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Ebaum's World Sucks
November 7, 2005 8:33 AM   Subscribe

eBaum's World Sucks. "For a long time ebaumsworld.com has been stealing content and rebranding it from Something Awful and many other sites on the Internet. Everyone is used to having their content moved around on the net, but Eric Bauman obscures any references to the creator in favor of slapping his branding everywhere. And he's gotten rich doing it."

A charming little flash animation from some SA goons.
posted by Brockstar (77 comments total)

 
The song is cute. I'm not sure who else will care besides the SA forum, though. What, the people who go to ebaumsworld to look at flash would rather pay to register for the SA forums to see it?

Good luck.
posted by setanor at 8:38 AM on November 7, 2005


Great tune! Really.
posted by wsg at 8:40 AM on November 7, 2005


That was beautiful, just beautiful.
posted by ducksauce at 8:41 AM on November 7, 2005


funny song and flash, but at the end, their entire beef is over some hotlinked images which they claim "is ILLEGAL" which is just kind of silly and overblown.
posted by mathowie at 8:42 AM on November 7, 2005


From now on, I am calling on Zeus and Thor to smite little whores.

[/can't get it out of my mind]
posted by WolfDaddy at 8:42 AM on November 7, 2005


I'm not sure who else will care besides the SA forum, though

Anyone who cares about not having their work stolen without credit while the person who takes it makes money off of ad revenue, perhaps. Or maybe that is who should care. I get those two confused.
posted by shawnj at 8:43 AM on November 7, 2005


Pretty funny, though hot linking images isn't illegal. It seems unethical, especially if you're making money off of it but that's what redirects to tubgirl are for.
posted by substrate at 8:45 AM on November 7, 2005


It's rare that people who care about having their own work stolen care about other people having their work stolen.
posted by setanor at 8:45 AM on November 7, 2005


Maybe I'm misunderstanding but I didn't think Baumann hotlinked anything. I thought he downloaded stuff, stripped any and all watermarks and added his own watermark and put it on his server and then collected ad revenue from it.
posted by Manhasset at 8:48 AM on November 7, 2005


Maybe zeus and thor
will smite that whore.... best line of the song!
posted by anthill at 8:49 AM on November 7, 2005


substrate, it's not so much hot linking images. eBaums has a history of doing things like taking Flash files, decompiling them and then replacing existing watermarks with their own. Wikipedia has more information of course :-)
posted by LukeyBoy at 8:49 AM on November 7, 2005


Facebook, Something Awful...jeez, I feel like some sort of eggheaded freak (Arts and Letters Daily, Counterpunch, Language Log, Wood s Lot....). Well, I guess we all have different ways of wasting time at work.
posted by kozad at 8:50 AM on November 7, 2005


mathowie, the images aren't hotlinked. They're edited to remove author credit, and tagged with the Ebaums logo/url.
posted by Jairus at 8:54 AM on November 7, 2005


EBaum's World brands itself as "Media for Dumbasses." Is this a demographic that most content creators are striving to reach as they complain about being cheated? Just asking.
posted by shagoth at 8:54 AM on November 7, 2005


Some more backstory: it wasn't flash that was stolen in the first place. This page had Photoshops from this SA story. The images have since been deleted from EBaumsWorld.

Of course, EBaumsWorld does steal flash movies from all over, and rips out credit screens and such, but that wasn't done in this case.
posted by smackfu at 8:54 AM on November 7, 2005


Is this a demographic that most content creators are striving to reach as they complain about being cheated? Just asking.

Yes, at least since the day circus was invented. So what ?
posted by elpapacito at 8:56 AM on November 7, 2005


I'm not sure which I'm supposed to feel is the greatest asshat. The SA Goons or EBaumsWorld.
posted by jmccorm at 9:00 AM on November 7, 2005


Huh. eBaums world. Heard of it, never been, at least until today. Yeah, don't need any of that.

Is this a demographic that most content creators are striving to reach as they complain about being cheated?

Hell yeah. They'll click on the ridiculous ads.
posted by nanojath at 9:03 AM on November 7, 2005


i'm glad #1 has all the facts before he issues his mighty opinion from on high.
posted by keswick at 9:06 AM on November 7, 2005


It's weird. Ebaum has stolen material from corporations like Viacom and made money from their work yet no one has sued him. He's made a lot of money so I thought someone by now would have taken him to court.
posted by clockworkjoe at 9:15 AM on November 7, 2005


Seriously people. The issue is that original, watermarked content is stolen, rebranded, and billed as genuine. Everyone saying "hurrr it's goons anyway who cares" is driving me mad. Does that mean that I can do the same to Maya Angelou if I think she's a bitch (which I don't)?
posted by plexiwatt at 9:16 AM on November 7, 2005


Paging Jay Stile to the Thunderdome.
posted by loquacious at 9:17 AM on November 7, 2005


funny song and flash, but at the end, their entire beef is over some hotlinked images which they claim "is ILLEGAL" which is just kind of silly and overblown.
posted by mathowie at 8:42 AM PST on November 7


Good to know, Matt. In other news, I plan on ripping the archives of ask.metafilter.com, stripping the usernames and replacing them with my own, hosting it on my server, and collecting big bucks from ads.

Maybe wholelottanothing too.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 9:17 AM on November 7, 2005


EBaum's World brands itself as "Media for Dumbasses."

Actually, it doesn't. It bills itself as "Media for the Masses". Media for Dumbasses is how SA has rebranded it for their flash.
posted by Manhasset at 9:19 AM on November 7, 2005


Wow, that was a suprisingly (really) good song. I was imagining something a lot, well, shittier.

It sucks that eBaums is hotlinking, but if he is dumb enough to do so, that means SA effectively controls his content. As referenced upthread, redirects to tubgirl ought to sort this out just fine.
posted by jenovus at 9:20 AM on November 7, 2005


As referenced upthread, redirects to tubgirl ought to sort this out just fine.

And as referenced above, he isn't hotlinking.
posted by shawnj at 9:21 AM on November 7, 2005


jenovus: Referenced upthread, it's not hotlinking. eBaum steals the content, stripts it, re-brands it, and then host it on his own site.
posted by PantsOfSCIENCE at 9:21 AM on November 7, 2005


Also, I should preview before I post. Crap damn.
posted by PantsOfSCIENCE at 9:21 AM on November 7, 2005


On review: and if he's not hotlinking and is merely ripping credit/watermarks, that's kind of disingenuous WRT the origin of content. He is, however, hosting these things on his server, which is all that his watermark says.
posted by jenovus at 9:22 AM on November 7, 2005


THANKS GUYS I FIGURED IT OUT OKAY
posted by jenovus at 9:22 AM on November 7, 2005


How do we know how much money ebaum has made? Does he have to file public returns? He's not a publicly traded company.
posted by Ynoxas at 9:23 AM on November 7, 2005


How do we know how much he's made? Well he's made enough to sponser a professional boxer. I reckon by that trivia bit, that it's a lot more than the people whose stuff he's stolen have made from their work.

He's clearly bottom-feeding scum, slightly better than a spammer.
posted by inthe80s at 9:30 AM on November 7, 2005


that's what redirects to tubgirl are for.

Note to anyone who, like me, was living in blissful ignorance of said "tubgirl", do NOT search for this term.

Thank a bundle, substrate.
posted by senor biggles at 9:38 AM on November 7, 2005


They claim at the end that he did hotlink (or at least include some kind of code that downloads from) SA.
posted by abcde at 9:42 AM on November 7, 2005


How do we know how much money ebaum has made? Does he have to file public returns? He's not a publicly traded company.

Not sure, myself, but:

"Soon after, Eric hired his father as CFO, his girlfriend Kelli Rinaudo, 24, as a project manager, and his high school friend Jason Martorana, 24, as operations manager. The company plans on adding three more people to its current staff of 13.

The site's success has made Eric Bauman a multimillionaire, allowing him to buy a $150,000 house and an $850,000 office building in Brighton."

So I'd say a significant chunk.

Personally, I'd place him lower than a spammer in the great internet food chain - at least spammers create their own content. ;)
posted by snarkywench at 9:56 AM on November 7, 2005


That was a great song. It sounded like (Smog) in places. Like something from Wild Love.
posted by fire&wings at 9:58 AM on November 7, 2005


They claim at the end that he did hotlink (or at least include some kind of code that downloads from) SA.

Okay, for the benefit of everyone else, I'm going to try to give you all a timeline:

1. eBaums takes files from all over, puts his own watermark and removes others, hosts on site, generating revenue.

2. SA goons, angry that some of their work had been taken in this manner, decide to "invade" eBaum's forums. They generally post a bunch of topics about eBaum's stealing ways similar to this, and very quickly the forums get locked down.

3. eBaums puts some code on their homepage which repeatedly calls for files off of the forums.somethingawful.com servers. The SA admins catch it quickly and stop it from bringing down their servers.

4. This song was made.
posted by shawnj at 10:02 AM on November 7, 2005


A friend of mine used to advertise his website, sinful shirts (NSFW) on ebaums world. The advertising rates are something like $400 a month for a one-sentence text link, and he runs lots of those (and my friend got really good returns on his advertising investments there).

It sucks that he's stealing, and rebranding content. That's fucking WEAK.
posted by delmoi at 10:03 AM on November 7, 2005


Apparently he won't take stuff off the site even if one of the Big 5 threatens him.
posted by sarahnade at 10:04 AM on November 7, 2005


Is there anything protecting (in a legal sense) the original entertaining material?
posted by setanor at 10:08 AM on November 7, 2005


setanor : "Is there anything protecting (in a legal sense) the original entertaining material?"

Copyright.
posted by Bugbread at 10:11 AM on November 7, 2005


It is pretty shitty to grab a bunch of content. And if you reuse that content, with attribution stripped, and make a profit from it, you could be reasonably held liable.

This is why I don't share many bloggers' love for the College Humor founders. They do what Ebaums does.

It's not just economic -- when you strip credits and embed video, you deny the creator the glory for which he worked. This counters what free culture is all about. It commodifies work and gives all power to one outlet.

Ebaum's World and College Humor are just Walmarts for virals.
posted by NickDouglas at 10:13 AM on November 7, 2005


Is there anything protecting (in a legal sense) the original entertaining material?

Well, only, copyright law...
posted by delmoi at 10:16 AM on November 7, 2005 [1 favorite]


The 10 to 15 year olds that I hang out with are all convinced that "All the good games and movies are from ebaumsworld". They have zero concept of scraping content from the actual producers.

Yeah, if I were making flash games and hoping to be the next SouthPark, I'd be pretty furious at ebaumsworld.
posted by Triode at 10:20 AM on November 7, 2005


I don't get it. If it's as clearcut as others are saying here then this should be something that can be pounded out in the courts and to the tune of some decent change. IIRC unregistered works can't get you punitive damages but they can get you lost revenue and I would think the advertising money SA makes would qualify. If the theft is that egregious why hasn't it happened?
posted by phearlez at 10:22 AM on November 7, 2005


As far as the song goes, I felt embarrassed for the songwriter while listening to that.
It came across like a nerd(ier) Ben Folds.

Or like a geeky 2005 version of that guy who used to do Ragtime-flavoured 'satirical' songs of American political current events (Mark Russell, I think?)
posted by chococat at 10:25 AM on November 7, 2005


I don't like the site because, thanks to them, I come up second when googling for "Waldo" -- that stupid scan of a "Where's Waldo" book that, after ~60 seconds, shows a ghoulish face and emits a piercing shriek.

If I'm going to come second, I want to be behind Emerson.
posted by waldo at 10:41 AM on November 7, 2005


It sounded like (Smog) in places. Like something from Wild Love.

Um, no. Sounds nothing like Wild lover or any other Smog album. Perhaps an amateurish (but cute) TMBG. Carry on. :)
posted by Manhasset at 10:46 AM on November 7, 2005


I don't get it. If it's as clear-cut as others are saying here then this should be something that can be pounded out in the courts and to the tune of some decent change.

Except that a small artist probably couldn't even hire a lawyer, much less prove lost revenue.
posted by delmoi at 10:56 AM on November 7, 2005


phearlez : "If the theft is that egregious why hasn't it happened?"

Small folks don't have the money to pay lawyers to protect their copyright on something that wasn't bringing them in any revenue anyway. And really big companies either get their stuff pulled (and therefore don't particularly need to take ebaum to court), or avoid action because it would make them look like big ogres to the types of folks who read ebaum. That's my guess, at least, from what I've read.
posted by Bugbread at 11:00 AM on November 7, 2005


You'd think small folks could small claim eBaum to death.
posted by Mitheral at 11:31 AM on November 7, 2005


So why doesnt the SA goons get a lawyer and sue his ass? I surely think Lowtax has the resources to start such an endevour. Tell the lawyer eBaum makes a pissload of money and you (and him) would get a big chunk of that ad revenue when they prove that he is stealing other people's content and making money.
posted by SirOmega at 11:37 AM on November 7, 2005


What bugbread said.

Bauman is a guy who has gambled (successfully so far) on the assumption that nobody is going to actually sue him over individual instances of mere penne ante theft - which just happen to add up to millions in revenue for HIM. I am among the many he has stolen content from, and would love nothing more than to see his arrogance come back to kick him in the ass. I have it on authority that he's become so deluded re: his own legitimacy, he even has a PR agent pitching stories about him to major magazines.

On preview: And yes, now that's it's common knowledge how much money he's making, it is probably just a matter of time before he somebody makes him face the consequences of his actions.
posted by MaxVonCretin at 11:53 AM on November 7, 2005


ANSWER: I call it a class-action lawsuit. That'd pretty much handle most of the tidy details, yes?

Sure. You might end up with a coupon for a free month's hosting at eBaum's World website, but they'll end up paying a tidy sum to your collective lawyer when all is said and done. And perhaps the court would bar them from that behavior in the future.
posted by jmccorm at 11:53 AM on November 7, 2005


It would be ironic if this flash cartoon gets hosted on Ebaumsworld.
posted by euphorb at 12:00 PM on November 7, 2005


I don't know much about class-action lawsuits, but aren't they generally used where one specific bad thing has affected many people, who band together? Is that part of the definition of class-action lawsuit?

By which I mean: If a group of 1,000 people on a website wrote a collaborative fiction book, and ebaum ripped it off, it would be one crime, affecting a bunch of people (in the same way that if one company made a single bad product that 1,000 people bought, it would be one crime, affecting a bunch of people). That would definitely qualify as a class-action lawsuit.

In this case, though, it's many individual instances of one type of crime, each one affecting only 1 or 2 or 5 people. Can a class-action lawsuit still be brought for things like that?

(Legitimate Question, IANAL, Non Rhetorical)
posted by Bugbread at 12:10 PM on November 7, 2005


Ben Folds wants his royalties!
posted by Jeremy at 12:16 PM on November 7, 2005


A class action lawsuit would not result in the ripped off parties splitting all his cash, but it could result in him being put out of business, which I'm guessing would make a lot of the injured parties happy enough.
posted by illovich at 12:30 PM on November 7, 2005


Disclaimer: The following comes from Wikipedia, so I am sure that in some people's eyes it is probably the precise inverse of the truth, but:
The putative class must consist of a group of individuals or business entities that have suffered a common wrong. Usually, these kinds of cases are connected to some standard action on the part of a business, or some particular product defect or policy that was applied to all potential class members in a uniform manner.
So it looks like, even though each ripoff only affected a few people, a class action could still be brought in that the particular policy of ebaum, changing watermarks and presenting copyrighted material as their own, was applied in a uniform manner.
posted by Bugbread at 12:47 PM on November 7, 2005


It's interesting that Ebaumsworld does something almost exactly like what used to be done in the publishing industry hundreds of years ago (this W. Shakespeare guy is selling -- quick, get us a Shakespeare version to hawk! [shameless rip-off of said content ensues, with no cash going to W. Shak.]).

It is exactly the kind of thing copyright was meant to stop. And yet, Ebaum continues making money. Must be mostly stuff that was given away, so that lawsuits can not be afforded.

Hell, on a lot of his content, all he would have to do to be semi legit. or fully legit. is just not put his mark on it (and not strip the existing mark, of course).

What a fucking asshole.
posted by teece at 3:29 PM on November 7, 2005


SomethingAwful used to run a file forums (BTB, DPPH, NMPS) which was then moved offsite (for instance WDMA, Where Da Moviez At). It is interesting that goons would speak out against IP theft when they take part in so much of it.
posted by abez at 5:02 PM on November 7, 2005


As far as the song goes, I felt embarrassed for the songwriter while listening to that. It came across like a nerd(ier) Ben Folds.

Why should that be embarrassing for the song-writer? Not to defend every couplet in that piece, but it was cute and clever and (I imagine) very self-aware use of forced rhymes, considering the context.

And step off Ben Folds, buddy.
posted by cortex at 5:34 PM on November 7, 2005


It is interesting that goons would speak out against IP theft when they take part in so much of it.

Objection! No evidence that the goons who pirate are the same goons who created the photoshops.
posted by smackfu at 5:56 PM on November 7, 2005


I'll admit upfront that I do not have a full understanding of copyright law. I remember reading on some site recently that the film CHARADE was considered public domain because they did not establish copyright status. The film is currently being hosted on the site archive.org under the impression that it is public domain.

I'm wondering, what does it take to least establish a work as being an original work and under copyright. Does it require a notice or does the act of creating something original establish that?

I'm not saying I support eBaums. I think that if they are taking other people's work and hosting it as their own without permission then that is unethical but not necessarily illegal. However, if they are deleting credits and copyright notices, then that is illegal. I gues the big question is, what makes something a copyrighted work?
posted by jefbla at 6:17 PM on November 7, 2005


jefbla : "Does it require a notice or does the act of creating something original establish that? "

No notice/registration is necessary, but registration is useful in the case of disputes.
posted by Bugbread at 7:24 PM on November 7, 2005


On preview: And yes, now that's it's common knowledge how much money he's making, it is probably just a matter of time before he somebody makes him face the consequences of his actions.

You think? IANAL, but somehow, I don't see it myself.

Before you get to sue somebody, here in the UK at least, you have to quantify the damage that it's caused you. So, how much financial damage is caused by someone viewing your image at Ebaum's World rather than at Something Awful? My guess is around threepence, which is why he's never had his comeuppance yet. Generally, this kind of infringement is dealt with by an injunction to take the work down and not display it again, and that's pretty much what he's doing.

But I'm a trifle confused. Who is the loser when it comes to Ebaum's infringement? Do the goons at Something Awful get paid for their photoshop artwork? I suspect that they don't. I suspect that they value it so little that they are prepared to have it displayed on Something Awful for free, so they aren't losing anything.

I guess the loser is lowtax, who is losing some infintessimal value on content that he's had donated by his users for nothing?

Forgive me if I don't lose much sleep over this egregious breach of copyright.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 9:00 PM on November 7, 2005


Objection! No evidence that the goons who pirate are the same goons who created the photoshops.

What? So you're saying that the people who created those photoshops licenced the right to use those images that they've been amending?

Sorry, but I just don't believe it.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 9:02 PM on November 7, 2005


PeterMcDermott: The original photoshops are parodies, which falls under fair use. See: comedy vs. people who don't 'get' it.

Besides, Ebaums isn't just offending another web forum. His actions are an attack on Internet culture. If he (and people like him) are allowed to steal credit and ownership of freely released art/comedy/whatever, then eventually people are going to stop making them, which eventually leads to sites like metafilter dying out because no one is creating anything and sharing it on the Internet. We wouldn't have silly flash cartoons like Badger Badger or CC licensed novels like Cory Doctorow's. And that would be bad.
posted by clockworkjoe at 9:32 PM on November 7, 2005


So, to summarize:

1. Find an Internet cause you don't like.
2. Steal credit/ownership and re-release it.
3. ??????
4. Original Internet site disappears!!!1!
posted by jmccorm at 9:43 PM on November 7, 2005


"We wouldn't have silly flash cartoons like Badger Badger or CC licensed novels like Cory Doctorow's. And that would be bad."
Would it?
posted by klangklangston at 9:53 PM on November 7, 2005


Sure it would. Think of Ebaum as another form of pollution on the Internet, like spam or worthless livejournals. Look at Usenet. It used to be the primary method of public discourse on virtually every topic under the sun. Now it's so filled with spam and warez that it requires an incredible amount of effort to have a decent discussion. Because it's so hard to do it, a lot of people are moving off Usenet or never even getting on. If Ebaum is allowed to operate with impunity then the incentive to release material on the Internet is reduced. Sooner or later, more people are going to imitate Ebaum until there's more copycat than creators and we'll stop seeing 'this is good' sites.

Does that make sense? Bleh. It is late.
posted by clockworkjoe at 10:45 PM on November 7, 2005


I'm sorry, I can't hear you over all the badger badger badger badger mushroom mushroom oh oh it's a snake that's going on in my head.

*sounds of sporadic gunfire, breaking glass, screaming, then silence*

Ok, that's better. Had to nip that in the bud, y'know?

I've always felt kinda icky whenever I ended up at ebaum's world, even when it was totally accidental and even when the link source correctly credited or described the animation/picture/resource in question, which is almost never.

There's a lot of sites like ebaumsworld already. Likely, hundreds of them.

For however little it's worth, here's the relevent email addresses for your mailing pleasure:

General Emails: general@ebaumsworld.com
Press/Media Inquires: press@ebaumsworld.com
Legal: legal@ebaumsworld.com
posted by loquacious at 2:04 AM on November 8, 2005


Oh, and as a counter-argument:

I first saw the badgers flash animation at some lame ass rehosting for advertising profit site. Probably that badgerbadgebadger.com one.

But without it I wouldn't have had discovered the original creator and host site, weebl's stuff. Heh, they're posting links to the ebaumsworldsucks.com site as well.

*blinks*

Oh. My. God. They have stuffed badgers for sale! And lions and tigers! Forget Norway!! *has minor nerd orgasm* Err, sorry.


Anyway, an analogy: Traditionaly in the club, dance, hip-hop and electronic music formats there isn't a contolled media distribution channel. You have (had) to rely on DJs playing your tracks out at clubs and parties. If you were lucky, they "stole" your stuff and included it on a mix tape or CD with a track listing, or it your name showed up in their published track listing in a magazine or newsletter. The DJ gets promoted, you get promoted, newbie DJs want to buy your track because Superstar DJ X is playing it. Eventually, hopefully, everyone's back gets scratched and everyone's dancing.

*pauses*

Forget that I said that. That analogy doesn't stand for shit, 'cause ebaumsworld doesn't really credit people, and he's apparently some stupid rip-off whore. Never mind. It's late.

I want a stuffed badger and/or lion and/or tiger. Those are insanely cute.
posted by loquacious at 2:21 AM on November 8, 2005


used to run

Exactly. Used to run. The policy has completely changed, and copyrighted material like what was seen in those forums isn't welcome.

Also keep in mind that this song sprung mostly out of the GBS forum, which has a totally seperate community from the file forums. In a forum that large (67,000 registered users, 3,000 online at any given time), there's bound to be different parts of the community that don't interact with each other. Which is certainly true there, from personal experience.
posted by shawnj at 10:10 AM on November 8, 2005


Zeus and Thor. heh heh.
posted by OmieWise at 2:00 PM on November 8, 2005


PeterMcDermott : "But I'm a trifle confused. Who is the loser when it comes to Ebaum's infringement?"

Us. Not financially, of course, but copyright law doesn't pretend to be about financial loss. Rather, it says "new works are good. Society needs new works. If people rip off other's works, then people will stop making new works, and that's bad. So we will give folks incentive to create new works, by guaranteeing them the profits of the new works for some years."

Copyright law does not exist to protect profits as its end, it exists to protect profits as a means to the end, which is generation of new works. If ebaum rips people off enough that they decide "aw, fuck it, I'm not going to make this flash animation, ebaum will just rip it off", then that which copyright law has tried to prevent will have occured, and society, denied new works, is the loser.
posted by Bugbread at 5:43 PM on November 8, 2005


SomethingAwful used to run a file forums (BTB, DPPH, NMPS) which was then moved offsite (for instance WDMA, Where Da Moviez At). It is interesting that goons would speak out against IP theft when they take part in so much of it.
posted by abez at 5:02 PM PST on November 7


Upload a stupid flag about it.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 9:09 PM on November 8, 2005


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