So here's what happened...
One day in late May of 2004 I was browsing my Elfwood pages to look at comments and whatnot and I happened upon a comment in my Fanart section. The post was made in my comments on my Master Tonberry picture. The message was from a girl, who later became a friend, and her name is Tihana. She left a link in the message that took me to Mediaminer.org and to my dismay, someone had taken a good portion of my fanart and was claiming it as their own.
At that point though, I didn't know exactly who she was, so I didn't know I'd seen her before. I just thought she was some tarded thief that I could report, have removed and let it go at that. But I started digging and then I started to find other places where my art was being claimed, seemingly by the same person. I tried talking to the thief and asked her to remove my stuff and leave me alone, but we all know how that turned out. :P
After I'd been digging for a while I got fairly pissed because my art was popping up all over the place. She cropped my name off of the picture, or covered it up with her own horrid little signature. I used common knowledge and a little thing called Google to search her out and stop her by contacting admins of the sites she was on, but I suddenly had an epiphony when I discovered her personal site hosted by Angelfire. The information I found there led me to believe that she was the same
Paine from Elftown. This [Paine
]. I remembered that she had entered into a Final Fantasy contest that I had entered as well. I could tell because she had the same cosplay pictures of herself, in a White Mage Paine costume, as the person in the contest on Elftown. I knew then that this was where she had stolen them from. Not from my Elfwood gallery, but from the contest. Then I remembered, she was kicked out of the contest about a week earlier for art theft. I didn't think to report her to the Elftown guards, seeing as though she wasn't posting any of my work here, and I had only been on Elftown for a few months so I was fairly new here. You can imagine my anger of not being able to do much of anything. She, at that point had started to call herself "Dismal Chocobo" and started posting my Dismal Chocobo all over the place. She made e-mail accounts named after it, AIM and other Instant Messager accounts named after it, forum accounts, art gallery accounts and more, all named after my chocobo. She completely took that from me. Here is the type of comments that she was making when being complemented for my artwork:
"Thanks. I'm glad you like my work. ^^ I worked very hard on it and I'm glad you like it."
"Thank you. I've been drawing for years and I'm happy that you like my art."
"Thanks. My chocobo is very special to me."
When I heard people complement her on something that I'd worked on so hard, and then read those sorts of comments coming from her, it completely tore me apart. I felt helpless and violated and most of all appauled that someone could do this to another person constantly without remorse or any sort of conscience. In short, I became depressed for a while, but I wasn't about to give up.
Then came the cavalry...
After I found out about Paine on Elftown and after she started taking my chocobo, I started talking to Tihana through e-mails and got some info on the real
Paine, who's legal name I will not say here. (To see what Tihana went through with this girl, see the document entitled "History of Paine" at the end of the page.) I then decided that I could not battle this thief alone. I went on my LiveJournal and made a post about it. It's still there, go take a look at the earlier posts. I got a huge amount of feedback on it to my surprise. Suddenly, instead of two eyes watching Paine, there were twenty or more. If it weren't for the friends that I'd made through that post, I don't think I'd still be sane today, or posting art online at all for that matter. They helped me find her in places where I never would have looked and I learned a lot from them.
The only problem with them posting information in my LiveJournal comments was that Paine could see the tips and would immediately go and remove everything before I, or anyone else, could do anything about it.
That really sucked. X3
Out of spite, I suppose, she'd also copy my LiveJournal entries, which were all about how she's been stealing my work, and put them in her "Dismalchocobo" LiveJournal, almost, if not completely word for word. She'd twist a few words and names around in her favor to make it seem like I was the thief. She also tried to turn the journal into a gallery full of my dragon art. That's right. She moved on to my Fantasy section. I contacted the LiveJournal abuse team about that, but they gave me grief about copyright, but my art was still taken off of there.
Sometime around mid to late June, we agreed that we should make an online community to store all this information privately so we could catch her red-handed, so to speak, without her running to remove everything. I then founded "StaceyHaters," a LiveJournal community, which was originally open to everyone to join because I needed all the help I could get. But she eventually found that so I had to make it into a "friends only" community in which only I could add people to the group and only those in the group could read the posts. Right after we went private access, we found her in a forum called "Initial Forums" and she was under the name Paine. We reported her and she was banned, with her account removed completely, and the head adiminstrator of the site, Hokojirou, joined our group. It had Paine very paranoid considering Hokojirou was a friend of hers until he learned of her thievery.
Everything was going fine in the LiveJournal community until we had the suspicion that we had a mole in our group. Paine began removing the evidence before we could report her again. It was very possible that we had a mole because we weren't all too organized in the beginning, but finally we rooted out the person, and Paine became very paranoid again since she was, once again, cut off. So, she reported StaceyHaters to the LiveJournal abuse team for harassment. She also reported me because I had used her real name in some of my journal entries. I also had to remove her e-mails and IM addresses from my LiveJournal bio. That wasn't so bad, but StaceyHaters was gone. Deleted. Erased. I did manage to get the information back in a backup file that LiveJournal keeps of all deleted communities, but it was all a garbled mess.
Our base of operations was decimated. :/
But sometimes change is good...
Luckily, we had been talking about moving our group to a more secure location and I took lots of notes. Heh, imagine that. We moved onto a friend's webspace where we knew we couldn't be reported. We didn't publicise this location at all and went back to our normal routine. We kept it VERY hush hush. But while the new place was being set up, we made another LiveJournal community as a sort of fake StaceyHaters. We made it friends only, and named the community "Anti-Pain." We only posted a few things to do with Paine in there, and all the other stuff was just about accidents and stuff that we had when we were kids. But we did that so she'd look stupid when she reported it. ;3 It'd also discredit her for any future reports, plus it'd just plain piss her off, which is always fun. The community is still there, just rather dead.
Once our new place was ready with password protection two different ways, we continued to find her and get her kicked off of websites and everyone threw in what they remembered from the bygone "StaceyHaters" haven.
At this point, it had been a good month or so since she first began stealing from me, so by all logic she had quite a long string of bans behind her even then. E-mails to admins were getting quite long. I wrote out a general "ban report" letter to copy and paste into e-mails to save time. This was a life saver, considering I was sending two to three, maybe even more of them out every day.
I also began to notice that she was moving into forums and posting my art but not only my art. She was posting art of all different styles and levels of skill, yet she was still claiming to be the original artist of them all. What surprised me even more was that there actually were people out there dumb enough to believe that she had created all of those artworks. I'm not talking a small number either. I'm talking 250+ pieces of stolen work all crammed into one Photobucket gallery. We eventually identified half the art with their respective artists. We contacted as many as we could and they were all appauled, which was to be expected. They all wanted to help stop her. As always, it's easier said than done, but at least the artists were aware and more people were looking out for her.
At one point, we tracked Paine into a forum called the "Dark Yugi Cave." Here, I ran into a problem. The forum had just recently been "hacked" before I came there looking for Paine, who was an administrator there at the time. I was searching through her posts to see if there were any threads with stolen work, which there were, but I stumbled onto a thread in which she was blaming the hacking on me! Not only was I angered, but I was determined to clear my name of that because I'm no hacker. I sent an e-mail to the admin, but at the time, I was unaware that the admin was a delusional friend of hers. Needless to say, nothing was done about it, but the forum mysteriously shut down, only to resurface elswhere later on. But before I reported her, a little birdie told me that she was responisble for the "hacking" of that forum. She and a friend did it as a joke. They went in, since she had administration capabilities, and erased everything and blamed it on a hacker.
She's such a doll isn't she?
Not only was I being accused of being a hacker, I was made out to be stealing the art from her again. She started posting more and more different pieces of my art as hers so I realized that I should put watermarks on my work. I was really worried about my pirates because they weren't protected at all, but luckily I put that old emblem on them before Paine thought to snatch them. I put the new watermark on all the rest of my art, which I don't know why I didn't think of sooner. :/
Enter: Uncle Sam...
With the new watermarks in place, she couldn't say that any of my new works were hers. I was sure that this would be the end of it. Again, I thought too soon. She then proceeded to steal my identity to steal my work. I saw mirrors of my Elfwood page everywhere. Self portraits, bio descriptions, artwork, artwork descriptions, everything, copied to the letter. She even signed up to websites that provide print selling features in attempt to sell my artwork for her own profit. I'm not talking small scale either. In the largest print gallery she had every piece of my artwork up for sale, being 80 or so pieces, excluding a select few like my chocobo and self portraits. I even did a calculation of how much she would make if someone purchased each of the pictures at one time for the prices that she was selling them for. The total came to a staggering $1900.00.
At that point I started screaming at my monitor. I then contacted the FBI, FTC, and my local law enforcement. I went to the police department in town and talked to a detective. He didn't tell me all that I wanted to hear, but he did give me some very useful information. He also contacted the United States Secret Service about something to which I have no knowledge of. The online FBI tips only told me to contact the FTC and the FTC couldn't help me because they only deal with kind of idenity theft that involves social security numbers and bank accounts. But I was determined. I called up to Raleigh, the capital of North Carolina for those that aren't familiar with the city, and I made an appointment with a copyright lawyer there. Before I went to see the lawyer, I asked my boyfriend Glenn to talk to our local magistrate while I was gone and ask him the same questions I was going to ask the lawyer. I only had 30 minutes with the lawyer and since it would cost me another $100.00 if I went overtime, I made my questions quick. Got some answers I wanted and some that I didn't. A lot of things are in my favor, but alot aren't. But then again, he was a lawyer. ;) When I got home I compared notes with Glenn, and to my surprise, the answers we each got were completely different.
But I thought that since lawyers get paid by the hour and magistrates get paid by salary, I came to the conclusion that the lawyer was just trying to get money out of me by making it seem like I needed to come back there to get this situation resolved. Blah. I never went back. I kept what they both said in mind, but I went on with what I was doing at the time.
After all that, things were back to normal. Normal being us kicking her off of a couple of sites per day. This continued well into August until one day I logged into our group and everything had been erased. Be ready to gasp.
We'd been hacked.
The owner of the webspace said that the only way they could have done that would be if they had the passwords, through hacking, or both. Since Paine had just recently "hacked" that forum, we assumed that we were hacked. Two IP addresses showed up in the login right after the hacking. Someone didn't cover their tracks. One was Paine's, which we could identify at the time, and the other was unidentifyable, so we assumed it was the friend that helped her hack that forum.
Again we were without a base of operations, but then there was another suggestion. The suggestion, which I won't say what it was, was a damn good suggestion, and we took it. That's where we are currently, still, four months from then. The place we are now prides itself as an "un-hackable" site, which I am very greatful for.
Being in a completely secure place, we could work freely and without worry. We became quite efficient at catching her, and we did it quickly. We kept finding her and reporting her over and over on different art sites that I never knew existed. She would post fanart on "traditional" art sites, which made her look incredibly stupid and childish because the art she submitted clashed horribly with the cultured and refined theme of the site.
Then, I suppose she gave up on art sites and switched over to forums. She signed up to a large variety of art and anime related forums and she also went into hiding, so to speak. She had her online friends create forums for her to hide in as some sort of safe haven. We'd message them and tell them that we would contact the forum provider, but they'd never reply and then move the forum to a new location. She'd post people's art, and mine, in these forums, thinking that she could get away with it there. Granted, we couldn't remove them, but we made such a stink about it that they had to keep moving to new locations and the art was deleted when they moved. But the friends she hangs around with are just as horrible and dishonest as she is. They know she's a thief. They know everything that she's done, yet they still complement her on the artwork she's stolen and help her out. Those people disgust me almost as much as she does.
Keep your friends close...
Eventually, I think she gave up on stealing from me. There was a drastic decline in my artwork being stolen by her, but I still didn't stop tracking her. She, by that point, was still stealing other artist's work. This went on for about a month in which time a few more "Paine hunters" were made. Since Paine had been stealing their art they went out on a crusade to find her and squash her like I did in the early months.
Then it seemed she got really pissed off at me for some reason. She started stealing my artwork again. She put a few of my things up in places like SheezyArt and MyOtaku, but to my surprise, the administrators of the sites e-mailed me about her theft before I even knew it was happening!
Finally it had happened.
Finally, people are aware of her. I know now that enough people are familiar with my work and there is no way she could steal from me again without someone reporting her or someone noticing the art is stolen. I was, and still am, overjoyed to know that there are people out there watching out for me and other artists. I got lots of e-mails once she started posting my work, but after the e-mails were answered and the art theft was confirmed, she was banned from those accounts, which ultimately led her to stop stealing my artwork in a matter of days. Her attempts will no longer work and I feel safe with my artwork again. That's partially attributed to the new watermarks I put on all my work now, which show the URL of the site they're viewable on.
Since that time, she's still been stealing other people's work, mostly fanart and fanfiction, but stealing none the less. She's stealing from 12 and 13 year old kids too, by the way. It doesn't look like she'll be stopping anytime soon, but there are so many people out there after her right now, I feel that my job is done. The torch has been passed, so to speak. I know there are more groups like mine forming out there on the internet, but I'm proud to say that we paved the way for them. Rest assured though, if my works are stolen by her in the future, I'll know and it won't take me long to track her down again.
Paine, you'll read this at one point or another. I just want you to know that I'll always be watching you, wherever your sticky little fingers wander.
And shortly after I made this page public, she popped up impersonating me again. I don't know whether she has an obsession, or just mental problems in copious amounts, but she's at it once again. She put her own URLs over my watermark's URL, very poorly I might add. You can still see parts of mine behind hers even. :P She has so much contempt for such a teeny tiny person. I remember Tihana saying that she's less than 5 feet tall, which means I tower over her. I reeeeeally want to meet her one day. >3
But anyway, this new problem is too much for me to deal with right now, so I'm just going to stop posting any new artwork. That means no more Anthro Pirates, no more contests (unless I enter something that I've already done), and no more gallery updates for... quite a while. I'm going to get her kicked off of the websites that she impersonates me on, but I'm not giving her anything new to steal. I have other things that I could be doing anyway, like my school work and general life stuff. :) I will post more artwork in the not-so-near future, but that will only happen when I feel like it's safe to do so, meaning there is no set time in which I'll start posting again. Rest assured though, when I come back, I'll have lots and lots of art to upload! ^_^
To those who visit all of my galleries regularly, I won't be taking any of it down. I'm not going to take down anything that's currently up, since taking it all down would just be silly and it would make it seem like I'm completely giving up. But anyway, to my friends and fans, I'm very sorry I have to stop posting. I really wish I didn't have to, but it seems it's inevitable at this point. :/ But don't worry! I'm not leaving Elftown or anything. :3 I'll still be here. I'll probably devote more time to Elftown Graphics and I think I'll shoot for the millipede badge. :D Who knows, maybe even the 10,000 graphics badge. X3 *doubts*
So far it seems she's stopped again. I think she got as far as three sites this time. Last time I think it was two, but anyway, I'm just waiting for the next attempt a month or so from now. That seems to be her pattern. I think she thinks that in a month I'll just... forget or something. X3
I felt like some more anti-Paine art:
XP For those of you who are confused about what's going on here, I'll have to fill in some blanks. First off Paine owns tons of Pomeranians, which are little yappy annoying dogs, much like herself. Poms are timid and often have that "I'm more important than anything else" complex, much like Paine. They're very prissy, don't like to be touched and are rather ugly any way you look at them, whoo.. Paine again. They also drag their ass around when they have an itch that they can't scratch, but unlike most dogs, they look the most retarded when they go about trying to do it. Guess who fits in this category? It's always been said that pets resemble their masters. :)
Hehe. Thanks Plex for the inspiration! XD
~ A couple of months later...
Well, I've started posting my work again. Mostly because I don't care about Paine's antics anymore. If I find her someplace, I'll just get rid of her there, so it's really no big deal. Sure it's an inconvenience to my day, but all I have to do is send a message to the administrators and just the past evidence alone will get her promptly banned and my art will be removed from there. :) I keep records of all the places she's been banned from, so when she makes another account on a site she's been banned from, I just send them those links.
She probably thinks it's some kind of game now or something. If it's a game, then I haven't been playing for about five months now. X3 I've moved on with my life. She should really think about doing that herself, because she's 25 now, living in a crappy apartment in Baltimore that has rats (she even named the damned rats..), and has no life of her own at this point in time. Her estimated lifespan is 1/3 over and she hasn't even got a decent foothold yet. That is why I pity that girl. She can't do anything on her own and that's sad. That's extremely sad.
And a few follow-up links. ;3
**A MUST visit. This beats the wheels off my old site. x3 Thanks Jo Ann and Laura for the wonderful work.**http://crimes.wawemail.com/index.php
Tihana's personal experiences with Paine:<URL:stuff/History_Of_Paine>
Adele Sessler's page on Paine:http://meadowhaven.net/php-bin/view.php?pid=2061
Screenshots compiled by Marik2112:http://photobucket.com/albums/v496/eyeinthesky/
Her banned houses on Elftown:
[Paine] | [Shadow Ishizu Ishtar] | [SethKaiba] | [Kytani] |[Adnama Lavode]
[YamiRhaksha] | [HarvestMoonHaven] | [Siren Song That Cried] | [TwistedFate] | [Atma] | [HirukaSama]
Marik2112 aka Jo Anne & Laura McGavin:
Me, AJ James:
A few artist's she's stolen from:
Tihana G. Tresnjak (aka Lhiannan-Sidhe or TenkoKouno)
DeviantArt Gallery: http://tenkokouno.deviantart.com/
Rachel S. Young
Arist known as Sforzie
DeviantArt Gallery: http://azhrarn.deviantart.com/
DeviantArt Gallery: http://hibbary.deviantart.com/
Marik2112 aka Jo Anne & Laura McGavin
TheOtaku.com Gallery: http://fanart.theotaku.com/artist.php?user_id=16879
DeviantArt Gallery: http://askerian.deviantart.com/
And... myself, [Adnama]:
* Disclaimer *
Exported linkage to this wiki: http://www.elftown.com/_paine
March 30th is now officially Poop on Paine day!
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