Business Internet Tech

Finding out the hard way that linking to infringing content is illegal

For the last month or so I have been listing cracked iPhone applications and games on my iPhone website, thinking that what I was doing was totally legal. After all, I was not the one cracking these iPhone applications and I was not the one making them available online. I was simply linking to them in order to let people know where to get them.

Everything was doing pretty well. I was averaging 1,600 visits per day (and growing fast!) on my iPhone blog. 90% of my traffic came for one reason: finding out where to get all these cracked iPhone apps. That was until 1.50pm today…

I checked by email inbox and saw an email from DreamHost, my hosting company. The subject line was: “URGENT: DMCA Takedown Notification”. That didn’t smell good…

Here is the body of the email I received:

Hello Sebastien,We have received a formal DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) notice regarding allegedly infringing content hosted on your site. The specific content in question is as follows:

The party making the complaint (Ian Ramage, O’Melveny & Myers LLP, Phone: 415.984.8783 ,e-mail:, claims under penalty of perjury to be or represent the copyright owner of this content. Pursuant to 17 U.S.C. § 512(c), we have removed access to the content in question.

If you believe that these works belong to you and that the copyright ownership claims of this party are false, you may file a DMCA counter-notification in the form described by the DMCA, asking that the content in question be reinstated. Unless we receive notice from the complaining party that a lawsuit has been filed to restrain you from posting the content, we will reinstate the content in question within 10-14 days after receiving your counter-notification (which will also be forwarded on to the party making the complaint).

In the meantime, we ask that you do not replace the content in question, or in any other way distribute it in conjunction with our services. Please also be advised that copyright violation is strictly against our Terms and Conditions, and such offenses risk resulting in immediate disablement of your account should you not cooperate (not to mention the legal risk to you if they are true).

We also ask that if you are indeed infringing upon the copyright associated with these works that you delete them from your account immediately, and let us know once this has been done.

We also ask that you delete any other infringing works not listed in this takedown notification, if they exist. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to let us know.


I was wondering who this “Ian Ramage, O’Melveny & Myers LLP” law firm was. It didn’t take me too long to find out it actually is Apple’s law firm!

At first, I emailed Ian Ramage, the Attorney that filed the DMCA notice to tell him I was not doing anything illegal, that I was just pointing to cracked applications, but I didn’t crack them or uploaded them to servers.

In the meanwhile, I did some research. I read part of the US copyright law and didn’t find anything relevant. All this legal jargon is Chinese to me.

Then I stumbled upon an article that states that linking to infringing content is probably illegal in the US.

Here is what this website says:

Summary: There have been 3 court cases in the US where sites were forced to take down links leading to infringing material on external sites. The sites were found guilty of ‘contributory infringement’ for simply linking.

Although unclear the law leans in favor of content owner so if you linked to copyrighted material and don’t take it down you could very well lose a legal battle and face huge legal fees. Even blogs are at risk!

Lock and ChainA large number of cases never reach the courts where sites are served with takedown notices and dare not risk ignoring them as they may otherwise face liability.

Are copyright laws out of control and infringing our own right to share information and discuss what is available on the web?

Is Linking to Infringing Content Illegal in the US? Like it or not the short answer is yes. I don’t agree with it or like it but its true. The law currently leans towards the concept that linking to infringing content is illegal.

At first, I was pissed. After thinking about it, I am really pissed! It is not like I am linking to kiddie porn or something.

DreamHost did an outstanding job at helping me out with this issue. Glen, the CSR at DreamHost, was on top of it, replying to my emails within minutes to advice me on what to do. The $140/year I pay them is very well spent. Although they have downtime every once in a while, their service is just first-class.

Oh well, lesson learned.

Internet Tech

How to create embeddable Flickr slideshows

I just read on RWW that Flickr finally released an easy way to embed slideshows to your website or blog.

Well, I didn’t wait for Flickr to create such a feature as I have been adding my own Flickr slideshows to my blogs for quite a bit.

I can’t remember where I found out about this method but here is how it works. Basically, there are 2 ways to do it:

<iframe align=center src=
&tags=YOURTAGHEREframeBorder=0 width=500 scrolling=no height=500>
There is also another method but I found it to be a little weak and not working all the time…
<object type=”text/html” data=”
&tags=YOURTAGHERE&” width=”500″ height=”500″> </object>

Other parameters include:

  • contacts=
  • text=
  • tag_mode=
  • favorites=
  • group_id=
  • frifam=
  • nsid=
  • single=
  • firstIndex=
  • set_id=
  • firstId=
You can see my method in action at the bottom of this post.
I haven’t tried Flickr slideshow feature yet but it seems the process would be easier with their method.
Business Internet Random Tech

How many domain names do you own?

Here is a list of them all with a little description of what I do with them.

  • is a blog that aggregates news about Google’s (not so) new OS’ Andoid. I am a firm believer that Android will kick the iPhone’s ass some day soon. I still love my iPhone but I will switch to Android in a heartbeat. This blog has no purpose but sitting around. One day it might be worse millions, who knows… Just kidding.
  • is the same as A for Android. It just aggregates franchise-related news from various places. Why a franchise site? Because that’s the industry I’ve been working in for the last 4 years…
  • is also a site about franchising. It lists over 500 franchise opportunities, making it one of the largest franchise directories out there. I haven’t touched this website in months and it went from a PR 4 to a PR 0 :(
  • is, once again, a news aggregator for iPhone. Nothing really creative about it. It’s just sitting there and I have nothing to do with it to maintain it as it is auto populated with content.
  • is my main iPhone blog. It actually is the blog on which I spend the most time. This blog is about hacks and cracks for the iPhone. If you’re an iPhone owner and you still rely on Apple for your applications, well, sorry, but you’re missing out. Jailbreaking your iPhone is the best thing that can happen to it and it will set you free from Apple’s evil claws.
  • was my second domain name and it made me a lot of money last year. I don’t do anything on that site anymore. It’s just sitting here, generating an affiliate sale every once in a while.
  • redirects to I am not sure why I bought this domain name in the first place but I remember finding the name pretty cool. I don’t know if you noticed how I am playing with words: podpaganda = propaganda. Yes? No?
  • is my name misspelled and it redirects to
  • is the blog you are currently reading. Mostly nothing really interesting to most people. Some people might like it though as I get decent amounts of traffic.
  • is a yoga blog that Tina works on. The goal is to make it a large yoga class directory, with news and articles that are related to yoga.

Some of these domain names are pretty ugly… To my defense though, I think the domain name doesn’t matter much. As long as it doesn’t contain hyphens or numbers or as long as it’s not more than 15 letters, it is good. After all, I am not trying to create an online empire here…

My latest thing is domain names starting with a letter + the full word, such as “F for Franchise”. Such URLs are short, easy to remember, and they are available!

Internet SEO Tech

12 WordPress plugins I can’t live without

I have 3 different blogs (1, 2, 3) that are powered by WordPress, which is without a doubt the best blogging platform out there. The good thing with WordPress is that it is open source, which means anyone can create plugins to improve WordPress’ backend to fit one’s needs.

There are 12 plugins that I find extremely useful and I would like to share them with you.

Internet Opinions Tech

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales talks about knol

Here is an interesting video of Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, asked about Google’s Knol. The last 2 minutes are a little boring and don’t bring much. The first 2 minutes give a good insight on how Wikipedia is very different from Knol and how Jimmy Wales sees Wikipedia in our society.

Random Tech

4 original USB sticks

The Sushi USB Stick

The Barbie USB Stick

The USB Shrimp Stick

The USB Thumb


Google Android Latest Demo. It kicks ass!

So I’ve always been what you could call an iPhone whore. I love the thing and I am probably the biggest advertiser for the iPhone after Apple itself…

I’ve also been following Android, Google’s OS for mobile. While I had not been impressed before by Android’s features, I have to admit that the latest demo kicks ass!

If a picture is worth 1,000 words, a video is probably worth 10,000… So here are some videos of the latest Android version.

Basic features:

Google Streetview with built-in compass: pretty amazing!

Go to for more demos of the latest Google Android.

Music Random Tech

The Geometry Of Sound

Look at this great experiment and see how shapes are formed depending on the sound. That is pretty amazing. Thank you OpenCulture for this great finding!

Green Tech

Parking lot solar system

The Envision Solar Grove is a highly customizable, aesthetically-designed, photovoltaic-integrated parking lot solar system. Originally designed for Kyocera Solar, the simple elegance of the Solar Grove lends itself to a variety of surroundings and terrain that could otherwise prove challenging to more standard designs.

The design is based on a  graceful analogy, known as “biomimicry” — just as a citrus grove absorbs sunlight to produce food, a Solar Grove absorbs sunlight and produces energy. The language of the analogy continues—the frame and modules of the Solar Tree become its “canopy,” the support structure becomes the “limbs” and “trunk,” while the base foundation and wiring beneath the earth is known as the “taproot.”

solar charger parking lot

The Envision Solar Grove can be sized and positioned to meet the needs of the facility, and is particularly useful in sloping parking lots or lining curved edges. The single support column per tree allows for unhindered maneuverability about the parking area. Unique heavy-duty light fixtures turn on automatically at dusk and shine up toward the canopy, which illuminates the parking area for nighttime safety. Eight translucent solar modules, allow light to pass up through the tree to create another visually appealing sight. During the day, these translucent models allow dappled sunlight to pass through to the ground — a bit like leaves on a real tree would allow.

Internet Tech

17 Tools For Your Website You Can’t Miss

There is some amazing stuff out there on the Web–resources, tools, tricks, and tips. Problem is you spend so much of your time just keeping up with new technologies – learning, playing – and this doesn’t leave much time to go hunting for the latest and greatest tool, or for a better way of doing things. I’ve made this list to make your life easier.