After our investigation report on Qnet and their DMCA scam was published on https://webactivism.com/qnet-investigation-scams-fraud-fraudulent-attempts-cover-tracks/ , and shared on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/WebActivism/posts/2108894512459053 , we had sent a request to Qnet, asking for a response to our investigation report on their mass DMCA-fraud conducted by their PR team. The article itself now has over 250k views, and the Facebook post has nearly 2000 comments and 4000 likes. The word on the street is – Qnet is worried.
Today, we received a legal demand letter from their attorney in HongKong. Here is what it says, and our response to each of the point they listed –
Let’s start with the TITLE of the legal response –
FALSE AND DEFAMATORY ARTICLE
First of all, we’ve not stated opinions. We have published verifiable facts and records from legitimate 3rd party sources. Qnet is free to sue Google Transparency Reports, Lumen Database and other sources we used for investigation. Cyber Forensic is definite, and not subjective. So, lets be clear. The report is accurate, and backed by evidence. The criminal infringements include perjury, impersonation and other serious issues, for which suitable legal action can be taken in USA and India. As for Defamation, kindly note – Truth is almost always a valid and acceptable defense for defamation under U.S. law. If Qnet wants to take that route, we’ll be more than happy to represent us with suitable counsel and explain our findings in front of a judge who can then decide on the merits of our argument.
The legal demand letter starts as –
In the article entitled ‘Qnet – Investigation into their scams, fraud and fraudulent attempts to cover their tracks’ , which was published on your website at https://www.webactivism.com/qnetinvestigation-scams-fraud-fraudulent-attempts-cover-tracks/ (‘ Article’), you have alleged that QNet has made a series of “fake DMCAs and court orders”, aside from other allegations.
First and foremost, the irrelevance and redundancy of the Article is evident since there is no review or inclusion of more recent materials. Please take note that there has been significant developments in two (2) Courts in India subsequent to the order of the Bombay High Court, which was referred to in your Article and cited to support your claims therein. In February 2017, the High Court of Karnataka has quashed all QNet cases and entirely acquitted QNet of any and all misdoing, while observing that the “QNet case is where criminal legislations are not even remotely applicable”. Thereafter and more importantly, the Supreme Court also stayed all proceedings in the QNet matter and released the officers of QNet on bail, dealing a massive blow to the alleged criminal proceedings. Any allusion that QNet is a “criminal enterprise” is thereby incorrect and false.
So, since the the crime involves old articles, and no recent ones, it is no crime at all ? That is some serious lack of legal accountability and knowledge of copyright and criminal law. Since when does impersonating, perjury and fraud have a statute of limitation ? So since they don’t have an appropriate rebuttal to the CYBER CRIME, PERJURY AND FAKE DMCA allegations, they quickly shifted the narrative to the court cases filed in India over a totally different matter. The incompetent lawyer continues with writing drivel about non-related scam and fraud case, which has NOT been quashed, but only STAYED for a short period of time. He conveniently misses out on the various arrest and lookout notices on Qnet and their promoters. He misses out on the fact that many are STILL EVADING ARRESTS and are residing out of India, HIDING. Qnet IS a criminal enterprise as there are numerous allegations, and hundreds of serious complaints by the victims, all in public domain.
Further, the Article accused QNet of being involved in multiple scams, and named Mr. Vijay Eswaran, Ms. Ramya Chandrasekaran and Mr. Pathman Senathirajah (‘Said Individuals’) as the prime perpetrators of such scams. These are very serious allegations against QNet and the Said Individuals, and you have failed to provide any form of reliable evidence to support the allegations made in the Article. Moreover, in 1 ight of the court orders in favor of QNet as detailed above, we would like to stress that these accusations in the Article are misconceived and absolutely unfounded, and are made maliciously and in bad faith with a view of harming QNet and the Said Individuals.
These are indeed serious allegations. Not only us, but at least a dozen other media houses have leveled such allegations against these 3 individuals, not including numerous others involved in the alleged scam. There are multiple criminal cases ongoing. However, none of the cases include perjury, DMCA fraud and impersonation, which we hope gets investigated and added to the list of crimes committed by Qnet. For this purpose, we are getting in touch with each of the media houses and website owners who are victims of fake DMCAs and had their legitimate news articles removed from search engines. We hope they sue Qnet for the losses and intimate the court of these infringements as a matter of transparency and accountability. The other part mentions evidence. As a lawyer, either this is ignorance of law, or Qnet is deliberately acting blind, since we’ve published all forensic evidence that can not even be contested for authenticity. Again, if Qnet feels that these evidences are insufficient, we request them to file a lawsuit against Webactivism.com and we’ll be more than happy to explain our findings in front of a judge. Kindly note that we have NOT published the entire set of evidence. In fact, we have more than just 3rd party evidence. We have the entire list of perpetrators and parties involved, their communication logs, money exchange details, reputation firms involved and their entire modus operandi. We are already in touch with one judge who has confirmed that the fake court order used to remove at least 2 negative articles on Qnet from Google has his forged signatures. Therefore, these accusations are well founded, absolutely on the point and are published in good faith.
Crucially, the Article at material patts also contained significantly inaccurate elements. The Article claimed that QNet is responsible for “over 4 dozen fake DMCAs”, and set forth a list of such fake DMCAs allegedly filed by QNet’s PR team. [n actual fact, most of the DMCA notices included in the list are submitted by parties entirely unrelated to QNet, a fact which would have been very obvious to you had you taken the opportunity to check and verify the said DMCAs as you ought to have done prior to publishing the Article.
Please read above. We have sufficient evidence to prove Qnet’s relation with multiple rogue Reputation firms. Is Qnet seriously claiming that no money was ever paid to ANY reputation firms to carry out an ORM campaign ? Would they be open to disclosing the names and identities of their PR and Reputation firms ? Would they disclose their financial records over past 2 years and explain what deliverable were mentioned for these reputation firms ? We can name a few firms ourselves. However, our intention is to expose Qnet. The smaller fishes will fry themselves.
We wish to bring to your attention that QNet (or its affiliate) is a recognized member of the Direct Selling Association of Malaysia, the Direct Selling Association of Indonesia, the Direct Selling Association of Philippines and the Direct Selling Association of Singapore, which are all part of the World Federation of Direct Sales Associations (WFDSA). Acceptance into any one of the aforementioned Associations is subject to an intense application review process in which QNet’s compensation plan, policies and procedures and terms and conditions were (and continue to be) thoroughly analyzed and approved to be fair, ethical and professional. As such, your contention that you have “investigated” into matters pertaining to QNet is questionable at best in view of the fact that you have failed, refused or neglected to verify any sources, and completely omitted major and highly relevant information from your Article. We therefore view the Article as abusive and derogatory, and defamatory of QNet and the Said Individuals. The publication of the Article has injured and continues to injure the reputation and/or goodwill of QNet and the Said Individuals, and we believe the same to be motivated by personal vendetta.
We do NOT care about Qnet’s business profile. It is clear Qnet has minted a lot of money, at the cost of millions of victims across the globe. As far as our ongoing investigation into Qnet, we’re in a process to facilitate the victims of Qnet scam with their own website where they can collaborate, participate and interact with other victims. A single platform where hundreds of thousands of victims can share their story and contribute evidence documents and information. However, our investigation report on webactivism.com is limited to cyber crimes, on which you have no concrete rebuttal. You’re going on and on with a PR Byte and a single Stay order which might just be quashed soon. So, as far as hurting someone;s reputation is concerned, you should be more worried about the millions of victims about to come under a single platform to expose scams purported against them. We wish you the best of luck.
In view of the above, we hereby DEMAND that you immediately take action and remove the Article, failing which we will take all necessary legal action against you to enforce our legal rights as we deem fit, without further reference to you. Additionally, you are also to publish a retraction and apology in terms suitable to us, and with the same level of prominence and display as the Article, failing which we shall deem you to be in aggravation of matters and in contumacious default for which additional damages shall be sought against you. We also request, if you are certain as to your comments (which are denied) that you unmask yourselves behind the purported anonymity of the site and disclose who you really are. We trust that this matter can be resolved amicably if you could take necessary actions as stipulated by us above. In the meantime, all our rights are expressly reserved.
Your demand is respectfully rejected. You are free to take legal action, and we are ready to represent our findings with suitable action ourselves. There are over 60 URLs which were illegally removed. We have the option of intimating all of these websites so that they can start raising this issue. We have the option of filing counter-notice against all these fake DMCAs which will ensure that all these articles are reincluded on Google. We have the option of setting up a volunteer driven initiative to cover this story and have nearly hundred activists write about the removed articles, quoting the original stories. We have the option of persuading the US court to take sue-moto action against the perjury and impersonation. We have the option of persuading the Media Houses to take action against impersonation, especially in the case of Moneylife, NDTV and Akela Bureau of Investigation. Our options are to contact all the agencies and banks that provide you support. Our options are endless, because we are on the right side of the law. We will unmask ourselves the day Qnet’s promoters who are evading arrests in India, submit themselves to the law. We are not the cowards here. You are.
TL:DR – We don’t give two hoots about your legal threats. We’ve just started, and there is much more to come in terms of support for Qnet victims worldwide.