1st dmca complaint ever and they want me to remove links?

by 111 comments
I received an email from my hosting provider for my 1st dmca complaint. I'm a little confused at the fact that someone can send you a notice forcing you to remove links from your site? There's no complaint about the content just that there are links to the site he is representing.

Fwiw this is on a basic article site I threw up which posts articles submitted directly by people wanting links. These articles are sent to me with links to what they're obviously promoting. I don't really care and just removed the links, but can people really force you to remove links from your site? Is this a joke?

The letter: (verbatim including punctuation and single paragraph use - except for names)

Hello, My name is Mr. Atrocious Grammar, I am the Head of Anti Piracy Department of xxxxxx company (wwwxxxxxx.com), we provide anti-piracy and Intellectual Property protection services for xxxxxxx, Inc (wwwxxxxxx.com), so I'm a person authorized to act on behalf of the owner of the company. It has come to our attention that your website or website hosted by your company contains links to xxxxxxx, Inc website (wwwxxxxx.com) which results in experiences financial loses by the company we represent, because of search engine penalties. I request you to remove from following website (http:/xxxxxxxxxcom/xxxxx/xxxxx) all links to wwwxxxxxxx.com website as soon as possible. In order to find those links please do following: 1) If this is an online website directory, use directory's search system to look for "xxxxxxx" links. 2) If there are any hidden links in the source code of website, open website main page and v! iew its source code. Search for "xxxxxxxcom" in the source code and you will see hidden links. I have a good faith belief that use of the material in the manner complained of is not authorized by xxxxxxx, Inc, its agents, or the law. Therefore, this letter is an official notification to effect removal of the detected infringement listed in this letter. I further declare under penalty of perjury that I am authorized to act on behalf of copyright holder and that the information in this letter is accurate. Please, inform me within 48 hours of the results of your actions. Otherwise we will be forced to contact your ISP. xxxxxx, Inc will be perusing legal action if the webmaster does not remove the referenced link within 48 hours. xxxxxx, Inc will be forced to include the hosting company in the suite for trademark infringement. Looking forward for your positive reply. Regards, Mr. My Grammer Is Atrocious Head of Anti Piracy Department xxxxxx company 1111 xxxx st! r, Brooklyn, NY, 11224 Tel: Fax: E-mai! l: pirac y@xxxxxxcom

I'm tempted to post the real name / link here with xxxxx.com is a scam so they can get a bunch of free links from warriors
#internet marketing #1st #complaint #dmca #links #remove
  • Profile picture of the author WhamSoft
    Seems very odd indeed.

    I'm no legal expert but I don't see that you have broken any laws.

    They could of just requested you remove the links without a dmca notice, the dmca is for copyright infringements.

    I'd remove the links and break any ties with the company.

    Are your links affiliate links or did you write up a negative review on this company or something?

    Lee
    • Profile picture of the author Karen Blundell
      very strange. I have never heard of this happening and perhaps our in-house lawyer or anyone else with experience re DMCAs can chime in. I think you did the right thing by avoiding the hassle of dealing with this company and removing the links.

      Who needs the headaches, eh?
    • Profile picture of the author Lenny Winkle
      Originally Posted by WhamSoft View Post


      Are your links affiliate links or did you write up a negative review on this company or something?

      Lee
      No, I should have made that clear in the op. They aren't affiliate links and it isn't a negative review, though I don't think that gives you a right to have it taken down.

      This was an article submitted to my site by someone promoting the link (standard 350 word article about the product with 2 links in it placed there by the person that submitted it).

      The article has been there a while, gets no traffic and upon going back and looking, it was obviously spun ( I didn't do much quality control when I 1st started the site).

      So someone goes around promoting something and then comes back later and wants the links removed, but doesn't care about the content?

      Possibly strange technique to have your competitors links removed? I mean if he sent out one of these to every single site with a link I have to think he'd have a pretty high success rate at having links removed right?

      I know I did, even though I know I shouldn't have to remove any link from my site.
  • Profile picture of the author Fernando Veloso
    It has come to our attention that your website or website hosted by your company contains links to xxxxxxx, Inc website (wwwxxxxx.com) which results in experiences financial loses by the company we represent, because of search engine penalties.
    Says it all. Really.

    They got it by Google (most probably those emails/alerts in WMTools) and they want all backlinks removed.

    Wanna bet?
    • Profile picture of the author Lenny Winkle
      Originally Posted by Fernando Veloso View Post

      They got it by Google (most probably those emails/alerts in WMTools) and they want all backlinks removed.

      Wanna bet?
      I certainly wouldn't bet against it. I'm very tempted to give them some free backlinks here.
  • Profile picture of the author dv8domainsDotCom
    Yeah, I can only think that the "anti-piracy" rep and the "SEO" rep (if any) of this company REALLY need to get a pow-wow together and discuss what a backlink is, and as long as the content is relevant that a backlink from any source is generally, a GOOD thing!
    1) They're idiots.
    2) Remove links, tell them you did so, and be done with the idiots.
  • Profile picture of the author Mike Hill
    LOL... The article on your website is probably outranking their own site in Google and the SEO guys are scarred that one article can do that so they are forcing you to take it down so they don't look like douches to their customer... LOL
    • Profile picture of the author Lenny Winkle
      Originally Posted by Mike Hill View Post

      LOL... The article on your website is probably outranking their own site in Google and the SEO guys are scarred that one article can do that so they are forcing you to take it down so they don't look like douches to their customer... LOL
      I didn't look but the ting is they aren't asking for the content to be removed or claiming copyright infringement. They're claiming the links have to be removed because its hurting their business.

      You surely can't go around the internet forcing people to remove links from their sites, let alone because you think they make you look bad?

      Granted it isn't a great article but its readable 300 words and ranks pretty decent in my seo plugin for on page. It's not a negative link.

      This is why I almost think it could be their competition. Send out an email to all of your competitors linking sites and get even 50% taken down?
  • Profile picture of the author J Bold
    Legally, in the U.S. at least, I don't see how someone can force you to remove links. It's your site, you can link to who you want to as long as you aren't unlawfully libeling them or intentionally bad-mouthing them by telling lies in the actual content on your site.

    They can request, but I don't see why you would have to comply if you are not doing anything against the law.

    Though I'd like to hear a lawyer's thoughts on that issue.
    • Profile picture of the author Lenny Winkle
      Originally Posted by redicelander View Post

      Legally, in the U.S. at least, I don't see how someone can force you to remove links. It's your site, you can link to who you want to as long as you aren't unlawfully libeling them or intentionally bad-mouthing them by telling lies in the actual content on your site.

      They can request, but I don't see why you would have to comply if you are not doing anything against the law.

      Though I'd like to hear a lawyer's thoughts on that issue.
      I agree, but you have to admit it worked. It isn't worth my time or hassle and since they sent the letter to my hosting provider it certainly isn't worth getting in a hassle with them.

      That said:
      1. Why would anyone send a letter to have 2 links to their website removed. Links that were in a readable 300 word positive article about their service. They didn't ask to have the article removed, they just want links to their site, that paint them in a positive light.

      There's nothing wrong on my site, all decent articles, no controversial topics, no porn, only a couple of ads. They sent me this article.

      2. Who would ever think they have a legal right to do that.

      3. If you did do that what level of success do you think you'd achieve.

      4. It seems like it works ( worked on me) but it seems like the only person who benefited was this services competitors
  • Profile picture of the author Exel
    Reading that mail this is what I saw (edited):

    It has come to our attention that your website or website hosted by your company represents serious competition to our business, which results in experiences financial loses by the company we represent, because of search engine penalties. I request you to close your business as soon as possible, so we can have no competition.
    Someone opens a store in your neighborhood: "hey buddy, would you please close your store, I'm getting less customers, thanks."
  • Profile picture of the author Charanjit
    I would personally make sure I out rank the website you are linked to, then in the site write how it only cost you $5 dollars to get their.
  • Profile picture of the author kindsvater
    1. This has bogus written all over it. I'd ask for a copy of the contract authorizing the person to send a DMCA notice. Just asking for the contract can be an effective way of quickly shutting down complaints.

    2. This isn't a copyright issue. Just a linking complaint.

    3. If I knew who they were and where they were, and evaluated how much I'd be tempted to delete the article (just to avoid any copyright issues) and keep the links!

    4. Send a counter DMCA notice.

    5. FYI - Attorney's fees are recoverable against someone who makes a fraudulent DMCA complaint. 17 USC Section 512(f).

    .
    • Profile picture of the author Centurian
      Originally Posted by kindsvater View Post

      1. This has bogus written all over it. I'd ask for a copy of the contract authorizing the person to send a DMCA notice. Just asking for the contract can be an effective way of quickly shutting down complaints.

      2. This isn't a copyright issue. Just a linking complaint.

      3. If I knew who they were and where they were, and evaluated how much I'd be tempted to delete the article (just to avoid any copyright issues) and keep the links!

      4. Send a counter DMCA notice.

      5. FYI - Attorney's fees are recoverable against someone who makes a fraudulent DMCA complaint. 17 USC Section 512(f).

      .
      My thoughts exactly.
    • Profile picture of the author Rus Sells
      Great points and I'd like to add..

      Unless the OP omitted some information this isn't even a valid DMCA complaint anyways.

      The OP also said that the email was sent to his hosting provider. I don't know whom you are hosting with but its apparent they don't know what a valid DMCA notice looks like either so I'd recommend switching hosts.



      Originally Posted by kindsvater View Post

      1. This has bogus written all over it. I'd ask for a copy of the contract authorizing the person to send a DMCA notice. Just asking for the contract can be an effective way of quickly shutting down complaints.

      2. This isn't a copyright issue. Just a linking complaint.

      3. If I knew who they were and where they were, and evaluated how much I'd be tempted to delete the article (just to avoid any copyright issues) and keep the links!

      4. Send a counter DMCA notice.

      5. FYI - Attorney's fees are recoverable against someone who makes a fraudulent DMCA complaint. 17 USC Section 512(f).

      .
  • Profile picture of the author agc
    I kinda like doing the 10,000 backlink fiverr gig. Just one will do, no need to drop $20.

    Stop at a starbucks, or hotel w/ a computer in the lobby, create a quick gmail account, and drop the link report in an email.

    Why? Because if it's REAL, then the guy wants YOU to clean up HIS mess, for FREE. I'd charge a $99 administrative fee for redacting content. So make an even bigger mess for him to clean up.

    Or, maybe its a competitor trying to get links deleted. The backlink report w/ 10,000 links on it would be a great kick in the nuts.

    In fact, I don't kinda like it, I really like.
  • Profile picture of the author Lenny Winkle
    Here's the email from my hosting company which included the dmca request I posted in the op:


    We have received a Digital Millennium Copyright Act ("DMCA") complaint involving domains under your control. Please note that HG has only passed on the sufficiency of the Claimant's notice, per 17 U.S.C. Sec. 512, and has not sought to determine whether the Infringing Materials on the Web Site do indeed infringe upon the Claimant's intellectual property rights.

    Within a forty-eight (48) hour period, we will need you to remove, or disable access to, the material that is claimed to be infringing or we will have to disable this material to be in compliance with federal DMCA laws. A copy of the original DMCA notice is listed below our contact information.

    Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, your rights as a Respondent to this complaint include, but are not limited to, a possible counter-notification to us, per 17 U.S.C. Sec. 512(g)(3). We encourage you to review the federal statutory procedures for filing a counter-notification and seeking legal advice to see if taking such an action would be appropriate. Solely as an additional resource, the online form at DMCA Counter-Notification -- Chilling Effects Clearinghouse is shared for possible use in consultation with your own counsel. We cannot provide individual legal advice, and do not analyze your particular website or activity for the legality of its content.

    You may send a counter-notification using postal mail or fax; email is not accepted.




    So am I required to get involved in this beyond breaking the links? Also I don't want any hassle with my hosting since I have other sites there that are important and this site is pretty unimportant.

    I've been getting regular article submissions to the site from various posters using the postrunner plugin. I just check that the article scores ok on readability, looks ok, add tags and post. These are article writers specifically asking me to publish the article on my site.

    I just went back and checked and find this same article writer has submitted 4 separate articles that I published with links. WTF? They sought me out asked me to publish these articles they wrote and now they're coming after me?

    They only mention the links in 1 article in the letter. Let me say again I could care less about the links they're simple links to a securityservicedotcom type name. They wrote the articles and they inserted the links!?

    I'd be interested in a hosting providers opinion on if I need to deal with this beyond removing the links in the article. I'd especially be interested in the HG guys opinion since I know he posts here. I realize this isn't their issue at all, but would like to make sure I'm not heading for hosting trouble on my shared acct.

    Also to know if this is real and are they getting letters like this for other people threatening you to remove links?
  • Profile picture of the author Lenny Winkle
    Within a forty-eight (48) hour period, we will need you to remove, or disable access to, the material that is claimed to be infringing or we will have to disable this material to be in compliance with federal DMCA laws. A copy of the original DMCA notice is listed below our contact information.

    My interpretation of this statement from my hosting provider is that I have 48 hr to comply with whatever someone who sent them this email says I have to do or else my websites will be shut down.

    Apparently you can write a threatening email and get people to remove whatever they say needs to be removed or your site will be shut down? Obviously if you were to argue and say no my site is fine through emails it isn't going to get resolved in 48 hrs in which case they are going to just pull the plug?
    • Profile picture of the author agc
      Originally Posted by Lenny Winkle View Post

      Within a forty-eight (48) hour period, we will need you to remove, or disable access to, the material that is claimed to be infringing or we will have to disable this material to be in compliance with federal DMCA laws. A copy of the original DMCA notice is listed below our contact information.

      My interpretation of this statement from my hosting provider is that I have 48 hr to comply with whatever someone who sent them this email says I have to do or else my websites will be shut down.

      Apparently you can write a threatening email and get people to remove whatever they say needs to be removed or your site will be shut down? Obviously if you were to argue and say no my site is fine through emails it isn't going to get resolved in 48 hrs in which case they are going to just pull the plug?
      Yeah well that's what happens when you throw due process out the window and replace law enforcement w/ a private enforcer.

      You can read more on my thoughts on the matter in this thread.

      People really need to be more vigilant about protecting the rights and procedures this country was built on.
  • Profile picture of the author Charanjit
    Do you mind posting what the web site is that your linking to, would be lough and games to send it though scrapebox and my 20,000 auto approve list. could push it to the 2 million list.
  • Profile picture of the author mojojuju
    I kind of want to buy this person a crappy backlinks package on fiver.
  • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
    Originally Posted by Lenny Winkle View Post


    ... which results in experiences financial loses by the company we represent, because of search engine penalties.

    I'm tempted to post the real name / link here with xxxxx.com is a scam so they can get a bunch of free links from warriors
    I wouldn't do that if I were you. They have every right to request that links to their site be removed, particularly if they consider your site to be a "bad neighborhood" or low quality link farm.

    Originally Posted by Lenny Winkle View Post

    I certainly wouldn't bet against it. I'm very tempted to give them some free backlinks here.
    Really a jacka$$ thing to do. They don't want links to their site on your site. Remove them and move on with your life.
    • Profile picture of the author Lenny Winkle
      Originally Posted by sbucciarel View Post

      I wouldn't do that if I were you. They have every right to request that links to their site be removed, particularly if they consider your site to be a "bad neighborhood" or low quality link farm.



      Really a jacka$$ thing to do. They don't want links to their site on your site. Remove them and move on with your life.
      I already removed them but you can't be serious. These people sent me the article with their links and asked for it to be published on my website.

      I don't care about the links they meant nothing to me. What I do care about is the fact that someone can send a threatening letter to my hosting provider and my hosting provider will shut down my website in 48 hrs if I don't do what ever they asked.

      Going around asking to have links to your website removed is pretty dumb and will waste a lot of peoples time if it catches on.

      There's no proof this guy is the least bit legit. It's a random email. Imagine if I sent that email to your hosting provider and claimed your site was infringing on my ability to make money. What if your hosting provider told you you had 48 hrs to just do what ever I said in my mail or they'd take down you site?

      There's nothing to prevent anyone else from doing exactly the same thing
    • Profile picture of the author Lenny Winkle
      Originally Posted by sbucciarel View Post

      [I]...They have every right to request that links to their site be removed...
      I think your wrong about this. I don't think you have the right to go anywhere that has a link to your site and force them to remove it. Imagine the havoc this would cause.

      I also don't see how it has anything to do with the dmca. Asking to have a link removed has absolutely nothing to do with copyright.

      I would be interested in other opinions especially from people who have to deal with this like hosting providers
    • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
      Originally Posted by Mike Hill View Post

      LOL... The article on your website is probably outranking their own site in Google and the SEO guys are scarred that one article can do that so they are forcing you to take it down so they don't look like douches to their customer... LOL
      This is the first thing that crossed my mind.

      Some back-bedroom illiterate with issues about a spun article with two links on an obscure page with no traffic, because the links are causing harm to the business?

      The last big brouhaha I remember about site links was about sites losing ad revenue due to other sites deep linking to internal pages, thus reducing the number of ad exposures. Even this was back when cpm rates were high enough that even smallish sites with moderate traffic could make some money with banners.

      I'm with the others - disable the links and forget about the weasel. If a couple of links in a spun article no one ever reads causes harm to their business, they won't be around long anyway.
  • Profile picture of the author Clever Joan
    Lenny is stating that if this same threat becomes a common problem with other webmasters. When you feel the hurt you too will become as concerned as he is!

    If any harebrained idiot can send a spam letter to your hosting company that will threaten to disable your websites, then everyone here is could be a possible victim of fraud if this is indeed fraud. Only a lawyer can sort this out.

    We have already heard from one lawyer that seemed to think it had bogus written all over it.

    Lenny is giving us a warning that this could happen to any one of us. What if the warning comes and no one listens?
  • Profile picture of the author fluffythewondercat
    Looks like the OP posted the exact same letter to Traffic Planet...

    ...only there he left the identifying information intact.

    Curiouser and curiouser.

    fLufF
    --
    • Profile picture of the author fluffythewondercat
      OK, I take it back.
    • Profile picture of the author Lenny Winkle
      Originally Posted by fluffythewondercat View Post

      Looks like the OP posted the exact same letter to Traffic Planet...

      ...only there he left the identifying information intact.

      Curiouser and curiouser.

      fLufF
      --
      No, that isn't me but that's where I found out more information when I started googling, apparently I'm not the first to receive the same letter and this guy makes a business of doing this.

      That isn't my site or post on traffic planet but its pretty interesting that this has been going on
  • Profile picture of the author PatriciaJ
    I had the same thing happen a few months ago with my directory. I got annoyed because the creep was threatening me with a DMCA when all he had to do was ask. I sent him an email saying that it wasn't a DMCA matter and made him wait a few days before I removed the links and articles.
    • Profile picture of the author Karen Blundell
      Originally Posted by PatriciaJ View Post

      I had the same thing happen a few months ago with my directory. I got annoyed because the creep was threatening me with a DMCA when all he had to do was ask. I sent him an email saying that it wasn't a DMCA matter and made him wait a few days before I removed the links and articles.
      good for you! When someone starts to threaten you, and you know the law and they don't, it's quite easy to get them to back down.
    • Profile picture of the author hardraysnight
      Originally Posted by PatriciaJ View Post

      I had the same thing happen a few months ago with my directory. I got annoyed because the creep was threatening me with a DMCA when all he had to do was ask. I sent him an email saying that it wasn't a DMCA matter and made him wait a few days before I removed the links and articles.
      the letter states dmca is a Federal law, but is it international?

      i do not live usa, so do i need to feel threatened by dcma?
  • Profile picture of the author Lenny Winkle
    I only have one account here. I've never posted on another account nor have I ever posted at traffic planet.

    I'd never even heard of it until tonight when I pasted my letter in google to see if I could find out more. It led me to that guy getting the same thing, interesting coincidence.

    Not sure I should have to prove myself innocent or how but I would assume some mod could check that I only have 1 account and even verify who i am if its that important.

    I was never upset about anything and didn't care about taking the links down ( i wish I knew how to whisper online). I was simply trying to point out to everyone something that doesn't seem right to me.

    I'm also concerned that this could happen to anybody, or to an important site of mine if it is this easy. Even if your right and fight it it still will cost you time and money because some guy can send an email to make $25 and cause you at the minimum some grief
    • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
      Originally Posted by Lenny Winkle View Post

      I was never upset about anything and didn't care about taking the links down ( i wish I knew how to whisper online). I was simply trying to point out to everyone something that doesn't seem right to me.
      It's quite possible that a competitor of the site that you linked to is sending this to counteract his SEO efforts. If I were you, I'd contact the site directly and ask them if they authorized anyone to send that email. It's also possible that the site deliberately went on a link building campaign to improve their position in the serps and Google penalized them for all the spammy links to spun content and now they're trying to fix it by getting the links removed. lol if the latter is the case and they're probably going about it in the wrong way if that's what's happening.
  • Profile picture of the author agc
    This is an actual response I sent to the last defective DMCA I received. I sent the response because the source was a rights management law firm who absolutely should have known better, and I wanted to make absolutely sure that they understood that I would NOT be donating my time to comply with future defective requests. Best to nip that crap right in the bud.

    While I would never suggest that you use my letter verbatim (after all, you may be dealing with a male shyster!), I will say that the firm in question never contacted me about any of the other references to the same site. Take it for what you will.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------

    Dearest S****,

    This usage is clearly and indisputably covered by fair use. Regardless, it's too much hassle to argue with a retarded lawyer, so I went ahead and removed the specific item which was identified, not because you're right, but because you're an evil bitch and I deem it best to just stay out of your way.

    However your obnoxious tone has been noted. As the item in question is a snippet and a reference to the source, and is clearly understood to be fair use by pretty much the entire planet, there is nothing "clear" or "apparently willful" about any supposed "violation" in this case. I am highly offended and taking it personally that you have elected to take the moral low road and have blatantly and willfully misrepresented the facts at hand, further somehow implying that I am a thief.

    If you, as a lawyer, claim that you "have a good faith belief" that a snippet and a link to an original reference "is not permissible under law", then perhaps it's time to test that "under penalty of perjury" clause in a court of law. Lying perjuring shyster, indeed.

    Be advised that redacting this item wasted approximately 1 hour of my time. Due to the obnoxious tone you have chosen to take, in the future I will only comply with defective requests if I am fully compensated for any time I spend in doing so. Had you taken a more respectable tone and honest approach, and simply asked me to remove the content without the hostile threatening histrionics, you would have left me with a much more cooperative attitude in the future. However, you didn't.

    Therefore, my hourly rate is $100 and my minimum billing is four hours. By electing to voluntarily contact me for any further defective requests, you will be acknowledging in writing your agreement to pay my prevailing rate for servicing your request. You will be you will be invoiced accordingly, under my standard terms which are Net 30, 2.5% monthly interest, $25 monthly late fee, Past 90 forwarded to C****** R******* S******, Inc for collection.

    Here is the link to the redacted page: http://some-domain.com/some-page

    I'm sending you actual text and an actual link you can actually click, and not a bitmap in a pdf, because unlike you, I'm not paranoid about someone stealing my lovingly crafted words. Feel free to share my message with all your friends, because I know I will. On facebook. On twitter. On slashdot. I do so love to share a good story, especially one featuring the "willfully perjuring wicked witch of bogus and specious legal claims".

    Good day, and may we both hope and pray that we never speak again.

    ------

    From: S**** C**** <*****@q***s*****.com>
    To: me <me@aol.com>; hostmaster <hostmaster@my-host.com>; abuse <abuse@my-host.com>
    Sent: Wed, Nov 2, 2011 5:38 pm
    Subject: DMCA takedown letter re www.some-domain.com

    Please see the attached cease and desist letter.

    s**** c**** | corporate counsel | q***s*****, inc. | 650.***.**** | 650.***.**** (fax)
  • Profile picture of the author agc
    Too bad I didn't have Kindsvater's reference back in November when I deal with that.

    "Attorney's fees are recoverable against someone who makes a fraudulent DMCA complaint. 17 USC Section 512(f)."

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