Monday, December 17, 2012

Who Would Associate With VERY Serious Offenders?

Apparently, Gina Crosley-Corcoran, known to many as The Feminist Breeder, would. On her own blog, TFB reveals that she has gotten into a little intellectual property tiff with another blogger who is notorious in the birth world.  She notes that copyright infringement - in the form of the re-posting of a photo that she originally posted - is "a VERY serious offense."

Yet who is she inexplicably supporting and defending?  You guessed it - Brio Birth, the folks who can't seem to stay out of IP trouble.  Brio has aggressively courted TFB from its inception, due to her blog following. They even paid for advertising to sponsor her live blog of her homebirth, giving her the coveted distinction of being one of the few who was actually paid in full by Brio for services rendered.

There has been some confused speculation over the past year and a half about TFB's support, lack thereof, or shifting opinion regarding Brio, but make no mistake - her comments on their BirthLIVE cancellation thread were strongly supportive.

Multiple messages from knowledgeable parties about Brio's unethical and criminal activities, including their history of IP theft, have been met with a brush-off from TFB, who prides herself on her savvy and on her ability to stick up for the victim (as long as she decides the victim is worth supporting).  I wonder how she would react if Brio reposted one of her pictures - or any of her blog content - as their own?  She'd probably be blinded by a "thanks to The AMAZING Feminist Breeder! Warmly, Naomi" or a "we'd love to give credit"...

Because, after all, Brio is no Dr. Amy. They're much less honest about who they are, and much more damaging to the birth world.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Brio Birth - Growing Their Facebook Fan Base, One Intellectual Property Theft at a Time

The following is a guest post by an anonymous reader, with a bit of formatting by me. Many thanks to this guest blogger for the thorough and enlightening post!

If you are familiar with Facebook, you will know that people share photos and videos on Facebook quite readily.  You've probably done it yourself.  It's what Facebook is all about, right?

Well, yes, sort of.  You have to be careful in how you do it in order to protect copyright law.  Regarding posting content, they have some rules for "Protecting other people's rights."
It is important to note that "posting" is different than "sharing."  When you "share" something, you are not claiming to hold any ownership in it.  You are just saying "hey, I thought this was interesting, and thought my friends might like it too." It's like loaning a book or CD to a friend. But you "post" something when you put it into your own photo album. You have made a copy of it and are claiming it as yours. Once it is in your photo album, when someone else shares it, it will then post to their profile as being YOUR picture.

By doing this you have violated the first rule of posting in Facebook's Terms of have "posted content...that violates someone else's [copy]rights."  And you have broken copyright law, which you can be sued for. Don't believe it can happen to you because you aren't making money off of the photos or you are careful to mention where you got the photos?  Think again! One blogger explained about her painful experience with being sued here:  Only if you have permission to use the photo can you "post" it without violating copyright laws.

Now "Doula Dorothy" is unlikely to sue my friend Danielle for copying the meme.  But someone who makes their living off of selling photos just might.

So what does this have to do with Brio?

Many people have wondered what is behind the astronomical growth in Brio's fan base.  Like most anything else of value, the Brio Bunch has built their fan base through intellectual property (IP) theft.  Photos like those of the explosive pregnancy from an air pump that was shared 275 times in the first 17 hours after Brio posted it. The Brio Bunch claimed not to be able to find the original owner of this series of pictures, but I was able to find out that the photographer's name is Patrice Laroche in Canada with only a minimal amount of Google sleuthing.

When a fan of Brio Birth shares one of Brio's stolen pictures, and then several of their friends share the picture, and then several of their friends share the retains links back to Brio's page, and a quick link for people to click on to "like" Brio Birth.  One video that Brio Birth has pirated in this manner about an 8 month old boy getting a cochlear implant has gotten 350,000 shares and over 800,000 likes!  This gives them huge exposure from which to gain new fans.  Most likely most of them don't really care about low intervention birth, but just like the cute pictures and videos that are shared on the Brio Birth page.

What happens if you post photos that belong to someone else?  In addition to possibly suing you, the copyright holder can report the photos to Facebook as an IP theft and have them removed from Facebook.  If this happens enough times you may "get thrown in Facebook jail."  That is, as per rule # 5, your posting privileges may be disabled.  Recently some of the photos Brio has been posting have been reported as IP infringement, and this is likely what has led to the Brio Bunch labeling their photos as "Shared with permission from..." or "we don't know who owns this..."  BTW...getting permission to re-post stolen IP is also illegal, so just because the Brio Bunch is thanking Birth Stories on Demand for sharing the food based cervical dilation chart does not get them off the hook for IP theft; though it seems unlikely that the original owner of this piece is interested in protecting the IP as it has been posted far and wide on the internet without any apparent attempt to have it removed.

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Incidentally, just because the Brio Bunch claims not to know how to contact the source of a particular piece of IP doesn't mean that is true.  They claimed not to know who the mother was of the boy with a cochlear implant mentioned above...but 4 months prior to saying that Naomi had watched the original video on YouTube.

It is simple to Google the account holder's YouTube ID, which leads to a Pinterest account that has the mother's real name.  If Naomi doesn't have a Pinterest account which would allow her to contact the mother via that forum, she could find her on Facebook.

So there you have it... this appears to be how Brio Birth is seeing such explosive growth in their fan base.  Most of the likes are not directly from the birth community or parents impacted by Brio Birth - they are simply people who liked pictures and videos that were posted.  Pictures and videos that were stolen.  Apparently, this is Brio's definition of "doing good." If you see IP shared by Brio Birth that you know is not appropriately credited, you may wish to point it out to Brio - or the owner of the IP.  

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Any Current Brio Birth Educators or Students Out There?

The normal rules on this blog are that if you want to defend or talk up Brio Birth, to do it elsewhere, because positive talk about Brio is not suppressed there.  This is a safe place to share the truth about the darker underbelly of Brio Birth.  In almost any other forum, that is strictly forbidden, because either it's controlled by Brio (and thus deleted), well-meaning forum owners or mods want to keep a happy-happy-joy-joy community and avoid controversy, or people are afraid to post because the Brio Bunch have shown themselves to be bullies, using legal threats to intimidate hardworking mothers who just want to serve others and supplement their family's income doing it.

That said, we've had reports of people taking virtual childbirth classes and instructor trainings.  Here's your chance!  Be very specific.  What do you like about the training?  The program? The materials?  What exactly are they offering?  What do you dislike?  Do you feel you are getting your money's worth?  What about the website - what are your thoughts on the design? The functionality?  Have you had the opportunity to network with other Brio students or any of the educators listed on the website?  Comments positive to Brio will not be deleted if they contain specific factual examples and realistic assessments.  Comments in the vein of "OMG U ALL R TURBLE I DON'T UNDERSTAND Y U HATE THE MOMMAZ AND BAYBEEZ BRIO IS GONNA SAVE THE WORLD!!!!!" that contain purely emotional appeals and no specific information and examples will, however, be deleted.  We might make fun of them, too.  

Monday, December 10, 2012

Facebook Page

At the request of a reader, I have started a Facebook Page where people can interact.  I'm not really an expert Facebook user, so any tips are welcome.  I'm not even sure how to make the page searchable, but you can find it here.  I definitely plan to post blog links, as well as quick updates when available.  I welcome your input.

Update: I have claimed a user name for this page.  Since Facebook seems to filter for the word "scam" in user names, the page can be found at  Thanks for your support!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

BirthLIVE Redux

So a week after the big statement was promised, it was published.  The initial reaction: it took them a week to come up with this drivel?  It doesn't make any sense!

It is with sad hearts and disappointed hopes that Brio Birth is announcing the cancellation of our very first birthLIVE birth.

Quite possibly the only true thing in the statement.  We should just stop here.

... No?  Then proceed, intrepid reader, but don your hip waders and watch out for Pinocchio's nose!

While we have received a ton of support and there has been much excitement there has also been a small but determined group of individuals whose focus has been to destroy this opportunity for not only the mother that was bravely willing to share her birth, for all of the mothers who could have been inspired by this birth and for the producer, Brio Birth whose desire is to help educate women everywhere.

How are they measuring "support", exactly, other than in weight? Maybe we should try measuring in Brio's favorite units - currency.  When you subtract contributions by the Brio Bunch and known cronies (leaving in the questionable "Anonymous" contributions), they raised approximately $500 out of a proposed $25,000, or 2% of their goal.  That doesn't seem like a "ton" of support, at least not where it really counts.  And those monies were refunded to the contributors when their campaign was yanked - Eureka!  The small but determined group of individuals must have been the Indiegogo staff team, who openly told inquirers that they pulled the campaign because it was too high risk (which appears to be a politically correct way of saying "probable fraud").

Surprisingly much of this destructive activity has not come from the medical world hoping to stop the mainstream acceptance of home birth and the choice to have a vaginal birth after a cesarean section, (VBAC) but from our own natural birth community.

Could you describe the "destructive activity", sir?  And oh, that birth community - it really treats poor Brio and Kylomi like dirt, doesn't it?  Wasn't it also the "birth community" that forced poor Kylomi to have an unassisted birth? (Translation: no homebirth midwife would work with them because they had cheated their previous midwife and lied to the one who actually considered working with them, not to mention all the other issues that had made Naomi's name mud long since, and they freely chose not to take any of the many truly natural birth friendly hospital options available to them.)

We have actively tried to stay away from the negativity and let our actions speak for themselves, unfortunately there are so many who let the fear and negativity cloud what they know to be good. We ask everyone to stop and do two things -

1. Look around - see the good being done
2. Look at our Brio Birth Facebook Page - the largest in natural birth education - and again see the good that is being done

Rest assured, Brio, your actions have definitely spoken for themselves.  Very loudly.  And more people are beginning to notice.  One thing we can agree on - everyone should definitely look around  Take note of the defunct website that was designed to be an ad server and couldn't even do that right.  Browse through the recycled months-old blog posts.  Search for an educator near you!  If you can even turn up any results, they are likely educators who left Brio over a year ago.  Many will openly denounce Brio.

While you're at it, go ahead and look at the Brio Birth Facebook page.  So it's got a ton of likes - you can get those when you make a full-time job of trying to drum them up.  It is completely possible to buy likes, and one of Brio's favorite techniques is to steal IP and redistribute it as their own.  So please, go look at the "good" that is being done by posting stolen memes, re-posting fan questions, and putting up vapid discussion topics such as "what two things will you miss about parenting when your kids are grown?".  Maybe it's engaging a Facebook user that would otherwise be a serial killer out harming people.  That would be some "good", I guess.  

We are disappointed and sad that a few voices have been enough to stop this brave mother from sharing her birth with the world.

So how, exactly, have these "few voices" - whoever they are: Indiegogo? the Birth Community?  the One-Armed Man? the Media? - stopped this event, let alone a mother sharing her birth with the world, which she could do without the stain of Brio on it?  Since when does "negativity" stop an event?

We cannot give those voices power and we will not go quietly into the night. We are continuing on with the birthLIVE project, just slower than we had hoped, with Brio Birth will be funding the events.

Oh, we are quite sure you will not go quietly into the night.  That is why Birth Scam Report, its readers, and more and more of your victims will be there, watching your every move, protecting the mothers, babies, and unsuspecting birth professionals from your scams.

We at Brio Birth want to thank Nicole, Matt and her birth team for their courage and love for each other - you are inspirations to all of us.

I think everyone wishes Nicole, her family, and her birth team the best.  No one ever "harassed" Nicole, despite Brio's vigorous protests.  No one was even really harassing Brio - the only thing "harassing" Brio was their own history of misdeeds.

In summary, a lot of whining and finger pointing, not much of substance.  Moving right along...      

Friday, December 7, 2012

The New BirthLIVE Project - Independent, or Another Shell?

With the implosion of the "FREE Live Streamed View of Childbirth" and its corresponding Indiegogo campaign, many of us are wondering what is going to happen with the event.  A statement was promised "shortly" on Saturday, December 1st.  Several inquiries were made throughout the week.  Finally, on Thursday, December 6th, after yet another inquiry the night before, the ever-responsive "Brio Birth" deflected, saying that Nicole had been sick with a stomach bug that week.  (Was that before or after the trip to the beach?)  Oh, and her family, too!  Play that family card with the birth community - that will hold them off.  Why was Nicole the one writing the statement, anyway?  What happened to taking care of the pregnant mom, protecting her from "harrassment"? That statement was Brio's responsibility.  But let's move on...

Despite the utter lack of any kind of announcement from Brio, there seems to be some motion behind (or beside?) the scenes.  Suddenly we see the half-formed, but already-launched, "".  (Yes, they have a Facebook page already, too!)  This page announces that Nicole is "the Brains" behind the project (with a Lorem Ipsum? Really?), but it does not give any indication of who the rest of the body is, though that body seems to be very possessive ("our wonderful" Nicole Hoff?  This writing drips with Naomi's style).  My suspicion is that it is a front for Brio, with Nicole providing cover for the Thomases, just as they got Karl Clinger and Embrion to do.  I could be wrong, and if Nicole is really doing this without any of the Brio Bunch, power to her.

Even more interesting is the Funds page - the most complete page on the site as of this writing, but no, it's not about the money.  (Screenshot saved for posterity here.)

"As you can see we are a .org meaning that no individual or business will take profits from the birthLIVE project.
This does not mean we will not be paying for services provided to the project by outside companies, or that our people will not be paid just that no one is going to get rich off of the birthLIVE project."
FALSE.  Anybody can purchase a .org domain - for their nonprofit, their for-profit business, their family, or any other website they want to make.

"No more than 20% will ever go to administration or operational costs, and to start we will keep it under 10%. To put this into perspective many non-profit entities have less than a 20% pass through – meaning that nearly 80% of their funds go to administrations and operational costs."

FALSE.  According to, (OH LOOK! A .ORG DOMAIN!) 70% of the charities they evaluated have a pass through of 75% or greater, and 90% have a pass through of 65% or greater.  80% pass through is a laudable goal, but not really a distinctive feat.

"We know that you may be saying “those numbers don’t add up..."

You bet we are.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

What to Do if You've Been Burned

Updated with more channels for complaints on Dec 13th, 2012

So you've been scammed by Brio Birth.  If you were part of the initial group of educators, I feel your pain.  If you jumped on board later, I have much more mixed feelings.  There was a huge body of red flags out there that even a simple google search should have revealed.  There are also many childbirth educators, doulas, midwives and so on out there who have raised their voices in warning, and yet people jumped in anyway, enabling the Brio Bunch to continue scamming the birth community and innocent mothers.

With that said, if you have truly finally seen the light, welcome to the other side!  You may never see a dime of any money that you may have put out, though you could get lucky, but you can make your experience mean something, and try to recoup what you lost along the way.  Here are a couple of suggestions for actions you might take.

  1. Charge back any money you paid via Paypal or Google Checkout.  You can also file a fraud complaint.  Brio has had, as of this writing, at least one Paypal and at least one Google Checkout account shut down.  Keep them on the run.
  2. If you are unsuccessful in getting a refund via Paypal/Google Checkout, be sure to file a complaint with the service, and if you used a credit card, go to your credit card provider. Some victims have had success getting a refund to their credit card by doing this.
  3. File a complaint with IC3, the Internet Crime Complaint Commission.  They investigate internet fraud and white collar crime, and they take a vacuum-cleaner approach and then correlate complaints that are scattered geographically.  Thus, they might realize that an educator in Oregon and an educator in Florida were both scammed by Brio Birth, and lend more weight to the need for an investigation into their internet activities.
  4. File a complaint with the CO Attorney General's Office.  This will reach BBB and/or law enforcement as appropriate.
  5. Share your experience with your local birth community and any birth-y contacts you have elsewhere.  Let the truth flow through the internet, in hopes that eventually there will be a dense enough net that they can't continue to swim through. They are thriving on others' silence, however well intended that silence might be. 

Please feel free to add to this list in the comments.  I know that people have gone to other law enforcement resources including the F.B.I. and different levels of prosecuting attorneys, and I would love to hear experiences from these efforts. With good information, this may become its own tab that people can refer to.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Brio's Latest Scam, Part III: Popcorn and Coffee

As many readers saw, there was a blowup on the Birth Live event page yesterday. Anybody who has any experience with the inside of Brio Birth knows that Naomi has one of the quickest delete buttons in the west.  Unfortunately for the Brio Bunch, most of the posters knew it, and took screenshots of the action as it unfolded.  Thank you to the multiple sources who sent screenshots.  Here is a link to a large portion of the screenshots (more will likely be posted later - the more complete version was having difficulties with some requested redaction).  You may need to zoom in a bit to read, depending on your browser.

There are so many things I could say about so many of the comments, but I think I may just let it speak for itself.  Please feel free to add your two cents here!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Brio Basics: Question from a Reader... Maybe

I received this e-mail, and I'm not sure whether the source is legitimate.  However, the questions are worth asking, even if it is a fishing expedition, so I've chosen to publish it here:


To make a long story short I am a volunteer lactation support volunteer with a local midwifery center that I am doing doula training with. They have never heard of Brio Birth, but are only vaguely familiar with Birth Professionals International, who I only heard of through Brio Birth. I was toying with the idea of becoming a Birth Educator of some form in addition to DONA certification since my husband thinks I spend enough time blogging for free I should make money out of it. I think the idea of paying for training makes sense, when I became a CNA I paid 350 bucks to take a two week course and it got me a job in hospital instead of a nursing home,  I did the same with phlebotomy training before applying at a dialysis clinic, and when I wanted to keep my distaster repsonse certification up I paid for CPR/First Aid through the Red Cross. So is there something I am missing about Brio Birth? Or did they steal an education program from someone else? 

What do I need to know?


A bit of poking around on the internet shows the only occurrence of the sender's name or e-mail address being a random question on a Nurturing Hearts blog post a little over a year ago.  That does indicate that the owner of this address might at least be in the birth world, but I still am not feeling a great deal of trust in it.  If this person spends so much time "blogging for free", she must do it under a pseudonym.  I could further dissect the sender, but instead I'll focus on the questions.  Is there something she is missing about Brio Birth? Quite probably.  Did they steal an education program from someone else?  In a word, yes.  Their "amazing, beautiful materials!" were put together by educators who were never compensated for their contributions, and had to fight to even get credit in the book.  I wonder if that credits page still appears in the electronic copies that they distribute.  Their childbirth class curriculum and their instructor training program were put together, again, by others who were never paid or even credited for their work, despite expectations presented when they were "hired" and verbal contracts.  What does she need to know?

Well, she had my e-mail address.  Therefore, she must have read at least something on this blog. This blog is a decent start on what she needs to know.  She should check out the Files section, where she can find some very revealing audio files and documents.

What else do you think she needs to know?  Fire away!