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Takedown notices... sign (more legal threats)

Discussion in 'Black Hat SEO' started by xplosiv, Jul 29, 2016.

  1. xplosiv

    xplosiv Power Member

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    Okay, so a little while back some little turd thought it would be fun to threaten a lawsuit against me. He asked nicely, so I adjusted my review to remove libelous types of statements.

    Anyway, I've had an issue with another dumb fuck who has sent a letter to my host (traffic planet), from their lawyer threatening legal action if the pages aren't removed.

    Here's what it says:
    -----------------------------------

    At the request of my client, ************, I am contacting you with regards
    to one of your clients who maintains the website ************
    and conducts unauthorized use of my client’s US Trademarked brand,
    ************.

    Under the guise of providing an unbiased review of my client’s ************
    product, the web page(s)
    PAGE 1
    PAGE2

    and its source
    code contains false and disparaging statements concerning the ************
    brand making unauthorized use of text, graphics and trademark owned by
    ************. As is evident from even the cursory examination of the web
    pages, the actual intent of the pages is to use consumer interest in the
    well-known and sought-after ************ product to denigrate and divert
    customers away from ************ while simultaneously steering customers to
    competing products described much more favorably on the same
    pages.

    The content of the subject web pages constitute false representation and
    false advertising under Section 43(a) of the federal Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C
    1125(a), as well as copyright infringement under the federal Copyright Act,
    17 U.S.C 101 et seq., common law unfair competition, product disparagement,
    trade libel, and interference with prospective economic advantage.

    We request that you immediately and permanently remove the offending
    material and any additional references to ************’sent''e, I am
    contacting y
    intellectual property, from the above referenced websites.

    Until the above actions are taken, ************ will have no alternative
    except to consider pursuing appropriate legal remedies to enforce its
    rights, including requests for preliminary and permanent injunction relief,
    and awards of profits , damages , attorney’s fees, and costs.

    Please note that this letter is without prejudice to our right to take any
    and all appropriate action with respect to the subject infringements and
    puts you on notice that should you refuse to comply with our demands by
    August 2, 2016, ************ will have no choice but to pursue all legal
    causes of action, including the filing of a lawsuit, to protect its
    interests. We will pursue both damages and attorneys’ fees and costs
    incurred by ************ as a result of your actions. Attached to this letter
    is a copy of the webpage stating that the webpage had previously been taken
    down because of a DMCA complaint. We trust that you will take the
    appropriate steps to remedy this situation.

    ---------------------------------------------------------

    This is a negative review, because the product in question is pure snake oil, makes ludicrous claims about its effectiveness, and and makes its money unbelievably hyping up the products.

    I review competing products, but it is a review site. The product sucks ass and its crystal clear in the review. Should I remove it or let it be? Free speech or nah? Lol...
     
  2. xplosiv

    xplosiv Power Member

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    Also, to make it clear - they are also trying to take action on the fact that I use their brand name because it's "trademarked"... haha what the fuck? Is that actually a legitmate way to get a review taken down?
     
  3. bartosimpsonio

    bartosimpsonio Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    Three words : get a lawyer.

    This may be nothing or they may have something up their sleev. You never know unless you ask a real pro.

    Personally I think this is just some hired ORM trying to improve that brand and remove bad reviews. It's probably protected by free speech. But you never know, so ask a lawyer.
     
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  4. mirrorer

    mirrorer Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    well,
    If it is a review and you have used the product,you have the freedom of speech to post your opinion about it.

    Also,to me,that letter doesn't look from a lawyer rather from an ORM guy as @bartosimpsonio said.

    Getting a lawyer for this case will cost you more than you think
     
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  5. SkyrocketSEO

    SkyrocketSEO Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    If you are not using their trademark/name in URL I guess they are full of it
     
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  6. xplosiv

    xplosiv Power Member

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    I am using their apparently "trademarked" name for this review, which also happens to be the name of the product.

    I looked up the lawyer that wrote this up and it looks like a real one.

    Anyway, I'm thinking I might just 301 this to a web 2.0 property just to fuck with them, I doubt they'll have any luck trying to take down wordpress.

    I also looked up some of the quoted laws and it doesn't really seem to fit the criteria... I have however done a little research, and seen that large companies like GoPro have taken these measures to remove negative reviews from the web.
     
  7. Sherbert Hoover

    Sherbert Hoover Jr. Executive VIP Jr. VIP

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    That's definitely an ORM takedown letter. Do more research into it, but from my experience they will sue. If they've already shelled out for a lawyer to write and send these things, they'll probably spend the money to complete the job.
     
  8. welshman

    welshman Power Member

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    If you want to keep the page, move your site to a non-usa host that does not have to comply with US law. DMCA is a US law, so not applicable to a non-USA host.
     
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  9. xplosiv

    xplosiv Power Member

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    As I understand it, I'm not violating any DMCA laws. They are basically claiming that I am using their "trademark" unauthorized. Which is the name of the product - that doesn't have anything to do with copyrights as far as I know, although their lawyer put that on the letter (unless a screenshot of the website counts as well as an EMBED on youtube of one of their videos).

    Can you really get sued for using a brand name in your works? That's ridiculous.

    Now the question is whether I should 301 this page to another property (has good SEO juice pointing to it)... thanks for the advice so far everyone.
     
  10. Sherbert Hoover

    Sherbert Hoover Jr. Executive VIP Jr. VIP

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    You can. I have a client who is getting sued because they have a trademark in several domain names. What's worse is that the trademark was registered after the domain names were registered. Like years later. But Google still deindexed the websites, and GoDaddy is in the process of moving the domains into the plaintiff's account. It sucks, but internet laws are still a wild west.
     
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  11. xplosiv

    xplosiv Power Member

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    Thanks for your reply. You seem knowledgeable in this particular area of concern, I had a few questions if you wouldn't mind (would greatly appreciate it!)

    Just to be clear, I am not using their trademark in my domain name, it is simply one product of many that are reviewed on my website. The trademark is supposedly their brand and product name.

    I read this on EFF:

    I want to complain about a company. Can I use their name and logo?
    Yes. While trademark law prevents you from using someone else's trademark to sell your competing products (you can't make and sell your own "Rolex" watches or name your blog "Newsweek"), it doesn't stop you from using the trademark to refer to the trademark owner or its products (offering repair services for Rolex watches or criticizing Newsweek's editorial decisions). That kind of use, known as "nominative fair use," is permitted if using the trademark is necessary to identify the products, services, or company you're talking about, and you don't use the mark to suggest the company endorses you. In general, this means you can use the company name in your review so people know which company or product you're complaining about. You can even use the trademark in a domain name (like walmartsucks.com), so long as it's clear that you're not claiming to be or speak for the company.

    Wouldn't it fall under nominative fair use?

    I highly doubt this lawsuit would actually go through, as I doubt the company makes enough money to spend thousands of dollars to even attempt to sue me.

    • If you are privy, how much would it actually cost to build a case against me and force me into court? (I don't live in the US).
    • Would there be negative consequences even if I moved the content to an offsite property? (like a web 2.0 blog, it would be a shame to lose its link juice)
    • Should I ask for compensation for my time wasted on this, to remove any mention of it from my properties? This is a serious question, it would cost a lot less for them... not extortion by any means, these people have seriously wasted my time with this rubbish. I'm also 99% sure they're the ones who neg SEO'd me, but that would be impossible to prove in court.

    Thanks for your time!
     
  12. mirrorer

    mirrorer Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Never,ever ask for money.You're screwed if you do that.They will accuse you for black mailing
     
  13. xplosiv

    xplosiv Power Member

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    Figures. If they offer money I would take it, because they have caused me significant damages too since we have competing interests. I rank right under their brand name and my website basically destroys all the credibility they have (very little to begin with).

    Anyway, what would be the process anyway? My host is being somewhat of an intermediary, they have not removed the pages or my website.

    Under what circumstances would they release my personal information to the other party?
     
  14. Finn

    Finn Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    When it comes to legal claims there is only solution in my opinion.

    Taking yourself a lawyer. The sooner the better.
     
  15. welshman

    welshman Power Member

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    Ok. Let me give you some thoughts. First of all I will disclose I own a webhosting company here on the UK. this means I'm thinking from a host's point of view as well.

    A couple of questions:

    1. Is your site hosting with a USA company? If yes, I would personally have a good chat with them, quoting the EFF quote above, and ask them, considering all the facts, "How likely would you take down my site/page/account"?

    I would also point to an article published by the Digital Media Law Project: http://www.dmlp.org/legal-guide/using-trademarks-others

    This will ensure you have peace of mind that you wont just wake up to find your account suspended.

    If they respond and say they might take down your site, I would move it to another host not in the USA.

    However, read that post by the Digital Media Law Project. I would say you have nothing to worry about.

    I would also suggest you find a lawyer to have a chat to, I don't know what country you are in, but I know here in the UK you can very often get a 30 min consultation for free to discuss with the lawyer. See if your country has something similar.
     
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  16. xplosiv

    xplosiv Power Member

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    Thanks mate, just read through the article and sent through an email to my webhost (Traffic Planet). I also believe I am relatively safe, because this is my personal opinion of the product. They are also claiming that it is trade libel, which is possible but it's hard to say where the line is drawn between (negative) opinion and defamation. I also live in Australia, which would make it extra irritating for them if it was pursued.

    On another note, would switching hosts and using a CDN (cloudflare, MaxCDN etc) be a good way to avoid people hassling me in the future?
    It may be an option to look into to remain anonymous.
     
  17. xplosiv

    xplosiv Power Member

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    One other thing: I actually looked into their trademark, and it seems a little bit suspicious.

    Few things I noticed:

    • The "owner" of the trademark supposedly lives in a mansion where many celebrities, TV shows, and music videos are shot.
    • The "attorney" listed is a high profile character that has taken down major sites on infringements
    • The company that owns this particular trademark (the one I'm being threatened for), has a PLAY on another VERY large exporting company. I may have to follow up with the company to see if they are related or not, which will bring the whole house of cards down...LOL!!
    For a small company, this is very suspicious, because I doubt any of the people listed in it are real, but the most obvious one is the mansion.
     
  18. welshman

    welshman Power Member

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    If I were in your position, I would look at para 25 of Traffic Planet's TOS.

    I would move account off a USA based host, and use Cloudflare. That way you could even host it in Australia and still be fast for the rest of the world.