Convicted Felon Ask Google To Delist Multiple Government Websites Because His Name Is Protected By 'Common Law Trademark'

from the 'add-it-to-my-fuckups-tab' dept

You don't often see the FBI's website targeted by a DMCA takedown notice, but when you do, you can be sure there's someone with a criminal record behind it. The last time we saw this happening, it was convicted fraudster Sean Gjerde, who thought he could perform his own reputation management by copy-pasting the FBI's press release onto his own website as part of a "book" he was "writing," and then begin issuing bogus takedown notices targeting content he didn't create. And he would have gotten away with it, too, if not for all the reasons he was NEVER GOING TO GET AWAY WITH IT.

Enter Anthony Lewis Jerdine, someone with a bit of reputation to clean up. Over the past decade, Jerdine has been imprisoned for bank fraud, made the US Marshals fugitive list, been sanctioned for unauthorized practice of law, been called a vexatious litigant by the Ohio court system, and, lest we forget, formed a trust in his own name.

There are many reasons to form a trust. Jerdine's reason -- an apparent SEO gambit -- is none of them. Jerdine, like many people who don't understand search engines, the internet, intellectual property law, or the Streisand effect, seems to believe if he shouts "TRADEMARK and/or COPYRIGHT" loudly enough, magical things will happen.

Here's the text of his DMCA takedown request, which compares favorably to the word salad periodically passed around Facebook as a supposed way for users to "reclaim" their copyrights from Big Blue.

Copyright of trade-name/trademark ANTHONY LEWIS JERFIBE TRUST including any and all derivatives and variations in the spelling, i.e. NOT limited to all capitalized names: ANTHONY LEWIS JERDINE TRUST, JERDINE, ALJ, ANTHONY JERDINE, JERDINE ANTHONY, ANTHONY L. JERDINE, AJ JERDINE, ALJ JERDINE, ANTHONY LEWIS JERDINE, or any derivatives thereof are under Copyright 1989. Said common-law trade-name/trademark, ANTHONY LEWIS JERDINE TRUST

That's the "description" of the "work" Jerdine feels Google should delist, somehow misconstruing his granted trust (obtained April 2016) to be an IP shelter for his tarnished name and any variation of it that might appear on sites where his criminal misdeeds have been detailed.

You might be able to copyright/trademark a name, but you can't stop people from using it when writing about you. McDonald's is a trademarked name, but anyone can write about McDonald's without stepping on its IP protections. The same goes for Jerdine's name, attached or unattached to his trust.

Because there's no requirement that users understand the laws they're invoking when filing takedown requests, Jerdine is asking Google to go ahead and delist ENTIRE websites simply because unfavorable things about him appear somewhere in their pages. In addition to demanding Google remove the FBI's entire website from its listings, Jerdine also wants a large number of public records sites kicked (entirely) to the search results curb.

Jerdine is so concerned about the "misuse" of his name he can't even be bothered to target the specific URLs containing information about him. Not that it matters, Google hasn't delisted anything and Jerdine's reputation, while under new mismanagement, hasn't really gained any ground.

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  1. icon
    Dan (profile), 22 Nov 2016 @ 12:19pm

    Re: Trust?

    Replying to my own comment--no, the bogus trust has nothing to do with SEO. I still haven't parsed through the 30+ pages of gibberish (and I'm pretty sure that making a serious attempt to do so would cause my head to explode), but the short of it is that it's a gambit to attempt to register his independence from the government (at least at the federal, and quite possibly at the state and local levels as well). Here's some further information on the subject for the truly interested:

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