Copyright

by Tim Cushing


Filed Under:
censorship, copyright, dmca

Companies:
guard content



Anti-Piracy Service, Guard Content, 'Protects' Rights Holder From Additional Sales, His Own Kickstarter Page

from the HOW-DO-I-ANTIPIRATE dept

There's no shortage of competitors in the anti-piracy field. Most of the manual labor involved in issuing DMCA takedowns has been handed over to proprietary software -- turning this into a high-margin, low-effort business for content protection companies. Some are only occasionally competent. Some are frequently horrific. And some are like Guard Content.

Though claiming to be located mere blocks away from the Simpsons family in "Springfield, USA," almost every word on its site appears to be only a fair approximation of English, suggesting either outsourcing or a location far removed from the proverbial heart of the nation.

Guard Content's "Contact" page clarifies that the Springfield it calls home is actually in Illinois, but it does so in reverse while leading off with wording that suggests this may actually be the address of the company that created the website. And it wraps this up with "You are welcome!" which is no "Thank you! Come again!" but will have to do.


This address doesn't actually exist. East Princeton Ave. in Springfield, IL, only covers addresses from 600-1100, due to it being located between 6th and 11th Street. There is no "13 E Springfield Ave."


The area code (646) traces back to Manhattan, NY, further separating this contact information from reality. But it all comes together when you view the site registration info, which puts the site owner at "Iaran 5, Alabama, AL 36006" and lists a Ukrainian email address.


The Ukrainian email address makes more sense when any attempt to purchase Guard Content's services leads you to this:


But this is the Age of the Internet. Physical locations don't matter. The real question is: DOES IT WORK?

Let's take a look at the sales pitch.
Our organization different from other organizations that agents of our company work with clients on strategies to protect against piracy individually.
Excellent. Plenty of personal contact and a tailored application of Guard Content's "strategies," if I'm reading that more correctly than it's written.

Let's see some specifics:
We use a special anti-virus program that scans the Internet every day in search of stolen online products and goods.
Now, you're probably thinking to yourself, "I have content I'd like to protect, but since my offerings aren't viruses, will this service work for me?"

I DON'T KNOW.

I can only assume the internet continues to get safer every day, thanks to Guard Content's constant anti-virus scanning. It hits all the best places, too, like warez sites, "auction sites," cyberlockers and the always-popular "orrent sites."

Let's dig a little deeper. How does this powerful anti-virus software find infringing material?
Our software will scan the Internet open spaces in search of copyright infringement, and our agents will receive and process the information.
Ah, so it's not just the sites. It's the space between the sites. Got it.
Then we will send DMCA takedown obtained to get the content that really violated copyrights.
Presumably, content only slightly violated will be left untouched.
All information is carefully checked by our experts and the customer is always informed and is aware of all the events and happenings.
Well, I have my doubts about, well, several of these claims actually, but this last one in particular. We'll see why in a moment. But it should work well, considering the service starts at $80/mo. and tops out at $400/mo. It seems expensive, but not so much when you consider a "team of experts" is willing to serve you a physically-impossible "27 hours a day, 7 days a week." And, if nothing else, let's remember why we're all here: Napster or something.
A lot of people remember situation, when MP3 files was stolen illegal from computer of sound record company and owners lost not just files, they lost millions. This example of internet piracy, and it is not the most horrible one.
Guard Content's "team of experts" seems to have all of three clients at the moment, but we're going to focus on Rob Percival, who doesn't seem to be getting his money's worth, despite receiving a majority of Guard Content's attention.

Rob Percival successfully Kickstarted a set of "complete iOS developer courses," which he now sells through Udemy and other outlets. I know this because Guard Content tried to have his Kickstarter page delisted by Google. The DMCA notice also targeted several legitimate outlets connecting potential buyers with Percival's offerings. It also attempted to delist pages at Reddit, Apple.com, makeuseof.com and Quora, where Percival's courses are discussed and recommended.

Not content with "saving" Percival from additional sales, Guard Content also targeted a random developer's LinkedIn page. And, for no apparent reason (other than completely misunderstanding what Chilling Effects does), Guard Content asked for the removal of 13 of its previous takedown requests from the DMCA archival service.

This isn't an anomaly. Guard Content does consistently low-quality work for Percival, either by duplicating previous requests or by targeting pages based on little more than the presence of words like "iOS," "Udemy" or "online course."


In another request, it tried to take down Kickstarter pages for two iOS developers, as well as two pages of courses at Udemy.com offered by other developers. Other stupidity/ineptitude contained within this DMCA takedown request include demands to remove stories from Businessweek and MacWorld, as well as the demand for the takedown of the entire PeerTorrent.com domain.

Fortunately for everyone involved, Google is less stupid than Guard Content's requests. The legitimate links remain live and accessible via the world's largest search engine. But this is a "service" Guard Content charges actual money for -- and, in Percival's case -- it would be doing more harm than good if it weren't for the recipient of the requests being vastly more competent than the sender.

I've let Rob Percival know about Guard Content's blundering efforts on his behalf. I assume he'll probably find his anti-piracy dollars are better spent elsewhere. An easy, accessible system for combating infringement is a generally a good thing. The problem is twofold: this means anyone can file a request, no matter their personal level of competence. Secondly, low quality "services" are not only taking advantage of this option, but they're taking advantage of their customers.


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Jun 2015 @ 8:16am

    I think we just found out_of_the_blue, guys!

    Which would explain his recent absence. Troll's been busy trying to do *cough, cough* actual work for a change.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Jun 2015 @ 8:26am

    Shocking

    After all this much good english someone signed up for their service? Even after looking at that QR code login site?

    Well ok, it's someone who creates iOS tuts via kickstarter.

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Bemused Visitor, 19 Jun 2015 @ 8:40am

    HOLY CRAP! "An easy, accessible system for combating infringement is a generally a good thing."!!!!

    I have wandered into an alternate universe! Surprisingly, it's a better one, where "other people's content" is protected, and "combating infringement is a generally a good thing". -- Either that or the Techdirt that I knew has been DNS spoofed. Whew. I have to go lie down now...

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Jun 2015 @ 8:53am

      Re: HOLY CRAP! "An easy, accessible system for combating infringement is a generally a good thing."!!!!

      Especially when protecting "other people's content" involves trying to block their kickstarter page, shop page, and various pages where the product is discussed.

      You should really start reading the whole article and maybe twice just to make sure you understand it.

      At least we are on the same page that the concept of copy right is weird. Why else would you put other peoples content in "? ;)

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Jun 2015 @ 8:53am

      Re: HOLY CRAP! "An easy, accessible system for combating infringement is a generally a good thing."!!!!

      You know, so few men are so willing to publicly explore, at such depth and unamusing detail as you evince, the Whiny Bitch aspects of their personalities.

      I tip my hat to you, sir.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Jun 2015 @ 8:57am

      Re: HOLY CRAP! "An easy, accessible system for combating infringement is a generally a good thing."!!!!

      Maybe you have been reading some weird alternate universe techdirt. From my readings and discussions, combating infringement is has always been good thing. Just that no one has actually been able to do that without harming the rights of others or that take downs are being abused.

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

      • icon
        John Fenderson (profile), 19 Jun 2015 @ 9:05am

        Re: Re: HOLY CRAP! "An easy, accessible system for combating infringement is a generally a good thing."!!!!

        This. But according to many of the trolls here, if you object to innocent others being harmed by copyright then you're a filthy, artist-hating pirate.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 19 Jun 2015 @ 10:39am

          Re: Re: Re: HOLY CRAP! "An easy, accessible system for combating infringement is a generally a good thing."!!!!

          Pirate? Really? Since when do people who use torrent threaten the lives of others with guns?

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

          • icon
            Jeremy2020 (profile), 19 Jun 2015 @ 2:37pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: HOLY CRAP! "An easy, accessible system for combating infringement is a generally a good thing."!!!!

            The RIAA/MPAA says we're not supposed to use the term pirate anymore because Johnny Depp is too sexy.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 20 Jun 2015 @ 11:44am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: HOLY CRAP! "An easy, accessible system for combating infringement is a generally a good thing."!!!!

            I have to admit, after reading this, I envisioned some Somali pirates pointing a water cannon at a US Navy boat and threatening them....

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Jun 2015 @ 9:00am

      Re: HOLY CRAP! "An easy, accessible system for combating infringement is a generally a good thing."!!!!

      did you notice how the 'service' even tried to take the 'protected' person's content. That is generally, not a good thing.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Jun 2015 @ 9:05am

      Re: HOLY CRAP! "An easy, accessible system for combating infringement is a generally a good thing."!!!!

      you forgot the HR tag

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

    • icon
      Gwiz (profile), 19 Jun 2015 @ 9:13am

      Re: HOLY CRAP! "An easy, accessible system for combating infringement is a generally a good thing."!!!!

      I have wandered into an alternate universe! Surprisingly, it's a better one, where "other people's content" is protected, and "combating infringement is a generally a good thing". -- Either that or the Techdirt that I knew has been DNS spoofed.


      Or maybe you've had an epiphany and are coming to the realization that the strawman "Techdirt" you've built up in your own mind isn't actually anywhere close to reality.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Jun 2015 @ 9:26am

      Re: HOLY CRAP! "An easy, accessible system for combating infringement is a generally a good thing."!!!!

      Save your energy blue. I am sure the IMAX story is going to hit here soon. You'll want to be ready for it.

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

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 22 Jun 2015 @ 12:11am

      Re: HOLY CRAP! "An easy, accessible system for combating infringement is a generally a good thing."!!!!

      "Whew. I have to go lie down now..."

      When the real world starts to intrude on the alternate fantasy world that the delusional patient has constructed, it can take a lot out of that person's energy levels. It's OK. Relax, breathe, have a lie down and continue taking your meds. At some point your obsession will fade, your hallucinations cease and you may be able to re-enter normal society at some point. I'm glad your treatment is finally working.

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

  • icon
    Nigel Lew (profile), 19 Jun 2015 @ 9:48am

    Certainly a quick icann report will force their hand to A. update their dodgy info or B. lose there domain.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Jun 2015 @ 9:51am

    The only hits for

    Iaran 5, Alabama, AL 36006

    is this article

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Jun 2015 @ 9:54am

    Best article I've read in awhile, was seriously lmao

    If ppl are paying ppl like this to do such a shitty job i sometimes wondering hiw well i would do just by actually putting in a tiny bit of effort, probably alot better than modt of these guys lol

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Jun 2015 @ 10:16am

      Re:

      Well on Duckduckgo "complete iOS developer courses" with the quotes return two results, both this article on one directly, and one via a Techdirt search, so that would be easy to deal with. The search without the quotes returns lot more results, but Duckduckgo does not tell me how many. results. On Google the results are two for the quoted string and 10,7000,000 (Yep thats nearly eleven million) for the unquoted string, sifting through those might keep you occupied for a little while. It would only take you 123 days to give a second to each result, or 3 years at a more reasonable, yet rapid look 10 secs a result, and that is without stopping to eat, drink or sleep.

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

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 19 Jun 2015 @ 12:11pm

    Honestly, I can't help but find this downright hilarious. I mean, these 'content protection' agencies always have abysmal accuracy, so someone innocent being hassled and targeted is pretty much a given, but to have it be the very one that hired them? That's just comedy gold, and I find it perfectly fitting.

    Hire someone who doesn't care about collateral damage, and find yourself the victim of that mentality, seems like the best case scenario to me.

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

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 20 Jun 2015 @ 12:26am

    And even in the face of this latest bloom of those who promise the moon & deliver moldy cheese... they will still tell us the DMCA is not broken.

    Until there is a fee to file, a penalty when you file absolute trash, & something to punish repeat offenders beyond that... this type of crap will continue. Hell for every 100th bad takedown open the door to ding the actual rightsholder for staying with a crap provider.

    The people at the top only seem to care about numbers, oh look Martha - Content Protect filed 300,000,000 takedowns last month... they are worth the money.
    What they do not see or understand is that 299,999,999 of them were invalid or targeted the legal routes to the content. Content Protect isn't going to tell the people employing them that their work is crap, they want to get paid. We need to cut into their profits, to force them to evolve to a real business that doesn't just submit every link from a Google search.
    Perhaps Google might even use part of the penalty payments to send a note to the actual rightsholders showing the absolute failure of many of these companies to protect content.

    I've seen polished sites and now this new low, but the single constant has been a very high number of these content protecting operations (even those from "reputable" companies) are total crap. Once again everyone else has to bear the costs & burdens of these poor monopoly holders. If they understood these methods were not actually helping, perhaps they might understand that creating easier access to legal content is better than living in the past where they had total control.

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

  • identicon
    David, 20 Jun 2015 @ 1:39pm

    HOLY CRAP! "An easy, accessible system for combating infringement is a generally a good thing."!!!!

    I know that they offer the lowest prices

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

  • icon
    Sheogorath (profile), 25 Jun 2015 @ 7:39pm

    Arrrr! I'm Cap'n Jack Sparrow, ye swabs! P)

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


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