|Invasion of the
Or "Learning Netiquette - The Hard Way"
Main Content Last Revised Tu 19-Jan-99
DR Van Staveren first got on my tits when he started spamming usenet newsgroups about how great his new TV web site was. Interestingly, in each article the name of the poster was different (e.g. PENTAGON 5 Productions, Admintsration [sic] Dept, NEWSWIRE.COM) and yet the e-mail address was the same. And so were the spelling mistakes. It seemd all of Pentagon 5's people and departments used the same cheap dictionary, as you'll see.
One of the messages posted proudly proclaimed that the BIBTV site had recently added 110 pages devoted to every single British comedy. This turned out to be an exact copy of The Definitive UK Sitcom List, compiled and maintained by Dave Budd and over two hundred others since 1990. Dave posted a follow-up asking for witnesses to prove that his copyrighted work had been stolen. In response, Staveren gave Dave a mention on BIBTV's Credits page.
This was in stark contrast to the response that Hiran Perera received. When Hiran complained that his Mr Benn site had been ripped off, after I'd tipped him off, he received the following e-mail, apparently from Pentagon 5's Office of Legal Affairs...
I think it`s getting beyond a joke, apparently HE's accusing me of nicking HIS site. It appears this entire site is just a collection of plagiarised sites with no credit given.
This guy mentions professional contacts, legal depts etc, etc, but I have the feeling he's just one lonely bastard with time on his hands. (I like the legal dept that can't spell :-))
The email on the right confirms that I am to be sued for Defamation of "Charecter".
Kinberly Strickland obviously worked from the same law book with the same misprint
as Christine Mquinn! Either that or all of Staveren's employees shared his
wank-handed, can't-spell, can't-write keyboard technique. All of these (made-up ?)
people posted with the same e-mail address.
So it's a stretch in state prison for me, if the UK ever becomes the 51st state of the USA. :-)
You'll need to forward me your full name, address and company details so that I can take the necessary action against you. Please don't delay. I'm looking forward to hearing from you.
Paul has obviously upset Staveren as the next email shows. I think the letter
reveals more about Staveren's immaturity than anything else. Looks like the
President and CEO of Pentagon 5 isn't immune to a bit of a temper tantrum!
I can definitely see a foot stamping session in progress as the spiteful e-mail was written. I imagine he was still fuming when his daddy translated the crayon scribble and typed it into the computer for him!
Jeremy Rogers writes:
There is something very odd about this site. A person with a Tomorrow People site which had been plundered for its pictures complained and has been receiving e-mail from the same address from (supposedly) five different people in different tones telling her that her pictures violate copyright and threatening all sorts of legal action.
Looking though the site I know many of the sources; much are old and inaccurate.
The Tomorrow People site is run by Marla Kendal...
Our mutual friend had promised to send me "rare" photos. When I checked it out, his rare items were taken directly off my site. He didn't even bother to change the file names! No credit was there, of course. He did credit me, after I complained. Then Jeremy forwarded me the Dave Budd info. I then asked Staveren to take my stuff down. Instantly I started getting letters, all from the same address, etc. I now have a virutal LOVE FEST of letters from our good pal, Dave Staveren. (All have been forwarded, verbatim, to his internet provider).
Sean Hughes had also been in touch with Pentagon 5's many departments:
I e-mailed Van Staveren last night "requiring" that the images he copied from my website be immediately removed. I got 3 replies (blatantly obviously all from him pretending he was somebody else), threatening legal action (like the one you received) one of which was from the 'man himself' and was personally insulting.
As you can see, Staveren's "Office of Legal Affairs" also wrote to me. It would seem that I need permission from Pentagon 5 to use the Test Card F bitmap, which as most people know is freely available from the BBC's public FTP site. So presumably they "nicked" the Test Card, too!
The Michael Bentine Tie-in
As Paul Walker said, it is all rather silly. But the next part of the story shows that is can also be very sad. Michael Bentine, one of the Goons and presenter of Potty Time, a classic Children's show, died at the end of November 1996. No sooner had he breathed his last when Staveren posted this in the newsgroups and to various individuals:
Subject: The Michael Bentine Tribute Page opens!
Date: Sat, 30 Nov 1996 13:06:52 +0000
Organization: PENTAGON 5 PRODUCTIONSİ
The Michael Bentine Tribute Page opened today at http://www.cris.com/~woodlane/BIBTV1/POTTY_TIME.html This loving tribute by Richard Bentine and Dr. Van Staveren is the beginning of a 6 part series on The Best of British Television.
Using someone's death to promote your own web site is going too far. I wrote to Staveren and sarcastly told him that it was touching that Richard Bentine had sat down with him to co-write this tribute in his time of grief. What had actually happened was Staveren had lifted Richard Bentine's Potty Time article in its entirety from the official site. I told Staveren that his BIBTV site was not so much a website but more like a parasite.
Staveren replied that my "unkind words" had been forwarded to Richard Bentine's publicist Guy Ferrer who would write to me personally to tell me Staveren had sought permission before Mr. Bentine died to have a page on "THE POTTY TIME" show...
Guy wrote to me the day after his father died asking if we would post the news of his death to newsgroups and hence go ahead put a copy of Richards kind words about his father on our site. You see Andrew jealousy will get you no where in life! their is room for all of us in this world to get along together its "parasites" as you mentioned like you who give British people a bad name.
Its too bad that you had to write that.
Wait a minute, he just called me a parasite, in writing! That's defamation of "charecter", isn't it? Nearly twelve months after this incident, in November 1997, I finally heard from Guy de Ferrer by chance ...
I stumbled across your page today, through doing a search on Richard Bentine in Altavista and was rather staggered by the story and then the reference to me (missing the 'de' in my surname - but you should see some of the variants I get).
The man is completely barking. When Richard's father died, I looked after his office for a few weeks and dealt with a mass of e-mails that came in. I replied on behalf of the Bentine family's to all the e-mails. I did not give permission for the site to be reproduced but some people did ask if they could put a link from their sites to Michael's (not a problem). I certainly did not ask anyone to post to newsgroups. What a sad little life this man must have...
This e-mail was followed by messages of support from Michael Bentine's son, Richard, and daughter, Serena. Richard Bentine wrote:
Back in 1996, undeterred by the growing controversy about his web site, Dave Staveren continued to plug the "Best of British Televison" in the newsgroups ...
We are now adding new shows daily! The response from the viewers is overwhelming, requests are streaming in every day for additional shows!
But in case there was anyone left not in awe, the following amazing post would surely have changed their mind...
Subject: LIVE VIDEO SITE OPENS IN 97'
Pentagon 5© Productions announced today that they will be the first Web Site on the Internet to broadcast "LIVE" video feed of British Television shows. The contract signed last week with two unnamed British Television Networks will be unveiled in early March of 1997. "This will take the media world by storm" said Dr. David Van Staveren of Pentagon 5©, "We anticipate a 24 hour satellite link broadcasting shows from the 1970s to current shows being broadcast in Great Britain." The Best of British Television web page is expanding daily to rave reviews from the media world and can be seen at the following addresses http://www.cris.com/~woodlane/BIBTV/BIBTV1.shtml or http://www.britelevision.holowww.com/TELEVISION.html Charles Kalish Newswire.com
Van Staveren on Copyright
|So how did Stav justify stealing from other people? In a letter to Paul Walker he claimed he had permission. He even claimed Pentagon 5 is an affiliate of the US Television Network, ABC! In another letter he explained how he legally aquired the rights to use the stolen material.
|This was the original copright notice on Stav's web site.
The contents herein were obtained through legitimate resources and by no means
are its contents infringed upon by the original copyright holder. Written
permission must be adhered to on this site, no one individual has the right to
borrow or use without sole permission from the original legal holder. Copyrights
must be respected.
DR. VAN STAVEREN
|After Tuesday 3rd December the message was changed, possibly to protect his site from thieves such as himself.
COPYRIGHT & LEGAL DISCLAIMER
Let it be known herin that the following pages were bought and paid for through legal channels.
No one individual has the right without written consent from Pentagon 5 Productions to take it upon his or herself to remove any graphic and or image, or text area.
Copyright infringment is a serious violation and is punishble by up to 3 years in state prison and a $10,000 fine.
It's interesting that Stav reckons the maximum penalties for copyright violation are three years in state prison and a $10 000 fine. Kimberly Strickland at his own Office of Legal Affairs (above) reckons on ten years in state prison and a $25 000 fine per infringement. Mmm.
Let's sort him out!
Adrian Petford, Webmaster of Kaleidoscope, the classic British TV web site, had a warning for Staveren:
I'm all for supporting the many other fine UKTV sites, as the more of them there are, the better it is for us all in terms of content, but this goes beyond the pale...Adrian wrote to Newsbytes telling them of Staveren's activities.
He contacted me last week asking for a link, and, as I give everyone a fair chance, I added one even though he was obviously something of an idiot. "I'd like you to add a link to my site, as you'd find it interesting", indeed! How about saying please? Since his appalling rip-off of Dave Budd's fine sitcom list, I've now deleted it of course, as well as beefing up the copyright notice on Kaleidoscope just to make sure.
If he dares steal anything from us, we'll have our lawyers down on him faster than a pack of ravenous Rottweilers to red meat!
Rebecca Ulph is from the BBC. Now, Van, you really, really, don't want the BBC on your case, and I should know! (Nice to be on the same side for a change.) Rebecca wrote (in uk.media.tv.misc):
His Blue Peter text is copied directly from the BBC site.Dave Budd suggested we might band together and take out a class action! Chris A Reece had a somewhat more radical solution:
Appropriate authorities will be informed.
Why waste money on lawyers? Why not just get a planeload over there and kick the shit out of him? Sounds like plenty of people are up for a rumble. Do you reckon he'll turn up with five or six heavies, all of whom happen to be him with a different hat on?
Dr Van Rip-Off Gets Desperate
According Patrick Buskirk USAF ret., we have made a terrible mistake. Apparently there is someone out there pretending to be Van Staveren, who is actually a highly honoured veteran of the Vietnam war. Patrick made it clear he would therefore like to see this page removed!
In his post to Usenet below he threatened to report me. My reply is shown on the right
Below that, you can see that his threats became more outrageous.
Why I was sent e-mail addressed to James, I don't know. But you might have
noticed something familiar about the way Patrick writes. Could it be that
Patrick is in fact yet another alias for Van Staveren. I think it could!
On the Tuesday, I received the email below from Buskirk, to help me make up my mind: (I have no idea who Chris Walker is.)
Well, that Wednesday they stopped messing about and sent in "Chuck". But I didn't see him. Nor did I see Garry, Paul or James...
Now you see him - Now you don't
The Good News is that Pentagon 5 Productions is no more. Although it probably never existed in the first place, of course. Van Staveren's site at http://www.cris.com/~woodlane disappeared on Wednesday 4th December 1996.
His sister site (just a link back to his original site) remained for a short while. (Stav's sister is of course Stav himself, in a dress.)
But just when you thought it was safe to go back into the sea (because all the turds had been cleared out of it), Van reappeared, like the bad smell that he is. This time as the President and CEO of a new company, ProSlick Communications, at http://www.cris.com/~proslick.
The new site boldly proclaimed:
FOR MAKING US THE MOST LOVED SITE ON THE INTERNET FOR
Happily the resurrection was shortlived and, on Sunday 8th December, following complaints to his ISP, Concentric Corp., Staveren removed his TV site from Proslick. BIBTV hasn't been seen on the net since. Who says the internet can't police itself?
The UFO Connection - Who is Van Staveren?
Marla Kendal tried to track down Van Staveren...
...according to the AMA he does not exist. I also checked with phone information in the 415 area code, and Pentagon 5 does not exist. I checked that area since one letter he gave me had a 415#. Another, to a site owner (he found it linked to mine) had a Novato CA PO box (incomplete of course). The phone number is alternately busy or rings off the hook. I am assuming it is his data/fax line and does not have a phone on it.
Adrian Petford checked out Deja News:
If you do a Dejanews search on Van Staveren, he's been spamming many newsgroups for months with his overblown drivel.
But who is he? Is he really a Doctor? He told Paul Walker:
...I survive on very little sleep, this all due in part to my years in the Air Force getting up at all odd hours, and yes I am British and proud of it!
In answer to your question as to being a doctor, yes I am a doctor of Astro Physics at NASA in Mountain View, California. I am currently working on the proposed mission to mars in the year 2003.
I guess he was an obvious candidate for the job, having lived most of his life on another planet. Sean Hughes wrote:
A Dejanews search reveals that a D.R. Van Staveren has posted to Usenet before, with the e-mail address "firstname.lastname@example.org". He claimed to be a retired US Airforce major who had had some contact with UFOs. Strangely enough, I find that more believable than the current crap he's spouting out. :-)
Subject: Re: RUSTY
From: "D.R. VAN STAVEREN USAF MJR. Ret."
Organization: PENTAGON 5
Funny thing all this back and forth and up and down about who believes who, I myself with 23 very proud years in the USAF and having flown over 283 sorties in Vietnam and Korea can honestly state that over half of my flying hours in high altitude jets have proven me wrong every time that UFOs don't exist, oh my are they out there and don't you even think for one second that because I am a senior I am a senial senior, I have and can claim true to the account that those discs or whatever you want to call them are not and I do vehemently state are not of this man made earth. I am not affraid at my age to speak out, what does it matter, to serve our quench for curiosity is all it really is. D.R. Van Staveren USAF Ret.
Van Staveren also posted to the Area 51 mailing list. Another subscriber to the list, Glenn Campbell, mocked Van Staveren:
I served proudly in Vietnam, Korea & WWII, worked security at '51 and other bases YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW ABOUT. I am a tae kwondo 8th degree black belt master, ran missions for the CIA into Cambodia and Nicaragua and was once licensed to kill by Her Majesty's Secret Service.
Glenn doesn't think Van Staveren is for real:
In response to the message posted by "D.R. VAN STAVEREN USAF MJR. Ret.", a real Air Force Captain writes:
"It's unlikely that Mr Staveren was in the Air Force since no one in the Air Force uses Mjr. as an abbreviation. MAJ is the actual abbreviation. Since, as a Major he would have certainly used this abbreviation many times in correspondance and so on, I can't believe he'd start using Mjr after retiring. And not to be too picky, but he got this wrong too: His title should read: MAJ, USAF (ret.)"
Van Staveren Visits the BBC!
We finally got nearer to learning to the truth about the Web Snatcher saga after a man claiming to be David Staveren turned up at the BBC and apologised for his behaviour.
John Fletcher is web master of the Clangers web site, another of the many web sites assimilated into Van Staveren's "Best of British Television" pages. When John complained, he received an e-mail requesting a meeting in which he would be asked to prove copyright ownership. Van Staveren wrote:
"The Web page was created as a sentimental journey for many UK citizens living overseas. There was no money involved, there was no subscription or payment asked of any kind. It was just a fun thing to do that brought pleasure to a lot of people. It had a lot of rave reviews and I can only assume that there is some jealousy on your part and a certain Andrew Wiseman who decided to embark on a hate campaign for what ever motive who knows."
John works as a consultant at the BBC and arranged to meet Van Staveren there on Monday 16th December 1996. To everyone's surprise, he actually kept his appointment.
In a friendly meeting, David Van Staveren said he'd come to sort out the misunderstanding that had arisen over his internet activites. He had been particularly upset at the amount of "hate" e-mail that had apparently been sent to him. He and his son, who set up the web site together upon discovering they had some free web space from their ISP, hadn't realised that what they had done would cause so much controversy.
David Van Staveren told John that the Staverens were new to the Internet and hadn't understood that they were in breach of accepted netiquette and copyright law.
Van Staveren works for an engineering company in California and is often in the UK working at his London office. He's a short man who appears to be somewhere in his fifties. Although Patrick Buskirk claims his friend is the victim of racism against African Americans, David Van Staveren is white.
From the 15-minute meeting it transpired that any threatening or abusive e-mail that had David's name on it actually came from his son. In a bid to resolve the situation, David is considering e-mailing an apology to all those his son has written to.
John Fletcher hopes that now this issue can be resolved peacefully and that it's useful aspects are appreciated:
"It takes only seconds to call the original copyright holders of material you wish to use. Small film makers are usually delighted that someone wishes to publicise their work and are more than helpful. They can grant you the right to use images of their work over the phone giving you considerably more recourse in cases of blatant image copying and reuse."
If only the BBC were as friendly as the small film makers! :-)
Staveren's "Death Threat" Phone Calls
Despite the fact that the Best of British Television site has been off the web for some time and the apology in person, the Web Snatcher story doesn't end there. At the start of 1997, a man claiming to be calling from the US and identifying himself as David Staveren began phoning my place of work.
On Thursday 2nd January 1997, he claimed that I had been repeatedly calling his home and being abusive to his wife. The next day he claimed that I'd issued "death threats" to his family by phone and over the internet. The phone calls had been traced to my office, apparently! I don't even know Staveren's number, and oddly he wouldn't leave his contact details when he called.
Even odder is that the man who called doesn't seem to be the same man who visited John Fletcher at the BBC - their accents appear to be different. Worse, it appeared that despite their friendly meeting, John Fletcher was threatened with legal action.
Perhaps Son of Staveren is out of control?
Who's Sorry Now?
On Thursday 20th February, I received this apology from Dave in which he says he enjoys my page and admits that he made a stupid mistake. The apology also extends to everyone else he may have offended. (You may need some violins playing sad music in the background as you read this. Alternatively, keep a bucket near you.)
Needless to say, Marla never received Dave's apology.
This was my reply.
Meet The Family
It didn't take long for Spam Staveren to change (lose?) his mind again. He phoned me at work and complained again that I'd been phoning his house and that again the calls had been traced to my office. Then a lawyer, Jeffrey Knowles called to discuss the matter.
Apparently, Stav had spent over $100 hiring an attorney, despite the fact the he now claims he doesn't think I made the calls, but his "wife" does! He also contacted the police about the phone calls who offered to tap his phone for $1000. It's not his phone that needs a tap.
All of the calls came in while I was on holiday in Stav's home country. He followed up the calls with e-mail to my employers. On Friday 21st March he wrote:
... I am to say the least a little sick and tired of this young man attempting to destroy my name and that of my family via the Internet and through threatening telephone calls to my house.
Yes, it was back to the old story that I'd been phoning his house again and abusing his wife. The next day there was another e-mail, this time purporting to be from wifey, Amy Van Staveren.
And yes, wifey had indeed produced a web page in response to this one, extracts of which are reproduced below.
The web page also included photos of the children, of hubby and of our friend Patrick Buskirk. I understand Patrick even house sat for the Van Staverens. Interesting, then, that in his e-mail to me he claims not to know the family personally. Both he and Dave look remarkably young to be Vietnam veterans.
Now, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking that Davey-boy himself wrote the web page. But oh no, he knew nothing about it. In fact he even announced his intentions to delete the page (see his newsgroup posting, below).
Subject: Re: Wiseman page will be deleted
Good evening, Upon returning from a trip abroad I have found that my wife has taken it upon herself to write a few letters and post a few web pages about Andrew Wiseman. these pages will be deleted by myself this afternoon. These postings do not help our position in try to calm Andrew down and to stop his ongoing rampage. My apologies to you all in regards to the TV page last year, we now just want Andrew to stop calling our house and writing to us. All the best to you and take care, Dave Van Staveren email@example.com
And indeed the web page did disappear from Geocities, only to re-appear again (in true Van-Stav Style) at http://members.tripod.com/~KIMMB/index.html.
Glenn Campbell decided to preserve a copy of wifey's page at www.ufomind.com before it disappeared forever. On 3rd April, he got a call from Amy's irate husband.
Van Staveren called me tonight and said, "I strongly advise you to remove this page." I declined this request. I explained to him that a web index is created when someone becomes the subject of controversy on the net, and that it cannot be removed. I told him he was free, however, to post his own links and respond to any material he feels is false. Our conversation ended with some acrimony.
Adrian Petford pointed out that the e-mail address that Mrs Web Snatcher
used (<firstname.lastname@example.org>) is logged on DejaNews as actually belonging to
one Melvin Niven; other posts from that address relate to (you guessed it)
the space programme. Darren Meldrum investigated the account used for the
second location and found it was registered to Kim Van Staveren.
Who the hell is Kim Van Staveren? Remember the Mr Men?
# Pom Pom...
The Family Tree?
Spot the sap!
So, some of this is beginning to make sense: there would seem to be two Dave Staverens.
Dave Senior visited the BBC to apologize for his son, Dave Junior. Junior is married to Amy
and they have two daughters. But who is Kim?
Adrian Petford received an e-mail from <email@example.com> back in November which began:
So unless there's also a DR Richard, we can now guess that Junior's second name is Richard. And in Junior's world, if your Christian names are David Richard, you are automatically a Doctor and can sign yourself DR Dave Van Staveren, DR Richard Van Staveren or simply Dave Staveren.
|Have You Seen This Man?
According to Amy Van Staveren's web page, this is a picture of Patrick Buskirk. But is it?
Gary Self e-mailed to me to express his astonishment at seeing the same face staring back at him in a photograph at his local computer shop. The shop, in Newcastle- Upon-Tyne, was using the picture to advertise a range of Epson colour printers. So is this picture on some CD of photographs somewhere or has it been downloaded from elsewhere on the web? Let me know if you see this photograph anywhere or if, indeed, this is you!
|Summary - The Truth Is Out There
So there you have it. The truth is out there!
We've exposed David Richard Van Staveren as the thief and fraud he is.
In January 1998 I received an e-mail from someone calling themselves Marsha Spader.
Marsha told me she was co-writing a new on-line "Freak Guide to the Internet" called Super Freaks which was to include an article on the Web Snatcher.
Also I have his new email address....want it? OK I tell ya what I will give you this little teaser and then when Gene and I complete ³Super Freaks² we will tell you about where his new home/castle/fortress/mansion/whatever is located exactly and with some interesting details on his so-called family (yeah right) and what he really does with all his money/denaro/quid/pesos/whatever (like just purchasing his own server)
A subsequent message enlarged on this...
Also our "freaky" little investigation which you will read more about in "Super Freaks" has led us to believe that Van Stav has more money/pesos/denaro/quid/whatever! than brains. My sister who who lives on the island of Molokai says that "Snatcher" lives in a fortress style house atop a damn mountain! next to (like 10,000 yards) the governor of the island. How does she know this well if I keep on I am going to bore you to tears and you probably would like to wait until "Super Freaks" has launched so I won't carry on unless you want me too! Try doing a bit of research on the Democratic National Convention and see who the threw in a few dollars to help Bill "FREAKY" Clinton win the last election! you guessed it our very own Web Snatcher! I told you this guy has more dollars than brains :) If you check the list of "dollar donors" there towards the bottom of the page is David Van Staveren with more very interesting details about what he "owns". I will fill you in more later if your interested? or just check in and read: "SUPER FREAKS" your super duper freaky guide to fruits and nuts on the net!
The Super Freaks guide was to appear on the 24th January at http://www.banzai-net.com/tridot/superfreaks.htm, but it didn't materialise.
Marsha also made an astonishing personal attack on Glenn Campbell (see the UFO Connection above). Viewers of BBC Two may remember seeing Glenn in an edition of Louis Theroux' Weird Weekends. Glenn runs a UFO centre in the Nevada desert and lives near to a bar which he was barred from. We didn't get to find out why.
The UFOmind web site (link below) that is keeping tabs on Dave also has a page on Marsha Spader. Glenn believes she doesn't exist.
|The Eurovision Copycat Snatcher?
In February 1998 I received the following
message from Liam Duke Nahemean Pennington via Hotmail.
Someone called Richard Saverton, later Richard Van Serverton, has for many months being bugging us Eurovision Webpeople with bogus news and obviously flase claims. Below is a quick resume of his antics:At first I thought someone had read this page and decided to use it to wind up Eurovision Song Contest fans. But since I haven't been able to verify any of the claims in the above message, it looks as if the victim is meant to be me!
|Red Faces at CNN
In July 1998 I heard from Gary Taylor who had read an
interesting article in the Electronic Telegraph.
The TV news organisation CNN had apologised over a broadcast in which claims were made that
US Forces had used nerve gas on defectors in the Vietnam war. According to the article,
CNN's main source claims that his memory of "Operation Tailwind", in which sarin
nerve gas was said to have been used, was repressed until CNN questioned him
about it. But recovered-memory was not mentioned in the documentary. So what has this got to do with
the price of bread, you ask? Well, the source is named as Lt Robert Van Buskirk. If the words Vietnam, Van and
Buskirk don't ring a bell, then you haven't been reading very carefully!
So is this just an amazing co-incidence? Possibly. After reading about this on 625's main page, Dave sent me an e-mail...
Very good Andrew your getting "HOTTER" ;-)
More on this story at CNN's web site
Van Staveren's Net History
All of these URLs and email addresses are believed to belong to Van Staveren.
The Genuine Article
Here are links to some of the original sites that Van Staveren stole.