Rosalyn (Ros) Kaspi

Who the hell is Ros Kaspi and why did she use an image of my Home Office for an article about online entrepreneurs on one of her websites? Let’s dig a little deeper into this and uncover the ethical implications of copyright infringement as conducted by someone who is affiliated with what many people, including lawyers, are describing as a total scam and illegal business model. But let’s start with a screen grab of the article that was on her site prior to getting in trouble with me after the disovery.

The first thing to take note of is the domain that the website runs on which is called itpaysyoutoplayblog.com. Maybe it’s just me but with domain names like that the sense of it being some kind of financial scam comes to mind. The About page of the site doesn’t even have any content so the owner and author of the site, which was identified as Ros Kaspi (Rosalyn Kaspi) probably didn’t want to provide any information there.

The second thing to notice is that the article “Online Opportunities for Entrepreneurs” contained an image of my Home Office (in its previous setup) and associated me and my business activities with the content of the article. That, dear readers, is certainly the quickest way to get me to rain down lawyers on you. Additionally some amounts of money are mentioned including various names of people like Richard Sears, Alvah Roebuck and companies such as Sears. None of those names or companies have anything to do with me or vice versa and certainly have nothing to do with the image of my Home Office.

Because Rosalyn Kaspi did not leave any information on the site to help in the process of contacting her about the copyright infringement and the false impression she created with the article the summons and notice was added to the site as a comment that awaited moderation. However, that comment awaited moderation for over a week, well beyond the deadline stated in the notice of infringement. In fact, at the time of writing of this article it is still showing as awaiting moderation which shows you just how involved Ros Kaspi is
with this site of hers
.

A search was started to find Ros Kaspi. One of the first things discovered was a phone number and a traveltvi4pay domain and the fact that Ros Kaspi speaks for a company called Travel Ventures International (she signs her communications with that company name). The company appears to provide “online travel discounts” of some sort and a quick search into TVI revealed a lot of material on many different websites claiming that TVI is a total scam, including an attorney explaining why TVI Express is not legal in the US or Canada.

Some additional searching revealed even more interesting things from Kasey Chang and an article he wrote about Ros Kaspi and some other business thing she’s involved in. In Kasey’s words:

Who’s Ros Kaspi, you ask? Kaspi is half of the moronic duo who had been publishing increasingly hallucinatory entries about TVI Express, passing on messages from their uplines that made absolutely no sense at all.

And in another article featuring Rosalyn Kaspi we find this:

Kaspi and Jackson, who runs a TVI Express member website called IncreaseMyMonthlyIncome. They’ve published some crazy claims before, such as claiming a TVI Express convention in the Florida, US in 3 months even though TVI Express has no announcement doing so. Today, they released even MORE unconfirmed information, which is just… idiotic.

They claim that their upline (the new one, since the old one quit after getting a “cease and desist” from state of Georgia) …

Darren Aikens TVI Presidential in the United States today had a webinar with quest speaker Aknon, who is the current TVI Express Barrister of Marketing.

Do they even know what a “barrister” is? A barrister is what the Brits call a LAWYER or attorney. What the **** is a “lawyer of marketing”? What sort of a lawyer is he that won’t even give his full name? And where does he practice law? India? VP of marketing or president of marketing, I can believe. LAWYER OF MARKETING? Are they kidding me!?!?!?!

But what’s even more interesting is the fact that Kasey writes about Travel Ventures International (TVI) HAVING STOLEN ANOTHER IMAGE. You can see the images and the alleged infringement on Kasey’s site.

So clearly both Travel Ventures International (TVI) and Rosalyn “Ros” Kaspi have a history of copyright infringement for their personal and monetary gains as part of how they prefer to conduct their business. If you can call it a business because everything you can find online about Ros Kaspi and TVI certainly amount to a lot of scam related accusations that I’m sure have a very firm and solid basis considering the amount that can be found, including things like these:

Back in October 2010, Darren Aikens, another “presidential” TVI Express distributor, was supposedly Kaspi and Jackson’s upline, and claims to have talked to Tarun Trikha and a new “barrister of marketing” Aknon and relayed exciting news. Mind you, this is AFTER TVINorthAmerica got the Cease and Desist from State of Georgia.

So what you got here is a lie (by TROYSHELL) to “improve” a lie (by Kaspi and Jackson), about yet another lie, about a company that was founded on lies.


It should be obvious that all this doesn’t indicate anything good about whatever Ros Kaspi is involved in but certainly shows that affiliating themselves with others (or vice versa), without permission, is just part of how Ros Kaspi wishes to conduct her “business”. That is, until real legal crap managed to hit the fan, of course.

Luckily it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to find the location of Rosalyn Kaspi (Chicago, Illinois, USA) and thanks to her avatar images used on many other sites like LinkedIn it was easy to find a trail of other sites using the same avatars which eventually led to an e-mail address at comcast.com. It then didn’t take too long to settle the matter!!

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Terapad

This is normally the place where a company or individual gets shamed and exposed for copyright infringement regarding my Home Office images. This time, however, I’m not going to expose just the user but the company that enables the user to commit acts of copyright infringement.

In this particular instance the individual responsible for the copyright infringement is someone by the name of Dennis Landayan who created one of the most awful looking websites I’ve seen since the dawn of places like Geocities and the tremendous amounts of crap that started to culminate over there. Dennis Landyan calls this eyesore of a site “Freedom of Technology”. But it seems Dennis may have mistaken his concept of “freedom” to extend and include “freedom to steal images”. I’ll let the following screen-grab fill in the rest of the picture.

Notice how the page has some automatically generated links for the Terms & Conditions and Copyright Notice. How ironic that they certainly don’t apply to the image of my home office used there by Dennis Landayan.

However, because Dennis Landayan has failed to leave any contact information on his chaotic and messy eyesore site there was no way to send a copyright infringement notice or summons. But Terapad (part of SiteJourney Ltd.) the company that provides Dennis Landayan the ability to host such an eyesore sire has to act under the DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act). Unfortunately (for Terapad and SiteJourney) they have appeared repeatedly unresponsive to the DMCA notifications.

Shame on Terapad and SiteJourney Ltd.

Looking at the terms and conditions of use, Terapad provides individuals with a free web-site (much like Geocities once did), and has a clause regarding violations that clearly states:

23- VIOLATIONS
Please report any violations of these Terms and Conditions via email at labs@terapad.com

Guess what. There is no response nor any action when DMCA notifications are sent to that address. In fact, any other contact address or way of contacting either Terapad or SiteJourney Ltd. yield any response whatsoever. It is possible that Terpad has gone out of business or that SiteJourney is bankrupt and that what we’re seeing online are just the left-over skeletons of some kind of Geocities clone or failed experiment.

However, the unresponsiveness is also what essentially creates a bigger problem for Terpad and its parent company SiteJourney Ltd. because not responding and thereby allowing the infringement to continue makes Terpad and/or its parent company SiteJourney Ltd. liable and responsible for what is being hosted on their server(s). And that’s where the “fun” starts.

SiteJourney Ltd can be found at 40 Beaufort Court, Admirals Way, London, 14 9XL, England (UK). Tel: 020 7093 6040 and Fax: 020 7093 6041 while citing e-mail addresses for support support@sitejourney.com and a general address as labs@sitejourney.com. The latter address, as you can see, is the same as the address for any violations of the terms of service (TOS) of TeraPad.

It is unclear just what the relation between Terapad and SiteJourney Ltd. is but the site of the latter contains the following information:

Terapad.com is a revolutionary online publishing and eCommerce solution well adapted to the needs of small and medium businesses. It’s ‘Software as a Service’ (SaaS), meaning there is no capital investment to make, no long term tie-ins, and no upgrade cost, ever.

Terapad is unique in providing a complete online presence going well beyond the traditional ‘web brochure’, and includes e-commerce, forums, image gallery, blog, RSS, event calendar, recruitment tools, support for internationalization, and 500+ other features.

This Hall Of Shame contestant will probably see an update in the story provided here as the last and final notice of copyright infringement has gone out to SiteJourney Ltd. After which there is no longer an excuse to claim ignorance nor any excuse for their prolonged and continued unresponsiveness of over 3 weeks (at the time of writing of this expose).

Needless to say it will be interesting to see how SiteJourney Ltd. is going to respond to a formal legal complaint and whether the results of that might break the company’s back or drive them to take their responsibility like any reliable web-hosting company should (and usually do!) but in the meantime they’ve found themselves a welcome place amongst the contestants in the game of who’s the biggest and worst copyright violator in the Office Thieves Hall Of Shame.

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David Dik

You would think that after the enormously damaging and reckless ‘stunt’ by Andre Leite Alves of Aware Bear Computers people would know better than to Photoshop themselves into my office pictures and pass it off as theirs. It seems some people are just not capable of learning much and just willingly fling themselves into a position to be placed on the “hall of shame” of “office infringement” (or, in this most recent case, the hall of shame of triple-P (pathetic pretentious pretenders) type individuals). 🙂

This is NOT ME but a pathetic pretentious pretender named DAVID DIK.

The above image was discovered on the about page of Linado. A website still under construction with a domain that is registered to David Dik on Zum Laakkanal 4 in Rostock, Germany. Further research shows that David Dik either is, or pretends to be, a web designer of some sort that resides in Germany but appears to prefer the Russian language for his website and has links to places like this and this which appears to be sites about Kabbalah “the science and purpose of life”. I’m not sure whether David Dik has found his purpose in life but at this point in time I would have to conclude that David Dik’s purpose in life is to become known as a fraud and a pretender who likes to impress his potential clients with an office that’s not his, instead of his (perhaps incredibly lacking?) web design skills.

The original image from my “office 5.0” page

Perhaps David Dik’s purpose in life is to be better at Photoshopping himself into my office than Andre Leite Alves of Aware Bear Computers in Rochester has been. Clearly David Dik’s attempt at doing so has been better in overall quality yet does not escape the eternal ridicule he may now have to suffer as a consequence of it. Sorry Mr. Dik, but it’s not a contest. If it were a contest you might actually win a prize, though. Except it’s not the recognition of that prize that you probably wanted to invite upon yourself. I guess the Kabbalah doesn’t teach anything about copyright infringement or might not have any good advice such as “you shouldn’t steal… theft is bad”. Or maybe it does but David Dik hasn’t studied that part yet. The Russian text under the image on his about page translates to “I love my work. It’s my hobby!” but it isn’t clear what his hobby involves, except of course, pasting an image of himself in other people’s environments in order to create the perception and appearance of success or hardware overkill?

Maybe I should be tipped off once a month so I could make this a recurring feature on my blog; adding new members to the “eternal hall of shame”. Maybe add online polls to each post so visitors could vote on a scale of 1 to 10 in categories such as “level of pathetic” and “quality of faked image”. Hell, I could be starting a whole new trend here! 🙂

The original image above seems to be particularly popular for individuals and companies that wish to use it without permission as there is currently another, much more serious, matter of copyright infringement for commercial purposes that’s being handled and that I might be publishing about in the near future. The company at the center of this is currently being contacted in a much more serious manner. Depending on the outcome I would say, stay tuned.

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Cybernet

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.

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Bernard Hellinga

Since I now have a blog I’d like to take some time and write about copyrights and infringement, a subject I’ve had to deal with ever since I got into business for myself in 1989 and whereby the works were analog or digital in nature and effectively copyrighted material.

Two days ago a friend of mine alerted me to a video he saw on a web portal of an ISP that had started a video service for its customers that is similar to YouTube and Google Video. One of the videos there, uploaded by a user that goes by the name of “bmhelli” (according to this and his website, Bernard Marius Hellinga a.k.a. Bernard Helli from a town called Ermelo in The Netherlands) contained two TV commercials that were appended together. One introducing some kind of big hamburger, the other commercial being of a topless woman acting out stereotypical male behavior.

While the commercials were funny, the creator that appended them decided to also append a few pictures at the end with a scrolling text (in Dutch, “Onze Werkplek”) which means “Our Workplace” or “Our Office”. Those images, as you can see here and probably would have guessed since I’m writing about it, were of course not of “their workspace” but rather, mine! :-)

In a way it’s amusing that someone would take some seemingly popular (if I judge it by the numbers of visitors to my site and the e-mails I receive about it) images from the internet and label them as “our workplace”. But it’s also not a very clever thing to do. Photographers usually don’t like their pictures being used by others that would take credit for it and are certainly less amused when the person or company doing so claims or implies that it is theirs or claims to be the author or copyright holder. The latter is also the case with Bernard Hellinga aka “bmhelli” since the upload details he entered were “Autheursrecht: BMH” (that’s “Copyright: BMH”). It is unclear what Bernard M. tried to accomplish with this. Either to pretend that my home office was his workspace or whether he wanted to imply that those commercials preceeding the images were those of the producer of these commercials (which, I certainly am not even though I did produce several TV commercials back in the 80′s and 90′s).

The ISP that owns and runs that video website had recently come up with their own version of “the DMCA” (Digital Millenium Copyright Act) which is a system for receiving and handling Take Down and Cease and Desist notices. A system I would strongly encourage for all ISP’s in order to distance themselves from any claims or association with copyright infringement by their customers. Needless to say, that new system deserved a closer look and a bit of a test. Within two days I received notice from the ISP that the user had taken down the infringing content. A good example of how an ISP can deal with these things without having to defend themselves over the actions of a customer. Very nice, and my compliments go out to XS4ALL for being a progressive ISP.

The same goes for Microsoft. When I was notified that Mr. Hellinga had also used the same photographs on his livespaces site/blog a DMCA Take Down C&D (Cease and Desist) went out. It took two days but the photographs were removed. This shows that a proper DMCA complaint will be handled in a proper and timely fashion.

Now the really funny thing is that this was the SECOND time my friend found something that infringed on a copyright that I held. Back in 1996 (it might have been 1997) he came by after picking up a book called “The 3D Studio MAX Design Guide”, published by Coriolis, Inc. Since I used to work on 3ds max I flipped through the book and within seconds my eyes fell on a chapter entitled “Battlemech”. To my surprise the 3D model used for that chapter was a 3D model I had created back in 1993, which was copyrighted (and clearly mentioned in the enclosed text file), and where one of the authors of the chapter claimed they had designed and created the model. On top of that the model itself was provided on the CD-ROM included with the book.

That level of commercial use of course required a slightly different approach and after getting in touch with Coriolis and having my attorney stand by to file a temporary injunction to halt all sales of the book we got to discuss the issue. I’ll save you the long story but in the end Coriolis admitted their “mistake” and we settled out of court for an undisclosed amount. Several months later I was contacted by Don Simpson, a cartoonist, who also had his material used in the very same book. In 1997, Ron Every wrote about this situation in the magazine he wrote for. You can find the article here (sorry about the quality, it’s an old PDF).

The bottom line, of course, is, that if you use material from any site on the internet that has copyright notices and details such as “without prior written permission” and “all rights reserved” you should never use the material without permission unless you wish to open yourself up to the less amusing side effects it can result in. If the material is not labeled and just found, stumbled upon, or provided in any random fashion and it is not clear who the author or copyright holder is and you are therefore unable to obtain permission, it is sensible to not use the material because you could end up being liable for using it. Regarding the “Fair Use” clause in copyright laws, claiming copyright without permission is never allowed under the “Fair Use” clause.

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