Designer Knockoff Enthusiast Issues DMCA Notice Targeting Half The Internet, Fails To Remove A Single URL

from the if-at-first-you-don't-succeed,-repeat-yourself-ad-nauseum dept

Eva Knox runs a site dedicated to the discussion of knockoff designer goods. This is probably not the best launching pad for infringement accusations, but whatever. Knox is a very prolific issuer of DMCA takedown notices. She issued 276 notices over a two-week period in May, targeting (used only in the vaguest sense) over 8,500 URLs.

Her fourth notice was a monster: 486 URLs targeted. How many did Google delist? ZERO.


Knox went after everybody, claiming somewhat incomprehensibly that some sort of infringement was happening, possibly due to "hacking."
The article that was published on my blog together with the layout and design features of my blog have been copied and published elsewhere to manipulate Search Engine results and to redirect traffic to another website. A snippet of the article I wrote and published on my blog and that was copied and published on a hacked website can be found below: "Do You Only Love It Because You Can’t Afford It? There’s a reason that I wholeheartedly say ‘I love replica handbags’, and it’s not just the price point. Replica is created because someone wants to buy it, not because some designer skipped his morning coffee and went a little haywire with his designs! Now don’t get offended we have all seen the ugly Frankenstein creations that some of our favourite designers have turned out. My haute couture senses are tingling. This clutch is a little on the ‘arty’ side, so perhaps I can give designer Kathleen Dustin a break and … oh, pardon? What was that you said? You’ve made a clutch shaped like an artichoke and you’d like me to pay exorbitant amounts of money for the privilege of storing my car keys and in a vegetable? Right" Please note that some webpages appearing in Google’s search results, and presently notified, have been hacked in order to redirect to other websites.
Who did she claim was copying and publishing her work, either intentionally or through "hacked webpages?" Well, Techdirt was named twice, for two posts having nothing to do with knockoff handbags or anything listed in her takedown notice.

That's how I came across the DMCA notice. But it's not just Techdirt being accused of infringement. It's a veritable cross-section of the internet. Personal blogs, dodgier fashion sites and a variety of established internet entities were listed in her takedown notice. Here's a short list of some of the more notable inclusions:
Archive.org (targeting five books archived in .txt format)
Mother Jones
CNN.com
Reddit
Barnes & Noble
Metafilter
New York Times
TSA.gov
BBC
Copblock
IMDb
NPR.org
TIME
Washington Post
Y Combinator
Now, not only does the DMCA takedown target sites that don't contain anything approaching the disputed content (not even in the form of "CHEAP DESIGNER REPLICA BAG" spam comments), but in some cases asks for the takedown of entire sites, rather than individual posts. Of the 14 URLs listed at Wordpress.com, five ask for the takedown of entire blogs. Another site is targeted for the delisting of search results for eleven different individual letters. (ex: "http://sitesrv.tank.jp/css/us/brands/Babyliss/?Search=Y")

Nothing about the takedown notices makes sense, much less Knox's decision to keep issuing them after going 0-486 on her fourth request. She doesn't seem to be deterred in the slightest, despite a success rate of only about 20%.


I'm not sure how Knox's internet works, but here in the unhacked world, nearly everything she has asked to be delisted doesn't infringe on her blog posts.

But that's only the tip of the WTF iceberg. Eva Knox has also targeted her own website for delisting 55 times, with one takedown notice asking for the removal of 23 of her own posts.


On top of that, this same takedown request asks for the removal of two of her previous takedown requests (as spotbags.cn) at Chilling Effects. This is something she has done repeatedly -- although it's tough to tell whether this is an attempt to bury her notices or just another fundamental misunderstanding of her search results.


WAIT. THERE'S MORE.

Knox is also apparently issuing takedown requests under the name "Aida Brown," targeting 1,900 URLs with 58 notices. If this isn't her real name (and information on her website leads me to believe it isn't), then this is plain old perjury.

I've reached out to Knox for some clarification as to how she comes to the conclusion that all these sites are ripping off her content. I'm not really expecting an answer. Someone is seeing something very strange on their end of the internet but I have a feeling this "proprietary view" won't be shared with the rest of us. Strangely, her blog posts are competently written and she's very responsive in her comment section, so this doesn't seem to be "crazy person has keyboard" sort of thing. But there's no logical connection between the requests and the posts targeted, other than discussions of replica designer goods, at best. Many of those targeted in the 0-486 takedown notice aren't even remotely connected to the blog post in question.

I'll update if more information comes my way. In the meantime, everyone's welcome to play Internet Detective and compile their own theories.


Reader Comments

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  • icon
    Violynne (profile), 17 Jun 2015 @ 7:53am

    "...so this doesn't seem to be "crazy person has keyboard" sort of thing."

    Everyone who files a DMCA notice is "crazy person has keyboard".

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), 17 Jun 2015 @ 8:43am

    "compile their own theories"

    We don't need theories, its the Internet, so we can make unfounded suppositions. Like the one that somehow TSA.gov, Copblock, IMDB, and NPR are conspiring to steal her intellectual property.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Jun 2015 @ 12:54pm

      Re:

      ...are conspiring to steal her intellectual property...

      Her 'intellectual property' is "knockoff goods", so how's that different than the originals? Wouldn't the original designer(s) have more IP rights than her?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    John Fenderson (profile), 17 Jun 2015 @ 9:47am

    Ohpleaseohplease

    Eva Knox has also targeted her own website for delisting 55 times, with one takedown notice asking for the removal of 23 of her own posts.


    Oh, please tell me that Google complied with those particular takedown notices.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Ninja (profile), 17 Jun 2015 @ 10:46am

      Re: Ohpleaseohplease

      I'd guess they already have filters up to send her e-mails directly to the trash. That would include snail mail.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      PRMan, 17 Jun 2015 @ 10:53am

      Re: Ohpleaseohplease

      Actually, spotbags.cn was the only one I spotted that might be legit as I took it (without looking) as a Chinese ripoff of her real site.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), 17 Jun 2015 @ 9:51am

    I have a few theories, but I don't want to say them. Someone might take those theories and use them to write this off as some anomaly instead of another example of why DMCA takedowns are a bad thing.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      Bull, 17 Jun 2015 @ 11:21am

      Response to: Chronno S. Trigger on Jun 17th, 2015 @ 9:51am

      What a great comment, "screen name"! Unwittingly revealing!

      1) You don't have several theories. Just usual fanboy lying. Trot them out, then. Double-D DARE you. Several means more than two.

      2) You already know it's an anomaly, have that ingrained.

      3) You fear comments so now self-censor.*

      Therefore, I've won.


      * The name "Bull" is because you are COWED, get it?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 17 Jun 2015 @ 11:38am

        Re: Response to: Chronno S. Trigger on Jun 17th, 2015 @ 9:51am

        I note she presents no proof that Chrono is lying.
        Therefore she loses.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Gwiz (profile), 17 Jun 2015 @ 12:15pm

        Re: Response to: Chronno S. Trigger on Jun 17th, 2015 @ 9:51am

        Therefore, I've won.


        Actually, your comment is the one that is unwittingly revealing, Blue.

        That you view Techdirt's comment section as a battlefield where the exchanges must be "won" says quite a bit about your character and morals.

        Most everyone else is here to have thoughtful discussions and to possibly learn from opposing viewpoints and for the occasional laugh.

        BTW, in my humble opinion, I would have to say that your actual debate winning percentage over the years here on Techdirt is somewhere around 2 or 3%. Making a comment then ignoring each and every rebuttal to that comment that shows how wrong you are is an overall loss in my book.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 17 Jun 2015 @ 1:57pm

          Re: Re: Response to: Chronno S. Trigger on Jun 17th, 2015 @ 9:51am

          "I would have to say that your actual debate winning percentage over the years here on Techdirt is somewhere around 2 or 3%."

          You're being extremely generous.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 17 Jun 2015 @ 5:36pm

          Re: Re: Response to: Chronno S. Trigger on Jun 17th, 2015 @ 9:51am

          I'd rate blue's actual debate winning percentage, but numbers don't go that low.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Kalean, 17 Jun 2015 @ 12:35pm

        Re: Response to: Chronno S. Trigger on Jun 17th, 2015 @ 9:51am

        Are... are you real?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          sorrykb (profile), 17 Jun 2015 @ 12:39pm

          Re: Re: Response to: Chronno S. Trigger on Jun 17th, 2015 @ 9:51am

          I'd assumed it was parody.
          It wasn't?

          My parody-meter is completely broken.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 17 Jun 2015 @ 2:09pm

            Re: Re: Re: Response to: Chronno S. Trigger on Jun 17th, 2015 @ 9:51am

            > My parody-meter is completely broken.

            Put it on the pile, beside the broken sarcasm-detectors and the worn out clue-sticks.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            nasch (profile), 17 Jun 2015 @ 3:46pm

            Re: Re: Re: Response to: Chronno S. Trigger on Jun 17th, 2015 @ 9:51am

            I'd assumed it was parody.
            It wasn't?


            That was my assumption. I voted it funny either way.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 17 Jun 2015 @ 2:14pm

        Re: Response to: Chronno S. Trigger on Jun 17th, 2015 @ 9:51am

        Dude, thanks again. You don't know how many people you have converted to the 'dark side.'

        Keep the posts coming! We need to get the word out and you are doing a great job of radicallizing new TechDirt followers.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Ninja (profile), 17 Jun 2015 @ 11:57am

      Re:

      I think you hit him in that naughty spot..

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), 17 Jun 2015 @ 10:17am

    One additional theory

    I'll throw a theory into the ring: elimination of competition. Those sites listed above aren't, but lots of her takedowns target other fashion blogs/sites writing about/selling replica handbags, etc. Could be an especially inept form of SEO.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    sorrykb (profile), 17 Jun 2015 @ 10:26am

    Strangely, her blog posts are competently written and she's very responsive in her comment section, so this doesn't seem to be "crazy person has keyboard" sort of thing.

    Profound mental illness and competent writing are not mutually exclusive.

    That said, could she be using some bizarre keyword (or not even keyword) search? My completely unscientific survey of her fourth notice shows that the word "fake" appears at least once in every one of the Yelp and Wordpress pages cited. The same word appears 15 times in the offending techdirt article. (It's a fairly common word, and it doesn't appear in some of the other pages I noticed as I jumped around the list, but don't kill my fakescience buzz with your inconvenient facts. And maybe she's searching for other words as well.)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Jun 2015 @ 10:31am

    FYI, you have a typo in your headline. It should read:

    DMCA Notice Enthusiast Issues Blog on Designer Knockoffs ...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Jun 2015 @ 10:38am

    Infinite Monkey Theorem

    The infinite monkey theorem states that a monkey hitting keys at random on a typewriter keyboard for an infinite amount of time will almost surely type a given text, such as the complete works of William Shakespeare, or a complete set of DMCA notices for all of the interwebs.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Jun 2015 @ 1:52pm

      Re: Infinite Monkey Theorem

      What about infinite cats running across her keyboard? I somehow see her as owning lots of cats, not monkeys.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Jun 2015 @ 10:39am

    is Eva Knox a fraud?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Daniel, 17 Jun 2015 @ 10:39am

    Irony

    She is advocating taking away someone's fake content that was taken from her site about taking someone's fake knock offs?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Jun 2015 @ 10:45am

    What she may be up to...

    She may just be trying to flood Google with so many bogus notices that Google eventually misses the one valid one she slips in amongst the rest. She can then file suit on the one that got away. Profit!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Jun 2015 @ 10:59am

    Just a thought, but maybe Google Ad-sense is picking up her looking at lots of bags online and is attempting to sell her them through ads. That would make sense that she is seeing content that in her eyes is 'infringing' on websites that have nothing to do about replica bags. It sounds like somebody might be a little too much like our legislators and not know how the internet works.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Jun 2015 @ 11:20am

    Who did she claim was copying and publishing her work, either intentionally or through "hacked webpages?" Well, Techdirt was named twice, for two posts having nothing to do with knockoff handbags or anything listed in her takedown notice.

    I think she is complaining about scraper sites. Good luck, they suck.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Jun 2015 @ 11:21am

    Are we certain this isn't a program instead of a real insane person?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    jhitesma (profile), 17 Jun 2015 @ 11:22am

    Seems obvious to me.

    My guess is articles like this one are exactly what she's looking for. It's a marketing/seo scam.

    She's just looking to make headlines to draw more traffic and get more links from quality sites pointing back to her.

    It's good for a laugh, but like feeding a troll this story is probably exactly the result she was looking for.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Jun 2015 @ 11:33am

    Wikipedia is not in the list. WOW

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 17 Jun 2015 @ 12:01pm

    Why not?

    Given there are no penalties, no matter how clearly bogus a claim is, why not fire off DMCA claims to any site she can think of? Heck, it could very well be a freakin' hobby of hers for all we know.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Jun 2015 @ 3:52pm

      Re: Why not?

      Thats basically what my theory was.. Maybe she is more clever than we are giving her credit for and this whole thing has been a personal statement of how silly the DMCA system is.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Bamboo Harvester (profile), 17 Jun 2015 @ 12:54pm

    Here's a short list

    ...TSA.gov...

    TSA makes so little from what they steal they had to get into the knockoff handbag market?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Matthew Cline (profile), 17 Jun 2015 @ 4:35pm

    The article that was published on my blog together with the layout and design features of my blog
    Maybe she thinks that DMCA notices can be used for look-and-feel "voilations"?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Jun 2015 @ 8:02am

    I think www.spotbags.cn is basically a fake review site. The blogger directs business to 'her' own sites and gives bad reviews to others. The whois info is revealing, but all of the sites (with good or bad reviews) feel a little scammy. Why the DMCA's? I don't know.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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