Muschamp Rd

Difficulties with Blogging

November 28th, 2010
Michael Crook

The longer this website has been online the bigger it has gotten and the bigger a headache it has become. February 2018 was not the most difficult month of my life, not even close, but I did see fit to update this blog post many many times because I continue to encounter difficulties while blogging.

So apparently I will be writing more about the many difficulties you may encounter while blogging including:

Abhishek Chaudhry is a thief

I’ve written about many of these topics previously, but one individual finally caused me to take considerable time out of my busy study schedule to update what was at the time an eight year blog post, because I assure you I have had enough.

Intellectual Property Theft

The latest person who decided it was a good idea to take advantage of a random blogger was Abhishek Chaudhary. Mr. Chaudhary decided to download files I created and gave away for free on my website for the benefit of all CFA® candidates and put them on another website. Ignoring any copyright issues, he physically removed files from my server and uploaded them to a service called Scribd.

The files have since been removed because not only am I the creator of the files, they were exact copies complete with my name still listed as the author in the metadata.  One of the files was even called “Muskie’s Question Set” and the URL it used to be at was:

The other file Mr. Chaudhary stole of mine and claimed as his copyrighted work was also CFA practice problems. It used to be at the URL:

Not only did I figure out how to demand my intellectual property be taken down from Scribd using this form. I of course took to Twitter because that is often quicker and more effective.

Scribd of course removed my files from their website where they were posted by Abhishek Chaudhry, but I have had enough I assure you of being mistreated and taken advantage of. Stealing files I’ve given away for free perhaps is not a crime, uploading them to another service and claiming them as your own including asserting copyright, that however is most likely against the law. Worse for Mr. Chaudhry it is probably a violation of the Standards of Professional Conduct. Now Mr. Chaudhry if he is a CFA Member or Candidate in the program is obligated to follow these standards of professional conduct.

The portion of the Standards of Professional Conduct he perhaps violated is Standard I(C) Misrepresentation. Mr. Chaudhry claimed copyright for my work, uploaded it to a website, presumably ticking a box claiming it as his creation and intellectual property. He put his name on another person’s work. I got it taken down, but I took a screenshot because I’ve been online a long time and I’m tired of being taken advantage of.

So just how many Abhishek Chaudhary’s could there be in the CFA program? With a name like Abhishek Chaudhary you would think not very many, but amazingly there appears to be more than one, so which of them stole my files, uploaded them to this likely soon to disappear Scribd account:

Will they take down their LinkedIn account too?

Mogen Risaalder also stole files from me

Will one of them admit to stealing my files, uploading them to another website and then claiming the copyright for these files in probable violation of the CFA Standards of Professional Conduct? I doubt it. I’m sure the CFA Institute and Scribd and LinkedIn could get together and compare email addresses and figure out who did it, but I doubt they will.

I will just have to rely on the fact my website does OK in search engines and social media and wait to see if any of the links above stop working, I hope if one of the Abhishek Chaudhry’s in LinkedIn stole my files and uploaded them to Scribd while being either a Member or a Candidate in the CFA program they are proud of themselves.

Apparently Abhishek Chaudhary wasn’t the only person who decided to download my files and upload them to another website claiming them as their own Moeen Risaldar did the exact same thing at I always wondered why that website kept contacting me, but I was too busy and had no interest in joining their website. Moeen Risaldar stole the exact same file and claimed it as their original work.

Now I have to submit another Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 violation and made the process much more onerous, but the file is no less stolen from me. I took yet another screen shot from the URL:

If Moeen Risalder is a Member or CFA Candidate then they too appear to have violated Standard I(C) Misrepresentation when they asserted original authorship of a file I clearly created and clearly am tired of having other people claim as their work.

There is a Moeen Khan Risalder in LinkedIn:

Is @300hours claiming credit for my work too now?

They may even be on Twitter:

The file in question is also on a website called and the URL seems to imply the website has something to do with this file.

I remember who originally started that website. And again why would someone who is a Member or even a CFA Candidate risk their Charter by claiming credit for someone else’s work. I will write @300hours and ask.

Surely someone at Scribd would think to check this field in the XML?If you download the file from the file downloaded to your computer is called “1pdf.net_www300hourscom.xls” and then when you open it up it is identical to “muskiesQuestionSet.xls” right down to the metadata, I of course took screenshots.

Now some people may be wondering how I found all these files, Google and also Bing. The thing is when you steal a file that is full of text, text that is unique to that file, you can find it if you identify a phrase that only appears in that one work. Some people realize the importance of your online reputation in 2018 and the mystery involving seems to be solved.

Apparently the purpose of Scribd however is to host files stolen from my website. The next thief I found is Tanim Xubayer. He took one of the same files that Abhishek Chaudhary stole and uploaded it with different tags but he did not edit the file sufficiently enough to hide it from me, especially not now that I’m looking for it in earnest. Scribd obviously didn’t look very hard for other copies of my content the first time I filed a complaint.

I assure you Hell hath no fury like a blogger scorned. My file was at the URL:

The same person also uploaded it to here:

Tanim Xubayer also stole my files and uploaded them to Scribd

Someone else thought it was a good idea to upload it to the following URL:

I of course took another screenshot and filed another complaint. And found more of my files at this URL:

I took another screenshot and filed another complaint. And then found another of my files at another URL on Vdocuments:

So another screenshot was taken and another complaint was submitted. Then I found the same document at yet another URL on yet another website I’ve never heard of:

Then of course I found my file again on Scribd again, this time it was uploaded by Kazi Hasan to the URL:

Scribd previously wrote me claiming:

Information about the documents was added to Scribd’s BookID copyright protection system.

Kazi Hasan also stole my file.

Yet I keep finding the exact same files on their website. What do you know, there is a Kazi Hasan on LinkedIn. He has the initials “CFA” after his name. Is it this the same Kazi Hasan who took my file and uploaded it to Scribd? I don’t know but I’m sure the CFA Institute could investigate, I mean how many times can people steal the same Microsoft Excel file upload it to a website like Scribd and claim copyright over it, all the while the document remains freely available on my domain?

Update July 17th 2018: Months later after writing another CFA exam I was dismayed to discover that Scribd did not take down all copies of my files including the file uploaded and claimed as copyright by Kazi Hasan. I wrote Scribd and even @kazikhasan on Twitter as I’ve grown extremely tired of reporting the theft of my intellectual property.

The metadata likely lists as the author none other than myself. Does Scribd not check the author field of the Microsoft Excel files people keep uploading to their website and claiming they hold copyright to?

And here is my file again on Scribd, again not uploaded by me:

I don’t know who dbircs1981 is. But I assure you’ve I’ve had it with all of them and websites like Scribd that facilitated this massive theft of hundreds of hours of my work.

I found another copy of it at this URL:

Mohd Izwan also stole my files and uploaded them to Scribd

And I found another of my files on Scribd, this time uploaded by Mohd Izwan:

And here is the same file stolen this time by mamito9 and uploaded to you guessed it Scribd:

My document stolen and upload to another website

And here it is at another URL:

And here it is again at another URL:

Uploaded by someone called “kanabaramit”.

My Microsoft Excel files uploaded to yet another website.

I assure you I am tired of people taking advantage of my generosity in giving away all these Microsoft Excel files but I’m not going to let someone claim them as their original work.

Bandwidth Theft

Whenever my webhost says we’ve gone over our bandwidth limit, it is because someone is stealing it by leaching files, or slamming the server with spam or other attacks. I have a pretty generous bandwidth limit. The worst thing is losing reliable email, especially since I’m supposed to be trying to find a job. I have a resume you can look at it, if you want to know who created the files that so many people wanted to claim they created.

As I suspected when I finally took a detailed look at the actual server logs, it is a bunch of hotlinkers and other dubious individuals. I post images to forums sometimes and I have some Excel or Word documents that people can download, and apparently people then claim as their own work. My website was pretty lean and mean at one point. The blog sidebar used to take up a bit more bandwidth but a lot of that bandwidth is from Flickr or websites like that. I think I’m going to host most every picture I can on Flickr going forward.

I host the screenshots of all the people who stole my files here for search engine optimization purposes.

So what do people hotlink to on my website, well if you said pictures I found online, you’d be correct. So of course I could just rip them down and I did take many of them down over the years, but the damage was done, this wasted a bunch of people’s time and cost me money.

Now I know I’m no Saint, I don’t have the rights to every single photo I’ve ever shared online on this blog, but I have the rights to most and those I don’t, I admit I do not own the IP for and never once has someone asked me to take down anything on Muskblog for copyright infringement, not in over a decade. Whereas I’ve had people steal my intellectual property multiple times as documented above. So as I was going through my log files line by line and renaming certain files and generally trying to make these people look stupid, I also decided I’d also link to their forum profiles, maybe that will cause them additional discomfort or embarrassment. Given the integrity of these people, they probably took it as a badge of honour if they even noticed at all.

It is amazing how much of the individual hits on my domain are bots. Going through log files, is not the way most people spend their free time, being a blogger is not glamorous I assure you.  However, I finally had access to the logs and an FTP account long enough to do this, so without further ado, here are some more people who caused me problems:

Hopefully this issue has now largely been solved. It appears I have been too successful in image search engines.

Content Scraping

These are people who use software to steal text and images from your website to build another website because they are too lazy to create their own text and images. They are too lazy even to carefully search the Internet for images they may be allowed to use for free. This used to be a bigger problem but search engines have implemented solutions to penalize massive automated content theft. You can read about it on the Wikipedia. Someone even registered at one point and claimed it was an online marketing blog.

I remember writing about one particularly successful Romanian scrapper I read about but the best hackers may be Ukrainian. It was however, the Dutch who apparently outsmarted Cozy Bear.

Other Copyright Issues

It should go without saying that you shouldn’t claim other people’s work as your own. You shouldn’t break copyright law, but what about sharing images? What about using other people’s images in the creation of your blog? Most bloggers do this, there are websites that provide images for this purpose but usually it is quicker and tempting to just share an image you found previously online. Maybe the file was already on your hard drive and you forgot which forum you got it from, so you can not provide proper attribution.

Besides taking the image itself you can also take a screenshot, which is still maybe against copyright law. Considering major media websites do this all the time, I think you are OK with a screen shot as long as you attribute it, which of course most people do not. I believe I linked to the sites I screenshoted above and I believe I’m the copyright holder of the original work being screenshoted. So a screenshot of a file I hold the copyright of, hosted on a website without my permission, is still under my copyright, right?  Sharing images by hotlinking is considered a disreputable practice, now there are many free image hosting websites, but you’re still supposed to have the copyright for the images you upload to these websites.

I’m no lawyer but I have to advise caution when sharing images you find online. Nowadays most websites have social sharing buttons. Even those that don’t, can have their content “shared” because social sharing is built into most browsers and modern operating systems. If you “share” images you “found” online. You may have to eventually deal with angry content rights holders or lawyers.

Lawyers may even contact your for other reasons such as the inappropriate use of a Trademark. I had to spend considerable time updating this blog at the request of the CFA Institute adding in lots of little “®” symbols.


Posts that have recently attracted spam comments

Apparently being a spammer has caught up with at least one insurance company. “Real Insurance Australia” their ‘real’ business name has hired real lawyers to send cease and desist letters to bloggers that they’ed formerly hired as part of a SEO effort to set up a link farm or engage in content spam. Apparently if you leave enough comment spam, Google will now penalize the domain to which the spam points. As someone who has had to deal with spammers, bandwidth thieves, and other unsavory individuals online for years, I have zero sympathy for domains that have been flagged by Google’s latest algorithm update. In fact if I got a letter like this I’d be tempted to take it public as John Marshall did, I’d be tempted to link to them too.

My experience with spammers, scammers, and other Internet assholes is worse than most, but not as bad as Brian Kreps. I’ve had to learn far too much about server logs, htaccess, doxing, and the seedy underbelly of the Internet.

If you blog and if you include a way for people to email you, or even if you just have used the same email address for over a decade in your resume you will get spam. You may also get comment spam and trackback spam. You can hopefully find a plugin to stop trackback spam and comment spam, but some people disable both these common blog features by default now. I think I have disabled comments on blog posts because they became spam magnets.

Overzealous Online Marketers

I lost many many hours of late due to this website. I’m also seeing an increase in unsolicited emails requesting a link or a change to my older posts and webpages. I used to have a reputation as a “nice guy” though I’m not sure it survived my MBA or the years after my MBA, but my patience for dubious online behaviour is at an end. If your business plan or marketing plan involves contacting hundreds if not thousands of random bloggers trying to get them to change their old posts out of the goodness of their hearts, you underestimate both the goodness of their hearts and the amount of free time the average person has.

I’m not the average person, I’ve given too much of my time helping too many ungrateful people. I’m tired. I should be studying for the Level 3 CFA exam not updating old webpages. I even updated my “About” page to inform would be link requesters I would now be marking their requests as spam. I used to spend a lot of time and effort reporting spammers, now I can barely keep this website online as I live behind the Great Firewall and despite what some people may believe I’m neither rich nor famous, this website generates no revenue and arguably has hurt rather than helped my reputation, despite efforts to provide useful, helpful information. People just steal it and take credit for your work or they complain that you won’t drop everything and help them on the phone for free, or modify your code so it will do exactly what they want, even though you gave the code away as open source.

My latest career plan was to focus as much time and effort as I can into studying for the third and hopefully final CFA exam. But alas a whole bunch of people decided to steal my hard work and claim it as their own, finally in February 2018, I’d had enough. Maybe I tweeted a few too many times, but I’m pretty sure some people who are either Members or Candidates in the CFA program took credit for my work that I had freely given away on this website to help students prepare for the Level 1 exam.  My own career is a mess so the thought people are making money or building their reputation by taking credit for my work is extremely upsetting.

If you achieve any level of success in social media, even a few hundred followers what they call a “micro influencer”, marketers will contact you. They will want you to add links, make tweets, follow them back, etc. Often these people are not very pleasant to deal with and if you call them out for their bad behaviour such as repeatedly spamming your email, your blog, or a hashtag on Twitter, they will often not react well, especially when they learn you can’t be intimidated by idle threats and have actually read the terms of service for social media networks.

Always take screenshots and try to save the original emails.

Being Blocked

As someone who has blogged in China behind the Great Firewall, being blocked or otherwise censored is a real risk, but so far it has not happened. VPNs are still working but for how long? I was once blocked by Norton a fact I learned from a helpful reader. Getting unblocked isn’t always possible. I’m still not sure why Norton decided then quickly undecided my website was “dangerous”.

If you blog long enough there is a very real possibility you will upset someone. The more political your blog becomes and the stronger you voice your opinion the more likely this is to happen. I’m not sure blogging is worth it, especially after doing it as long as I have, but I will persist until I finally have a new job or give up looking for one. Blogging in cafes in Shanghai isn’t as hard as blogging in the DTES.

Script Kiddies

Malicious Login AttemptsA script kiddie is someone who wants to be a hacker but lacks the skill to be an actual hacker so what they do is download and even buy “scripts” off real hackers and then direct those scripts against websites, servers, and individuals, either for jollies or cash or petty acts of vengeance or vandalism. I haven’t had too much difficulty with script kiddies but they can and do take blogs down. If your website is being slammed with traffic, packets, and spurious requests your web host will probably take your website down which is what happened when bandwidth thieves stole all my bandwidth by hotlinking to images in their .sig file on the forums I detailed above.

One thing script kiddies and spammers both do is try to take over your blog so they can use it for another purpose. My websites has had many attempts made on it, especially since I moved back to China. I had to install plugins to further protect my WordPress blog.


I have always had a pretty strict though unofficial policy on what I’ll let pass as a comment on my blog, I currently use Disqus, but Trolls don’t have to be on your website to a be a problem. Trolls can badmouth you and belittle you all over the Internet confident that they are safely hidden behind their handle. They are not as smart as hackers, they are less likely to cost your money like script kiddies, hotlinkers, and spammers, but they can really hurt your online reputation not to mention your feelings. Once I blogged about a movie I was looking forward to seeing and this resulted in traffic and abuse online from a group that I assure you fancies themselves as elite gamers and incredibly cool dudes, but in fact are bunch of pathetic losers on some forum you’ve never heard of. I took valuable time out of my life to write about them and how you can handle bad actors in the online gaming community.

Online Harassment

Trolls can definitely cross the bounds between annoying into actual criminal behaviour. Their actions online, again protected by what they think is anonymity bestowed on them by their elite hacking skills can have dire consequences in the real world. If you are being harassed online you should politely ask them to stop, block them on social media, and tell the authorities. There are lots of resources to combat this problem now. You are not alone.


Given the seriousness of the some of the problems above, you might not think plugins are much of a problem for bloggers, but I have lost a lot of time trying to get plugins to “just work”. They don’t always just work. The conflict with other plugins. They get abandoned. They put extra tracking scripts and pixels into your blog. They load way more scripts and resources than they should to show a single widget in your sidebar. Recently I removed Mint and a stray checkbox in HeadSpace2 a plugin that hasn’t been updated in six years and adds a single metatag to my blog and one other line of code cost me hours of my life. That is just the latest issue, I’ve had lots of plugin woes over the years. I now think you should run the leanest meanest WordPress installation you can and stick to well maintained and well documented plugins. Do not rush out and install the latest greatest thing. Content is King, not plugins.

I’m not sure comments are still enabled on this post it appears trackbacks were turned off at some point, likely due to spammers. This blog has been online for too long and while writing it I’ve had to deal with too many problems and difficulties. If you’re not a spammer or an asshole you can leave a comment below. If you’ve gotten all the way to end and wondered who is pictured at the top of this post, that is Michael Crook. He managed to achieve a level of infamy in the early days of the blogosphere with the help of a screen capture from his appearance on Fox News and his less than civil behaviour online. He achieved more infamy than Fussbett Sanitario, Abhishek Chaudhary, Moeen Risaldar, Kazi Hasan, Tanim Xubayer, or Mohd Izwan ever will. They are just footnotes in a long blog post on how not act online.


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