BME needs YOU!

In the past little while, we at BME have received e-mails from many of you complaining about the website at Your concerns, namely, have centered around the site’s design, and that its links never led anywhere — and certainly not to BME content. This is the most recent version of the website.


More versions can be viewed here: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

This was not our website. We did not authorize it. We certainly did not approve of it. Worse yet, after investigating, we learned that this was a pay-per-click site. In other words, when people went to that site looking for BME, if they clicked on any of the bogus links, they put money into the owner’s pocket. This was a classic trademark infringement/cyber-squatting scam. Evidence that visitors reaching were often searching for ModBlog or BMEvideo can be seen here.

The site’s owner was a man by the name of Greg Ricks. He gets sued for this kind of thing all the time.

Despite the fact that we could have sued him in court, seeking damages, we tried to resolve this amicably.

When that failed, instead of trying to collect money in court, we filed an arbitration before the World Intellectual Property Organization (view the complaint here). They responded (their response is here), and all three judges, including a judge they hand-picked, ruled unanimously in our favor. (View their decision here.)

Immediately after losing the decision, the cybersquatter tried to shake us down for $100,000 in exchange for not filing a lawsuit against us. When we refused to be intimidated, of all things, he sued us. (View his complaint here.)

Now he claims, ridiculously enough, that he, and not BME, is the “real” BME.

Naturally, the cybersquatter has already begun to manipulate the evidence. He tried to scrub the Internet Archive of evidence and gamed the search engines so that things look much different than they have to this point.

During this fight, we’d like to call upon the BME community to help keep an eye on things.

If you see any evidence that you think might be helpful in showing that we are, have always been, and will always be BME, we’d like to know. We have set up a special email address at [email protected]. Feel free to send in anything you might find.

We are prepared to defend ourselves against this frivolous lawsuit through all appropriate means. We will keep you posted as things develop. You made BME the great community it is today and we need your help to keep it that way!

Please take the time to place links to BME on any websites that you can. It doesn’t matter if it’s your MySpace or your personal blog. Anywhere that you can put our links and banners are appreciated!

116 thoughts on “BME needs YOU!

  1. when i read this i grew increasingly furious.

    if anything happens to BME because of some low-life douchebag, i (as i’m sure amongst a large majority of others) will flip the fuck out.
    what petty bullshit, some people really need to grow up.

    i will be sure to help contribute anything i can find,
    as i know everyone else will, too.

    this kind of shit furthermore proves that faith in humanity = slim.

  2. This is ridiculous, and the replies to the article Rachel just posted are absurd!

    I’m resisting the urge to use every profanity I know right now…

  3. I don’t get it. So he lost, threatened to sue…and now is suing? Suing because he lost because it was all ruled in your favour.

    Have I missed something here?

  4. #13, you’re right. If BME had just let the guy steal from them, everything would have been fine. (???)

    How about this, if the cyber-squatter had just been an honest businessman, he wouldn’t have lost the case to BME. His lawsuit looks pretty desperate.

  5. ~ – I think defending our claim to BME is worth taking the risk of some shit stain sueing. Really, as a community, the title “BME” is our strongest point in unity. And I know as a bme user, I’d hate to think people are going there and actually paying the guy to be misled around a completely unrelated site.

  6. Michelle – Believe me, I’m a big fan of BME. This is the blog I read most. Having said that, I don’t really see how a guy running a ppc site on the domain name is tarnishing this community… I don’t know how you can call this a cyber squatting case either since the official bme domain is

    Yes “BME” is the strongest point in unity, but do you want that unity to be for people that read the same website or live the same lifestyle?

    And it’s not like the guy is getting paid by the users that land on his site accidentally. He gets paid by advertisers for the ads on his site. To me this is like two little kids fighting with each other… Instead of drawing so much attention to this dude the bme owners could have done their homework and out ranked him in the search engines, or better yet buy the domain back from him.

    PS – even if he wants 100k for that domain, that’s a reasonable price for a 3 letter .com in todays market. I just fee like this can be handled with a bit more couth, but I know people here like to take things personally.

    This community has made BME a somewhat household term so why try to take that back? It jsut seems like something way to corporate to be tied up in when there’s a bigger picture.

  7. They did offer to buy the domain name.

    I can see what you are trying to say, but I think no matter how you look at it, if you have intellectual property (the term BME definately is. How often when talking about it do you say BMEzine out loud – its BME, period.) than its absolutely appropriate to go to battle to retain it’s use. Especially when there is tangible evidence that people are going there in search of modblog, for instance.

    Not to mention that the guy is a *wanker*. Don’t you ever get tired of wankers like that feeling like the world is theirs and they can simply take from others at will? This is theft. There is no way around that.

    And I’m very sure that if you had a financial stake in it, you yourself would take it rather personally too.

  8. How about when someone who hasn’t seen BME before winds up at, and sees that crappy website that leads you to nothing but more ads? Won’t they think “what’s all the hubbub about this BME website, this sucks!”

    The guy was impersonating BME online. That’s not right. It seems like BME tried to handle it as nicely as they could, but this arrogant crook wasn’t having it.

  9. Porn site? Are you kidding me?!?!?!
    I’m too pissed off to write anything other than I’m totally disgusted.
    Other words come to mind as well, but I’d rather not string along an entire sentence of profanity.

  10. ~: Despite the fact that we could have sued him in court first, seeking damages, we tried to resolve this amicably. We started by offering this cybersquatter a significant amount of money to just buy the domain from him and be done with it. Our offer was significantly more than the domain was worth. He demanded more. We accepted. Then, he raised his price. We accepted again. He raised his price a third time, and we decided that we had enough.

  11. Here’s the thing… of all things, what could “BME” mean? It could mean lots of things, right? “Boston Medical Enterprises” or “Bio Medical Engineering” or “Buy Me Everything”

    And if this guy’s website had that kind of stuff on it, then nobody is offsides.

    But, why put all the piercing and tattoo links on his site WITH “BME”?

    There is only one reason — to try and impersonate BME. That’s wrong.

  12. i just think that you’re empowering this man by trying so hard to get him to stop, know what i mean?

  13. Rachel, I’m rather glad he didn’t accept. The idea of paying for what was your to begin with makes my blood boil. I’m sure I’m not alone on this.

  14. ~ – Lets look at the bigger picture. If more people like him are allowed to do these things, then we will have more instances of it. As a body modificaton site, BME is constantly going to be under threat for others to try and bring about it’s demise, especially with our community being divided over what happened with Shannon left (I want him to come back!). If we allow this sort of thing to slide, and the next “minor” thing to slide and so on we are inevitably going to end up on a slippery slope to demise. Its always important to defend your intellectual property, but even more so when your intellectual property is under the risk of attack like our community is.

  15. That complaint is absurd, particularly the section that asserts “The term BME, although originally an acronym for “Body Modification Ezine,”has become generic and unprotectable because the term BME is commonly used to refer to persons who go beyond body modifications and are considered “body mutilation

    If you need an expert witness, I or a number of other academics I could recommend (Victoria Pitts-Taylor comes to mind) would be happy to provide testimony. matt[at]

  16. “19. Upon information and belief, and according to its previous owner Mr. Larratt,
    Bmezine was originally a credit card processing and hosting company and in 2004 the
    company ownership changed and it began providing, among other things, the online
    database of pornographic photos and videos.”
    ….No words.
    Fair enough he didn’t acquire the BME site in bad faith originally, but what he is doing now is cynically abusing the similarity in order to profit. At least BMEzine comes up first when you type BME into google ; )

  17. 28. In other words, he is claiming that BME didn’t exist until 2004? I bet that is news to all of you who have been with BME since the mid-1990s, eh?

  18. Is my post in moderation because I mentioned you know who? I really hope not, cuz I’d find that sort of censorship rather disturbing.

  19. Does anyone else find his legal brief’s repeated mention of “subincision” oddly specific? I mean, as far as body mod categories are concerned, do any of you find “subincision” to be able to stand with piercing, tattoos, and scarification, or is this just proof of ignorance on the part of a gentleman who seems to have no trouble advertising tattoos and piercings for his own benefit?

  20. Just a thought but couldn’t you use the way back machine (google it) to show that your site has been active longer than his? This would verify your common law rights which is what he is claiming. I wouldn’t count on getting the site with out the outlay of some cash though. As its been said already 3 letter domain names are worth a decent amount of money and weather he is a douche or not he still has the right to own it and be paid for its use.

  21. Well… its not there now… its just a search engine thing. but yes.. that guy sucks. you’ll probably win his lawsuit as well, as he does seem rather pathetic

  22. does anyone know this guys personal site or blog, id like to leave a piece of my mind for him on his internet doorstep

  23. Im astounded at his constant statement of this being a pornographic site.
    If its porn Ricks wants I know some sites he can visit!

  24. I tried each banner on my myspace but they didn’t show (outlined box with X in the corner). Is anyone else experiencing this?

  25. when i saw the logos from BME on that tattoo shop i laughed…but this is too much x| this is pure and simply trying to steal from you guys…sue his ass again!!

  26. Not that the guy isn’t a fool and conman and general numpty,

    But there is a fair amount of BME content that’s pretty pornographic. Some (most?) of the stuff in Hard is pornographic, no two ways about it. Obviously this isn’t primarily a porn site, but trying to deny altogether than BME carries porn is silly.

  27. We don’t deny that it doesn’t carry pornographic material, but seeing as how thats dealt with seperately in BME Hard and is far from the focus, you can’t call BME a porn site like Greg did. Thats like calling Google a biology and science website simply because there are areas that deal specifically with that. The porn element is but a small part of a much larger picture.

  28. Doesn’t BME have a business license and records to prove its prior existence to him? It sounds to me like someone needs to brute-force his site/server everyday until he gets tired of trying to fix it. These kind of things happen everyday at random.

  29. I really dislike con-artists trying to make a quick buck like this. It shows a lack of humanity.

    But you can also mail him your complaints by snail mail and email…
    (obtained via WHOIS)

    Gregory, Ricks
    [email protected]
    Gregory Ricks
    4702 Johnson Creek Loop
    College Station

  30. I really don’t think that doing anything illegal is the way to go. I certainly don’t appreciate it when people physically attack BME and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone else.

  31. Yeah, when you go check out, most of his site always had things about piercings and tattoos splashed everywhere.

    I think this guy is a total tool. registered 3/11/1999 3/6/2000

    and bme is much older then that. Maybe when Ike makes landfall and makes it further into Texas, a tree will fall on him. heh

  32. It seems you need to buy If you didn’t own it, then yes, anyone is within fair rights to buy it and squat, this has happened daily and and constantly since commercial content even started appearing on the web in the early 90′s. It’s not new.

    If you go to big commercial sites, usually they have planned and own the .com, .net, .org, and often common typos even.

    I myself have hit that other squat site via typo, etc, and just thought “oh yes they didn’t buy those other possibilities, okay, let me type in the real deal.”

    If you can say that the letters “bme” together are enough of a trademark that others shouldn’t squat on them then you can take it to court, but I do fear it will be an uphill battle.

    So, I try not to typo because I know what I want to see, which is here only :)

  33. BMEzine has filed legal action on other websites for copyright infringement on photos and (possibly) articles, right?

    Those are official datestamped documents you can use as support evidence.

  34. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHA at the third picture!
    “oh hey, I’m just some girl with a tribal tattoo on my face from MS paint”

    mannnn this is really sad though in all honesty. corporate big boys trying to control everyone, and now infringing on BME?!?!?!

  35. should have set up domain names the exact same as trademarks. pay a rediclous amount of money to register a name or slogan and they search to ensure their is no conflict of interest with other companies. if domains were set up like trade marks their would be a lot less garbage like this. but, you cant change the past.

    obviously he won’t get away with this one. but the question is how do you stop this guy or these companies from continuing to do this?

  36. This seems really blown out of proportion. Sure, this guy is a jerk. But here’s my analogy: You set up a hot dog stand, selling all-beef dogs on premium rolls with fresh kraut and superb service. People love your business and come back for years, and tell all their friends about it. Then, years later, some moron puts up a stand across the street with a similar sign, only he sells turds wrapped in Kleenex. WTF would anyone ever go back there, and who really cares how much this loser is making off his rip-off joint? That’s just capitalism; if you can turn a profit selling turds in Kleenex, you’re surviving. But the first guy, selling quality products in huge quantity for years on end, he loves his life and retires to luxury. That’s the American dream.

    Petty, squabbling masses scratching in squalor. Even when their bank accounts are plump…

  37. thomas- should we sit back and accept it because thats the american dream? if thats the case then you might as well get your tongue split and your body scale tattood and make yourself a few bucks. its the principle, sure it happens, it’s just not cool to profit off someone elses hard labour.

    he is discrediting bme by advocating kleenex material and turd links.

  38. Hack. That. Ass.

    someone post his real address. He has a lot of friends who want visit him ;-)

  39. Every comment here mentions BME referring to – if BME is what you’re known as, it’s what everyone in this ‘community’ refers to the site as, it’s (as one person said) “our strongest point of unity” – it sounds like everyone who gets their identity from this site (which is pretty sad all things considered) knows and refers to the site as BME. Nobody says ‘I saw that on bmezine’ – they say ‘I saw that on BME’

    Doesn’t it seem obvious that people looking for BME on the internet are going to first try If this is such an important part of your identity and it means so much to you – It never occured to anybody to secure before this???

    If a fighter walks out to start the 8th round with his hands at his sides and gets knocked the fuck out – he can’t then cry foul.

  40. “if BME is what you’re known as, it’s what everyone in this ‘community’ refers to the site as, it’s (as one person said) “our strongest point of unity” – it sounds like everyone who gets their identity from this site (which is pretty sad all things considered)”

    It’s not so much getting an identity from this site, as it is having a sense of community with people of similar interests, being part of something bigger than being a singular, which to me does not seem sad at all.

  41. “haha oh the irony! trying to steal bme when it was recently itself stolen anyways. classic.”

    If you believe that, I have a Tiffany necklace I can sell you for cheap.

  42. i love the idea of being found guilty of cyber squatting so you sue the people you’ve been exploiting,
    It’s like suing a stab victim for damage to your knife.

  43. I don’t know man, I just don’t know. This site is not what it once was….but that site makes it even worse. Good luck, I guess, in winning another court case.


  44. i’m sure a lot of people call the letters B M E (aka bmezine) home just as much as a lot of people call toronto (aka toronto, ontario, canada) home. the letters and abbrevations are just semantics. the words and letters hold market value when it comes to business and for that this is why it needs to be resolved.

    bme will ALWAYS be a community regardless of who its administrators, followers, supporters, advertisers or members are. all of us make bme what it is, not one single person. UNITY is the name of the game, not identity.

    i can’t condone attacking him either, however i’ll support anyone that puts a stop to his injustice. i have absolutely zero respect for anyone that doesn’t work for their money.

  45. I have old CD “body art”it is on russian language and most of pictures are stolen from bme, because many picture have information: copyright 1999 or 2000 bme. copyright 1998 BME. i didn’t know this adress-
    and i found picture form 1997
    maybe i can sell this cd :)

  46. BME is a porn site. The clever business model is using a youth-driven site that can move a lot of traffic, to push its porn business to the top of the search engines.

    thats what some guy said

    proves enough to me that bmezine is recognised as bme

  47. Brian Johnson wrote:

    “Doesn’t it seem obvious that people looking for BME on the internet are going to first try If this is such an important part of your identity and it means so much to you – It never occured to anybody to secure before this???”

    Maybe because in 2000, the website didn’t go to a tattoo site. It’s like this: Some guy registered (look it up). His whois says “Apples on the Web”. The site doesn’t show anything right now. If he launched a site about apples or fruit, or even something off the wall, then Apple computer wouldn’t have much to say about it. AND, nobody should criticize Apple computers for not buying that domain.

    But, if the guy who registered puts up links to computer products without Apple Computer’s permission, trying to scam people into thinking that it is Apple Computer’s website, then he would be breaking the law.

    Criticizing BME because it didn’t anticipate that someone would hijack their name is just ridiculous. If you don’t put bars on all your windows, that doesn’t mean that you deserve to have your house burglarized.

  48. “If you don’t put bars on all your windows, that doesn’t mean that you deserve to have your house burglarized.”

    No – but if you leave your front door open and go on vacation don’t be suprised when someone boosts your stereo. Doesn’t make stealing from you legal – but sure goes a long way toward making you look like you’re asleep at the wheel.

  49. Well at least modblog is making no attempt to deceive people into believing it is *the* modblog. I mean, no one is gonna go there and mistakenly believe they are here.

  50. what a horrible man. first piggybacking off BME, then calling us “body mutilation extremists”, then asserting that this is a porn site.. why doesn’t he just go and drown some puppies?

  51. Michelle – God it felt awkward to read that…You’re like the little sister that brings up mommy and daddy’s messy divorce at our great-grandmother’s funeral in the middle of a discussion about her favorite hat…
    That was waaaaaayyyyyy out of left field and nobody had commented on or cares what your stance is on that issue. This is neither the time nor place for that so please focus on the issue at hand and please try to do more listening(reading) than talking(commenting).

  52. I don’t know if this helps but;

    On Nov. 9 2007 my wife was modblogged. The entry appears to have been deleted, perhaps because it was one of Shannons ‘hot chicks’ posts I don’t know.

    However, in that entry there was also an image from a magazine here in Australia called Picture, which is a high circulating weekly edition kind of like the UK’s Daily Star.

    The image was of a full page article they did on including the websites name, an interview with Shannon and a few pics.
    Important thing about this – It was printed in 1997!

    Don’t know if it help but it’s I figure it can’t hurt having the BME name recognised and in print on a different continent in 1997.
    If you were able to find that post or that image that is.

  53. Look, this issue kept coming up. From anything from super nasty comments through to subtle. Some of it directed at my comments personally. (especially in the other post, on the parking blog) I felt like I kept repeating myself saying its not about what happened with rachel. How things went down there is irrelevant to this particular issue. And since it *seemed* like I was siding in this regard, or saying that one excused the other, I wanted to clarify. I wasn’t the one to bring it in here.

    But obviously its annoyed you guys, which wasn’t my intention. I wish it would just be deleted now. But I can’t see that happening. If I took it more personally than it wasn’t intended, I apologise. ITs not the first time I’ve had my foot in my mouth, nor will be it be the last. :)

    I have had a lot to say about this issue because it made my blood boil. (The one that is.) I apologise for being comment heavy. As you can see, I normally don’t post *anything*. This particular issue just got my goat is all. Honestly, I didnt mean any harm!

  54. Man, this is just laughable. I hope you put a proverbial foot up that dude’s ass and get him off the crack he’s clearly puffing. pfft..

  55. Thank you very much for that.

    Upon reflection, I can see that I got carried away with commenting on this particular post. Sorry guys and I’ll shut up now *nod*

  56. isn’t there a way to see by legal papers who launched the website first? since he showed up recently, it shouldn’t be that hard :O

  57. see, stupid shit like that should just get completely get thrown out. it’s a waste of everyone’s time and money.

  58. I could leave a string of frustrated, utterly foul words but instead I’ll just say I love BMEzine and I hope you all win. BMEzine has been a fond resource for me throughout my bodmod adventures. ♥

  59. U people not on,y suck u swallow with all ur shamless plugs for ur own sites so u will get what u desrteve in the end

  60. Bradly – three questions –
    1) what!?!? Who are you trying to insult here?
    2) why thank you for complimenting our(? still not sure who you’re addressing..) oral skills
    3) are you, in fact, an adverb? ’cause that’d be rockin’

  61. I have the “Body Modification Ezine CD-ROM Archive Vol 1 – 01.01.98″
    On the back side there is a text “Copyright c 1994-1998″

    Ps. What’s wrong with your billing system? Is the problem related with this bull shit lawsuit?

  62. Seems to me like the people running this site just need to take the moral high ground and let it go – you are still getting the people here in the end, its not like the website is suddenly deserted over what is SO OBVIOUSLY one of those scam ‘squatter’ domains.

    Fucking waste of time and money all round. Thank you for contributing to the world of corporate BULLSHIT I thought I came here to forget.

  63. Rah: Any chance I could convince you to make a copy of it?

    almaxaquotal: I’m not really sure what you mean. You can’t really just ignore it when someone is suing you.

  64. BME= Body Mutilation Extremists

    Now I have seen it all.

    I hate lawyers more than realtors, nore than used car salespeople.

  65. “Rah: Any chance I could convince you to make a copy of it?”

    Please send me a convincing e-mail ;)

    For legal purposes, I think you’d need some proof of purchase. I wonder if my credit card company has kept the records…

  66. I this this lawsuit sucks, and I’m sorry you have to go through the courts on this. That’s always lame. But I would really like to know what’s going on with this patent of yours…

    “16. On March 27, 2008, Bmezine filed a federal trademark application, Application Serial No. 77432832, to register the mark BME for the following: “Providing an online interactive database of photos and videos in the field of body art, namely piercing, tattoos, scarification, subincision, castration” in IC 041 and “Providing news about body art, namely, piercing, tattoos, scarification, subincision, castration through photos and video” in IC 044. At this time, the application is still pending registration. Apparently Bmezine is using BME for commercial Internet related services, including, but not limited to, free email services.”

    Umm… this looks like something you’d do to say…i dunno, get other sites that possibly ““Providing an online interactive database of photos and videos in the field of body art, namely piercing, tattoos, scarification, subincision, castration” One that comes to mind is mine… Possible to open a line of communication on this? And maybe let everyone else know what’s up? I have a few thousand people waiting on it.

    Thanks =)

    .: Adam

  67. Adam: Sent you an email.

    To make this as simple as possible. If McDonalds files a trademark on their name, McDonalds, it doesn’t prevent other people from selling food, it prevents them from selling it under the name McDonalds.

    Does that make sense to you now?

  68. first i got mad, then i thougth is it true?then again, if there´s no more modblog, what happends to the people that tattoed bme logos? teeeeenso.

  69. Pingback: BME: Tattoo, Piercing and Body Modification News » ModBlog » BME Legal Update

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