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Legal Threats & Bribery Have Unintended Consequences

Today former iOS developer, Michael of iControlMIDIDesign, discovered that making legal threats and attempting to bribe a blogger have unintended consequences. Following a post yesterday, which included an email excerpt, iControlMIDIDesign continued to email blogger Tim Webb with apoplectic rage.

Michael made assertions that his conversation with me was private, despite all of the emails including the words "Press Inquiry" in the subject line. The very first line of the very first email also identified myself as a blogger at discchord.com.

Having had a good cry and a lie down, Michael thought better of his tactics. Though not much better it would seem.

This afternoon I received a new email from Michael requesting information on advertising here on the site. He was hoping to get me to yank the earlier article, and included a veiled legal threat.

Despite any delusions he may have harbored about an expectation to privacy in the original email, there is no way in hell he has any kind of expectation for privacy now after the previous post... so I'm pretty sure I can post this in its entirety!

Hi Tim,
We would be interested in the Menu Badge.
There is a post on your website that is impairing our business due to the release of un-authorized content. I have been contacting my lawyer and he is recommending to friendly settle if you accept to remove it. In return we would be happy to purchase that Menu Badge for the next 5-6 months as proof of good partnership.
Let us know.
Best regards,

For future reference to anyone that wants to buy out content on this site, it is going to cost a bit more than $300. I'll sell you the site for $300,000 and you can pull any article you like. Any other offer to sell out, or threats to my first amendment rights, will be posted here.

By the way, any Lawyers out there? This is the second time someone has made legal threats in the last 3 months. I've been busy!

Reader Comments 54

You sir are one crazy mofo in your own language. Your site is not worth $300 000! And I very much doubt you get the 50 000 hits you claim to

Even if you used cleaner language , stopped dissing and stopped sensationalist posts like this, I very much doubt anyone would like to buy your site, why? One can easily set up a free one on word press and, it seems you have discredited the whole iOS community by the above distasteful post

Why do you see the need to highlight a private argument in full public view?

Seriously, some of the content you put out and the language you use is highly embarrassing for anyone involved with music apps

Do us all a favour and clean up your act

July 31, 2012  | person_outline Stuart Davis

I consider myself to be "involved with music apps", and I do not feel "highly embarrassed" by any of the posts that I've read here on discchord.com.

Tim has not "highlighted a private argument in full public view" he has only printed a shocking and rude response to his press inquiry on his blog. Why don't you ask a question of the developer, "why did you have to be such a jerk?"

It is not this blog's responsibility to protect individuals and/or businesses from themselves. If the developer had responded in a more professional manner, none of this recent unflattering press would have happened.

July 31, 2012  | person_outline gatearray

I find nothing about this site offensive or embarrassing.

July 31, 2012  | person_outline DC

Gosh, out of 50 000 hits a month you only get two peeps defending you? Oh, maybe you'll have to join in under an alias or ten then
I wonder how long it will take for telengard to turn up then:)

July 31, 2012  | person_outline Blah

I'll say that I find the blog a little salty from time to time, but I see it in the spirit of Hunter S. Thompson or Matt Taibbi style journalism. A bit of hyperbole, some profanity, but on the whole, an entertaining read. Ok, maybe it's more TMZ than Thompson/Taibbi, but it's still fun.

As far as the lawyer thing goes -- I would consider Discchord to be part of the "new media press," and the press has pretty good coverage under the law. Say something to a reporter, and unless you've got very very very clear ground rules in place before opening your yap, it's fair game. Taibbi took down some top military brass by printing stuff that they said, but didn't want heard. Gizmodo published a bunch of info on a stolen iPhone -- they're blocked from all future Apple announcements, but as far as I know, nobody went to jail, and if there had been a court judgment against them, they would have been wiped off the face of the earth.

July 31, 2012  | person_outline Fessaboy

this what winning on the internet looks like.

August 01, 2012  | person_outline Will

I would be cautious. Anything you post public can be used against you (especially this private matter and the mini 'interview' from the other post). You seemed to have upset the developer and you do not know what his business is worth or how much money his has on his bank account, and what he is ready to do against you to get reparation if he thinks you are harming his business.
There are lot's of hatered and attacks against his business in the other post. If a lawyer thinks it is impairing his business he might be untitled to ask you for huge compensations for his (potential) losses.
I would be you, I'll remove both posts and in the future when interviewing clearly ask writen authorization to publish (if you have not done so) "press inquiry" does not authorize you to publish you must ask in writting and have written approval.
In addition it is not good publicity for your site and future business partners as this creates a 'legal' trail, I think, I let that up to you of course.

August 01, 2012  | person_outline Law

looks like he's learning a VALUABLE piece of advice about PR

way to go Tim, keep up the good work and don't hold back on the language either!

August 01, 2012  | person_outline RMG

Welcome back, Zack. Neighbor's WiFi? Be nice or this one gets banned too. Remember the rules: You can say whatever you want about me, but leave the users alone.

We've had some cultural difference in the past. Here in the States, the most offensive thing about this post was the idea that he could pay me to remove an unflattering article. That is just about the most offensive thing anyone could do to me.

Unlike your fucking tantrum to Retronyms, when you were begging them to give you IAPs, I set me sell out rate pretty steep. $300,000 is a bargain.

Bad apps, bad prices, bad dude. I own one of these terrible icontrolMIDI apps, I'm embarrassed to say. I even left a review of the app in the appstore only to have it mesteriously disappear a day later. Reporting on a total sleaze acting sleazy isn't nessecarily sensationalism, and it certainly doesn't "discredit the entire iOS community"

August 01, 2012  | person_outline Slipbeat

Love the picture!

August 01, 2012  | person_outline EcentC

Sorry re-posting not sure it worked.
I would be cautious. Anything you post public can be used against you (especially this private matter and the mini 'interview' from the other post). You seemed to have upset the developer and you do not know what his business is worth or how much money his has on his bank account, and what he is ready to do against you to get reparation if he thinks you are harming his business.
There are lot's of hatered and attacks against his business in the other post. If a lawyer thinks it is impairing his business he might be untitled to ask you for huge compensations for his (potential) losses.
I would be you, I'll remove both posts and in the future when interviewing clearly ask writen authorization to publish (if you have not done so) "press inquiry" does not authorize you to publish you must ask in writting and have written approval.
In addition it is not good publicity for your site and future business partners as this creates a 'legal' trail, I think, I let that up to you of course.

August 01, 2012  | person_outline Law

Hilarious stuff! Keep us updated haha!

August 01, 2012  | person_outline ChrisG

Well I do not think there is anything hilarious here, this is a serious matter. Just adding that there is no 'bribery' as he is offering to pay for a service, not to pay for nothing or getting the service for free. Also valuating your business in public can be used against you as his lawyer can 'gauge' what you are worth. I think you made couple of legal mistakes here.
Sorry for the typos, typing on an iPad; need to go now.

August 01, 2012  | person_outline Law

I love this! I appreciate your authenticity and your opinions matter to me. Keep it up and don't ever change!!!

August 01, 2012  | person_outline Marlow77

Hey "Law", you're clearly not a lawyer and therefore you should keep your advice to yourself.

"untitled to ask"

"to publish you must ask in writing"


August 01, 2012  | person_outline DC

@Law, is your last name 'Yer' by any chance?

can you quote the hatred and attacks that you allege Tim posted?

August 01, 2012  | person_outline RMG

I think Law's iPad is malfunctioning. I tried to type "hatered" on mine and it was automatically corrected..

Maybe he's disabled that function
...or maybe he's just lying.

August 01, 2012  | person_outline Slipbeat

I think Law raises a good point about public valuation vs damages. Just to be clear, I was joking... $300,000 vs $300 he offered.

I've often wanted a lawyer for a friend. We would have many zany adventures.

For public valuation, it doesn't matter what you think the site is worth -- it's how much damage you've done to his business. Right now, he's apparently not making enough to cover the $99/year fees that Apple charges to be in the app store (otherwise, it would make sense to simply let the apps sit in the store, and collect whatever the income is, minus the $99 -- it's free money, if there's any money coming in).

So the business damage could be $99 a year, but I suspect that it's actually less than that. I'd like to meet the lawyer that would take you to court for a potential share of that $99. Of course, the chance that they'd be able to get the $99 seems pretty slim -- journalists sometimes print stuff that people say or write, and there's no requirement that it be flattering.

August 01, 2012  | person_outline Fessaboy

Maybe this guy is going through a lot of painful things right now. Who knows. Maybe he needs more love not more anger. Can we just assume he is all there and not in need of help?

August 01, 2012  | person_outline Anonymouse

That fellow Michael is a real asshole! Oops, sorry for the naughty language! Dear me, I meant a**hole, of course.
Seriously, that was an awful response, and though I have sense of you as a pretty tough-skinned fellow, that kind of arrogant posturing and condescension must have stung, especially after making a professional query and asking a reasonable question.
Fuck him!
I'm not a lawyer, but I was in publishing for a long time, and that quid pro quo does seem to be a bribe. It is certainly unethical.
Thanks for the time and effort you've put into this site.

August 01, 2012  | person_outline Jared

The dude would've done better just to say he was sorry...
Keep at it, T.W.

August 01, 2012  | person_outline G. Littlewood

Loving it - spicing things up a little with an old fashioned internet takedown. His apps are crap that anyone can whip out on a mediocre midi/osc design app in 10min and get a better result. I did exactly that with Midi Designer Pro and my Meeblip.

People are going to be asking him why he has a giant imprint of the internet on his face....

August 01, 2012  | person_outline MarkoNW

Great to see some morals out there in Internet land! Maximum respect for not just pocketing the money and capitulating.

Fight the power!

August 01, 2012  | person_outline Invisiblesupermonkey

Tim's site is a as good as they get. It is my main source for Apps for IOS.
This is the first post where someone has anything to be embarrassed about, and it is not Tim...

August 01, 2012  | person_outline Roger

I like the language here because it's the way my friends and I talk. It's funny, informative, and takes no shit. +1 for a non-condescending site.

August 01, 2012  | person_outline Hogo

Keep up the good work Tim. Love the site and keep blowing that whistle it may be harsh to some ears but its true.

August 01, 2012  | person_outline AlexK

Webb, keep my name off your pages

I do not wish to be connected in anyway with you

You need to consider what your aim is

To help devs sell apps or

To entertain people with your crass comments

Believe it or not, many people will see your language and get put off and leave with a bad impression of the app world

Say what you like but it's true

I am addressing you directly, not the 100 people that view your blog per week

If you have a problem with me, talk to me directly, don't trash me in public

For the record, you are doing a grand job of embarrassing yourself right now

What if that dev could take you to court? I doubt your dog walking wages can cover enough to counter him

And I'd say he has more on you than him

Be careful in public dealings, that's what my own lawyer says anyhow

August 01, 2012  | person_outline zaxis

Bad language is terrible. No, I'm not talking about the medieval concept of profanity, but about bad grammar, awful punctuation and poor spelling, and I see none of that here, except in the occasional comment, like the one above.

August 01, 2012  | person_outline Teaflax

Hey tea flax

It was not an essay thus didn't need to be perfect

Feel free to edit

My concept of profanity may be medieval but lol
I'm not exposing the public and children to degraded gangsta rap
language, behaviour and ethics

The world is a mess, why use rude words? Of course culture is such that bad is good, healthy is sick and women are named after garden tools

So, tell me flax, just what are you going to do to turn the above discussion into one that helps people instead of making a bad show even more degraded? Or I guess it doesn't matter what language we use, we can use foul language as long as we use good grammar and punctuation?

So, what time will you walk the dogs today then?

August 01, 2012  | person_outline zaxis

I'm guessing zaxis doesn't understand the meaning of the word "hypocrite."

August 01, 2012  | person_outline Sonicflux


Here's my evidence

Why does such a negative article attract a vastly larger amount of comments than a positive one praising an app?

Pigs like dirt:)

August 01, 2012  | person_outline zaxis

I think this is not a site to help devs sell apps, but more to educate and inform the consumers. I'm a professional musician who has adopted iOS music into my workflow and I've found this site to be invaluable. I doubt I'd ever see a review quite as harsh as some of Discchord's in major print media such as Mix or Electronic Musician, not because of higher standards, but for fear of ruffling feathers and losing advertising dollars. I appreciate when this site writes an honest opinion much more than a "professional" review in major magazine. The language and tone can be a bit salty, but I enjoy it and regularly find myself laughing at the outrageously presented, yet strongly supported, opinions. Discchord is one of my favorites sites, both for the wealth of iOS info and for the unfiltered approach. I'm more than glad to attach my name and site to this post to show my support for a great site

August 01, 2012  | person_outline Aaron Apter

God what a fucking tool.
Keep up the good work Tim!

August 01, 2012  | person_outline Zymos

Can someone help me with this "dog walking" reference? Is that an american put down that us brits don't get? I get the concept but it's just not funny/clever, unless there is some cool reference that I am missing...

I have no idea who you are zaxis, but I guess you have a blog or site centered around IOS music apps? I wouldn't mind checking it out - what is the name of it? (not sarcastic, genuinely interested as there are not that many such sites).

August 01, 2012  | person_outline invisiblesupermonkey

If we can't use expletives, at least let us say it with art instead?


Excellent blog Tim. You're doing good mate. Keep up the good work :)

August 01, 2012  | person_outline Kuntz

Hey Webb

Quick question: you said if I attack your 'readers' that you will block me

I see your 'readers' are attacking me! I am a guest who is passing through and have been 'insulted repeatedly '

So are you going to block them? Or is it ok for them to attack me as they are defending you?

Very interested to hear your conclusions..

August 01, 2012  | person_outline zaxis

Fair question, Zaxis. You were banned (both times) for spoofing other readers' names; in addition to disparaging the reputations of respected members of the iOS Music community. If anyone starts to post under your name I won't tolerate that either.

Now maybe you can answer my question, that I've now asked you twice via email? Why have you decided you are my Arch Nemesis? We were buddy buddy up until about 4 months ago. I really appreciated the help you had given me in getting in touch with some developers, and bringing apps like TC-11 to my attention. Then you started flipping out on me here and elsewhere a couple of months ago and I have zero clue as to why. The only thing I can think of was that you really like Sketch Synth 3D, and got me a copy to play with, but I didn't like it so it got a Pass. I can't imagine why you'd take offense to that though, so I'd love to hear what set you against me.

Never recieved emails, must be filtered

This is a public forum but I have been told things by another blogger and two devs concerning you 'meddling ' in my affairs

Admit or deny as you like but I don't appreciate being messed with

I am ruthlessly independent and totally don't like the conduct on some blogs and in the comments section. Call me Wierd but I have principles and I absolutely hate people using the F word publicly . I especially don't want to read it in relation to apps.

As far as I see, all iOS bloggers go behind each others backs and this is horrible .

It may well be that I myself stop blogging and just focus on other areas of interest.

The iOS app world is about to go much bigger with ios6 and audiobus etc so why make it look low class with bad language and open dissing/ exposures etc?

I would say that it is not just I that dissaproves of your style and that anything you say in confidence may well not be so confidential at all...

All the best but just leave me alone and consider the above if you will

The way we act in public is strutinised and affects business and relationships

August 01, 2012  | person_outline zaxis

Oh, btw - how exactly did I disparage the reputation of a 'respected member' of the iOS community?

Respected by whom and how many? Ten, twenty people?

Lol, after all, we are in the minority- remember what propellorhead said??

Hence my concern

August 01, 2012  | person_outline zaxis

Alright, dude. All the best!

zaxis seems to feel ios developers are beyond reproach. If any business person treats a customer rudely, they have to deal with the consequences of their words being spread to the public. Tim reports on ios apps. Why would he not report on a developer who treated him rudely?

The above developer's threats of legal action are comical, to say the least. Granted, anyone can sue anyone for anything. As long as Tim reported the truth, which is simple to prove, no laws were broken.

August 01, 2012  | person_outline sonicflux

Anyone want to tell me what blog the guy runs? Am kinda interested. Especially now he has set himself up as a bastion of mortality standards. Curiosity... It kills cats.... I should be fine

August 01, 2012  | person_outline Invisiblesupermonkey

It's okay, found it via the power of google!

Looks okay. Fantastic rant relating to this in his news section! Lol.
He genuinely wants to promote gentlemanly behaviour. On the internet. All power to him but I am sure that ship sailed in the 90s...

August 01, 2012  | person_outline Invisiblesupermonkey

Oh my... That blog is hilarious. zaxis takes as much time bashing other bloggers as he does talking about apps. No wonder he worries so much about what is posted here.

August 01, 2012  | person_outline sonicflux

It's worth reading his rant regarding audiobus on his blog which would appear to be his source of his discontent somehow being vented here in a completely separate discussion. Wingnut is a good description.

His blog is okay but heavy on the ass kissing and low on the humour. Lots of music app info though, which I applaud.

August 01, 2012  | person_outline Invisiblesupermonkey

I am sorry for my comments above.

[Tim: This was not posted by Zaxis. Please don't abuse the anonymous posting system. Spoofing other people's names will result in a permanent ban from the whole site. I'm dealing with this one privately since it was well intended.]

August 01, 2012  | person_outline zaxis

And he is calling Tim "bipolar" !?

August 01, 2012  | person_outline Zymos

Blimey! You go on holiday for a few days, and come home to find the place on fire, due to a leaky gas pipe. Oh no, all my Shakatak albums up in smoke....OK, stretched that metaphor a tad thin there. 

What a strange set of events that have to led to this, and all within a few days. 

I really want to make a comment about this, and make comments about what others have said on this (and the other) thread, but it seems that if I do, a hundred lawyers are poised to take me to the cleaners, and sell my remaining record collection to someone who will only buy them to melt into 'retro, novelty' ashtrays. I'm going to have to move on now, as I can't see to type, through the haze of tears. 

Keep up the good work, Tim - I'm proud to be here, and very much appreciate all the hard work you put into the site. 

P.s. One law that people should be aware of, in this country anyway, is the
'Malicious Communication Act 1988'. It's a good job my team of lawyers were on hand to bring it to my attention, otherwise I would have certainly said something that caused someone offence. Well, why give up the habit of a lifetime?
Repeat after me: "Ignore the people who deserve to be ignored".

P.p.s.  thank you to everyone for the Birthday wishes, I had many drinks in your honour. 

August 01, 2012  | person_outline Blebhead

Oohhh novelty ashtrays! Welcome back, I was wondering why you were quiet during all of this.

Wow, 2 pages of comments. A new record for the site... I didn't even know the comment section could do that.

I believe the apology was from a well meaning Canadian. The IP originated from a Canadian ISP. At the same time that it occurred, Zaxis was talking up "War" on Twitter. I have asked him for conformation, but it is late in the UK so he has probably gone to sleep.

I'd like to reiterate that spoofing each other's names, no matter how well meaning or Canadian you might be, is not tolerated here. I do not want to go over to some Facebook login or any kind of required registration, so let's just not abuse the anonymous system.

I don't want to ban someone who is trying to sow the seeds of peace. I want peace too, I even double checked my emails for anything I might have said about him, but couldn't find anything that would cause offense. Just come clean and I won't ban you, this time. You can use the contact link at the bottom if you'd prefer to do it by email. But please do it before I get conformation from Zaxis that it was not him.

Yeah, decided to leave all my electronic devices at home, and have a break from everything. Had a great time; good friends, good food, good wine, and no phones!
Now all I have to do is reply to a hell of a lot of texts, and make a hundred phone calls!
Happy to be back though; reinvigorated.
You're site was my first port of call. It's a shame that a perfectly innocent and well intentioned enquiry, led to the response that you received.
It's a strange old world!

August 01, 2012  | person_outline Blebhead

Yo! Keep up the good work here. The vids are rarely listenable, but the reviews are generally spot on.

Keep calling out weak devs.. Send their asses packing to android. You can always tell a weak businessman and general pussy by how quickly they yell "lawyer" when being criticized.

August 02, 2012  | person_outline Vdrumpro999

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