Online communities fight. This has been a thing since Geocities was introduced in the mid 1990’s. People get mad at each other on the internet and do dumb shit. Sometimes they send the SWAT Team after Call of Duty rivals, and other times they embarrass little girls simply for making a stupid YouTube video. You’d think that when virtual race cars are involved, this kind of absurd drama dies down since everyone’s united by a common bond.
It doesn’t. It gets worse.
NASCAR Racing 2003 season, released for the PC in February of 2003 by Papyrus Motorsports, is widely regarded as the best NASCAR video game ever made. Not only does the game accurately portray what it’s like to drive an American Stock Car from the comfort of your own home (and has been used by several drivers to train for upcoming races), the game easily allowed for other people to freely make and distribute their own cars and tracks to extend the lifespan of the game.
While the game ships with only content from the 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup season, a large add-on community spawned from the success of the game. Over the past eleven years, almost every major and minor NASCAR series and season dating back to 1963 has been faithfully reproduced for the game by the community – all free of charge and readily available for you to download and insert into your own game. I must stress that you did not have to pay for these “mods”; they were all made by people who simply loved the game and were meant to be freely distributed on a multitude of sites, usually competing amongst each other for notoriety among the community – a constant battle to see who could make the best tracks/cars/mods to the community’s benefit.
Because of the game’s extended lifespan, a good 60% of content made for NASCAR Racing 2003 Season (NR2003) has been lost due to broken links and closed websites. Fortunately, I have been playing this game since launch, and have saved almost everything noteworthy that the community (which spans a multitude of sites, countries, and multiplayer racing leagues) has released for the game.
As the game is eleven years old and only has a mere handful of people still playing it and producing content for the game, it is very hard for newcomers to not only find this game in the first place (copies go for several hundred dollars on eBay), but also find these elusive add-on’s that extend the lifespan of the game that add either current or historic NASCAR and other oval racing series to the game.
In the spring of 2014, I felt nice enough to package all of the freeware third-party mods I’d collected for the game over the past ten years, and uploaded them on my own personal Mediafire account. Finding even a fraction of what I included in my personal collection would take weeks, sometimes months of browsing through the few remaining NR2003 add-on sites; uploading my collection would allow people to simply find everything they could ever want for the game in one place. I also took things a step further and created another Tumblr page to have all of these downloads in a place that was easy to navigate and understand. I shared it amongst a few friends and they were all pretty thankful to have such a huge collection of hard-to-find content in one place.
Nothing about what I did was illegal – again, these were freeware pieces of content for a game that’s nearly a decade old, made by the community as far back as 2003. It’s like if someone packaged up 200 of the best Quake 3 maps, or 100 of the best Doom WAD’s. It’s just someone being a bro and uploading a massive collection of historical community-made content for a game that almost nobody plays anymore. You know, just to be a bro.
I posted the link to the Tumblr site on a website called SimRacingDesign – what appeared to be the most active of the few remaining NR2003 fansites. Guys who would probably be really happy to see mods that were uploaded and lost ten years ago were actually being preserved by some dude in Canada.
They were furious.
Members at SimRacingDesign claimed that every single car and track made by the community for NR2003 over the past eleven years is copyright to the person who created it, and that by merely uploading this package of historical content, I was violating several copyright laws and could be sued or put in jail. The thread exploded. I was instantly cast as this evil villain, and I hadn’t even been on the site for more than an hour.
Let me break it down for you – these people were more or less stealing real world copyrighted logos and designs off the internet to slap onto their pretend race cars, uploading them on their preferred site, and then claiming their cars were pieces of “art” and they owned them outright, and it was illegal to upload it anywhere else.
Try making a Porsche mod for an ISI sim and tell me what happens. These scrubs didn’t own shit – the original creator of the IP’s, however, does.
That’s not how that works at all. And it’s not illegal to download a free file from one place, and upload it somewhere else. That’s called mirroring.
They did not care. This was a travesty. I was a horrible person. And they kept calling me “Todd.”
Shortly after, I began receiving weird shit by the truckload in my Tumblr inbox.
This literally went on for two weeks straight.
But then other shit started happening. I started receiving emails from Tumblr administration that the account I’d set up for the NASCAR content was under DMCA investigation. I didn’t actually have anything on there that violated DMCA agreements. Like I said, it was all just mods for a game I’d saved over the years. Like if a guy packaged up all his Skyrim mods, because as you know, hunting for that shit takes forever.
Eventually, the entire Tumblr page was shut down. Again, I was not given a reason for this, Tumblr seemed quite fine with acting before asking questions. So I moved everything to Wix, and made what was basically the same site. The actual links to the mod packages on my Mediafire page were untouched, so I spent a couple hours setting everything back up. Within 48 hours, that page too was under DMCA investigation. And like that, it was gone. Apparently these huge sites are so scared of DMCA complaints that they shut your site down at the click of a button, regardless of how valid the complaint was.
At SRD, the shitstorm continued to brew. The same people who were so adamantly against the sites I’d set up were now organizing to do the exact same thing. A proper NR2003 “encyclopedia.” Somehow, my idea was good, but I supposedly went about it the wrong way. Users from a thread I frequent on 4Chan signed up on SRD to polietly inform other members that what I was doing had nothing to do with DMCA or copyright infringement. The longtime SRD members reacted so drastically that they banned all members who had signed up in the past 48 hours, as well as disabled the creation of any new accounts for the forseeable future.
I was again also accused of being a guy named Todd, who was supposedly the biggest asshole NR2003 had ever seen. Todd, who went under the username “sb70”, was apparently some crazy schizophrenic out to destroy what was left of the NR2003 community.
This alleged schizophrenic asshole reached out to me, and holy shit I was not prepared for what I walked into.
There’s an 86-page thread on SimRacingDesign.com dedicated to talking shit about this Todd guy, although now it appears to have been trimmed down to just 43. And it was full of posts like this:
bowtie214 became privy to her personal information after his online friend (Danny Coral of BigDogOnline) served a fraudulent DMCA complaint to the domain host of Todd’s site. All in hopes of not only censoring Todd’s stuff, but also to acquire any personal information of his in hopes of cyberstalking/harrassing him out of template making.
That DMCA would be the 4th or 5th in a series bowtie214’s buddy had served in attempt to suppress Todd’s work on various sites aside from just his own (such as nnracing.com). Todd’s friend set up the quick-model domain during the summer of 2013 as encouragement for him to keep contributing to this hobby. All of the work on the site and anything you can download from there might be by Todd, but if not for his friend, none of it would have remained online. Of course neither of them imagined at the time this site was launched that his female friend would become the victim of committed cross-country cyberstalking by the likes of a 67 yr old loser who has:
- snooped and stalked her social media.
- posted images on his ‘muzak’ page of which restaurants and public places she frequents.
- posted images on his ‘muzak’ page of which restaurants and public places she frequents.
- posted images of her home residence from Google maps on his ‘muzak’ page after acquiring that information courtesy of pal Danny’s lame-ass DMCA
These images can be found on bowtie214’s stalking page:
In short, he is accusing myself and Todd, a guy I hardly know, of doing exactly what SRD have been doing to Todd for almost four years, and that hosting other people’s freeware mods for a decade old game is violating copyright somehow.
RacerXero84 also claimed he was not stalking Todd. Todd was able to dimiss this with proof of RacerXero84 trying to sign up for Todd’s personal site, quick-model.info. RX84 simply denied everything.
The continuing craziness, almost a year old at this point, can still be seen flaring up on Reddit, as well as a new thread on SimRacingDesign.com where the same four or five guys sit around spouting the same weird shit about some guy who made a few nice templates for an old oval racing sim.
This is what’s left of the NASCAR Racing 2003 community.