San Diego Housing Market News and Analysis
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.
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