'Penny Arcade' Posts Hilariously Unprofessional E-Mails From Marketing Company

Paul Christoforo pretty much gave his approval to release the info. I'm not sure what the big deal is.

From: Mike Krahulik
To: Ocean Marketing
Dec 26, 2011 at 9:40 PM

I do run Pax, but I also run a website called penny arcade. It’s kinda popular.

From: Ocean Marketing
To: Mike Krahulik
Dec 26, 2011 at 9:41 PM

Love penny Arcade !!

From: Mike Krahulik
To: Ocean Marketing
Dec 26, 2011 at 9:42 PM

I’m glad you like it! You will be on it tomorrow:)

From: Ocean Marketing
To: Mike Krahulik
Dec 26, 2011 at 9:46 PM

Great !! Love PR

From: Ocean Marketing
To: Mike Krahulik
Dec 26, 2011 at 9:46 PM

Mike I’m not trying to fight with you I’m really not , you should give me the benefit of the doubt before judging over one person’s bitching . Did I feed into his emails a little bit too much yeah ok . But it’s one person dude for real. No disrespect intended for you , My name is good in this industry and I know a lot of people. I’ll be at CES are you going ?

From: Mike Krahulik
To: Ocean Marketing
Dec 26, 2011 at 9:47 PM

Please remove me from this mailing list

From: Ocean Marketing
To: Mike Krahulik
Dec 26, 2011 at 9:57 PM

Your spamming me you’re not on a mailing list you idiot ! You sent me an email remember . Make sure you stir up a lot of controversy about us the more the better we needed some drama gets good blood flow going about the new product launch . Your sites amateur at best my son could put together a better site than yours and you run PAX ?? Wow , Ill put my marketing team on a smear campaign of you and your site and your emails , I have about 125 dedicated people to run PR , Blogs , Articles , Videos you have no clue who I am . Thanks again

Oh, and for what it's worth, I think that Ocean rep probably deserved everything's that happened to him, at least the stuff I've heard about. That guy is a serious dick, and I hope he never works again in gaming.

ClockworkHouse wrote:
momgamer wrote:

So why aren't you suggesting that Reddit and Destructoid (and Kotaku and about 10 other sites that I know of) do this? Why only Penny Arcade?

Because, so far as I can tell, Penny Arcade is ground zero for this. The customer having problems might have posted about it elsewhere, but it didn't blow up; get reported on Destructoid, Kotaku, and a dozen other sites; and become an internet crusade until Mike put their exchange up on Penny Arcade's front page.

I don't know where you're looking, then. Because the guy started with Reddit and then sent it to Destructoid and several other places, including PA. Just because that's where you heard about it doesn't make it the real beginning and those other places have as long or longer an arm than PA here in the geeky realms. Yes, he posted it too, but if you want to blame someone, I suggest you go there.

And that doesn't explain to me why you feel that Kotaku and the others are exempt from having to take the same responsibility for the tinder they threw on the fire the same way you think PA does.

ClockworkHouse wrote:

Mike shouldn't have posted their exchange in the first place. At this point? Mike should take down the post and apologize to the guy, both privately and publicly, for having posted it. I have no expectation that that will happen.

If it had been a personal email exchange, then I might agree. But acting as an official company representative moves it out of the realm of personal or private. Especially when Chris continued the behavior after the conversation was being CC'ed to PA, Kotaku, and other sites.

momgamer wrote:
ClockworkHouse wrote:
momgamer wrote:

So why aren't you suggesting that Reddit and Destructoid (and Kotaku and about 10 other sites that I know of) do this? Why only Penny Arcade?

Because, so far as I can tell, Penny Arcade is ground zero for this. The customer having problems might have posted about it elsewhere, but it didn't blow up; get reported on Destructoid, Kotaku, and a dozen other sites; and become an internet crusade until Mike put their exchange up on Penny Arcade's front page.

I don't know where you're looking, then. Because the guy started with Reddit and then sent it to Destructoid and several other places, including PA. Just because that's where you heard about it doesn't make it the real beginning and those other places have as long or longer an arm than PA here in the geeky realms. Yes, he posted it too, but if you want to blame someone, I suggest you go there.

And that doesn't explain to me why you feel that Kotaku and the others are exempt from having to take the same responsibility for the tinder they threw on the fire the same way you think PA does.

Kotaku's first post about it is a news post linking to the Penny Arcade piece. Destructoid's first post about it is a news post linking to the Penny Arcade piece. What am I missing here? This wasn't a story until Penny Arcade got involved. For better or for worse, Kotaku and Destructoid are news outlets and were posting about this as a news story, although I'll grant that sh*t like this isn't good journalism.

Regardless, I don't see how "other websites did this, too" absolves Mike at Penny Arcade for inappropriately posting private emails on the frontpage of his site in an effort to publicly shame someone. Even if this was all over Reddit and had a million posts up on Memebase making fun of the guy, Mike's posting of their email exchange was neither mature nor professional.

I don't think the PA crew did anything particularly wrong with posting what they did. I didn't see a phone # by the time I got around to reading about this, but it sounds like there's conflicting reports about what level of information was posted so it's all hearsay at this point to me. It is very unfortunate that this guy was doxed, and it's really unfortunate that such behavior is pretty much standard protocol when the virtual pitchforks and torches come out these days....

That said, I think some sites do underestimate the size of their community and the extents people will go to in their response to such news, and news spreads quick and far on the web. Yes, sometimes G&T make some poor judgement calls. But let's not forget that they're not infallible.

I think they had the honest intention of just exposing some dickery or idiocy in the industry as has been done in the past with people/things like Jack Thompson, Sony's boisterous claims, etc. and probably weren't thinking things all the way through. Which, you know, happens when you don't have a filter like an editor or some sort of quality control process to ensure each and every blog post is double, triple checked and put in a holding pattern for an hour before it goes live.

So yeah... nothing to see here folks, move along now?

I don't think the PA crew did anything particularly wrong with posting what they did.

Well, whether it's wrong or not, it's probably illegal, and they could potentially be on the hook for copyright infringement. They definitely were not given a public performance license to those writings.

And copyright infringement in this country is taken ridiculously seriously. Depending on the way the judge interprets the $100K damages per infringement clause, PA could be on the hook for many millions.

Of course, the Ocean guy would have to be smart enough to go after them on that basis, and he doesn't seem especially clueful.

ClockworkHouse wrote:
momgamer wrote:

So what do you suggest be done?

At this point? Mike should take down the post and apologize to the guy, both privately and publicly, for having posted it. I have no expectation that that will happen.

And today's comic pretty much confirms that it will not.

I haven't seen how or what (if anything) the other gaming news sites (that were also contacted) did to handle the situation, but since this thread has (d)evolved into picking sides, I think it's obvious that Mike at PA could have handled the situation better by not taking someone else's situation so personally (as in, I was bullied as a kid, so now I'm going to (ab)use my power to make this guy's life a living hell).

That said, considering how many sites the customer contacted, especially considering that one of them was Reddit, I'm sure this scenario would've happened anyway. This Christoforo guy is not only an asshole who couldn't pass an elementary school grammar class, he is also an idiot for having a temper that bad and deciding to work in the PR business. Therefore, IMO he deserves everything that's happening to him (emphasis on "him," as I feel his wife is an innocent victim of this sh*tstorm, assuming he actually has a wife and the reports of her being harassed are true).

Malor wrote:

They definitely were not given a public performance license to those writings.

Correspondences are protected under copyright law? O-o

Malor wrote:
I don't think the PA crew did anything particularly wrong with posting what they did.

Well, whether it's wrong or not, it's probably illegal, and they could potentially be on the hook for copyright infringement. They definitely were not given a public performance license to those writings.

And copyright infringement in this country is taken ridiculously seriously. Depending on the way the judge interprets the $100K damages per infringement clause, PA could be on the hook for many millions.

Of course, the Ocean guy would have to be smart enough to go after them on that basis, and he doesn't seem especially clueful.

This might be the greatest misunderstanding of a law I have ever read on the internet.

Jayhawker wrote:

This might be the greatest misunderstanding of a law I have ever read on the internet.

I'm sure you could get some great coffee house readings out of that email exchange.

EDIT: Also, I'm totally hearing Chris Remo in my head reading them...

Dude, you have copyright to everything you've ever written. You don't give people a public performance right when you send them email. You maintain ownership of it. And PA is especially liable, because they're actively making money off what that guy wrote.

A good lawyer could probably make their lives very, very difficult.

shoptroll wrote:
Malor wrote:

They definitely were not given a public performance license to those writings.

Correspondences are protected under copyright law? O-o

Some googling shows that yes, e-mails are protected by copyright law.

Section 102(a) of the 1976 Copyright Act affords protection to "original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression ... from which they can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device." This includes literary works, which are defined by section 101 as "works ... expressed in words [or] numbers ... regardless of the nature of the material objects ... in which they are embodied." Email falls under the category of literary works and is therefore granted protection as described in the Copyright Act.

Taken from here

Malor wrote:

Dude, you have copyright to everything you've ever written. You don't give people a public performance right when you send them email. You maintain ownership of it. And PA is especially liable, because they're actively making money off what that guy wrote.

A good lawyer could probably make their lives very, very difficult.

I don't think that is the case. This wasn't private communication - if anyone was a private person(tm) it was the original customer, Dave, who waived his privacy by getting the press involved. Mr. Pimp was acting as an official customer service representative, and as such waived any sort of ownership to that communication. He was not acting as a private individual, he was acting as the voice of the company. Also, there was this post(bolded info is the important part, and would make any counter-pimping difficult).

I will agree, that posting his contact info was pretty dick - but it was his work information, not his home address. People contacting him through his personal information are absolutely out of line, but his career crashing was very much of his own manufacture. As a professional, he should know that every customer is a potential client and his complete disrespect of Dan(Dave) is what dug his grave - not Mike Krahulick. Mike was definitely a counter asshole, but he did not begin the aggression.

momgamer wrote:
ClockworkHouse wrote:
momgamer wrote:

So why aren't you suggesting that Reddit and Destructoid (and Kotaku and about 10 other sites that I know of) do this? Why only Penny Arcade?

Because, so far as I can tell, Penny Arcade is ground zero for this. The customer having problems might have posted about it elsewhere, but it didn't blow up; get reported on Destructoid, Kotaku, and a dozen other sites; and become an internet crusade until Mike put their exchange up on Penny Arcade's front page.

I don't know where you're looking, then. Because the guy started with Reddit and then sent it to Destructoid and several other places, including PA. Just because that's where you heard about it doesn't make it the real beginning and those other places have as long or longer an arm than PA here in the geeky realms. Yes, he posted it too, but if you want to blame someone, I suggest you go there.

And that doesn't explain to me why you feel that Kotaku and the others are exempt from having to take the same responsibility for the tinder they threw on the fire the same way you think PA does.

Actually I first heard of this on GWJ. So I demand Certis apologize to him.

Also, I didn't want what Stengah said to get lost in this. The dickwolves parallels are there. Whether this was right or wrong the PA guys should know by now what their fan base is capable of.

DSGamer wrote:

Also, I didn't want what Stengah said to get lost in this. The dickwolves parallels are there. Whether this was right or wrong the PA guys should know by now what their fan base is capable of.

What's more alarming to me is the trend of internet vigilantism in general, and what can happen when things get brought to the attention of the world as we know it. Again, back to Reddit - let's not forget the Dino-Damage Jeep incident in which a PR rep from Telltale received death and rape threats over cosmetic damage to a Jeep that was used during some convention. The mob mentality problem extends far beyond common rationale anymore, and if you're caught on the wrong end of that stick life can get pretty terrible in a hurry.

(The part I linked just part of a larger saga that was a bit more sprawling than Ocean Marketting.)

Is this the daily internet outrage for today? I thought today was about carrots being too round and pointy.

Cheers to Mike for doing the right thing and helping to call this guy on his bull.

The crap that people pull with this guy's personal information is not something that can be laid at the feet of PA, or anyone but the people who actually go out and harass him.

Michael wrote:

What's more alarming to me is the trend of internet vigilantism in general

I know there's been a lot of focus on cyber-bullying in schools, but I don't think there's been much widespread discussion about it as a wider problem. I wonder if any legislation were to pass if it would cast a wide enough net to at least encourage some level of common courtesy with this sort of vigilantism.

Man, I remember when I saw Hackers and thought getting your credit card revoked was bad. Kids these days

ClockworkHouse wrote:

It's immature and unprofessional for Mike to post the exchange he had with this guy. He's not putting it out there as a warning to other people, as the majority of his readers will never have reason to hire a marketing expert, and there are better ways of making that kind of public service announcement, anyway. Mike used his fame to give this guy a good ol' fashioned public shaming. You might think a public shaming is a great thing, and there are certainly a lot of comments here in support of that very idea, but I don't.

Let me get this straight...a fan sends PA an email chain about some BS that he has to deal with from the worst PR rep in the world. Mike, on behalf of PA, jumps in and says that he doesn't want this asshole having a booth at PA's expo (entirely his right), after said asshole states that he'll be there. More silliness follows and Mike posts the whole exchange on his website, after he was involved. So an asshole is publically shamed and probably has his career (justifibly) destroyed.

And you want PA to apologize to the asshole?!?! Man, I don't get that logic.

mrwynd wrote:
shoptroll wrote:
Malor wrote:

They definitely were not given a public performance license to those writings.

Correspondences are protected under copyright law? O-o

Some googling shows that yes, e-mails are protected by copyright law.

Section 102(a) of the 1976 Copyright Act affords protection to "original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression ... from which they can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device." This includes literary works, which are defined by section 101 as "works ... expressed in words [or] numbers ... regardless of the nature of the material objects ... in which they are embodied." Email falls under the category of literary works and is therefore granted protection as described in the Copyright Act.

Taken from here

Also taken from there:

Limitations on Exclusive Rights
There are a few limitations on the rights granted in section 106. One of the most important is "fair use," found in section 107. Fair use allows the reproduction and display of literary works, including emails, for educational, research, critical, commentary and news reporting purposes. Whether a use is acceptable depends on four criteria: the purpose of the use, the nature of the work, the portion and "substantiality" of the work used and the effect on the market value for the work. This effectively means that portions of an email may be copied, forwarded, printed and displayed in print or on television if deemed for a legitimate purpose. Additionally, filing suit without registration with the U.S. Copyright Office is extremely difficult.

And by the way, eHow's lawyers can now supposedly make life very difficult for both of us. But they actually can't, because this is fair use, as well as what Mike Krahulik exercised.

ClockworkHouse wrote:
momgamer wrote:
ClockworkHouse wrote:
momgamer wrote:

So why aren't you suggesting that Reddit and Destructoid (and Kotaku and about 10 other sites that I know of) do this? Why only Penny Arcade?

Because, so far as I can tell, Penny Arcade is ground zero for this. The customer having problems might have posted about it elsewhere, but it didn't blow up; get reported on Destructoid, Kotaku, and a dozen other sites; and become an internet crusade until Mike put their exchange up on Penny Arcade's front page.

I don't know where you're looking, then. Because the guy started with Reddit and then sent it to Destructoid and several other places, including PA. Just because that's where you heard about it doesn't make it the real beginning and those other places have as long or longer an arm than PA here in the geeky realms. Yes, he posted it too, but if you want to blame someone, I suggest you go there.

And that doesn't explain to me why you feel that Kotaku and the others are exempt from having to take the same responsibility for the tinder they threw on the fire the same way you think PA does.

Kotaku's first post about it is a news post linking to the Penny Arcade piece. Destructoid's first post about it is a news post linking to the Penny Arcade piece. What am I missing here? This wasn't a story until Penny Arcade got involved. For better or for worse, Kotaku and Destructoid are news outlets and were posting about this as a news story, although I'll grant that sh*t like this isn't good journalism.

Regardless, I don't see how "other websites did this, too" absolves Mike at Penny Arcade for inappropriately posting private emails on the frontpage of his site in an effort to publicly shame someone. Even if this was all over Reddit and had a million posts up on Memebase making fun of the guy, Mike's posting of their email exchange was neither mature nor professional.

According to the summary in the Examiner nelenel posted at the top of the last page, the customer went to Reddit and then Destructoid himself, and then several other sites. That's what I am going off of; not the dates and times of the posts. That's still neither here nor there.

I never said I agree with it being posted. I'm standing on the fifth on that completely due to my known association. My question to you is still why you feel that PA should apologize and print a retraction, but you don't think anyone else should. You've made that more abundantly clear with this post. You've singled one person out in a huge net of problems, and I don't agree with that.

Crescente and his gang at Kotaku have a huge reach, and a huge audience that are notorious for crap like this. Why shouldn't they have to do so as well? Why is it okay that Reddit and Memebase have stuff all over that is a hundred times more damaging? Why doesn't Facebook have to do something about his personal data being all over?

I have some sympathy for the guy; I have been through something similar and I'm not sure anyone deserves something like this. When I posted that article here about Cleaning up Thunder Bluff, I had people come after me and my kids in real life over it. Someone tried to get me fired from my real job. And that was before Facebook and all those )(&@) search sites made stuff like this laughably easy. It was horrible.

I very rarely hear about controversial things that occur within the gaming community mostly because I don't go to Reddit, Kotaku, and PA. I've heard that there are some great things on Reddit, but I don't really want to be part of that community. The only video gaming sites that I frequent are gamefaqs, gametrailers, and GWJ.

Out of the three sites that I frequent only GWJ has a community that shows respect for one another as well many things outside of GWJ.

I don't disagree with PA for bringing attention to the situation, but I only frequent specific forums for reasons such as what is happening now.

For the situation as a whole I don't have any particular side that I'm on as it seems everyone involved was unprofessional at some point.

Jayhawker wrote:
Malor wrote:
I don't think the PA crew did anything particularly wrong with posting what they did.

Well, whether it's wrong or not, it's probably illegal, and they could potentially be on the hook for copyright infringement. They definitely were not given a public performance license to those writings.

And copyright infringement in this country is taken ridiculously seriously. Depending on the way the judge interprets the $100K damages per infringement clause, PA could be on the hook for many millions.

Of course, the Ocean guy would have to be smart enough to go after them on that basis, and he doesn't seem especially clueful.

This might be the greatest misunderstanding of a law I have ever read on the internet.

As an IP attorney for over a decade, I have to agree with Jayhawker. Not illegal in the US. Public performance licenses by the way are a parcularity specific to music and not all copyright law.

Well, I'll put my non-existent law degree up against anyone's non-existent law degree, because I got it from a very prestigious law school.

I'm curious what those of you thinking Penny Arcade was in the wrong, think about 60 Minute segments or the standard local TV 'consumer advocate' pieces. Don't they basically fill the same role that Mike has here? Granted they generally watch their language but the pattern seems very similar to me.

I don't have any problem with Mike posting the work contact info that they posted. I absolutely think that this story deserved to be made public. In fact what bothers me the most about this scenario is the 99.9999% of bullying that goes on in this world that Mike isn't able to personally stop. I think that Paul's name absolutely should have been attached to it, and everything else is gravy.

If Mike had stripped out all the contact information to "I ordered game controller from company..." then the time it took the internet to have this guys full name, number, and address would have been lengthened by about 15 minutes.

Malor wrote:

Dude, you have copyright to everything you've ever written. You don't give people a public performance right when you send them email. You maintain ownership of it. And PA is especially liable, because they're actively making money off what that guy wrote.

A good lawyer could probably make their lives very, very difficult.

Not to pile on, but no good lawyer possessing a basic understanding of copyright law would take his case (unless he had no other clients at the moment and Paul was willing to pay cash up front). Even then, the attorney would likely be subject to sanctions...courts don't appreciate frivolous lawsuits.

Reading through that MSNBC interview... Screw the guy. So now he's using the infamy as a conduit to continue being a jackass and expecting to make money off of it. No apologies, no humbleness, just riding his 15 minutes of smeared fame to glory. And he swears his head off like an imbecile, even going so far as to imply the PA response was swear filled (which it wasn't).