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Old 28 Nov 2001, 01:36 PM   #1
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Angry Spam Scam

any1 sick and tired of the spam currently passing around about "DVD Wizard" or some other tool that promises a method/tool to "copy any DVD to a CD-R" for a princely sum of only $29.99/39.99?

After you submit your credit card numbers, the scamsters either :
1. Charge your card and give you nothing
2. Charge your card and give you some links to DVD websites (such as DVD Digest)
3. Charge your card and give you a copy of SmartRipper or some other freely available tool.

Almost every day now, I get email from people that have been tricked into purchasing something they could have gotten for free, and there seem to be no end to this.

If you have received such an email, you should forward a copy of it to your local consumer/anti-fraud organisation, explain to them why this is a fraud, and inform your ISP as well as the ISP of the email sender about this spam/scam.

It seems the MPAA has not yet involved itself in this, but as always, they seem to only pick on the easy targets (such as DVD/DivX/Free-speech websites), while real pirates/scams are running wild and they are doing nothing to stop them.
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Old 30 Nov 2001, 10:31 AM   #2
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I'd like to comment on the "DVD Copying Spam". I've recieved numerous emails regarding this product, and was actually convinced to buy one of them. First, I'd like to say I'm not spamming here or advertising, just sharing my opinion of the spam and the product I've personally used.

I've been experimenting with the VCD/SVCD/DivX areas for a couple of months now, and have found websites like this one to be pretty helpful, (as well as www.vcdhelp.com). However, I found it extremely difficult to "decrypt" all the information in to a language I can interpret. After 3 weeks of reading through the message boards and following the guides, I was able to make a VCD. So now I think, "Cool, I'm a pro at this, I'll be backing up DVD Movies from now on, etc etc..." My only concern was the video quality, which I thought would be "better than VHS". Uh, no, I don't think so. Maybe I'm not doing it right???

Well, the second time around, I didn't have so much luck. Most of the things I had learned I had forgotten, and found myself once again "digging" for information on the web, trying to retrack my footsteps and piece it all back together. I never really did to be honest. I'm not that computer savvy.

Ironically, through the "trial and error" I was being sent a lot of advertisements on software that promised easy "DVD Copying". Most of the time I don't bother reading this crap. One ad I was sent, (and I won't mention WHO as I don't want to advertise any one particular company) caught my attention. I visited their website and was very skeptical because of my own struggles with the "DVD Copying Scene". However, between the frustration and obsession of wanting to make it work again, I found myself purchasing their product online. I invested about $30, and their website promised a "30 day money back guarantee", if I wasn't happy. I don't think I would have purchased this if that wasn't on their website. $30 after all, even if I didn't get it back, wasn't going to kill me. I took the plunge.

Ok, so I get this "CD" in the mail. I was a little dissapointed to find out I couldn't download the software, but fine, ok, just send me the "goods" I guess. I got the CD about a week later through "Standard Postal Shipping" and was impressed with the packaging and quality they put in to it. I was expecting a "Home-Burned Look" that Ma & Pa put together. Quite the opposite. Silk-screened CD's in a very professional looking jewel case. However, I'm still skeptical. I'm already thinking in my head, "I know it's just $30, but this crap better pay off or I'm demanding a refund." I'm already regretting my purchase and I haven't even opened it yet.

Not but a few minutes later am I installing the software and preparing to run it for the first time. Ok, *click* I open the software and apparently need to register the software before opening. Ok, fine, *click*, *click*, ...whatever, let's just see what this thing is all about. The "Main" screen pops up and I am treated to yet again another impressive display of the product. Right off the bat, I am immediately drawn by the interface, and how much time and effort had apparently been put in to designing it. However, I was also quickly learning this was not really what I thought it was. There was plenty of functionality, but after a few minutes, I'm learning this product is comprised of OTHER software, (some of which I had previously used and installed on my computer). I think anyone who has purchased and used this would be thinking the same thing I was at the time...."I got scammed."

I'm now pissed. REALLY pissed. I waited a week to be treated to "OTHER SOFTWARE" which I ALREADY have that I DIDN'T have to pay $30 for!!!! I'm so mad, I'm already digging back through deleted email to try and find their website. I was going to email and email until I had every red cent back in to my account. I think I was mostly upset that my dreams of "Backing up DVD's" was at an end, unless I invested enough time to learn it. Keep in mind, I've already invested 2 months at this point, and have successfully burned 1 VCD, and thrown away about 30 others. My friend calls them "frisbees".

Anyway, so I email the company, and halfway expected not to hear from them anytime soon. I was already brewing up the idea to dispute the charges with VISA. No mercy! About 10 minutes after I send the email, they've replied. They were very curtious and provided me with information on how to recieve my refund. It seemed simple enough. I felt a little embarassed because I made such an ass out of myself emailing them the first time around, threatening them with every "legal power available to me."

Earlier that evening, I decided to toy with their software a bit more before sending it back. They included a "fully-animated Tutorial" in their software that I decided to try and follow through. Why the hell not? I was sending it back tomorrow anyway. The Tutorial was extremely easy to follow, I have to give them a lot of credit for what appeared to be a lot of "time" and "effort" once again. Honestly, through their 15-Step Tutorial, I encountered one glitch, and by the time I reached it, I was starting to see some "value" in what they had sold me. So far I had ripped the DVD, encoded it to MPEG-1, and prepared it for the "burning phase". I've always had a hard time encoding properly. Their instructions and tutorial simplified a lot of the "terms" I'm not at all familar with. At times, I found myself wanting to actually jump ahead of the Tutorial, as I felt they were "baby-stepping" me through the process. I had spent perhaps a few hours now, and it's incredibly 1:00 in the morning, and I hit a brick wall. Their software didn't "LIKE" my CD Burner I guess. Tired and still frustrated from the whole event, I went to bed, still staying true to my plans of returning the software first thing tomorrow.

The next day, I woke up slightly "cooler-headed" and decided to give their "Live Technical Support" option a whirl, and see if they might be able to help me. Again, I figured "Why not?" I have to say this is truly the most IMPRESSIVE part about their product and company. In a matter of seconds, I was able to connect with one of their "Tech Support Agents" online and describe my problem in "real time". Again, even their "Live" environment was impressive, and during my brief "technical" discussion I had concluded they had spent a lot of time (and probably money) in to developing their Support Center. Their agent was able to help me right away, and the problem was fixed. However, at this moment, I am simply GLUED to their Support Center, and I find there are many other options available including a "Knowledge Base" that I could have searched through to find the solution myself. Also included was the option to contact their Support Staff by submitting a "case". It was a complete Technical Support Suite at my fingertips.

Their agent was also able to introduce me to some of the other areas of their product including a very "in-depth" printable manual that covered VCD & SVCD encoding. (I've now used this as a "reference guide" when I go to venture out on my own) Also, included with the package was the option to upgrade to new versions "for free" and download "templates" and future "tutorials", all via their website. They apparently also threw in another product similar in nature that allowed me to create my own "DVD Slideshows". I had remembered reading about this online before but never bothered trying, since I didn't even understand the basic concepts behind COPYING a DVD movie. It was too intimidating, and my desire to COPY DVD's far exceeded my ambition to CREATE my own.

I quickly realized what I had bought was indeed NOT what I had originally expected. This was not the "Easy DVD Copying" software I had previously visualized. In place, I've found a company that has put it's time and energy not in to selling other "freeware", but in to helping you and stepping you through your problems. It is best to say you are not necessarily buying a product here, but spending $30 to hire a personal service that is basically at your disposal at no additional costs. Even with other software you are limited to "email" and "long-distance calls" where you are put on hold for an hour.

As you might have already concluded, I kept the software, and found time to write the company back to compliment them on a job well done. I don't know if all the DVD Copying companies are doing this, but I MUST say these guys did a tremendous job. Again, I'm not going to mention their name or website, because I'm not advertising them. I think that would be in poor taste on this thread. I just wanted to share a personal experience I had with this product.

I also want to say I think websites like this one are fantastic. As a newbie, the "DVD Copying" product was able to jump start me, and I now feel a lot less intimidated to learn more on website like this and www.vcdhelp.com. Since then, I have been able to create DivX movies, and Slideshows, and have ultimately concluded I felt more comfortable after learning and using their product and services. I know this doesn't apply to everyone, because there are other people out there who are able to get online and learn this stuff rather quickly. For the rest of us, there are products like the one I've mentioned here. I still get SPAM, and I probably always will. The internet is very "consumer-driven" now, and while it's annoying, there are always ways to remove myself from lists or just hit the delete key.
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Old 30 Nov 2001, 12:10 PM   #3
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You must be one of the luckier ones who did get what you paid for, because everyone else I talked to just received a CD with a copy of SmartRipper and FlasKMPEG on it, nothing else (or even worse, just a webpage with a link to my site on it, and that's how they actually found this site and emailed me).

The fact that some of their websites uses an IP address (can't even afford a domain name), and that they use SPAM to sell their products, should all be warning signs.

Some were also copies of free DVD Rippacks/GUIs (DVD to DivX conversion packs, that "integrate" many known software together, eg. DVD Reaper, EasyDivX - http://www.divx-digest.com/software/...oding_rippacks), and there are also genuine commercial DVD conversion tools like DaVideo (http://www.divx-digest.com/software/davideo.html).

They may add some new features, or even a user/tutorial to existing freeware tools - but the mere fact that they are selling freeware tools (or even if they use GPLed code in the product they are selling), means what they are doing is illegal. One might argue that DVD backup itself is illegal (which I don't think it is, for personal backup use), but I am sure selling software for DVD backup is highly illegal in the eyes of the MPAA, since they consider all DVD decrypters to be illegal (just got a "friendly" note from the MPAA the other day regarding this).

What this also means is that if freeware/GPLed programs were integrated into a commercial product, if the authors of all programs concerned are unaware of this (and not compensated for it), then it is a very wrong thing to do (stealing freeware/shareware) - it's not different than someone putting the DivX codec into a better installer (and I am sure they put a lot of work into programming the installer as well), and then selling it. This also makes the case against the MPAA just that much harder, since they can now argue that freeware/GPL/open-source code has been used commercially to pirate DVDs, and sites like mine will have to start closing down pretty soon.

You have to remember that if a company does have a good product to sell, they will most likely contact either us, or another DVD/DivX website, and so far, I have not heard from/of them (and so this suggests they may be selling freeware tools), and you should not purchase anything that has not been recommended (or even mentioned) by these websites.
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Old 7 Dec 2001, 10:00 AM   #4
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ZerOXes - You might think giving their name is advertising, I think it would be a public service. Let me tell you of my experience with this spam.

Stupid me, I got the DVD copy email and bought into it. I have since gotten five others, all with different addresses. I got a web site to download from, a canned group of freeware and an email address that does not work. No support, no address of any kind to reach those "selling" this stuff and no product that works.

I'm still very interested in learning to copy DVD's, and found this web site almost by accident.

Now, I have to pursue these theives that have my card number and shut them down. I did do one thing, I printed every screen that came up during the process so I have that to give to my card company. When I find them....
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Old 7 Dec 2001, 12:53 PM   #5
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Sorry it took a while to reply. I've been out of town.

With respect to what you had to say "Admin", I'd like to share some other info with you, because I understand where you are coming from. I thought and felt many of the same things as you did, exluding running a website like this. I also thought it was "illegal" to sell freeware. This was one of my arguments brought against the company, and they politely referred me to the program's ReadMe's and the GNU License, which all clearly state the software can be re-sold and re-distributed. I don't write software, but, logic seems to dictate that if you an author and releasing freeware, you are saying, "I don't expect to make a dime from this." (especially if you include it in your ReadMe)

As I pointed out in my previous post, the product I used merely included some freeware tools, and it can easily be argued that they were not selling the freeware, but instructions and technical support. Even if they were, again, it doesn't appear to be illegal. Interestingly enough, one of the tools they released was a CD burning tool that was in fact, NOT freeware, but shareware. Shareware does not full under the GNU license, so again, being the type of person that I am, decided to contact that company. I found out the two companies had already established a relationship together, and were aware their shareware was being packaged. Again, no harm done, and I found no dirt on the company or their product. Certainly, if the software is comprised of nothing more than a link or a piece of freeware, that seems wrong to me. That just wasn't the case here.

I think products like this one are like "Dummy" books. That's how they are written. They've simply made the process easier and more conveniant for me to use and understand. I doubt anyone would throw a fuss if they provided LINKS to freeware, even though there is little difference. Is it illegal to sell a product that points or provides access to freeware tools already available? If I wrote a book on "How to learn Visual Basic", and I provided a piece of freeware code or a link to the code online, can one argue that it's illegal? I hardly think so. I've purchased books on how to navigate the web, and how to unlock secrets in Windows, and ironically, they both have references to freeware online, that I would have otherwise never found myself. Again, my entire attitude on this situation has changed. I didn't get scammed, and I spent 2 days versus 2 months learning to backup DVD movies. If the MPAA decides to go after a website like this or a company like the one I've mentioned, it will be a sad day, because I feel both play a roll in providing useful information that appeals to the general audience.

As you said, I guess I got lucky. Not everyone else apparently is, like NorthStar. The product he has described is nothing like what I received. I've talked to some people that have received NOTHING at all, and others that have been sent a CD with some links, as the Admin mentioned. In both cases, people were unhappy, and both friends of mine, who are active internet users. It sounds like there are many companies out there scamming consumers in to buying junk. Sorry Northstar, I don't want to provide any information on the company. Like I said, I don't think that's appropriate for this thread, and if they aren't responsible for sending out SPAM, why give them a hard time?
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Old 7 Dec 2001, 03:09 PM   #6
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Umm ... many of the freeware DVD tools don't have license agreements (especially DVD ripping tools, since ), and those that do specifically states that these tools cannot be sold (since this goes against the whole point of having freeware) - GNU GPL (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl.html) does not allow the redistribution of modified open-source code, unless the modified source is also released. LPGL does not require the source to be released, but only applies to library files.

The best DVD rippers I know are (in no particular order) SmartRipper, DVD Decrypter and CladMDec. All are freeware (but not GPL). Neither of them have readme files (so no license agreements, apparently).

Similarly, TMPGEnc, a great conversion program, doesn't even allow websites such as mine from distributing their packages, let alone include them in commercial packages, and in it's license, it states "It is prohibited to redistribute the software and it's copy or components in any means." For now TMPGEnc is still freeware, although their conversion engine is used in commercial tools such as Nero Burning ROM (I think made by the same company, if I am not mistaken - http://www.pro-g.com/en/index.html).

And those that have been around for a while don't need to mention VirtualDub, and their dispute with Vidomi over GPL code (Vidomi, a freeware DVD conversion tool, used GPL code from VirtualDub without releasing their source - this issue has now been resolved). The Vidomi license, BTW, states "The Product is licensed, not sold. The Product is protected by copyright law and international copyright treaty provisions, as well as other intellectual property laws and treaties. You must not allow copies of the Product or any part of it to be made or distributed to anyone else. You may make backup copies of the software for archival purposes only."

If the author has stated specifically that their software is freeware, can be re-distributed (even commercially), then this is okay. But most freeware tools have a license similar to this :

http://www.sil.org/computing/catalog/freeware.html

(note the sentence "...provided this is not done for commercial gain")

To sum up : I think most freeware authors would not like their software to be sold, as if this happens, what is the point in having freeware in the first place? What is Microsoft came along, and included freeware in their commercial products with seeking permission (their argument could be that the freeware authors "don't expect to make a dime from this" as well)?

But I think the whole point of discussion is because these programs have semi-legal status, and may not conform to known licensing laws (either freeware, sharware, GPL, LGPL or whatever), many commercial publishers are taking advantage of this fact, and not consulting the authors prior to selling these software - this article may shed more light on this issue :

http://www.afterdawn.com/news/archive/2440.cfm

I don't write software either, but if I did write freeware, and released it as freeware, I would definetely not want some company to make profits from my hard work (which I did so that others can enjoy my work for free) - if I wanted people to buy it, I would be selling the software, not by another party. The same arguement holds true for websites - my websites are free of charge to use - if some company comes, grabs my pages, perhaps even improve them somewhat, and sells them online - I would not be happy at all. I used to draw 3D graphics for fun, and one day, this charity group wanted to include my drawings in the CD they were selling - even something as simple as a picture (which I made available online for anyone to use/download), will require the author's permission before it can be redistributed commercially.

I can't comment on CD burning software, since this is not really a DVD related software (and there are lots of sharware CD burners out there, and their authors would love to be included in some commercial packages, for a fee of course )

Just out of curiosity, which software did they include in their package - a link to their website would also be interesting (don't worry, I won't remove the link).
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Old 7 Dec 2001, 03:52 PM   #7
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I think you missed a lot of what I was saying. I'm not at all familiar with the laws of releasing freeware, shareware, or including it in a commercial package. What I was trying to say was, there is not a lot of difference in providing a URL to freeware and packaging it on a CD. The product I own could have very easily done that, and it would be near-to-impossible to summize that what they were doing is illegal. The mere fact they decided to include the freeware rather than a link to it was extremely conveniant for me, and since providing links to freeware is not illegal, I cannot imagine how much more illegal it would be to package it with a glorified eBook. Again, I'm not aware of all the laws. I'm not a lawyer, and I don't know with any 100% certainty if what this particular company is doing, is right or wrong. In the great scheme of things, I know this much. They aren't scamming anyone. Their website actually mentions that this is "a manual" and there is other software included in the package. If there is cloak and dagger here, it's hard to see, and I'm a walking testament to it.

None of the software titles you mentioned, (including TMPGEnc and VirtualDub) are included with the software. However, one of the rippers is, and you are correct, there is no ReadMe, but the software does not appear to be open source or modified in any way. (I have both versions) So, this WOULD fall under the GNU. As I said, none of the other titles ring a bell.

I agree that if I were a freeware author, I would probably not be too keen on having other companies benefit from my hard work. But to what degree should it bother me? If someone writes a manual on how to use my software and sells it, I think I would actually feel a sense of pride, knowing they chose my software. And, if that company decided to include a URL to my website to download the freeware, should that be considered illegal? Again, what I am trying to itterate is that, the product I purchased could have easily included a link, rather than the .EXE to install the software. There just isn't much difference there. I already had downloaded everything they included on their CD. It was a conveniance to have those programs readily available if I didn't have them though. The value in their product is not the freeware. To think that would be illogical and unobservant on the part of the beholder. You have the right to charge for material like Tutorials and Manuals and Tech Support. It is legal to resell freeware that falls under the GNU, and if that was all they were doing, well, I would have returned their product long before now.

As I said before, I don't think it's right to give anyone here a link to their website, or reveal their name. I'm not advertising them, nor do I wish to. I only wanted to share my opinion and experience with the board. If what they are doing is wrong, then I guess I'm wrong too, for allowing myself to own their product. Honestly, I must just be fortunate enough to have not been a victim of a scam. I guess if enough people feel differently about it, then perhaps they'll be a class action lawsuit brought against the company. I dont know.

I'm just some dumb schmoe who is the victim of purchasing a well thought out product. I think it's great, I really do. I think websites like this are great, and shouldn't feel they are competing in some way. They both have their place, and if there is any battle to be waged, it's probably with the MPAA. I had to pay $30 to get information I couldn't decrypt in 2 months. Complaining about the legalities of freeware and license agreements seems so trivial to me. Perhaps I'll email the company and let them know how much their tactics are looked down upon, and encourage them to provide links to freeware, rather than the actual files.
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Old 7 Dec 2001, 06:02 PM   #8
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For GNU GPL - the source code must be distributed along with the binaries (us webmasters are always getting into trouble for forgetting or not knowing to do this ) - so if the CD does not contain the source code, then this is a violation of the license. The name "GNU" comes from the old tradition of recursive naming, in that "GNU" actually stands for "GNU's Not Unix" - it has 2 licenses, GPL and Lesser GPL (for library files) - many freeware tools do not follow GNU licenses, since they are not open-source.

For example, FlasKMPEG is GPL and the source code must be made available with the program upon re-distribution. I think some of the other tools such as MPEG2AVI, Vstrip all fall into this situation.

I think my point was that since many of these tools do not have proper licenses, they may not fall under GNU, and commercial publishers are taking advantage of this fact. I am not saying what they are doing is illegal (it is probably as legal as say DVD ripping software are themselves), but it seems a little un-ethical, and if the MPAA ever finds out, they would probably sue (since there has been commercial activities involved, they would most likely sue to obtain all profits from this operation).

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there is not a lot of difference in providing a URL to freeware and packaging it on a CD
If the CD was free (or just the cost of shipping), then yes, there is nothing wrong with it. If the license agreement states re-distribution (including commercial re-distribution) is legal, then this is okay too. If they are not selling these tools, but rather, just selling a guide on how to use these tools, this is fine too. Otherwise, it is illegal.

I think the deception in many cases is that some companies are promoting their products as a "complete DVD backup tool", when in fact, it is just a guide. Had they just come out and stated that they were selling a guide (eg. http://www.expert-guides.com/library...asp?adID=05004), then this is perfectly fine.

It's like someone selling a "great way to find shops and services", when in fact they are only giving you a telephone directory with some instructions on how to use it. Or in this case, someone selling a "great way to backup your DVDs", and instead, giving you a list of links to websites such as mine (and some of the SPAM campaigns have done just that).

For my website, I had considered putting all of the pages/software available on my site, burning it as a CD, and selling it online (which would generate enough money to keep this site going for a while). But the fact that I had to contact each and every owner of the software license (if no license was provided) and ask about permission made me think twice - I could have argued that I was just providing a convenient service to my visitors by bundling my webpages/software archive onto a CD, and that it is no different than providing them online, but I have a feeling others would feel differently about this. It would have been un-ethical of me if I had done it without seeking permission for each and every software title I had included in my CD package.

Anyway, perhaps what you were talking about is different to what I am talking about (perhaps you were referring to a site like expert-guides) - what I was referring to was the SPAM campaign that is currently running, and unlike the service you described, these guys do not have support emails (probably no email contacts at all), and don't even have a proper domain name (they use IP addresses). They did infact just provide some freeware programs **without** any addtions/enhancements, or in some situation, provided nothing at all (except for the action of charging your credit card).

What I was addressing was the tons of complaint emails I am getting each and every day about this issue - something that generates so much anger and frustration cannot be a good thing, and must be stopped. This is not to say that anyone who sells anything related to DVD backup is doing the wrong thing - if you do it in an ethical manner, and people stop emailing me complaints, then I have no problems with it (I might even help to promote the product).

But then again, in the eyes of the MPAA, we will all have to go to jail

... and SPAM is bad
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Old 7 Dec 2001, 06:15 PM   #9
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... and another thing - if people feel they have been ripped off, if even in reality they haven't been, I think there is something wrong there as well.

While free guides are not as expertly crafted as some of the commercial guides, for many people, they are sufficient to get them started and experimenting - and in a lot cases, this is all they need.

And perhaps $30-40 just to get started with a user guide, may be a tad expensive (considering for that price, I can get 2 or even 3 DVDs) - customers may have expected something better, like an one-click-does-all tool for DVD backup, which they didn't get.

Some were also confused about "DVD backup" in general, thinking that they could somehow store their DVDs onto CDs, without loss of quality and sacrificing interactivity and special features. So to market a "DVD to CD copying/backup" is in itself deceptive, if they do not explain what this all means until you actually purchase the guide. I prefer to use the term "DVD Conversion", since this implies the DVD has been converted and is no longer has the same features/qualities as before.

Then again, I wouldn't be here typing weren't for those awful SPAM campaigns ... and once again, SPAM is bad!!
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Old 7 Dec 2001, 06:27 PM   #10
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All your points are understood and honestly, I couldn't agree more. The products you've been emailed about are not what I received. I looked at the Expert-Guides.com and ya, that's basically what I got. (Although I don't know anything about their technical support)

In your eyes, there is a lot of difference in packaging freeware, and providing a link to it. Then comes the issue if one is allowed to house the files on a commercial server, etc etc. Again, I feel these are very mild issues, and the real problem is the MPAA and any action it takes against websites or products like these. I can't see how anyone can tell you you're not allowed to backup your own DVD movies. I'm already tired of hearing about the MPAA and Music Industry VS. Napster, etc etc. Even though, a website or product like we've mentioned can hardly be compared to Napster.

I like your website, and I hope the MPAA doesn't shut you down. However, sometimes you have to do what you have to do. If someone said you had to shut down or possibly serv 5 years, I would shut down. I would of course follow up by taking any action I could to protect the 1st ammendment. I look at the DeCSS issue with the 2600 website, and I know the only reason 2600 is being targeted is because they are a hacker zine. Give me a break. I hope they have better luck with the next court appeals. Yes, spam is bad. I don't honestly care. I delete it. If it becomes really bad, I remove myself from a list. I just dont have time to raise a big fuss with their ISP or something. Besides, if there is still phone solicitation, SPAM will probably be around a while.
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Old 7 Dec 2001, 07:34 PM   #11
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SPAM is getting worse because more and more "people" are using email harvesters, which grabs any email address it can get from webpages, and add to their mailing lists.

And worse is that while some SPAM can be stopped by removing yourself from the list, many actually checks for "remove me" messages that you send, and since now they know there is an actual real person on the other end of the email, they send MORE SPAM!!

The best way to stop SPAM is to inform the relevant authorities in your area, be they your ISP or even quasi-government authorities such as the FTC (http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/online/inbox.htm).
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Old 9 Dec 2001, 12:33 AM   #12
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Angry-2

Let me tell you what I got and what I did about it.

I received a link where I downloaded a set of freeware with very simplistic, inadequate instructions that would not and did not work. In addition, there was an email support address that was nonexistent.

Checking a few days later, I found that the order site no longer worked either. Not exactly signs that a reputable company or person was behind this.

I called my credit card company and disputed the charges and at the same time canceled the card. I located the billing company on the web and informed them I was disputing the charge and why, including the freeware, nonexistent support and crummy documentation. I also included five addtional email addresses for the same "product", none of which worked after a few days.

The billing company at this point seems to be straight. It is worth noting that credit card fraud is considered the same as counterfiting and is investigated by the Secret Service.

The up side is there were no additional charges to the account and it led me to this site. Silver lining to the cloud.

As far as selling the freeware is concerned, as a published author I would hit the roof if anyone sold for profit what I had given away for the enjoyment of others.
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Old 15 Dec 2001, 04:41 AM   #13
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Hi,

Great discussion and I'm really pleased this is being highlighted. I first heard of these 'DVD copy guides' quite a few

months ago, to be honest, I was slightly shocked as the whole DVD scene seems quite friendly, helpful and FREE. There's

loads of programs out there that people share with others, it's a great community, everyone learning off each other.

I never really heard much else till about 4 months ago, and then it started, I kept getting, and still do get numerous

emails from people saying things like "I bought your product and .....", "You've charged my CC twice ....". They have

no idea that cladDVD was FREEWARE.

Some people have sent me the ftp address with UNW to download these 'DVD Copy Guides' and quite frankly, they are

sh*t, by far the worst I've seen. These packages don't just contain cladDVD but other freeware programs, even full

versions of NERO.

It was because of these guides I stopped the development of cladDVD and took it offline as I was feedup with people

moaning at me about things that had nothing to do with me, like the package needed a serial number that wasn't given or

emails going un-answered. They obviously thought I knew all about this.

The biggest thing that worries me is it will kill the DVD scene if not stopped. Whether it's cladDVD, cladMdec,

DVDDecrypter or SmartRipper. Myself and the other authors will NOT continue to make these type of programs if they're

getting sold, it's that simple.

Phew, that feels better.

CloneAD (author of cladDVD/cladMdec)
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Old 22 Dec 2001, 03:01 PM   #14
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Talking

After notifying my credit card company to cancel my card (after all this was a fraud scheme), I contacted iFulfill, the collection company for this scam and provided them with the seven or eight different email adds I had collected and informed them I was refusing to pay.

Received notice yesterday that they were crediting my account.

Pays to be aggressive in situations like this.


Now, I need to learn how to do what I started out to do in the first place.
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Old 23 Dec 2001, 03:16 AM   #15
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Question

After hunting down the billing company and lodging my complaint, I have stopped receiving the spam scam mail related to this thread. Has it stopped? I'm thinking that if you kill the money source you have killed the scam. Anybody else still getting email from these vipers? Is there any other way we can go after them?
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