Internet commentator Bruce Simpson has been threatened with both a denial of service attack and legal action for his expose of a DVD "back-up" website.
Simpson, who writes daily on his Aardvark website, pointed to a website - DVDStation - that offered to copy customers' DVDs, PC and PlayStation games and other disks for a fee.
DVDStation claims to breach no laws, referring users to "Section 117 of the US Copyright Law and section 80 of nz [sic] law, and you are entitled to this service by law". The site's legal terms and conditions also points out that: "if you do not own the product and agree to our conditions it is FRAUD".
Ken Moon, partner with Auckland law firm AJ Park says section 80 of New Zealand's Copyright Act does allow for limited backups to be made, but not to the extent that DVDStation is suggesting.
"Section 80 gives an exemption to make a back up copy of a 'computer program' and that's all."
Moon says it specifically doesn't extend to anything other than a program, and doesn't even use the term software.
"When we're talking about DVDs ... you have no right to back that up unless you yourself have created it."
Moon says the section also doesn't apply if the licence for the disk explicitly excludes copying and he believes most DVDs would exclude such activity.
When Simpson pointed out the illegality of DVDStation's activities in a column, he received an email threatening to attack the Aardvark site unless the offending column was removed.
"[E]ven though i am in the philipines i can still take action against your site if it's with the law or with mass packets from fast shells so remove it at once" says the email. Domainz details for the site's owner includes a Christchurch address and a Vodafone cellphone number.
Since then the front page of DVDStation has been changed to include Simpson's email address, albeit a Yahoo freemail account.
"We have been down for a week due to a narq [sic] by the name of Bruce Simpson who is also the Editor of a New Zealand online news site he likes to contact people and tip them off if you want to send this narq and [sic] email Click on his name on the above link. He has a big nose and needs to keep it out of other peoples [sic] business. You do what you want with his email but don't give the guy a heart attack even though he is an evil bastard."
Simpson's site remains online, despite the threats however.
"I sent a copy of his threat against a US-based hosting company to the FBI and I gather that the MPAA are now aware of his new 'warez' site," says Simpson.
ISP NetAccess Internet is listed as the domain host for the site, however a spokesman there says the site has been removed from NetAccess servers.
"He's changed the DNS entry [at Domainz], but left our contact details up."
The site now appears to be hosted by a Canadian ISP, Netfirms. No one from Netfirms was available for comment.
Calls by IDGNet to the cellphone number listed for the name holder representative for DVDStation were not returned.