A large comics pirate website based in Florida was raided by the Feds, with all servers confiscated.

“…The FBI’s Tampa Field Office headed the investigation leading to the warrant. The consortium of publishers cooperating with law enforcement include Marvel Comics, DC Comics, Dark Horse Comics, Bongo Comics, Archie Comics, Conan Properties Int’l LLC, Mirage Studios Inc., and United Media.”

The website was run by a man with a long and unusual history of run-ins with the police, including this epic weirdness in which he used his computer company to send SPAM messages attacking a policeman who arrested him, claiming to all that the cop was a gay pedophile. He then proceeded to set up a gay porn website in the cop’s name.

UPDATED 5-12-10: The link at the Tampa website to Mr. Pirate’s criminal records seems to have expired. This is the correct link. Birthdate and all other pertinent info are a match.

UPDATE 12/07/2010: Score another one for Gregory S Hart. New arrest for “corruption by threat against public official.” For the record, I received a number of demands by Mr Hart to remove this post, threatening lawsuits and criminal action. I ignored them. Two years after the original post, he has not taken further action.

Mr. Pirate also claims to be a good Christian. Many websites have epic odd posts from this dude.

The comments thread at the above link is particularly interesting. This man has issues.

One of his issues is with me.

When I very politely asked him to remove my comics from his website, he sent me a belligerent letter and threatened to lawyer me into oblivion:

“…we’ll see you in court and we’ll be the ones cashing your compensatory damages check.”

He bragged about how much he loved battling with lawyers…and about how much money he had.

After I again firmly but politely asked him to remove my work, he complied. However, larger publishers who also made the request were rudely rebuffed. Others were offered a deal: he wanted to become their online publisher.

No takers.

Well, we’ll see if he enjoys battling with lawyers now.

UPDATE: Because I can’t turn away from this train wreck.

The guy who claimed he had a legal team of lawyers, who threatened me with same, who claimed his site was not only legal but the big companies like Marvel were OK with it, the guy who was just doing this as a public service and didn’t even need the money can be seen over here at FINDLAW back in March, trying to get free legal advice about his “online library.”

In it he completely contradicts everything he wrote to me (and on various message board websites,) and admits that his ultimate goal with his website is to make it really popular, collect royalties by getting publishers to agree to let him do what he does for a cut of the take, and then to sell the site for big bucks.

His lack of understanding of copyright law is unique in its bizarro-world way, especially in light of the arrogant way he mansplained it all to me.

One more quote from his missive to me:

We recoupe [sic] money in very large amounts for compensatory damages for legal costs expended in defending ourselves against a matter that has been decided many, many times over in the course of US history, hence gets deemed as a “frivolous” case.

I’m in awe.

For someone who claims to respect books so much, he sure has a tin ear for language.

Somewhere around here, I even have a document in which he claims Google itself hired him (or got the idea from him, or something) to set up the Google Book Search scheme. Of which I am NO FAN.

Trying to impress me with that cred (which, BTW, is a lie) was another bad call.

FYI: an earlier post on Federal Copyright Violation.

My goodness, aren’t I the prescient one.

And BTW, CLICK HOME to read my webcomic, which is right here on my advertiser-supported website, free for you to read before you buy.

And remember kids, pirates hurt creators like me by drawing traffic away from advertiser-supported online comics.

If you are reading them over there, the pirate gets paid.

If you are reading it here, I get paid. When I get paid, I can do more comics. If I don’t get paid, I stop doing comics.

Simple.