A Word about Michael Hardy (The RipOff Artist)

Posted By on Nov 23, 2012 | 19 comments


 

We were recently threatened by a guy who calls himself “Michael Hardy” . He stole our source code and claimed the program as something he created.

He is well-known on the Internet for stealing (ripping off)  open-source code and modifying it (adding in his own credits) plus trying to sell it. ( a search on Google or Yahoo  should give enough proof.)

We once sent him a warning about a site of his and now we have discovered a site where he claimed again better explorer is his software. In addition to that, he even edited the credits in the program itself, as you can see in the following screenshots:

A credit page on his (now offline) site:

No comment from me for the last line…

 

Michael Hardy’s “Better worse Explorer”:

 

(I suggest running it in a virtual machine – sure is sure.)

And the Beta 1 from us:

Do you Notice a Difference? Well… it should be clear what has been done here.

And, thanks to guys like Michael Hardy, many software programmers stop open-source development. In my opinion, this has to stop. But let’s see. We are not the kind of people who sue everybody just by copying something like rounded corners :).

 

Now, to get some proof about this guy’s movements we have some links for you that you might want to read:

gmc.yoyogames.com

I suggest reading the comments:

youfailit.net ( A series of posts about this guy. It is ridiculous.)

youfailit.net ( as he already posted a comment. Funny somehow.)

 

Our email chat with this… well *person*:

It shows exactly what kind of person Michael Hardy is. Some comments on youfailit.net also mentioned this.

Enough Talking. Make your own opinion of this.

Our First mail, sent by Dimitar

Hello,

We have discovered that a new site that promotes a fake Better

Explorer is out (http://betterwindowsexplorer.com).

Again, your name is there in writing. If you say you are not

responsible for this, it will be hard for me to believe this anymore.

(Since again, your name, your e-mail, and your information are all on

the website.) This is very much starting to annoy me!

I could believe that the first time was a mistake, but, I doubt it is

possible that it would happen twice since you have already been

informed about it.

We are not fools, but a team of professionals, and we can – and will –

discover any new site or hidden installer that uses our code without

preserving our copyright on BetterExplorer or at least crediting us.

Even if Better Explorer is open-source software, it does have a

copyright that was infringed upon by the mentioned site owner (no

matter who it is).

We have also discovered a hidden installer for BetterExplorer, in a

different website of yours, which again proves to me that you were the

one to put all of this online. (No matter where the installer is put,

you’re still infringing copyright.)

I highly suggest that you close the site, (no matter if are you really

the owner or not. If you are not, you can warn the authorities about

this problem) or we will take measures.

Very often, we deal with that things of this nature (because this is

our profession) so we will take any measures necessary. I give you one

day for this site to be closed.

 

Better Explorer team.

Micheal's Reply

Problem solved. Skinnablecdplayer.com belonged to Duclee as well and I forgot to shut it down. He helped me with my cd player and

Used my card I was unaware of betterwindowsexplorer.com or I would have shut the shit down with the other one, it’s fine you don’t

Believe me and that’s understandable but you should not accuse people without knowing the facts. I have removed the hidden installer

And closed the web site. You are not getting anymore support from me for calling me a liar … In other words, you’re lucky I don’t revoke

better-explorer.com but I won’t because I’m not a jerk like that. Please never email me again.

 

Thank you,

 

Michael

I personally find it a bit offensive, but let’s continue:

My Reply

It is as simple as 1-2-3. You do not copy our work à you have no problems with us.

 

“but you should not accuse people without knowing the facts”

 

Well…: http://gmc.yoyogames.com/index.php?showtopic=478789&st=0 ; http://youfailit.net/?p=49 ; And much more. Just use Google and Yahoo.

 

“In other words, you’re lucky I don’t revoke

better-explorer.com”

Try it. I already registered a new domain, just in case. (no, I will not tell you)

 

 

He helped me with my cd player and

Used my card I was unaware of betterwindowsexplorer.com

 

Really? Then, why were you registered as the owner? (A simple request at the hosting provider always points this out. Even with WHOIS Protection. You just have to know where to ask/search.)

 

“Please never email me again.”

 

This will not happen unless you copy our work again. Thrust me, we will find it (got some nice help by a company, but I won’t go into the details)

 

 

 

You must feel like we should be thankful to you and you got the longer level. False. If it was so, I would not write this mail. Every site you created, including setups and files, is stored on local hard drives as well as on multiple servers. Just in Case.

 

 

In hope you will not copy anything again,

 

The Better Explorer Team.

And now his reaction, and with this, i knew it was the person that we were searching for. A liar. It is funny how he declined in his first mail to be the one that is responsible for it.

His Reply to me

First of all them fucking links are me, 2nd, what part of I let someone use my card and information you fucking idiot?

I have you’re IP address and am , well use you’re imagination. Don’t worry I don’t copy other peoples work and I

Didn’t have a problem with you, the worst thing you could do is sue me but trust me you’d never win because I

Have documented proof that I let someone else use my cards oh and by the way I have over $60, 000,000.00

So try it fucker

 

Have a good day,

 

Michael

What an adult answer!

my comment:

Well… credit cards make you think you have money, so it is no wonder he can say he has $ 60 million dollars and more. :)

And it is senseless for him to have my IP address. I violated no rights.

The Problem is, he gave us the credit card info. As far as i know, there was no agreement which was signed by both parties. Well, as everyone else, you are responsible where you let  and who you give your credit card info.

 

Previously, our program was released under the GNU GPL. This does not mean everyone can copy it at his will. When you fork something you have to AT LEAST to give credits for it (or you contact the creator(s)). This is what got us mad the most. This guy copied our work without giving credits – he even added in credits to his family members.  This means he broke the GPL license that BetterExplorer was under at the time.

Quote (GPL 2.0):

1. You may copy and distribute verbatim copies of the Program’s source code as you receive it, in any medium, provided that you conspicuously and appropriately publish on each copy an appropriate copyright notice and disclaimer of warranty;

 

The problem is that Mr. Michael Hardy offered us a domain. Now he thinks he is “DA KING” and can tell us anything he wants. False. We have taken measures to secure our work as well as the domain. He has absolutely no access to the data or the server of our site. The only ones having access to this are me and Dimitar.

To all open-source developers around the world: be careful if someone offers you something for free. And be sure to license your hard work.

To quote someone (I don’t remember his/her name anymore:)):

If something is free, you are not the customer, you are the product

Think about it.

 

A little update: I also found a Firefox clone by Mr. Michael Hardy. This is insane.

It it is based on Firefox Aurora, Version 5.0. All credits from Firefox or Mozilla have been Removed –> The license is violated. Mozilla has been contacted about it.

 

*some names on images are censored to protect the privacy of this noninvolved individuals.