Roca Labs Issues Bogus DMCA Takedown Notices To Google To Try To Hide PissedConsumer Reviews

from the keep-digging dept

Yes, we’re back again with another Roca Labs story already. Lawyer Ron Coleman alerts us to the latest ridiculous legal strategy by Roca Labs: send a DMCA notice to Google to try to hide the negative reviews of Roca Labs on PissedConsumer.com. As you know, Roca Labs is suing PissedConsumer because it hosts some negative reviews of Roca’s product (a claimed “alternative” to gastric bypass surgery). The DMCA notice in question claims that thumbnails used on the PissedConsumer reviews violate its copyright, and further, that PissedConsumer violates Roca Labs trademarks by using Roca Labs in the URL for the Roca Labs reviews.

The thumbnail image of Roca Labs copyrighted website that can be seen at the URL below. This thumbnail also contains the image of Roca Lab’s product that was photographed by Roca Labs and all copyrights are owned by Roca Labs (original studio image is not online). Furthermore, PissedConsumer.com directly uses the name Roca Labs which is a Registered trademarked property (US Registration No. 4145897). To be more specific, pissedconsumer.com uses our company name in the URL and pages.

Like many of the legal arguments from Roca Labs, these seem to be almost entirely bogus.

First, thumbnail images in this manner are almost certainly fair use — something Google knows darn well, since it was the key defendant in the case (Perfect 10 v. Google) that established this point. Even outside of that authority, a basic four factors analysis would easily show that using thumbnails for reviews is fair use.

Second, the DMCA is not to be used for trademark claims, as the DMCA does not cover trademark.

Third, even if it did, the URLs are clearly not infringing, as a huge number of rulings concerning “gripe sites” that use the name of the company they’re criticizing in their URL have found. When such sites are clearly not the originating company and there’s no likelihood of confusion, such URLs are nearly always found to be non-infringing.

Either way, this seems to fit Roca’s pattern of doing anything it can possibly do to try to suppress criticism of its product. It really makes you wonder why the company is so worried about letting customers give an opinion about their product, doesn’t it?

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Companies: google, pissedconsumer, roca labs

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Comments on “Roca Labs Issues Bogus DMCA Takedown Notices To Google To Try To Hide PissedConsumer Reviews”

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35 Comments
Mason Wheeler (profile) says:

Re: Fits Roca's pattern?

No. The courts have already let the bad guys get away with it, setting a very narrow, very bad precedent that the “penalty of perjury” bit only applies to one thing: that the person issuing the DMCA notice is authorized to issue DMCA notices on behalf of the rightsholder in question. It specifically does not create liability for bogus, fraudulent, or malicious takedowns.

tqk (profile) says:

Re: Snake oil scam

This is totally involuntary, only by repetition of bullshit legal actions that get rebuffed every time.

Jeebus. Can’t any of you intartubes freaks do ANY research for yourselves?!?!!!11 Fneh:

https://rocalabs.com/roca-labs-reviews :

“About 185,000 results on YouTube”.

We haven’t slept for weeks (WEEKS!) trying to keep up with the demand for our revolutionary product (*Results may vary.).

tqk (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

It’s almost like Mike and perhaps other media outlets conspired to hire Roca to go do stupid things so they can report about it and get viewer attention.

You stole that from me! I said pretty much exactly the same thing just this afternoon about something else, and accused Comedy Central for being behind it, but whatever, I’ll SEE YOU IN COURT!!!?!1?1111

Anonymous Coward says:

And here I was worried that the popcorn industry was going to go into a recession, just depending on the box office for it’s main income. Prenda has dried up as far as hearing much about it; which left me in dire need for entertainment.

Then we came into continued attractions with Kleargear, Charles Carreon, and now we have our latest star villain, Roca Labs.

If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop digging. ~ Will Rogers

Some folks never learn and for them I give one more Will Rogers quote that seems to fit.

There are three kinds of men: The ones that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. ~ Will Rogers

Anonymous Coward says:

Is it possible...

…that Roca Labs is clueless? And that all of this legal posturing is merely a cynical attempt to exploit their naivete’ to generate as many billable hours as possible?

Because that’s what it looks like. It looks like some attorneys who smelled easy money and have convinced Roca to go on a scorched-earth campaign against everyone over everything, knowing that the more legal entanglements Roca gets into, the bigger the legal bill is going to be. And it doesn’t matter if they win or not — Roca’s lawyers will still get paid.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Is it possible...

Ya know? You may not be that far off. Lawyers, as a general rule, have a pretty bad reputation (yes, I know, there are some sterling exceptions, like Marc Randazza) and it wouldn’t surprise me in the least that this is their main objective. Finding idiot clients, like Roca, is like unto finding a great Class-action client, instant and sustained money.

Adam Steinbaugh (profile) says:

Re: Is it possible...

Doubtful. I’ve exchanged a number of emails with their principal, who indicated that he knew that the motion for a preliminary injunction (against PissedConsumer) was a long shot, but felt it was necessary to try to force some type of policy change with respect to the CDA. That was my takeaway from the exchange, anyway. So I think they get that their cases may be long-shots, but think they have SOME chance of success, however remote.

Or they’re just making some kind of stand which is unlikely to convince anyone anywhere that the CDA should be changed.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Is it possible...

Thanks. And now I imagine I have a pretty good idea of what part they’re trying to change…

‘Effectively, this section immunizes both ISPs and Internet users from liability for torts committed by others using their website or online forum, even if the provider fails to take action after receiving actual notice of the harmful or offensive content.’

Yeah, I imagine they would love to have that little bit struck from the law.

Anonymous Coward says:

I’m not quite sure what the whole flap is about with Roca. They are doing nothing more than the time-honored selling of snake-oil treatments to a very gullible public. The, admittedly way over the top tactics they’re using fall right in line with their predecessors, who would be proud. These tactics are designed to maximize revenue intake before the FDA or the CDC or some other Government agency shuts them down for endangering the public. Popcorn anyone??

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