Swiftmail

Guy Who Forged A Court Order To Delist Content Issues More Bogus Takedown Notices To Remove Posts Discussing His Forgery


The wholly-expected has occurred as a result of Eugene Volokh's exposure of bogus takedown demands targeting unflattering content -- like criminal complaints and factual news articles detailing criminal acts. The Volokh Conspiracy has been targeted by two bogus takedown requests by the same party who engaged in the bogus takedown requests Volokh previously wrote about.

The first one received targeted a post of Volokh's hosted at the Washington Post. Hilariously, it claims Volokh is the real troll here.

A group of trolls/rivals are continually targeting us and creating copied content to bully, defame, and threaten our business and staff. Also, there is same content has been posted on different sites. The respective links of the copied content are mentioned below.

That's not what DMCA notices are for, even if any of these assertions were true. But none of it is true, starting from word one. The publication of a criminal complaint cannot be defamatory, and in no way did Volokh "bully" or "threaten" Don Lichterman, who previously forged a court order to try to remove content detailing him being sued for copyright infringement. Volokh covered this case, as he has several others where the same tactics (forged court documents) have been used.

The DMCA notice doesn't even claim there's been any copyright infringement. I guess that's a good thing, considering one of the URLs targeted links to the criminal complaint filed against Lichterman for forging a court order.

The second notice is a bit more on point, even though it's no more honest than the first one. This one is a delisting request tied to a court order, so there's no abuse of the DMCA process. That being said, the court order doesn't say what Lichterman wants it to say. Here's Volokh's summation of the second bogus takedown attempt.

As best I can tell, the theory behind the deindexing request is that this order somehow requires that Mr. Lichterman's name be redacted from the Criminal Complaint, and that therefore my post, which links to a copy of the complaint, should be deindexed. But of course nothing in this order so requires: It appears that the court ordered that the presentence report remain sealed (as is normal with such reports), and required the removal of information from certain "sentencing submissions" -- but it says nothing about the Criminal Complaint, which is a public document. (The Complaint was originally filed under seal, but was unsealed a few weeks later, as the prosecution began.)

The Lumen Database's post of the takedown request sums up the problem with this request a little more succinctly (although it's unclear whether Google added this or Lumen did):

This Judgment does not apply to search engine providers, including Google Inc.

Not only is Lichterman wrong about the contents of the court order (perhaps deliberately wrong), but he's wrong about who it actually affects. Lichterman is unclear about a lot of things and seems to assume just forwarding a court order referencing sealed documents should be enough to push Google into action.

But these tactics have been used too often to be effective anymore. Multiple sites have covered fraudulent takedown notices -- some including forged court documents and others involving entirely falsified lawsuits snuck past inattentive judges. A rogue strain of "reputation management" emerged over the last few years -- one that operates using nothing but disreputable tactics. Google is paying more attention to claims targeting press coverage of criminal actions or other unflattering content and, for the most part, has refused to humor these bogus requests.

All Don Lichterman has succeeded in doing here is draw more attention to his prosecution for forging court documents. He's only bullying himself.


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