Note: This story is a continuation of Part One and Part Two. If you haven’t read the previous entries, you should probably go back and read them first, otherwise, this one isn’t going to make a lot of sense.
In my haste to send out my emails, I had been less than imaginative with my subject lines. The second one, the one where I listed off the plagiarist’s personal information, suffered the most from this stress-induced brain freeze and simply read “One More Thing”.
Still, it was a distinct enough subject line that, when I glanced at my computer and saw a new message labeled “RE: FWD: One More Thing”, I knew exactly what it was about. I called out to Crystal “I’ve got a reply,” just before I leapt across the room crashed down into my chair and threw myself against the keyboard so hard I rocked my desk.
I leaned in, giving my screen every ounce of attention I had. I could hear my heart beating in my ears and, though Crystal and everything else in the room was dead quiet, I could barely concentrate for all of the noise.
Still, I noticed immediately that the email wasn’t one of the ones I had sent my letters of to. I didn’t recognize it and assumed it was the result of email forwarding. However, when I opened the letter, the author, a very polite gentleman named Chris, identified himself as the cousin of the “Crimson” and went on to explain that the information I had dug up was his.
As it turned out, Crimson was only sixteen. Without a credit card to set up a site with, he turned to his adult cousin who registered the domain name and secured the hosting for him. The cousin, even though his name was on the domain and, assumedly, the hosting account, had no access to the site and hadn’t even read it since it went up.
I had, however, reached the correct person with my emails. It was Crimson himself who forwarded the emails to his cousin. For whatever reason, he didn’t want to deal with me himself and, instead, put the burden on his cousin, someone who had no responsibility for the site. It was a pattern that would repeat itself many times over the years.
At first I was a bit skeptical of the story, especially after Chris refused to give his Cousin’s information because “Blood is thicker than water.” It seemed like a ploy to duck trouble. However, when I compared the email to the Crimson’s writing, using the small sample of material he actually did write, it was clearly two different people and a peek into the email header information further proved the point.
Furthermore, the letter went on to say that he completely agreed with me that the content was stolen. He gave me no hassles and asked for no additional proof. He even hinted at the fact that his cousin had been in trouble before and that this, sadly, was not a terrible shock to him. He wrapped up his letter by saying that he would contact the host to get access to the site and delete all of the infringing sections himself.
I literally leapt for joy. Help was on the way. I felt a huge burden lift off of my shoulders and I went from constantly babbling to completely speechless. It was like finding out that a good friend was doing well after a serious accident or seeing the police pull up just as you were being robbed.
For the second time that night, I took off running down the halls. This time though, it was out of pure joy. I said nothing, just smiled, raised my fists in the air from time to time and nearly cried from the relief.
I composed myself more quickly this go around. Sitting back down in my chair, I wrote him back, thanking him for his help and offering to meet him on AIM to chat. I also informed him, as politely as I could, about my discovery of further thefts from Tainted Thoughts.
Within minutes of sending that letter we were chatting on AIM. He repeatedly apologized for his cousin and the any inconvinence he might have caused. He also agreed that the entire site had to come down; there was simply too much infringing content to pick and choose.
It was a smashing victory and, after the formalities were over, the two of us spent much of the night talking about geek stuff. A fellow Linux user, we had much to discuss and even continued these conversations on the telephone later on. Though we’ve lost contact since, we became fairly close friends for a time and would probably pick up again in a heartbeat.
Despite the happy ending though, there was much weighing on me and the celebration wouldn’t last for long. What I couldn’t imagine was that this single ordeal was about to be come a long-term battle, one that would eventually change my life.&