[TL;DR]: My closed-source program was decompiled by a GitHub member and he made a source come publically accessible by publishing it on GH. On top of that, he created a thread with false, defamatory claims, and refuses to delete it because he benefits from it, and believes that reporting it to GitHub won’t help me and support will side with him even if I’ll file DMCA.
I need advice from experienced members about what I can do with that…
I recently created a tool called EZ Optimizer that helps people with older systems to enjoy a new AAA Game - Cyberpunk 2077, which hard to run with decent FPS even for people with good systems.
The feedback is overwhelmingly positive (you can search it and see the comments under official tutorial).
There are thousands of people who can’t afford new hardware or simply can’t buy it because of the shortage, and with this tool, they now can enjoy a new game too.
Initially, I just tried to make it work for myself since I am the one with older hardware, but when I managed to get great results I decided to make this tool and share it for free with other people.
Despite the program itself is very simple and basically just creating a user.ini file with optimized settings, it took a lot of time for research and testing, including days of benchmarking. Cyberpunk doesn’t have an in-game benchmark, so I needed to develop a path, and consistently follow it to avoid any deviation, which made the work much harder, and I made hundreds of runs to create well-working profiles, obtain and analyze lots of data with CapFrameX, calculate average scores for each profile, etc. In short - it was not easy to say the list.
I created a video tutorial on YouTube so people could know how to use it, and included the link to the program. I’m just graduated and don’t even have a job yet (lost my previous because of covid last summer), and since it was right before Christmas and I wanted to make gifts for my family, I decided that I can add the button named [PAYPAL] that doesn’t ask for anything, it just exists, and I was hoping that some users who saved money on hardware upgrade may decide to get me a cup of coffee for my labor, and some people actually did so.
To my surprise, the next morning, I found dozens of articles on the internet about my tool, including from Tom’s Hardware, Tech Power Up, and other big resources.
This is where all problems began…
People start to demand a source code, mostly from just created accounts on Reddit, Twitter, etc.
We may agree or disagree on my decision to keep my code in a closed source format, but I assume that I have a right to decide what to do with my intellectual property.
User DartPower published a topic on GitHub with a loud title “Please don’t use EZ Optimizer. This is a obfuscated malware. But CyberEngineTweaks is better and safe.”. On top of that, he decompiled my program and posted the source code in the same thread.
He posted the same text in multiple places and made a thread on Reddit, and people out of fear jumped on the bandwagon immediately and started to accuse me of all sins in the world. In that post, I was even accused of stealing someone’s code, which was proven to be false as well.
It became a 10k upvote mega-thread in days, which significantly damaged the reputation of the tool and my own. People from that thread were rushing my youtube channel and social media and even attempted to hack my Twitter. They also went to comments on Tom’s Hardware and TechPowerUp spreading what was said on GitHub and Reddit, and because of that, TPU which was my main source of traffic, deleted the publication which dramatically affected the revenue I made from youtube ads.
Right after that, my concerns about publishing it as open-source that were called a “lame excuse”, became real - people start to repack it with their names and PayPal, and distributed it as their own, claiming that they “removed a harmful code from there”, which was not exist in the first place.
Fortunately, after several days, other programmers looked at the source code and came up with conclusions on Reddit and Github (see comments in DartPower’s thread) that it’s clean and authentic so that mega-thread was taken down with sticky “Misleading”.
However, it’s already caused a lot of reputational damage, while I did absolutely nothing bad, and had only good intentions. I contacted DartPower (the publisher of defaming posts) and kindly asked him to remove it, since he sees himself in all his own threads, that it was proven to be clean and authentic.
Unfortunately, he knows that it drives traffic to his social media (Twitch, etc.) since his GitHub thread is one of the first results on Google when you searching for “EZ Optimizer”, so he refused to delete it.
Obviously, since he has the source and we assume that he can read C#, he can see himself that this is basically just a form with buttons assigned to streamwriter to write the settings to the text file, and there is nothing even remotely malicious.
So we have only two options: Or he made these false accusations without even understanding the code, or, he intentionally does not want to remove it to promote himself and another program, despite he knows that his claims are false and damaging and because he believes that he will get away with that. Either way, his intentions aren’t good.
I just got graduated and actively looking for a job, and since this is my first “big” project, I was hoping to put it in my resume or mention it in a cover letter, but now, any employer who’ll search EZ Optimizer or my nick-name will see these false accusations literally in top-3 google search results.
I’m new to GitHub, and to be honest, I never even could imagine that I’ll need to deal with something like that, and I don’t know how to deal with that.
I would truly appreciate it if experienced members or GitHub representatives could help me with this situation…
Thank you so much for reading all that text, I just feel like I have to explain it in details.