Just who is that masked man?

15 May 2002

The internet gives us all some feeling of anonymity, however misguided this feeling may be. Most of us just take this in our stride, happy to be window shoppers in the internet’s online stores, or names without faces requesting information or stating our opinions.

For some this ‘cloak of invisibility’ is something to hide behind, something to build a reputation on, something to delegate our responsibilities to. Apostrophe appears to be one of these people, somewhat jealously guarding his identity and making bold claims that could not be proven true or false.

Such is Apostrophe’s need to hide behind his internet identity, that it appears to have been his overriding concern in settling this case with the 11 plaintiffs. However, it seems that his hope of remaining anonymous is to be shattered. Claims will be made that the information of his identity were leaked by the plaintiffs – any such claims are false, at least in how the information came to be known by me. After researching this article for some time it is apparent that his identity is fairly widely known in the typographic community, and above all his identity was revealed by the very medium he sought to hide within.

A Google’s a wonderful thing
I have personally known for some time that several foundries have been taking legal action against Apostrophe. But, have been unable to really get any information about the case as no one will speak about it – I did not know which foundries were involved, who Apostrophe was, where he was based nor what country the law suit was being pursued in.

For what it’s worth the rumour was that our anonymous font thief was based in Canada – well that pinned it down somewhat!

So, some months ago I decided to actually do some research – bingo. Just a few simple terms into the Google internet search engine and I got a list of hits. Checking through them one stuck out a mile from the others; naming several small and medium sized foundries, along with about 30 designers as ‘impleaded third parties’ and a defendant… Fred Nader. The provenance of the data could not be better: the web site of the Federal Court of Canada.

You could easily put two and two together at this stage, and make nine. But that's clearly not good enough to make accusations against individuals, so we had to do further research. When the evidence arrived it didn’t rain, it poured. To a certain extent it was Apostrophe himself who helped slot the final pieces together.

So, Apostrophe is?
Yes, Apostrophe is Fred Nader, he lives on Kingswood Road, Toronto Canada – the details of his address are a matter of public record on the ‘Whois’ search at the domain name service company Network Solutions – just search for ‘apostrophiclab.com’. Actually, ‘Fred’ or ‘Freddy’ Nader is yet another alias, Nader’s real name is ‘Fuad’.


Registrant data as displayed at Network Solutions

Two things surprised me about this: just how easy it was to pin Apostrophe down as being Fred Nader, and that I’d never heard his name before. Why should I have known his name? Nader has claimed for several years, to be ‘well-placed’ in the type community, an ‘insider’. It would be logical then, that when his name was finally revealed, that everyone would be aghast ‘Oh no, not Freddy!’.

But the fact is that nobody has heard of Nader before, except those who have previously identified him as Apostrophe, and this is far from the only falsehood of his that has been recently exposed.

Read the rest of this article:

Just who is that masked man? 15/05/2002
Internet heroes and villains hide behind pseudonyms, but is there any real anonymity involved?

Damage done 15/05/2002
What is the affect of having your main, or in some cases only, source of income uploaded to the internet for anyone to download freely?

Crime and punishment 15/05/2002
Are there direct ways to help resolve conflicts of this sort, can the law be changed or is copy protection an answer?

Why did Apostrophe do it? 15/05/2002
What motivates a person to expose themselves to what could become a devastating legal investigation?

What’s the conclusion? 15/05/2002
The case is settled, everyone goes home, but is there a lasting legacy?


Clive Bruton e:clive@indx.co.uk w:http://www.indx.co.uk

Related sites

Whois: apostrophiclab.com w:http://www.netsol.com/cgi-bin/whois/whoi...

Federal Court of Canada: Active Images v Nader w:http://decisions.fct-cf.gc.ca/fct/2001/2...

Google w:http://www.google.com