Constant's pations

If it's more than 30 minutes old, it's not news. It's a blog.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Web hoax, scam, or actually "falsely accusing someone of copyright infringement"?


Apparently, to conduct a "test," some assert information on the internet is "infringement of copyright" and sending out demand letters alleging infringement.

Allegedly an educational firm is publishing the information as a purpose of a test. However, it is not a game to make such accusations, per 17 USC 512.

We await to hear whether [a] the parties consult counsel, engage in discovery, and this test-accusation-practice is put to a halt; or [b] whether this turns out to be an elaborate web hoax.


Some have represented that a firm is sending out notices alleging copyright infringement; allegedly they know the material is not protected, and accused have removed the contents from the site after receiving a demand letter Ref, in re Ref

Exhibit A: Alleged ruse

Ref In July and November 2003, 3 researchers from the Oxford Centre for Socio-Legal Studies conducted a small experiment with notice and takedown, to see if the different legal regime made any difference in practice.[4] They found a very appropriate article from the famous philospher/economist John Stuart Mill, OnLiberty, dating from 1869. They published a part of the second chapter, about freedom of speech, on a homepage in the USA and a homepage in the UK, with a clear indication that the text dates from 1869 and belongs to the public domain. Then they sent a fake complaint to the 2 major ISPs, on behalf of the (nonexistent) John Stuart Mill Heritage Foundation, using a free and anonymous Hotmail address.

We picked 3 free dial-up ISPs (Freeler, Tiscali and Wanadoo), 3 paid access providers (Demon, Planet Internet and XS4ALL), 3 hosting providers (iFast,Ladot/Active 24 and Yourhosting) and 1 cable internet provider (UPC/Chello). [5] A text was uploaded from the famous author Multatuli (Eduard Douwes Dekker), dating from 1871. The text is about democracy, and begins with the story of the sheep. The sheep chase away a tyrant, only to find themselves in need of specialists to represent them, and they end up inviting the tyrant back, disguised as 'Specialist'. The text clearly states in the opening line that the work dates from 1871, and was reprinted in 1981. At the bottom of the text there is a line stating 'this works belongs to the public domain', right after the final conclusion from Multatuli: 'It is certain that _my_ goddess, Reason, is not satisfied with such childish and criminal tricks'.[appendix 1]

First the customer was invented, and given the name 'Johan de Ruyter'. When Multatuli published his most famous work in 1860, Max Havelaar, exposing the abuse of free labour in the Dutch Indies, he was cheated out of his copyrights by his first publisher, Johan de Ruyter. Only years after the first publication, Multatuli was able to regain his copyrights, and publish a revised edition. In 3 cases, we were unable to create the fictive character Johan de Ruyter, and used the real identity of Mr. B. de Kler. [6]

Secondly, a fake society was created to act as copyright holder, the E.D. Dekkers society. Representing this society was a 'legal advisor', Mr. Johan Droogleever. His name alludes to a very respectable legal firm in the Netherlands, representing the State. A few weeks after the text were brought online, Mr. Droogleever started to send complaints to the providers from his Hotmail account.

Exhibit B: Alleged letter sent to ISPs

The letter says:[7]Ref

E.D. Dekkers society

To whom it concerns,

I am writing to you as the legal representative of the E.D. Dekkers society. The society owns the copyright of all the published works of E.D. Dekkers. I hereby notify you that you are hosting material (published via a so-called home-page) which infringes on our copyrights.

The address of the website is Use nor distribution of this material has been authorised by the E.D. Dekkers society. Hence I have to conclude that this publication constitutes an infringement of the copyrights of the society.

Under the European E-Commerce directive you as a hosting provider are liable for unlawful content if you don't act immediately after you have been notified of this
fact. I trust you will take all necessary measures upon receipt of this notification to end this and all future infringements of our intellectual property rights.

Thank you for your courtesy and anticipated co-operation,

Mr. J. Droogleever
(legal advisor E.D. Dekkers society)


There remains a cause for action for knowingly providing false and material misrepresentations on copyright infringement. Constant in re CNN: Ref: There is a cause for action for knowingly making a material misrepresentation about infringement.

Misrepresentation of Copyright Infringement: 17 U.S.C. § 512(f) Ref
A party is liable if it "knowingly" and "materially" misrepresents that copyright infringement has occurred. "Knowingly" means that a party actually knew, should have known if it acted with reasonable care or diligence, or would have had no substantial doubt had it been acting in good faith, that it was making misrepresentations. Ref
shall be liable for any damages, including costs and attorneys' fees, incurred by the alleged infringer, by any copyright owner or copyright owner's authorized licensee, or by a service provider, who is injured by such misrepresentation, as the result of the service provider relying upon such misrepresentation in removing or disabling access to the material or activity claimed to be infringing, or in replacing the removed material or ceasing to disable access to it. Ref

It would be appropriate, that if these allegations are true, and firms and educational institutions are sending out demand letters with full knowledge that there is no basis for a claim, that this conduct cease and desist.

On the other hand, if the conduct is not occurring, but the allegations continue that apparently groundless accusations have been made but are, in fact, non-existent, we have yet to understand why there is no cause for action brought against those who are making such allegations.

In the absense of a defamation claim against those individuals alleging there has been a course of conduct apparently in violation of statute, then we are left to conclude that, in the absence of any effort to remedy the apparent wrong, that either [a] this entire situation is a hoax; or [b] if the parties did engage in the test and are real, then allegations against the educational institution have merit and there is a reasonable basis to believe that the alleged violations of Title 17 have occurred.


There are several problems with the alleged letters. First, there is limited exposure of the event.

Although the situation was reportedly first published in 2003, we find little coverage of the study on either the wider internet, or in the archive. This suggests the information was actually only recently posted. Tending to favor this suspicion and raising concerns is that the site in the Netherlands has no discernible hit-history. Ref

Also of concern are the apparent requests for donations to an institution that allegedly has been around since 2002. Let us consider this for the moment.

If the parties have actually engaged in a "test," and sent out alleged e-mail to targets, and have apparently violated Title 17 of the US Code, what they are doing is apparently asking the world to sanction conduct that appears to contradict US Statute.

Bluntly, we have not basis to know whether the alleged individuals who reportedly conduct this test are real. This account number should be easy to trace. here is the list of people. Recall the SEC's bogus website.

Traceroute takes us into the Netherlands. However, there is a potential problem. Notice the creation date for the web account is Jan 2002; but there is a prior listing on the log of 2001, suggesting that there has been a transfer from one owner to another.

Comparison of "Creation Date" to original "Site Creation Date"
A. Creation Date
Updated Date: 19-oct-2004
Creation Date: 12-jan-2002
Expiration Date: 12-jan-2007Ref
B. Site Activation Date

13-Nov-2000 Ref

We await an analysis of the "real" people involved, and whether they are actually educational representatives.



R. Scott Perry
1102 Pleasant St. #820
Worcester, Massachusetts 01602
United States

Registered through:

Created on: 12-Jan-02
Expires on: 12-Jan-07
Last Updated on: 19-Oct-04

Administrative Contact:

Perry, R. Scott *********
1102 Pleasant St. #820
Worcester, Massachusetts 01602
United States

Technical Contact:
Perry, R. Scott *********
1102 Pleasant St. #820
Worcester, Massachusetts 01602
United States

Tracing Mr Perry's Phone Number

The 5087994548 Number goes to: Ref: Sept 2003

Alleged Firm

Computerized Horizons

Reported Product: Declude JunkMail $249 to $895

Reported Description of reported "product": Software that supports both public spam detection and internal spam detection procedures; features multihop scanning capability, country of origin detection based on IP address, a weighting system to identify legitimate email messages, settings you can customize by user, Habeas support, and 12 actions to take against spam

Analysis of Declude

Why would the website-owner that specializes in website-cloaking change its IP address in August 2004; why not keep it the same "cloaked number"?

11-Jul-2003 ViaWest Internet Services
1-Mar-2002 ViaWest Internet Services
16-Mar-2001 Net Infrastructure

Notice that the IP address changed from 216 to 63.

Address: 415 N 10th Street
Address: Suite 301
City: St. Louis
StateProv: MO
PostalCode: 63101
Country: US

NetRange: -
NetHandle: NET-63-246-0-0-1
Parent: NET-63-0-0-0-0
NetType: Direct Allocation
NameServer: NS1.RACKMY.COM
NameServer: NS2.RACKMY.COM
RegDate: 2002-10-23
Updated: 2003-07-28

OrgTechHandle: MPA-ARIN
OrgTechName: Palmer, Mike
OrgTechPhone: +1-314-621-5500
OrgTechEmail: ****

Questions for R. Scott Perry

Why would a firm that is so open about its bank account to receive funds go to the trouble of using a net-block to avoid detection of who actually owns, operates, and manages the site?

We have a bank account registered for the Netherlands, but your name is listed as the creator. Could you explain why there is a bank account apparently in the Netherlands for an organization whose website you created in the United States?

We've also had situations where software engineers have introduced software bugs and bogus material in the hopes of providing service and support to solve the problem of those they've allegedly infected the computer with the problem. Do you have any comments on this?

Reportedly, the tests took place in the Netherlands, outside the United States, and not subject to Title 17 constraints. Yet, the ISPs which control the informationn are addressed in the United States, implying that the governing law is not remotely unrelated to the United States. Could you comment?

Reportely, the tests were conducted in the Netherlands, yet all the promotional website information is only available in English. Could you comment on why a Danish-language firm would use English as its primary language in its website presentations, but the e-mails were allegedly sent in Danish. Ref: Lower right, page 4 of 7

Interstingly on the presentation, there are a number of names that are xxxx-out. If we zoom 600% into page 6 [upper left], we'll notice several names: PeterLangernkamp -- even adjusting for spelling errors and including multiple iterations of spelling changes we find no referece to these names anywhere on the internet. One would think that a high profile even like this might actually have some bonafide names; however, if the names were bogus, why not reveal them? Bluntly, why do none of these names work out on a search? Ref

The actual words on the presentation in the letter are reported to be in Danish and sourced from the Netherlands. Yet, could you explain, if this is in fact the origin of the report, what the lanague results are if we back-translate these words using traditional English. In other words, if we take the "translated English" and put it into a traditional on-line web took could you comment on the similarlity between the translated Dutch-version of the text, and the actual words that appear on the presentation?

Ik aan schrijf u als wettelijke vertegenwoordiger van de E.D. maatschappij van Dekkers. De maatschappij bezit het auteursrecht van alle gepubliceerde werkzaamheden van E.D. Dekkers. Ik breng u op de hoogte hierbij dat u materiaal ontvangt (dat via een zogenaamde homepage wordt gepubliceerd) dat op onze auteursrechten overtreedt. Het adres van de website is Gebruik noch is de distributie van dit materiaal gemachtigd door de E.D. maatschappij van Dekkers. Vandaar moet ik besluiten dat deze publicatie een overtreding van de auteursrechten van de maatschappij vormt. In het kader van de Europese richtlijn van de Elektronische handel bent u als ontvangende leverancier onmiddellijk aansprakelijk voor onwettige inhoud als u handeling don't nadat u van dit feit op de hoogte bent gebracht. Ik vertrouw op u alle noodzakelijke maatregelen op ontvangstbewijs van dit bericht zult treffen om dit en alle toekomstige overtredingen van onze intellectuele-eigendomsrechten te beëindigen.REf: English to Dutch Translation.

Given the translation back from the alleged "original Dutch to English," we are especially struck how fluid the text appears to be in English. Could you comment on why Dutch-language would appear to flow so well; and who do you suppose actually translated the choppy text into the translated English -- was it a person, or was it an online translator?

Of Interest is the educational C.V. of the reported presenter; yet we find no academic credentials. Interestingly despite the "big event" we also find no press releases. Could you explain how a "big presentation" like this would only appear on Indymedia, and we find nothing else to suggest that the presentation is being promoted through other channels?

Of interest is the e-mail extention [zoomed to 600%] indicating a; Ref. What is most interesting about this alleged E-mail address is that it is reportedly in the netherlands; yet why would an e-mail address in the Netherlands use "yourhosting" when there is no match for this e-mail and name combination except one, on another discussion about the site, but no other public e-mail reference/use by the alleged Langenkamp?

Andere bedrijven kondigen ook maatregelen aan. Zo wil de grote webhoster YourHosting uit Zwolle voortaan eerst schriftelijk bewijzen zien of een klager is wie hij zegt. "Vanaf heden halen we alleen iets offline als de klager met goede bewijsvoering komt, vervolgens gaan we er met advocaten over praten en dan pas ondernemen we actie," aldus Peter Langenkamp van YourHosting. En bij Demon Internet moeten de klachten over websites naar aanleiding van het BoF-onderzoekje voortaan eerst langs de bedrijfsjurist, zo laat woordvoerder Sanjai Bissumbhar weten.Ref

Which, translated into English means:

Other companies announce also measures. This way the large for the wants see YourHosting from zwolle as of now firstly in writing proofs if a complainant whom he says, is. "as from present we thus obtain only something offline if the complainant with good argument comes, then we will talk with lawyers and then just we undertake action," peter alley camp of YourHosting. And at demon Internet the complaints concerning Internet sites must as a result of BoF-onderzoekje as of now firstly along the company lawyer, thus spokesman lets know Sanjai Bissumbhar. Ref

Potential Plaintiff found

Do you know: Ref this man:

Dhr. Peter Langenkamp
Schrevenweg 5-3
8024HB, Zwolle

Telefoon : 0384530752
Fax : 0384524734
E-mail :

We are not saying that this individual actually sent the e-mail; but perhaps someone failed to let him know that they were going to use his name in this demonstration. Are we saying that a "real Langenkamp" exists, but doesn't know that someone was contacted using his name, making allegations that others had incorrectly posted information that was not actually copyright able?

Let's pause and consider the potential defamation suit Mr Langenkamp might have if it is shown that his name was inappropriately used by a "high profile corporation" sending out what they admit are bogus claims of copyright infringement.


1. Segregation

Issue: Geographic separation between reported activities and principals

It is noteworthy that the alleged educational institution in the Netherlands has limited public discussion, and their website is apparently registered in the United States. Further, public release of bank account numbers raises some interesting questions, especially in cases where the IP address has been listed after the original date.

2. Victims

Issue: Lack of identifiable victims who have brought civil actions per Title 17

If this is an education institution, it is likely the above demand letters and study are simply a "test within a hoax" to evaluate whether the public is able to discern valid IP-removal requests. It remains to be seen whether a civil action is brought against the alleged educational institution. Again, this could very well be a "hoax within a bogus-test".

However, such demand letters require the careful review by competent counsel, amounting to significant and substantial financial costs and expense which are unfounded. We have yet to understand why the United States continues to laugh at such "educational research efforts," when the institutions are apparently violating Title 17.

It is serious business to engage in copyright violations. However, there is also a greater damage done when the public is subjected to false and materially misleading statements presented in the form of demand letters, regardless the educational objectives.

At this juncture, we have yet to understand whether the alleged "victims" of this test are, in fact, real. It is all well and good to find an alleged group of people who are conducting this test; however, we have yet to hear of any formal complaints against the organization for issuing these bogus demand letters, per Title 17.

Given we have yet to understand the actual identities of the alleged victims of this hoax, it is possible that the entire "test" has been fabricated in the hopes of attracting attention, and getting the public to provide funds.

3. Authorship

Issue: Unclear who created the pamphlets; whether funds have been transferred; or whether the receiving agency primarily responsible for the account has misrepresented the ultimate purpose, objective, and use of funds

We have no direct knowledge that any crime has been committed, or that anyone in Massachusetts has made any false and materially misleading statements. Indeed, to make such a baseless accusation at this juncture would be irresponsible.

Although we might assume without direct evidence ["oh, no"] that the test was both real and actually conducted and sanctioned by an educational institution, we remain concerned that the issue has not been adequately discussed in the blogs as a possible hoax.

Perhaps the web community could identify real people who have conducted this "test", created the "pamphlets" and the relationship between the bank account and Mr Scott.

Proceed with caution. Ref