The Joys of running an online business

As a business that has over 1000 products lines we have to deal with many graphics. Most of our photos are taken by ourselves and the rest are directly from our suppliers and used with their permission.

All too often we come across people who are either very stupid or think they are being very clever or just don’t have clue to the point where they should not be in business, these are the people who steal our copyrighted work from our websites. We get them hotlinking (linking directly to our graphics on their websites and therefore stealing our bandwidth that we have to pay for), using our registered and common law trademarks and directly stealing our photos, text etc and pretending it is their own work or they have permission to use it.

The reason for this expose is because we have had enough. There is an online forum based in Australia which has become a hang out for a few Australian nail techs, everyone thought when this forum first started that it would be a good thing, unfortunately there is a gang mentality from some of the members of this forum and every week there is a new target who is berated and belittled both on the forum and off the forum by these gang members, put yourself back into primary school and this is the type of mentality and behaviour that is prevelant on this forum. The forum owner heavily censors the posts and members. There is a bit of history between this forum and BMNE Direct and if time permits I will tell all, but this story is about something different but related to this forum.

The members of the gang on this forum say that they are all qualified nail techs in Australia – i.e. they have been to tech school and had training. The nail industry is not regulated in Australia and pretty much anyone can do someone elses nails (but we don’t recommend this). This gang had constant swipes at BMNE Direct and other businesses for selling nail products directly to the public and they could not understand or acknowledge that nail enhancements are purely cosmetic, but their attitude was that we were taking business away from them. They openly supported businesses that only sold to the trade, but the truth was that most of these businesses they supported also sold to the general public and BMNE Direct did obtain proof of this. The forum owner, Georgina Kuhnast, was very loud in voicing her support with her gang members about companies selling to the general public and also sellers on ebay and stated that the products sold on ebay were just rubbish and how businesses like BMNE Direct should be shut down or regulated and only allowed to sell to the trade (so much for competition in the marketplace). The forum owner also claims that she is a qualified nail tech.

Around July 2009 it came to light that the forum owner was going to open her own nail supply shop online – good luck to her. She started peddling her wares on ebay – but hang on, aren’t all products sold on ebay rubbish and isnt’ that selling to the general public?

So, she eventually opened her own commercial website with only a few products she had imported from China, no brands name and under 10 product lines.

A week ago I happened to notice a photo on one of her ebay listings that looked very familiar, upon investigating further I found that it was one of our photos. There was only one other person who had permission to use this photo here in Australia and that was Jahn Acrylic Nail Wholesalers and the owner Lyn, now Lyn and I happen to be friends even though we are in competition and ocassionally we bring in joint shipments of the same product together.

On 9 October I rang the owner of the offending website, who also happens to be Georgina Kuhnast, the same owner of the nail forum, and asked her to remove the image, she refused. She claimed that she had obtained that image from her supplier, I tried to tell her that was not possible (will explain why and show later). Everytime I tried to explain something I was interrupted, talk over, called names and so on. Basically she was right and I was wrong as far as she was concerned. She then told me I was a bully because I had told 2 other sellers on ebay to cease and desist using the name Jelly Tips on their listings because it was our common law trademark, BMNE Direct developed that name and has been using it for 4+ years and we have every legal right to claim sole use of it and to stop others using it. Some info from about common law trademarks:

Types of trade marks

There are two types of trade marks:

1. Registered trade marks: (commonly designated by ?) for trade marks registered under the Trade Marks Act 1995 (Cth) (Trade Marks Act) in Australia. A trade mark which is still undergoing the application process and hasn?t yet been registered may be designated with a ? symbol. The owner of a registered trade mark has an exclusive monopoly right to use and to license others to use the mark for the goods and services in respect of which it has registration. (This is in addition to the remedies available to protect common law marks.)

2. Common law trade marks: an unregistered trade mark which has been used (such as a brand name or in advertising) in relation to certain goods or services to such an extent that it is recognised as distinguishing that business? goods and services from those of other businesses. Even though it is not registered, in certain circumstances the law will prevent another trader from using the same or a similar trade mark in a way which is considered unfair.

So, back to the phone call, Georgina Kuhnast thought she was being very smart and clever when she lied and said that she wasn’t using one of our photos and that she had gotten the photo from her supplier, she refused to remove it until she had spoken to her husband (I fail to see what this has to do with the tea in China), because as far as she was concerned she didn’t take the photo from BMNE Direct’s website therefore I had no claim over it. Later that day she was sent a cease and desist notice via email. At 3:42pm that day she sent this email:

from Georgina K <>
to gina <>
date Fri, Oct 9, 2009 at 3:42 PM
subject Image
hide details Oct 9 (4 days ago)
Hi Gina, I could not find the image that I used from my supplier, actually I couldn’t even find my supplier (scary actually) on Alibaba. Anyway, I will give you the benefit of the doubt and will remove my images and replace them with others that I have taken.

In future don’t call me to harass me… because that is exactly what it is. You weren’t calm, you were loud and threatening. If you have any further issues you can take them up with my lawyer Vince Cxxxxxx at Cxxxxx & Co on (08) xxxxxxxxxx.



I have removed parts of names and email address to avoid spamming issues.

OK, so now she is unable to find her supplier. So, she replaced our photo with another she had stolen from somewhere else on the internet without permission from the copyright holder.

This is a screen shot of the listing where she was using our photo. Click on the photo to enlarge it to read the elements box.

Kuhanst theft from BMNE Direct

Now, let’s have a look at how we knew this was our photo and she had taken it. The image above is a direct screenshot from her website taken on 9 Oct at 3:00pm, the screenshot also has an Elements Box overlayed into in. To get this you right click on the graphic and view the properties and they come up in a separate elements box. The important thing that we look for here is the name of the graphic and the size. The elements box shows that the graphic is called newnbrush2.gif, the size is 240px X 121px. The name of newnbrush2.gif is the name I personally gave the graphic, our supplier sent us the photo and they had called it newn.jpg, I had to alter the photo, remove writing from it, crop it and resize it and then saved it to our hard drive as newnbrush2.gif. I then sent a copy of that photo to Lyn for her to use on ebay for her listings there and her website.

We then set about finding out exactly where and when she had taken it. We are lucky that we probably have the best tech guy in the world managing our website and that Lyn’s website happens to be on the same server as BMNE Direct. He was able to do a complete search within a specified date range to find out when that graphic had been lifted and this is what he found: – - [30/Sep/2009:18:02:26 +1000] “GET /images/newnbrush2.gif HTTP/1.1″ 200 5373 “″ “Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv: Gecko/2009080315 Ubuntu/9.04 (jaunty) Firefox/3.0.13″

So, what this tells us is that she took the photo from that the isp is, when you drill down on that isp this is what comes up – telling us where that ISP is located:

IP Information for

IP Location: Australia Adelaide Adam Internet Pty Ltd
Resolve Host:
IP Address:
Blacklist Status: Clear

We now know that this ISP is in Adelaide – Guess where Georgina Kuhnast lives – you got it, Adelaide.

[30/Sep/2009:18:02:26 +1000] – this tells us that she lifted the photo at 6:02 in the evening.

“GET /images/newnbrush2.gif HTTP/1.1″ 200 5373 “″

Note the name of the photo in jahnacrylic’s website - newnbrush2.gif. The next line with the ID of 479 is the product id on ja’s website, it says that someone from isp went into product id 479 on jahnacrylic’s website and clicked on “enlarge image” to get a pop up box with a bigger image.

“Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv: Gecko/2009080315 Ubuntu/9.04 (jaunty) Firefox/3.0.13″ - this tell us what her operating system on her computer is, now not many people use a Linux operating system, usually it is windows/microsoft, but upon doing a google search we found that Georgina’s husband is a member of a Linux forum.

Here is a screenshot, courtesy of Google, of the listing she had on her website on 27 September, it is a cached shot from google.

Click on the photo to enlarge it to view the dates.

Kuhanst theft from BMNE Direct
The google link in the top of this image tells us that on 27 Sept this was the photo she was using, so we now had our search parameter dates in which to search the server for when the graphic was taken.

Georgina Kuhnast had used a graphic belonging to BMNE Direct Pty Ltd to profit. We are entitled to compensation.

An excert from

Infringement of copyright

by admin ? last modified 2009-07-14 09:37

Liability, authorisation, penalties, piracy, damages, compensation, court.

April 2009

You can infringe copyright by using someone else’s copyright material without their permission, unless there is a special exception for your use.

Using a part of a work can also infringe copyright if is an important part ? it needn’t need be a large part. Even if you change or add to what you use, you can infringe copyright if what you use an important, essential or distinctive part of the original material.

A person who infringes copyright can be sued by the copyright owner and taken to court. A court can order a range of things, including that the infringer pay compensation and pay the copyright owner’s costs.

In some cases, a person who infringes copyright can be charged by the police, and can be ordered to pay a fine or, in serious cases, jailed.

She was sent an invoice from BMNE Direct for the use of that photo for 9 days.

Unfortunately it doesn’t stop there. I told her that this matter will be made public. So we are assuming that because she took the graphic from Jahnacrylic’s website that she thought it would be Lyn who was going to make this matter public. Georgina Kuhnast then blocked Lyn, after Lyn had logged onto the forum (leaving a digital footprint with her isp) from having any access to the nail forum website. Now, Lyn had paid Georgina $120.00 for advertising on this forum a couple of months ago and she now had no way of verifing whether her advertising link was still there. Lyn had to write to Kuhnast to request a pro rata refund, which she did recieve. The fact that Lyn got the refund is an admission of the fact that she had blocked Lyn’s access. Later that night Kuhnast engaged one of her forum gang members to start emailing me with stupid requests, why you may ask, they needed to get my isp to try and block me as they now realised that I would be the one to make this information public.

Even after all this overwhelming evidence Kuhnast continues to lie about where she got the photo from.

On 12 October Kuhnast emails and states the following:
I am writing to you to inform you that I will not be paying you any money for using the same nail brush image that both you and Lyn have displayed on your websites. I have contacted the original copyright owner of the photograph and have their permission to use the same image from the dates you mentioned and from now on. I recommend that if you do have any issues or concerns with this that you contact the company yourself to discuss matters further.

What she has done is trolled the internet to try and find “the” photo or one similar. She claims she now has permission to use our photo and yet I don’t recall nor can I find an email requesting my permission to use my photo. And she is still denying that she took the photo from Lyn’s website with the name I gave it. She just doesn’t get it, she stole the photo from Lyn’s website, she didn’t get it from a supplier and I can tell you now Lyn has never supplied her with brushes.

On 12 October, Kuhnast claimed in a further email that she had contacted the original copyright owner and now has their permission to use the photo and attaches a copy of a photo, the photo she attached is similar but the pixels and size are totally different to my photo. We know the supplier she lifted the new photo from as “her evidence” and even they are not the original copyright holder. Kuhast also states the following in her email:

… Yes, I am using a different image to the one I was previously using. Below is the image I have permission to use. However, I do not wish to use it as I replaced it with my own images. I think you had better sort this out with the copyright owner. Although, today was their national day off, so you might want to call tomorrow.



She claims that it is a National holiday in China on 12 October so I will have to contact them tomorrow – gee, how did she get hold of them on the 12th then? And no, it wasn’t a National Holiday in China on the 12th of Oct, the holiday was at the beginning of October. And, remember in previous correspondence she couldn’t find her supplier let alone that graphic. AND, the photo that she is now claiming she has permission to use is from a supplier that she DID NOT buy her products from.

OK, so she eventually did remove our photo and replaced it with another one she stole from somewhere else so why have we made all this public? To warn people about stealing copyrighted material, to warn nail techs in Australia about this forum she runs and to negate the lies Georgina is probably telling her gang members about this incident. There have been many unsavory incidents ocurring from this forum and all of these have involved one or all of the gang members and there are many many businesses and schools in the nail industry, (who have commented to myself) in Australia warning people to stay away and saying they wish it could be shut down, that it is so biased and of no useful purpose to any nail tech in Australia. A classic example of the game playing is from one of the moderator’s on that forum, who posts that she has used a supplier’s products and how fantastic they are in order to engratiate herself with that supplier, when in fact she has never purchased a thing, she also “dobs” on other members to suppliers, example being when one member on this forum was using the word Jelly Tips, she emailed us and informed us, and after we had gotten this person to stop using that name, a few weeks later this moderator is claiming that this girls products are fantastic etc and this is after verbally communicating with me that the products were rubbish and there is no way she would ever use them (oh, nearly forgot to mention, this moderator also works in the same salon as the girl she dobbed in).

There was an incident on this forum back in July 2009 where another member had obtained the moderator’s password, got into the moderator’s private messages on the forum and posted them on the forum, these messages were all ridiculing one or another member of the forum. At the time the Kuhnast was most unhappy that this had happened as was telling everyone that the forum had been hacked and enlisting the help of myself and others to track down the culprit. When it was discovered who it was and how they got it, Kuhnast said she was going to the Police – but nothing ever happened, in fact, when she meet the perpertrator at the Sydney Beauty Expo in Sydney in August she stood there having a laugh and a joke with them. But, you have to wonder what they did to this hacker, who was a forum member, to get them to the stage of breaking in to the moderator’s account and pasting it all over the forum to show the forum up for what it is.

I look forward to receiving the threats of a libel action against me. What I have posted here is the truth and I have all the evidence to back it up and is my opinion. As a business manager I consider myself to be a professional and I certainly do not want to nor have my business associated with this type of behaviour. From emails and phone calls I have received from other people in the industry, I am not the only one feeling this way about this forum and it?s gang.

From the small amount of evidence posted here I am sure you can make up your own mind as to what sort of person she is.

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