• WebActivism has identified 3 major Reputation Agencies using Fake DMCA, and indulged in other serious crimes
  • We further identified dozens of PR firms, Law Firms and Businesses ‘outsourcing’ the dirty work to these 3 Reputation Agencies.
  • We are in active contact with Judges, DoJ, CCIPS, Google and affected parties/websites for subsequent action of this investigation
  • We will, in time, contact all ‘obvious’ beneficiaries of the fake DMCA for their rebuttals and comments to try and identify all parties involved in the operation.
  • WebActivism’s legal team will also file counter-notices on Google to restore all the de-indexed content.
  • In addition to above, WebActivism will publish all the content ‘removed’ by these fake-DMCAs on multiple websites, with full credits, in accordance with fair-use copyright policy
  • Finally, WebActivism promises to continue monitoring Lumen Database for any future cases of Fake DMCA, and ensure none of this is repeated. Basically, we’ll be doing the work for free which Google and other agencies are supposed to do.

Impersonation and Identity thefts already have criminal provisions, and takedown notice senders swear their requests are valid “under penalty of perjury,” filing a false one can reap criminal repercussions.

In April 2016, Tim @ Techdirt unveiled fake DMCA notices used to try and take down legitimate news sources and content. That article casually reminded us of our own experience with a fake DMCA used to take down one of our Youtube videos last year. Our colleague is currently writing that story, and we’ll post a link here once it’s done.

So, fake DMCA. Before we get into our investigation, let us explain what a DMCA really is all about, and how it all works. As explained by Aaron Kelly – “The Digital Millennium Copyright Act provides copyright safe harbor for registered content providers. The law allows people who allege digital copyright violations to send notice to the infringing party. ”

As Tim @ Techdirt explained, Reputation companies (the unethical and stupid kind) risk the civil damages while filing a fake DMCA since the reward is much higher than the risk. In the highly unlikely chance of getting caught, they would subdue to matter by settling it with the actual copyright owner. It rarely happens, and the only featured cases we can come across are – Online Policy Group v. Diebold Incorporated and 10 Zen v. Crook.

Here’s how this fake DMCA business has got dirtier, and sinister. Like a proper cyber-criminal gang, these Reputation firms have now evolved and gone on to run dozens of FAKE NEWS SITES and FAKE BLOGS. They resort to identity theft, impersonation, and perjury among other criminal acts. A single removal case can/will fetch them upwards of $3000 to $10,000, so I’ll say it’s not a surprise anymore. What surprises us, is how long this has gone unchecked.

 HOW IT ALL STARTED

In Sep 2015, we were testing and setting up our Youtube channel and had uploaded a test video HERE.  The video was a taped POLICE INTERVIEW of ‘Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi’, charged with sexual assault in USA. The tape was a public record, mind. However, within days of uploading, the Sheikh’s ‘Reputation Agency’ filed a fake DMCA and we got the notice that the video was taken down for ‘copyright violation’ . We have since then investigated the case, and have written about it in a separate investigation report. Click here to view the article which started it all

We were quite amused. An Indian ‘Shrikant Mathur‘ from Delhi, claiming copyright for a police interview recorded in Minnesota. We were not sure whether to take this any further and move on (to the ISIS-hunting campaign), but had a post-it sticker on the board just in case. And that moment arrived when one of our friends at cleveland.com told us about this fake DMCA which actually took down one of their news story on Google. It took us a month to reveal the rotten industry standards of unethical rep firms, and we AIM TO EXPOSE THEM.

We spent countless man-hours searching the Lumen Database analyzing the DMCA reports.  Till last week, we had identified over 5000 counts of fake DMCA reports. Our sleuths have dug in and investigated 2000 of these cases which we thought would bring the most attention to this ‘modern’ crime. We have also documented the other ‘unpublished’ cases and will soon hand it over to the relevant investigative agencies for proper action.

Here is the first lot of 57 fake DMCA Investigation Reports –

no Potential Beneficiary DMCA Report Investigation
1 Aastha Group 12297870 Click here
2 Akshay Singh Weblink 12006161 Click here
3 Amena Capital Ltd 12051102 Click here
4 Ameri Group LLC 12455677 Click here
5 American Truck Group 12184559 Click here
6 Andy Manalis 1179687 Click here
7 APW Asset Management 12185604 Click here
8 aReputation 1159925 Click here
9 Beachside Recovery Center LLC 12174514 Click here
10 Bilcare Ltd 11528654 Click here
11 Bonapart Home LLC 12105729 Click here
12 Guaranteed Removals 12097756 Click here
13 Car Match USA 11968298 Click here
14 Darwin Horan Ventana Capital Inc 12051109 Click here
15 David Oliver – Bipolar Inner Circle 12470433 Click here
16 Dr Martin Polanco 12333565 Click here
17 el Fondo Global de Construcción 12229482 Click here
18 Elia Golfin 12186216 Click here
19 FA Constructions – Fateh M Khatri 11220906 Click here
21 Fairfield Family Care – Gary Ferone 12655732 Click here
22 Frederick Wehba 12582665 Click here
23 Global Vision NGO 10780876 Click here
25 JCF Capital Justin Floyd 11187833 Click here
26 Jim Downs REIN 11958781 Click here
28 Julie Scelfo 12149505 Click here
29 KlearGear 1207016 Click here
30 Lewis Ben Williams 12093051 Click here
31 Linear Agency 11756695 Click here
32 Lloyd M. Claycomb 11851504 Click here
33 Luis Gasparini 12245475 Click here
34 Malik Hamid Zaman 11556971 Click here
35 Mandrien Consulting 11822747 Click here
36 Med1Online 12241191 Click here
37 MH Irrigation – FA Constructions 12424971 Click here
38 Michael Orlans 11959637 Click here
39 Mindable Astrology 11994944 Click here
40 NSEL Scam Amit Rathi Jignesh Shah 12282416 Click here
41 OMNI CCNI Medicina Diagnostica 12051042 Click here
42 Phil Cannella 11308814 Click here
43 Postjoint.com – Saleem Y 10257092 Click here
44 Premiere Event 12418069 Click here
45 Qnet – Michael Ferreira 12266676 Click here
46 Ragimov Lala 11996205 Click here
47 Sanjeev Nanda 12627814 Click here
48 Sean Callagy Law Firm 12263552 Click here
49 SOBA Recovery Center 12195285 Click here
50 The Event 12040369 Click here
51 Torrence Boone 11475805 Click here
52 Trails Carolina 12224947 Click here
53 Upfront Consultants 12052561 Click here
54 VehicleHistory.com 12152998 Click here
55 Wagner Trucking 12182711 Click here
56 Wilson Luna Ltd 12165273 Click here

The above is the first 57 of a total 200 fake DMCAs we investigated. At WebActivism, we don’t just publish reports. We go two steps ahead and ensure that lessons are learnt and proactive steps are taken. In this case, here is the campaign strategy explained :

WEEK 1

After a thorough investigation and verification, we finally make the report public on this website and few other platforms, including Twitter and Facebook

WEEK 2

We try and get in touch with the ‘alleged beneficiaries’ in those fake DMCAs, and invite them to come forward (or come clean) with more information, comment or a rebuttal.

WEEK 3

Irrespective of the reaction, our legal team will start filing counter-notices to all the fake DMCAs and ensure that those links are restored on Google.

WEEK 4

At this time, WebActivism will hand over the investigative reports, as well as ‘sensitive evidence’ not made public, to the relevant departments, including Dept of Justice, FBI, CCIPS and Google in the hope of appropriate action.

WEEK 5

Once the designated authorities have been handed over the evidence, we will inform the Press in anticipation of tangible and visible action taken against the fake DMCAs.

WEEK 6

So how will the infringers learn their lesson? Well, in addition to the above step, we will encourage our members and volunteers to graciously ‘spread the word’ and publish dozens, if not hundreds of ‘honest critical (or otherwise) reviews’ on these ‘alleged beneficiaries’, in order to undo what was achieved using illegal reputation management techniques.


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