Thursday, February 24, 2011

Copyright fraud (and inappropriate release of private information) by Rajamanickam Antonimuthu of QualityPoint Technologies (in Tamil Nadu, India), on Google Maps project for employer alexdw1 (in Rainham, Kent, United Kingdom)

Allegation summary: The employer (Alexdw1 of Rainham, Kent, United Kingdom) alleged that the worker (Rajamanickam Antonimuthu of QualityPoint Technologies in Tamil Nadu, India), got into a disagreement with him over scope of the project, and sent threatening emails to him saying he would redistribute his copyrighted code if he didn't get his way. Alexdw1 alleged that Rajamanickam Antonimuthu followed through on these threats and posted the code Alexdw1 purchased from him on his public blog. In addition, he also alleged that Rajamanickam posted confidential information entrusted to him, including his mother's private phone number.

Details: Rajamanickam Antonimuthu of QualityPoint Technologies Located in: 2/148, V.O.C Street, Ottapidaram Tuticorin District, Tamil Nadu 628401, India
on this project: PHP MYSQL Website Google Maps

Arbitration summary:

One of the requirements of the project was to display the location of items on a map using Google maps. During the project, there was a dispute over the display of the items on the map. With the code produced by Rajamanickam Antonimuthu, if two items were located very close together on the map, their icons overlapped and could not be seen separately:

Alexdw1 said this behavior didn't meet the requirement of displaying multiple items correctly. Rajamanickam Antonimuthu said that it did, and that making them display seperately was out of scope and an additional requirement. While discussing this, Alexdw1 alleged that Rajamanickam Antonimuthu sent him threatening messages (saying he would release the code of this project to his blog, if he did not agree to his interpretation of the contract). Alexdw1 initiated an arbitration over both the alleged threatening emails and the alleged copyright violation. He also claimed that Rajamanickam Antonimuthu posted confidentialy information on his blog (specifically, Alexdws1's mother's pohone number). Rajamanickam Antonimuthu alleged he had not done any of these things.

Rafeek Kulkarni (the arbitrator) compared the code that Rajamanickam Antonimuthu created for this project to the code he had posted on his blog:

Rafeek verified that Alexdw1's allegation was accurate: the same code (with small changes) was being displayed on Rajamanickam Antonimuthu's blog (in violation of copyright).

Rafeek then looked for, Alexdw1's mother's phone number. He also found this allegation was accurate, and that it was also on Rajamanickam Antonimuthu's blog posting:

Regarding the third allegation, Alexdw1 produced emails of alleged threats to post the information public. However, since it was a 3rd party email account (which theoretically could be forged/faked) it could not be taken as evidence and was dropped. However, since there was already plenty of other conclusive evidence that Rajamanickam Antonimuthu had violated copyright, this did not affect the end ruling.

Rafeek explained to Rajamanickam Antonimuthu the basics of copyright. Custom code he created for Alexdw1 was created exclusively for them, and could not be resold/distributed to others (including via the blog) without the employer' permission. If he wanted to blog, Rajamanickam Antonimuthu could recreate the code from scratch and share that information with the others. But he could not reuse the code he already created for someone and sold.

Rafeek explained to Rajamanickam Antonimuthu that since he was in violation of copyright, this offense often results in an account being closed (for fraud). However if he acknoledged his mistake and rectified it (by returning the funds to the employer, he would be given a second chance.

Unfortunately, Rajamanickam Antonimuthu refused to do either. Ultimately his account had to be closed.

Full arbitration record

Update 9/23/2011: Rajamanickam Antonimuthu deleted Alexdw1's mother's phone from his blog and is now telling people that it was never there in the first place. However, has saved a copy of the original which clearly shows that it was: