OT: Creative Lawyering - Fascinating reason for some fake news

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Submitted by njtosd on November 14, 2017 - 11:50am

I just came across a pending federal case that shows a fraudulent but somewhat creative reason for the existence of some fake news websites. Here is the Complaint for any who are interested: https://law.justia.com/cases/federal/dis... And Brian, before you start in on politics - I am not trying to justify the fake news that is out there. I actually came across this case as part of my work.

In short - it appears that there are "reputation management" services that put in place fake news websites as tools to assist their customers. In the scheme*, Joe goes to the reputation management service and says that his business is having trouble because of a genuine but bad Yelp review. The reputation management service copies the review onto their fake website, back dates it (to suggest that the fake news version was the original and the Yelp review was a copy) and then arranges for an attorney to file a (fraudulent) take down notice under the DMCA claiming that the fake new site is the originator and owner of the copyright in the bad review. Absent a counter notice from the person who wrote the review (and I'm not sure whether they even find out about the take down notice) the material stays down for good. Absolutely fascinating. Totally illegal - constitutes perjury, etc. I am strongly of the belief that you shouldn't be able to file a Take Down under the DMCA without a copyright registration (which would fix this, absent some additional expensive and extremely fraudulent actions) but so far that isn't the law.

So, to the general public, it looks as though the information has only ever existed on the fake news site, when in fact it was somewhere (potentially more legitimate) before it was taken down. It makes you wonder how some of the stuff that makes the news ended up on these sites :).

*at this point it is all allegations, but there is more information out there that suggests that the Complaint is pretty well founded.

Submitted by ucodegen on November 14, 2017 - 3:31pm.

Sounds like the TV series called "Scandal". Quite possible for it to occur. Part of the problem is that law has not caught up with computer tech. Many people think that a date on a file is non-malleable. Far from it. It is quite easy to move the date. Believe it or not, some people still believe that the "From" on an Email is always the actual sender.

There is another way to 'cert' an article or pub other than copyright. It is possible to get it electronically signed which also contains an non modifiable date - since the date will be date of signature. I used to remember the name of a service that created signed tokens (CRC32) of files with date of signature also encrypted in the token. It also contains an encrypted reference to the previous signed token in the current token. It functioned almost like an encrypted block chain.

One way to approach it, pending other solutions, is to ask for the reference to the Wayback machine and its date of capture. The Wayback machine timestamps its internet captures.



Here is a possible approach, though probably not legally binding - better than nothing:


More Info:

NOTE: pissedconsumer.com is on the Wayback Machine, and has been captured quite often. frankfortherald.com has just a few captures, palastinetimes.com doesn't have any, palastinetoday.com has all of 3 captures over 20 years.. etc.

Submitted by spdrun on November 14, 2017 - 4:12pm.

I'm of the opinion that copyright should be strictly limited to five years at most. Allow producers to profit, keep the parasites from milking old content for decades. Then get rid of the DMCA.

Submitted by njtosd on November 14, 2017 - 6:41pm.

spdrun wrote:
I'm of the opinion that copyright should be strictly limited to five years at most. Allow producers to profit, keep the parasites from milking old content for decades. Then get rid of the DMCA.

Sigh. As a first question, five years from what? As a second question, you would have no problem with your artwork being used after that 5 yr period by some group that you are very opposed to? For example, a photo taken of your home? And I don't know why you want to get rid of the DMCA.

Submitted by spdrun on November 14, 2017 - 9:19pm.

DMCA is used to protect parasites who profit from content made by long-dead artists. Trash it, burn the paper it's written on, dump the ashes down the sewer.

As to five years, let's make it five years after the creator dies, or till their heirs attain majority (age 18).

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