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Stephane Portha

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Stephane Portha
Stephane Portha, Unixmad.jpg
Other names Unixmad
Web Presences Stephane "Unixmad" Portha
“Dear Mister,

I am the manager of Graal and I don’t like what I read. If I understand well you are threatening us to get what you want.

So I will ask everyone in the team to stop speaking with you and I will personally take care of this.

I have just contacted our attorney and we are prepared to go on court against you if you don’t stop. You will never get anything from us this way just problems. Graalonline is trademarked in all countries and using our name like that is completely illegal.

So I give you 3 days to delete all these web site and web pages before we do more.
—Stephane Portha, to one of his critics


Stephane Portha, professionally known as "Unixmad", is a French businessman and the owner of Eurocenter, a rather notorious mobile game company. He has been widely criticized for his unethical business practices, and is notoriously litigant, frequently engaging in attempts to silence and censor his critics by threatening to sue them with a team of "International Lawyers." When this fails to work, he is more than willing to engage in less direct means, contacting search engine hosts to get coverage of him delisted, employing DMCAs against Youtube videos, and contacting content creators via sockpuppet accounts and having his Eurocenter's moderators bribe critics into silence on his behalf when all else fails.

This has gone so far as to threaten to sue Wikipedia after Portha was banned for repeatedly putting articles on Graal Online up, to the point where Wikipedia permanently blocked the creation of an article on the game.[1]

Portha's aggressive online behavior is not a coincidence: It is part of a pattern of behavior used to cover up his own (and his company's) misdeeds. For all of Portha's posturing, Eurocenter's games are notoriously mismanaged and just as abusive as Portha himself.

In addition to the above, Portha is widely suspected to be the one behind the DDOS attacks on the Mt Gox BitCoin Exchange, leading to the exchange's implosion.

Eurocenter

“... I developed for these people for years. The company is disgusting, having the worst sense of ethics and disregard for its patrons than I could stand. Graal died around 2004, in truth. This is just a walking abomination at this point, fueled by your wasted money on what once was actually free and easy to obtain by players (see: everything). To people playing this game, even though I'm fairly sure you're too young to understand this, you're giving your business, time, and money to swindlers. Graal used to have quests, an actual real support system (that got breached countless times and leaked personal information of every customer to literally every other customer), and a decent aspiration to inspire creativity.

This is just disgusting. Good job, Unixmad. You killed your own game, once again.

For more info on how these people are liars, thieves and overall criminals don't just take my word for it... do your own research! search for "Exposing Stephane Portha" on ixquick or other search engines and search for Bad App reviews GraalOnline Classic+ you will find these people are big creeps that have ripped off thousands of innocent people.
—DavidS, On Ripoff Report[2]


As a mobile game developer, Portha's company, Eurocenter, has a less-than-stellar reputation. In general, Eurocenter doesn't actually produce its games on its own, so much as sweep in, buy them out, and then market them heavily for mobile. The more infamous examples are listed below.

Graal Online

“"It has been reported that you have been making comments against the Graal Management, mostly unixmad, and also spreading false rumors about Graal, and the people working for Graal. The administration is working hard to get this game back on track, and do not need people working against them. Such negativity only hurts the game, it does not help it."
—A Graal Online Ban Message directed at a critic of Stephane Portha


The most well-known game Eurocenter holds is Graal Online. Originally a fangame known as Zelda Online - essentially a version of Nintendo's Zelda: A Link To The Past - it was developed by Stefan Knorr and, eventually, was subjected to a Cease and Desist order from Nintendo. Knorr changed the name and scrubbed all Zelda references from it, and continued development on it, until Stephane Portha bought the game out and implemented a pay-to-play model, while hiring Knorr to develop for the game further. It was later ported to IOS, where it has maintained a modest following, but its star is setting and many who remember the game fondly acknowledge that making the game P2P crippled the community.

The game remains popular for its older, non-p2p versions, and forked, older versions of Graal Online (which aren't P2P) are in use with several communities to this day.

Originally, the game launched with a "buy it, have it forever" model, this was changed to a monthly subscription fee later, as this brought in more money. Most of the original questlines and story were been removed in subsequent updates, with no real content to replace them. Modern Graal Online's free trial is essentially a feature-crippled experience, one Stephane Portha justifies by claiming that a game with a 10+ year old engine that by all accounts, his team has put no work into is too pricey to not demand such fees.[3]

One of the biggest issues the game has, on top of its monthly fee, is its slipshod admin staff, who openly play favorites with certain players and gained quick notoriety for banning paying customers on a whim, often without giving any explanation for doing so, even for players who have invested considerable money into the game. Criticism of these admins (and of Portha himself) are banworthy trespasses, and even mentioning a website or individual Portha does not approve of can lead to a ban as well. Don't worry, though - The staff will gleefully encourage you to buy another account.[4]

Abuse

In one instance, a 1996 Mac game called Abuse was stolen by Stephane Portha, who intentionally misinterpreted abandonware laws, and, despite the fact that the license was still in the hands of the creator and several parts of it were owned by other developers, released it on IOS after initially offering to negotiate with the original developer for royalties.[5]

Fittingly, despite initially offering to meet with the original developers in good faith, Portha ultimately proved duplicitous and refused to give the original creator royalties, on the grounds that his company has already spent a great deal on marketing for it. Dave Taylor, the game's orgiinal developer, then made another offer: to take a 50% cut, but only after the marketing was taken into consideration. Portha again refused and declared that he didn't owe Taylor or the other content creators anything, since Portha refused to believe Taylor was the original developer. Lacking any other option, Taylor and his team sent a DMCA takedown notice to Apple, showed that the sound effects were binary identical (and owned by Bobby Prince), and produced an affidavit confirming ownership. Eventualy, Portha did take Abuse's IOS release down, alternating between claiming that he took it down himself out of goodwill and that Apple made him do it because of Taylor's actions.

MtGox Controversy Involvement

Litigation

Copyright Strikes

Stephane Portha files a copyright strikes against YouTuber Andrew Weiss for a video named When I'm Unixmad.

Court Orders

Portha has won an uncontested complaint against Google LLC regarding the Kiwi Farms. He sought to remove specific links from the google.fr search results for his name.[6][7] In this complaint, he suggested he had contacted the site owner regarding the matter but did not hear back, though no evidence of this exists within the court order itself and it cannot be verified. However, a crucial piece of information used in the lawsuit is the presence of a single post by a Kiwi Farms user who has only ever made that one post. Contained in it is bank account information without a PIN, a credit card number without an expiry date or CVV, photocopies of Portha's signature, and a list of websites. Widely speculated to be Portha himself once the court document hit, it was confirmed the IP used to create the account came from France, giving that speculation credibility.[8]

References