[quote]It would be my desire that Dreamhost always contact the account holder before taking any action, or simply disable the offending files while waiting to hear back from the account holder. I also understand that this would not be the case in responding to official DMCAs or C&Ds, but in a case where DH support staff probably doesn’t have the need knowledge/ experience it seems unreasonable to me that the entire account is shut down.
To the OP, did you get your E-mail and other data back? [/quote]
All e-mail was repaired by the next morning (apr 3rd) and Karl sent me a message that morning to say it had been fixed.
No files or any data were lost and I’ll have to send Karl a hug in the mail in gratitude for his work to repair and resolve all the issues.
Karl is correct in saying that there was nothing, absolutely nothing on the site other than two files, one an executable installer and one a zip of the same file, both the same size, located under the directory structure visa/downloads/ They had been there since March 31 and downloaded hundreds of times before my account was disabled on the morning of April 2.
There is nothing remotely suspicious about the other sites on my account, although I’m not sure if the DH abuse team would take this into consideration one way or the other. In fact, there is another domain that also has an installer for a Civ4 mod as well as a zip of the mod and nothing else. It has been up on the site since Feb 16 and has seen 300GB transferred on the site since then. I am kind of curious if that ever caught their attention in handling this case, as it never came up in our communication. The file there was called World_War_II_1939_1.0b.exe, which I am not sure if that is an innocuous name as opposed to visa_setup.exe since there was (and currently is) nothing else on the site to describe what it is all about. I expect Karl to contact me soon about putting up a description of what the file is, or to stop distributing a Civ4 crack
So, if the simple act of having a site with nothing on it other than a couple large files is enough to have your account disabled, I would like that notice posted to all DreamHost customers as well as any other possible actions that may lead DH to disable a customer’s account without warning. If it’s a valid request of customers to help the abuse team avoid any irregularities, as we may call this, then really: the notice should be put out.
Nothing bothered me more about this situation than that I was notified that I am breaking copyright law and that my account is immediately disabled. What a nitemare, DreamHost. Imagine your phone, tv or electric company telling you that you have been abusing your use of their service and you are immediately cut off. It really puts you in your place as far as how much power you have. 1. You know you are innocent and have done nothing wrong. 2. You can’t do anything about it. 3. Even half a day seems like forever because you worry about how you will function without the service (if it’s not coming back) before you can find another provider; and 4. You absolutely need it again by the next morning without going through major issues (involving people complaining to you until the service is resumed) that you would rather avoid at all costs. Finally, 5. You are waiting up till the middle of the night before you finally get a response and test to see that everything is working, when it is not. One critical application is not functioning properly. And remember 1. You know you are innocent of any wrongdoing.
Thankfully, I was not left in a complete lurch and Karl checked his e-mail before going to bed that night. [I’d also like to note that I wish I understood better how DH support system works after all this; whether my case will only ever be handled by the person who initiated my problem or there is ever anyone who can make any decision to help me out — it seemed that Karl was the only person who could ever provide a response to my problem.]
Karl has worked well to get me back and running again and I appreciate his apology that this case was not handled with thorough enough investigation on the part of DreamHost, and that in the future this case will be remembered. I hope this should mean that a person’s account will not be shut down unless there is no doubt whatsoever that their use of DH service is illegal and a threat to us all. And that there is any doubt at all that the person might be innocent of abusing the service, that at least one, maybe two or three notices and a few days perhaps are allowed before completely terminating the service. I’m not sure if Karl will become so lenient all of a sudden or if it is feasible to treat real offending customers with so much leeway for them to commit service abuse.
But I think my case should have had enough doubt of any wrongdoing to prevent suspending all services on my account. And I believe Karl will hesitate longer now, and perhaps attempt communication with suspected abusers, before pulling the plug on them. I don’t fully understand yet how I am lopped into the category of most egregious cases by Karl in his statement, “we almost always write folks about copyright concerns before taking action, except in the most egregious cases” and I do want to hear from DH if there are any other guidelines to follow to help prevent confusion. If I had known before what danger there is not to provide descriptions of hosted files, I never would have done that.
p.s. for some strange reason, night mare [but not nitemare…yet] gets translated to foo after submitting a post here. Oh the censorship. Cue the Big Brother rantings and ramblings.