Failure As A Service: Reputation Defenders Batting .000 Against Google's DMCA Team

from the 'well,-at-first-sucking-at-stuff-was-just-a-hobby...' dept

Yet another person is trying to abuse the DMCA takedown system to bury criticism. "Trying" is the key word here. So is "failing," because that's all "Reputation Defenders" has done so far. Since December 2015, Reputation Defenders has issued at least 38 DMCA notices. And to date (its latest request was May 23, 2017), it has yet to see Google delist a single URL.

There's no information to help track down this inept defender of reputations. It could be the one promoted in this YouTube video. Or it could be this former trucker turned reputation management guru. Ultimately, it probably doesn't matter.

The attempted takedowns -- with few exceptions -- target Ripoff Report. The first few efforts start with a very basic assertion of very questionable "facts."

We own the copyrighted names of "Barewire" and "www.http://www.barewire.us" and "Barewire Ltd"

Unlikely. This would be a trademark issue, not a copyright one. And even if it were a copyright issue (and it isn't), someone using a company name to complain about said company isn't, and never has been, copyright (or trademark) infringement.

After a few failures, Reputation Defender changed tactics. Maybe the problem was too few bogus assertions.

We own the copyrighted names anjd phrases: Gino Parker Gino Parker Houston Gino Parker Texas Gino John Industrial Surplus Gino Parker Oil City Surplus shawn Parker Oil City Surplus Rocky Mitchell Oil City Surplus Jimmy John Oil City Surplus Steve John Oil City Surplus Mark John Oil City Surplus shawn Parker Industrial Surplus Rocky Mitchell Industrial Surplus Jimmy John Industrial Surplus Steve John Industrial Surplus Mark John Industrial Surplus Gino John United Surplus Buyers Gino Parker United Surplus Buyers shawn Parker United Surplus Buyers Rocky Mitchell United Surplus Buyers Jimmy John United Surplus Buyers Steve John United Surplus Buyers Mark John United Surplus Buyers This page is using my personal name, company name and personal details without my permission or consent and they are breaking the law under the 1998 European Data protection act. Specifically the clause " not use the data in ways that have unjustified adverse effects on the individuals concerned" this is having an "unjustified adverse effects" on me and my business. The claims made on the page are also completely false.

Again, at best a trademark issue, and even so, no infringement occurred when any Gino Parker variation was used to criticize Geno Parker and his business(es). That includes the UK Data Protection Act Gino Parker/Reputation Defenders quote directly (but somehow fail to correctly name), which has nothing to do with online reviews, but rather the handling of personal information gathered by private companies. Ripoff Report isn't British and the personal data it gathers would be that of reviewers on its site, not those reviewed.

Some time after that, Reputation Defenders apparently viewed the Facebook "take back your copyright" hoax and decided it was what this... um... business model was missing.

We own the copyrighted name of Keith Cleversley. The www.ripoffreport.com page is using my company name and details without my permission or consent and they are breaking the 1988 Berne convention copyright law that USA and Canada signed up for in 1988. Specifically the clause" not use the data in ways that have unjustified adverse effects on the individuals concerned" this is having an "unjustified adverse effects" on me and my business. The claims made on the page are also completely false.

The infamous Berne Convention, which is continually quoted by people who know nothing about intellectual property law but are pretty sure it must forbid stuff they don't like. This DMCA notice is twice as stupid because it cites the Berne Convention but quotes the UK Data Protection Act.

Shortly thereafter, Reputation Defenders' notices drop the Data Protection Act wording but retain the moronic Berne Convention claims, presumably in hopes that it might luck into some wholly-unearned wins in the delisting column.

We own the copyright of Clear Flow Water Solutions. The www.ripoffreport.com page is using my company name and details without our permission or consent and they are breaking the 1988 Berne convention copyright law that USA and Canada signed up for in 1988.

To be sure, this is abuse of the system. But it can probably be chalked up to stupidity, rather than malice. We can only hope that those who've retained Reputation Defenders' "services" are only obligated to pay for results.

Filed Under: copyright, dmca, reputation management, takedowns
Companies: reputation defender


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  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 5 Jun 2017 @ 9:56am

    "We can only hope that those who've retained Reputation Defenders' "services" are only obligated to pay for results."

    Oh I don't hope. I hope it has costed and it still costs (in the form of fines) a lot of money. To discourage future abuses. If you've done something wrong or questionable in the past just deal with it, trying to bury it by abusing the legal system is hardly going to help to rebuild your reputation.

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

  • icon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 5 Jun 2017 @ 9:57am

    Except

    If their clients pay them either way, then from that perspective they are batting 1.000. It's a business...I guess. Many businesses get paid whether they deliver, or not (ever go to a movie and leave unsatisfied?).

    When will 'Reputation Defenders' get listed on Ripoff Reports as a ripoffer?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Jun 2017 @ 10:25am

      Re: Except

      "businesses get paid whether they deliver, or not"

      Only for so long

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

    • icon
      Takumi (profile), 6 Jun 2017 @ 1:59am

      Re: Except

      If you find a movie unsatisfying, they've still delivered the service you asked for. We're talking getting all the advertisements on the screen but failing to even show the movie.

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

    • identicon
      Wendy Cockcroft, 7 Jun 2017 @ 5:31am

      Re: Except

      The first mistake is taking ROR seriously as a consumer review site. It's not, it's an extortion scheme. If you should find yourself the target of a drama troll, as I was (okay, so you're being threatened with the ruin of your business via negative articles on a range of online platforms after paying thousands of $currency for a website you're complaining to the designer about. Do you a) go to the police, then take your antagonist to court? or b) Complain about your antagonist on a review site?), you may find that no matter what proof you provide that it's a troll post, that thing is staying up even if you get a court order and pay them. They will only remove the legally defamatory comments and leave the rest up.

      If Reputation Defenders hasn't been listed as a rip-offer yet, it will be sooner or later. The thing is, will anybody take its ROR review seriously? It's as dodgy as hell, per the Consumerist.

      Should you find yourself a target, as I was, just post a rebuttal with whatever evidence you have and leave it. Then behave online as you wish to be viewed; people will make their own minds up. My own reputation doesn't seem to have suffered, despite the efforts of the troll.

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

  • icon
    Roger Strong (profile), 5 Jun 2017 @ 10:02am

    Pissant

    noun:

    1. an insignificant or contemptible person or thing.

    adjective:

    1. worthless; contemptible.

    Reputation Defenders: We own the copyright of pissant under the Berne UK DMCA Convention Act. Well, more of a trademark or patent, really. We've made it our own.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Jun 2017 @ 11:01am

    They should hire "Redundancy Defenders" to shore up their notices.

    the 1988 Berne convention copyright law that USA and Canada signed up for in 1988.

    As opposed to the 1988 Berne convention copyright law that USA and Canada signed up for in 2004?

    I guess that's not really any different than the 1776 Declaration of Independence that USA wrote in 1776... or the election to elect the president by election?

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

    • icon
      Roger Strong (profile), 5 Jun 2017 @ 11:13am

      Re:

      Aw, c'mon. The treaty date and the date a country signs on or ratifies it can be different. Just like the Declaration of Independence may be from 1776, but the US didn't win independence until 1784.

      (If US independence didn't require British acknowledgement, then it would seem logical that Confederate independence didn't require Union acknowledgement. A contention the Union *vigorously* disputed.)

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Jun 2017 @ 12:20pm

    bully tactics

    Unfortunately most websites are not nearly as big and wealthy as Google, with a legal department and budget no common IP troll can ever hope to match.

    All it takes is for someone to threaten legal action because some tiny site posts a user comment they don't like, only to have the site admin reflexifely delete the offending material on demand.

    Techdirt is one of the very few small sites that isn't intimidated by threats of a baseless lawsuit it can't afford to fight. (Perhaps a fatal flaw, we'll see, but it's always nice to see someone stand up to the bullies on principle)

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Jun 2017 @ 3:16pm

      Re: bully tactics

      While there are many idiots that have threatened Techdirt with baseless lawauits, it's fortunately been rare that one has been so spectacularly, maliciously stupid *coughayyaduraicough* as to actually attempt to follow through with those threats.

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

  • identicon
    Christenson, 5 Jun 2017 @ 12:21pm

    Article editing for the picky....

    *****
    The infamous Berne Convention, which is continually quoted by people who know nothing about intellectual property law but are pretty sure it must forbid stuff they don't like.
    ****

    What about those of us that *know* the Berne convention forbids stuff we don't like...like short copyright terms??

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Jun 2017 @ 1:55pm

    when i search the internet . . .

    "reputation" - returns a wikipedia entry about reputation
    "defender" - makes me think of the 90's classic, but the internet returns windows defender...the free antivirus

    "repuation defender" returns a Forbes article questioning if it is a worthwhile service

    these guys need to drink their own koolade

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Jun 2017 @ 2:19pm

    What I want to know, who is the biggest con artists, the reputation managers or those who employ them?

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

  • identicon
    David, 6 Jun 2017 @ 12:31am

    Batting zero?

    The reputation defenders may have ultimately won nothing in court.

    But you have to view them like doctors fighting death: ultimately, every doctor is batting zero if you reckon just the end result.

    The question is not whether the ball ultimately drops but how long you manage to keep it up.

    If you can tie up the bad news about your company four years in court, by the time it surfaces, you can call it old news.

    Sometimes things are as stupid as that. If they weren't, advertising and elections would look a lot differently.

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

  • identicon
    kjr, 6 Jun 2017 @ 6:00am

    You own what?

    We own the copyrighted names of (...) "www.http://www.barewire.us"

    Noooo, that's not how you internet at allllll

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

  • identicon
    Chuck, 8 Jun 2017 @ 9:22am

    Easy Solution

    I have an easy, one-step solution to all your reputation woes. Here it is, free of charge:

    1) Always treat the customer as though they are right.

    That's it. If you do that, you will never have any reputation problems.

    What, you can't do that? Then you deserve all the bad online reviews you get, plain and simple.

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


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