ByteHosting, Part II

March 13, 2007

It would be natural to wonder why, having sued Marc Cohen last year, I’ve now named ByteHosting, a company most people have never heard of. The answer is convoluted. Since 2004 I’ve researched thousands of potential WinFixer connections: IP addresses, domain names, phone numbers, emails and almost anything else I could ferret out online. (On the other hand, I largely ignored the whois, a database so rife with fraud that it’s worse than useless. It’s long past time either to clean it up or else abolish it altogether.) Throughout, associations with ByteHosting appeared over and over again.

The ByteHosting=WinFixer link includes (but isn’t limited to) a 2004 lawsuit by Symantec against ByteHosting founder and President James Reno, the company itself, and several others. The case concluded in late 2004: Symantec got a $3.1m “default” against someone named Sam Jain, which simply means that Jain lost because he didn’t show up to defend himself in timely fashion. Symantec settled with Reno and ByteHosting on undisclosed terms—Reno claims he paid nothing—and a permanent injunction forbade Reno et al. from pirating Symantec product. Case closed.

Starting more than a year ago, I made a few calls (and sent several letters) to counsel for Symantec, ByteHosting and Reno, all of which went nowhere. (Recently, Symantec’s counsel has begun talking with me. Stay tuned.) Meanwhile, with other leads to pursue, I assumed that if Reno and ByteHosting had settled with Symantec, they’d either stopped what they were doing or hadn’t been much involved in the first place. As it happens, I was wrong on both counts.

In my next post, I’ll begin detailing the evidence against ByteHosting.



March 12, 2007

The disclosure of an attorney’s investigative work—known in the profession as “work product”—is a nontrivial and not altogether risk-free event in the life of a litigator. There are many reasons not to do it, especially early in a lawsuit.

Nevertheless, I’ve concluded that the reasons to publish at least some of the evidence here outweigh all other imperatives: my paramount concern being the obligation to help stop an ongoing fraud. The revelation late last month that WinFixer had morphed yet again has added urgency to my growing feeling that–if the WinFixer conspiracy is to end–the public needs to know the chief instrumentality behind it, and it needs to know sooner rather than later.

More tomorrow.