Guardlex – DMCA Takedown Notifications over hyperlinks to non-infringing content

As I am sure many of you know, stealing another individual or business’ copyrighted intellectual property is theft with damages up to $150,000 per incident.  To fight online piracy of intellectual property the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, or DMCA for short, was signed into law on October 28, 1998 by President Bill Clinton.  The DMCA outlines methods for reporting copyright infringement such as “DMCA Notifications” as well as what those methods must contain:

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[Updated] – EzeeLogin Customers Beware – License and Pricing Changes without Notification (Admod.com)

Update 02/17/12 at 10:42 PM EST

We’ve worked all of the issues we faced out with Admod/EzeeLogin.  I’m going to leave this post live as a reminder for Admod/EzeeLogin and other companies who read this post to be as open and transparent about their actions that affect customers as possible.  Had Admod/EzeeLogin gotten in touch with us, and their other customers, and explained the change-over and how it does or does not affect them – this entire post could have been avoided.  On another note, had Admod /EzeeLogin responded to our ticket quickly – this post would have been avoided.  If you have any questions, comments, or concerns – feel free to make them known in the comments.

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Intellectual Property, Copyright, and “HostYourDream.net” – Site Ripper and Thief

It was just two weeks ago when I brought to light that the provider “Coomme Hosting” was using our design illegally and today I find another provider about to use our design, again, illegally.  While it is flattering that our design is so good that everybody else is deciding to use it without permission, it is very depressing that these “providers” would sink to the level of blatantly stealing a design rather than creating their own or having one created for them.

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Intellectual Property, Copyright, and “Coomme Hosting” – Updated August 11, 6:47 PM EDT

At MDDHosting we have worked hard over the years to build our reputation and we always put quality of service and support above appearances.  We eventually, after over 3 years in business, hired a designer to professionally create a new design for us.  The design itself was very expensive and was created by vReplay.com over the course of several months.

Recently an individual associated with the domain “xthosts.com” decided to rip a copy of our design and make it available for public download.  While they haven’t realistically done anything that anybody with basic skills couldn’t do if they spent some time doing it, they did make our copyrighted intellectual property illegally available to others in a fashion which proliferates the illegal use of our design. Continue reading

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Seeing the big picture… Why most hosting providers fail.

ServersIt’s no surprise that there are hundreds, if not thousands of new hosting providers that are started every day as there is simply little to no barrier to entry.  Anybody who has $5 to $15 can sign up for a reseller account and be their very own hosting company within minutes and this has some very unfortunate side-effects for the industry as a whole.

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Comcast – EXTREME Lack of Customer Service

Comcast Bill showing $50 "Unbilled Activity"

Let me first begin by saying that I’ve had Comcast Internet and Television service for well over 4 years and for the most part I’ve been satisfied with the service itself.  I’ve rarely had to use customer service as generally I’ve not had issues with any of my services and when I did for the most part Comcast fixed those issues in a timely fashion.  I’m not entirely sure what has changed over the last year or so, but things have gone seriously down hill when it comes to customer service.  I’m going to do my absolute best to detail exactly what happened, how it happened, and why it happened so that you can hopefully make an informed decision as to whether you wish to go with Comcast, to continue your existing Comcast service, or to shift to/choose another provider.

On September 27th, 2010 my wife and I moved in to our new apartment a couple of minutes away from our old apartment and we had previously called to schedule Comcast to come out and perform a transfer of service to get our DVR Box and our Cable box online in our new apartment.  Comcast came out and performed the transfer of service free of charge and since we were moving into a larger apartment we opted to go ahead and get another digital box for one of our bedrooms while we were at it.  The technician that came out explained to me that this was his first installation where he was on his own and apologized ahead of time if it took longer than we expected.  I told the technician that I understood and that it wasn’t an issue. Continue reading

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From Leasing to Owning and Colocation

Dual 5620 ServerFor over three years my company has always leased its hardware from the facility in which our services were located.  For a long time we felt that it was better to pay a little more over time for the hardware in exchange for not having to make the large initial investment, not having to recycle old hardware when we upgrade, and not having to cover the parts and labor for replacing failed hardware.

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You should always conduct yourself professionally!

Sometimes you just have to vent, and this is one such situation.  We recently had a customer who decided to make some derogatory posts on our forums accusing us of “pissing somebody off” resulting in us being a “target of DDoS attacks” when in reality it was simply a client we were hosting that was the target of the attacks.  One of the downsides of DDoS attacks is that they’re a carpet bomb and they affect all sites on the server, and not just the intended target.

The client was warned via private message and their warn level on the forum was increased and then they decided to make another reply yet again re-iterating their original post and going far enough to make a public threat against us on our forums.  We at this point disabled the client’s forum account and opened an abuse support ticket with them which you will find below.  The client’s identifying information has been removed as our privacy policy protects the client’s identity and personal information but the contents of the ticket itself is not personal.

MDDHosting – Abuse on Forums

Ticket ID: [Redacted]
Department: Abuse
Creation Date: 09/26/2010 20:28
Last Reply: 09/26/2010 22:47
Status: Closed
Priority: Medium

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Avoid “Hotlink Protection” feature in cPanel 11.25, 11.26

In cPanel 11.25 and 11.26 (not tested earlier versions) when you add “Hotlink Protection” in cPanel it will add the appropriate mod_rewrite code to all domains, subdomains, add-on domains. It looks similar to this:

Code:
RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http://test-cpanel.com/.*$      [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http://test-cpanel.com$      [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http://www.test-cpanel.com/.*$      [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http://www.test-cpanel.com$      [NC]
RewriteRule .*\.(jpg|jpeg|gif|png|bmp)$ - [F,NC]

It actually checks for the line “RewriteEngine on” and does not add it a second time into the .htaccess which is smart… The problem comes when you remove hotlink protection.

cPanel goes through all domains, subdomains, add-on domains once again this time and removes the code but it removes all instances of “RewriteEngine On” in every .htaccess. The problem that comes with this is that if you’re running something such as WordPress, vBulletin, IPB, or any other script that uses mod_rewrite, as most do, suddenly all of your rewrite rules no longer work. Continue reading

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