Beware this came to generate backlinks.
A couple of days ago I received an email titled “DMCA Copyright Infringement Notice”, purporting to be from a law firm, informing me that an image used on Domain Name Wire was owned by a NFT company.
I was a bit suspicious from the get-go. I purchase stock art from reputable companies, but you never know when someone manages to slip an unauthorized image into a stock art marketplace.
And there were other odd things about this email:
Dear owner of [Domain Name Wire URL],
You are receiving this legal infringement notice from Nationwide Legal Trademark Department due to the unauthorized usage of our client’s image.
The use of this image : [Image URL] on this page : [URL] is fine, as long as our client (NFT Generator) is fully credited.
The credit must appear under the image or the footer of the page and be clickable to NFTGenerator .io within 5 working days. We await your response to confirm this has been completed, removing the image does not resolve the case.
Failure to do so in this time frame, will result in legal case (No. 62883) proceeding under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s Section 512(c) (” DMCA“) for past and or current usage.
Past usage of the image can be seen in the records on Wayback Machine – a permanent public archive of the web, which will be called upon as evidence in this case.
This email serves as the required official notice.
401 Congress Ave. #1540,
Austin, TX 78701
Doesn’t it seem odd that an image owner will resolve the case if you add a link, but not if you remove the image?
So I visited the “law firm’s” website, nation-law.info. It smelled funny.
The lawyers listed on the site have oddly familiar images. And they have very generic names, like Bob Rice, Alicia Weber, and Harry Sanders. It makes it hard to Google their names. I ran a reverse image search that suggested the images were generated.
The site has a 2022 copyright notice. But when I looked up the domain in Whois, I saw that it was just registered this year.
I turned to Twitter, asking people to find other issues with the site.
John Berryhill noted this BBB profile:
BBB began investigating Nation Wide Legal Services in April, 2023 after receiving complaints the business may be fraudulent. Consumers allege Nation Wide Legal sends businesses DMCA Copyright Infringement Notices via email for images used on various websites.
BBB has discovered the images used by these businesses have all been provided by royalty free and stock image websites and no copy right infringement would have taken place.
BBB has also discovered that none of the attorneys listed on the businesses website are registered with the Texas state bar and some images have been found in other locations with different names.
As of today the website is suspended and no longer accessible.
The website in the BBB profile is no longer active but was slightly different than the one in the email received.
Another person pointed out that this company has created lots of similar sites.
This is a clever scheme. How many people are sophisticated enough to look at a domain’s registration date? How many people bother to look at the law firm’s website? Most people would just add a link and be done with it.
I wonder if this is perpetrated by the sites the links go to, or if it’s just some sort of link-building service in which the sites don’t know how the links are being generated..