likely to arrive on this site where, probably, after this exposure, it is difficult to believe anyone would believe an honest post or actual review by an actual customer because Jarod has soiled his market by trying to increase sales this way. Ah, well, live and learn.

The moral of this story should be clear if you made it this far. Never have an SEO company bloat and spread your marketing materials and advertisements if they contain copyrighted material that you are not authorized to use. Also, never step on the copyrights of someone who really does take it seriously and will investigate a little before making any decisions regarding lawsuits. And whatever you do, don’t do any of these things in public view on the internet where it remains forever-and-ever to haunt you.

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