An online reputation management company was recently caught bragging about abusing the copyright law. The company claims they specialize in removing bad reviews on Ripoff Reports. Ehud Gavron was approached by a representative from this company who explained the process followed by them. Gavron shared the email conversation with Techdirt which made it public.
According to the email sent by the company’s representative, there are three ways to eliminate a bad review from Ripoff Report.
1. Sue the offender, win the lawsuit and submit it to Google.
2. Post an exceedingly huge amount of content on the website and crowd it. This way, the bad review gets buried under the enormous pile of content.
3. Use a powerful law that most Americans are unaware of—Copyright law.
As the company thinks the first option is a time-taking and expensive, they say they resort to a combination of second and third methods.
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“We use methods 2 and 3 together and can have your Ripoff report neutralized and removed effectively at a fraction of the cost of going to court,” said the representative.
The representative then went on to explain their process. Let’s suppose you approach this company for removing bad reviews on your business. The company proceeds by filing copyrights on your name, your company’s name and any other relevant phrase found in the bad review.
Afterward, they file a DMCA notice and send it to Google. As Google takes these reports very seriously, the representative said Google would definitely take the bad review off the search results and listings.
“Google are very strict when it comes to copyright infringement. They take a very dim view of someone using logos, phrases and brand names that belong to other companies without their permission. They will take this seriously and many times will comply. The listings will vanish,” said the representative.
However, upon consulting with a copyright lawyer, it became apparent that such DMCA notices are invalid and Google doesn’t pay heed to such notices. If you take a closer look at their history, it can be found out that all DMCA notices sent by the company were ignored and Google took no action.
According to Techdirt, not only is this company claiming to achieve something impossible, it is also explaining about abusing the copyright law in great detail on their website. Here’s one of the DMCA notices this company filed:
“We own the copyrighted name of Brian Nelson Willis scammer, Brian N Willis scam, Brian N Willis scammer, Brockstar Group of Companies scam Brockstar Group of Companies scammer, www.amicushouse.com. The www.ripoffreport.com page is using my company name and details without my permission or consent and they are breaking the 1988 Berne convention copyright law that USA and Canada signed up for in 1988.”
The abuse of copyright law is one of the biggest problems on the internet at the moment.