Beneficiary of Fake DMCA:
- Perjury, Impersonation, Identity-theft, Misrepresentation
Fake Link/Website Used:
- Consumer Guardian , The Consumer Guardian
Date of Submission:
- 01 Aug 2014, 21 Aug 2014 and 12 Jan 2016
ANALYZING THE FAKE DMCA
We’ll keep this investigation as simple as possible, since the method used to file the fraudulent DMCA was simple as well.
On 01 Aug 2014, and 21 Aug 2014, ‘Consumer Guardian‘ filed DMCAs claiming that specific content from http://www.theconsumerguardian.com/sp-archive/cgv6.pdf was copy-pasted on a Ripoff Report without their consent in November 2013.
They even pointed out to a copyright registration number listed at cocatalog.loc.gov to back their claim.
Ripoff Report had no option but to honor the DMCA and remove the ‘infringing content’.
Now let us expose this scam and explain the timeline –
- 18 November 2013 – Review filed on Ripoffreport
- 01 August 2014 – Just as the parent company ‘Descoteaux Boutiques‘ announced that it’s quitting retail business, a DMCA report is filed with Google alleging that copyright content was posted on that Ripoff Report page and a Popehat.com article, citing U.S. Copyright Office registration pending (Case No. 1-1631431591)
- 21 August 2014 – Another DMCA report is filed with Google, with the same information as above.
Since it all looked suspicious, we investigated the copyright registration and found out –
- that the copyright registration was done on 31st July 2014, just a day prior to filing the first DMCA notice.
- that the domain name theconsumerguardian.com on which the supposed copyright content was hosted since Nov 2013, was actually registered on 30th July 2014, just 24 hrs before filing for copyright registration, and 48 hrs before filing the first DMCA notice.
- that no such individual ‘Andrew Thompson‘ is available at The Consumer Guardian, PO Box 7263 #48894, Chicago, IL, 60680, United States, (773) 347-0037, as listed in the copyright registration form.
- that the website theconsumerguardian.com has robots.txt set up to block all archive bots and Google bots, and does not even have a single webpage listed on Google.
So what actually happened here –
Kleargear and their associates used an age-old trick perfected by the Reputation Agencies. They register a piece of text and get a copyright registration number (to convince people that they’re serious). That text consists major part of the content they want to suppress. Once they have a copyright registration number (in pending state), they file a DMCA notice. This entire exercise costs them $130 USD, give or take.
In this case, actual criminal charges can be filed by anyone angry enough to Kleargear, and it’ll be very very easy to prove the above facts and identify the perpetrators behind this incident. A single subpoena to GoDaddy to reveal billing details for domain registration of theconsumerguardian.com should be sufficient. Do get in touch if anyone’s interested.
And if you think this is an old matter, and no one is interested, think again.
In January 2016, Kleargear again tried to use the same data to file another DMCA notice – https://www.lumendatabase.org/notices/11775004 . Now, Kleargear is already tarnished on major websites like techdirt and arstechnica, so we believe that the information that they’re trying to suppress is exclusive to this Ripoff Report page.
Upon examing the Ripoff Report content and comparing it with other articles, we realize that the identities of some of the executives at Kleargeear and its parent companies might be the reason they’re trying so hard to remove –
Here are some of the excerpts taken from Ripoff Report –
1- Tom Riskin listed as a Chenal Media investor is mentioned here:http://www.bizjournals.com/bizjournals/prnewswire/search?q=Tom+Chenal and had created a report profile here http://www.slated.com/people/13599/ The photo listed as Tom Rifkin has been stolen. According to Wikipedia is Professor Kurt Remele and is licensed CC-BY-SA-3.0, which means using it without attribution is illegal.
2- Megan Torcher another executive of Chenal Media and Chenal Brands is another identity created with a stolen photo. The photo of Megan Torcher is actually a picture of German business woman Manuela Better: http://www.pfandbriefbank.com/en/the-company/management/manuela-better.html
3- KLEARGEAR ABANDONED TRADEMARKS IN 2008 – On Friday, July 27, 2007, a U.S. federal trademark registration was filed for KLEAR GEAR by Havaco Direct, Inc., SAN ANTONIO 78230. The USPTO has given the KLEAR GEAR trademark serial number of 77240446. By 2008 the federal status of this trademark was ABANDONED-FAILURE TO RESPOND – http://www.trademarkia.com/klear-gear-77240446.html
Chenal Media parent company Kleargear fake executives steal identity of german business women
Kleargear.com CEO William Bermender hires people to create fake positive reviews while destroying the credit of customers who told the truth
SO WHAT WERE THEY TRYING TO HIDE ?
It all started in 2013 when Kleargear billing its client ‘Jen Palmer’ for $3500 for a negative review she posted at Ripoff Report. Kleargear based this on an anti-disparagement clause in their site’s TOS, which was deemed unconstitutional by Judge Dee Benson in the District Court of Utah, and Kleargear was fined over $300,000 for this.
Now, come Aug 2014, and the parent company Descoteaux Boutiques announced its exit from retail sector. Very suspicious timing. Because the attempts to suppress the negative review on Ripoffreport began that very instance, on 1st Aug 2014 and 21 Aug 2014.
EDITOR’S COMMENT : For those who might ask – ‘why and how do we interject that ‘Kleargear’ has something to do with this fake DMCA. Couldn’t it be a coincidence ?’, we will say this – When someone goes and creates a whole new fake news site, falsifies his/her identity and submits fake DMCA to try and de-list some very targeted content on Google, it signals intent and a plan. It is obvious that ‘Kleargear’ or someone they hired was directly involved in this crime. Kleargear also cannot plead ignorance in this matter, since this notice on Google search is hard to miss, really.