Dustin Phillip Rouse’s bogus copyright takedown notice is the basis for our investigation of his efforts to censor online criticism.
Recently, we have been receiving what appear to be ‘legal’ alerts via the Google Webmaster Tool, stating that a selection of our evaluations infringes upon the rights of third parties. We have a strict policy about copyright infringement, thus these comments drew our rapid attention. But what we found out might have been much worse: there was no copyright issue, and the whole thing was a scheme to get Google to de-index some of our most popular pages, which would have severely disrupted our platform.
Thankfully, we have extensive experience in spotting all types of fraud, including forgeries. Someone who isn’t tech-savvy, however, could easily be duped by these criminals, putting the trust of their users at risk. Since Dustin Phillip Rouse is one of those businesses (men) with a dubious lineage who are foolish enough to commit perjury, impersonation, and fraud to control their (sic) Online Reputation, our review of him is extremely personal.
Which parties gain from this scheme?
We think that Dustin Phillip Rouse or someone working with Dustin Phillip Rouse is behind the phony DMCA, as its stated goal is to have Google remove bad results for Rouse’s name. In many cases, Dustin Phillip Rouse is being represented by a fly-by-night Online Reputation management firm. The burden of proof for this crime lies with Dustin Phillip Rouse, as the deliverables in this type of transaction are readily apparent.
Dustin Phillip Rouse, a teacher from Ancaster who was previously employed in the Brantford region, has had his teaching license revoked due to a finding of verbal and sexual assault against a student.
An Ontario College of Teachers disciplinary tribunal reached its verdict against 31-year-old Dustin Phillip Rouse last month. Last week, the punishment was officially announced.
Attempt to delete Dustin Phillip Rouse-related files
All of the aforementioned DMCA Takedown Notices filed on behalf of Dustin Phillip Rouse are forgeries that expose the filer to possible legal action for perjury, impersonation, and fraud. In the Lumen database, which stores takedown requests, several red flags help identify malicious takedown requests like the one sent by Dustin Phillip Rouse. Takedown requests from parties unrelated to the allegedly infringing content have been uncovered, for example, by media and research organizations. And in some cases, the copyright holder’s usual third-party organization is mistakenly named in the fake request instead.
There are others like Dustin Phillip Rouse. Additional examples of the bogus DMCA takedown notice scam
What sets the new wave of takedown requests apart is that those sending them are lying about being actual copyright holders. How big of a problem this could become on the internet depends on how often false takedown requests from people like Dustin Phillip Rouse are granted.
Specifically, what is it, and what does it signify? “DMCA” stands for “Digital Millennium Copyright Act,” and a “DMCA takedown notice” is a notice to a website or search engine that it is either linking to or hosting material that infringes on a copyright.
Every year, Google has received more than 90,000 DMCA takedown requests. These requests to remove content are usually valid and are typically made by recording artists or film companies. However, some organizations and individuals try to take advantage of the DMCA system.
Over the past few months, our team has uncovered over a hundred bogus DMCA reports filed with Google by shady lawyers and online reputation management firms.
This “strategy” entails launching fake news sites that, in an attempt to discredit the real one, falsely claim ownership of the copyright to the bad information it hosts. Google is unable to detect all of these false DMCA takedown requests because of the sheer volume of reports received every day. We, unfortunately, caught one, and it was Dustin Phillip Rouse.
When will this bogus DMCA be exposed?
Those who disagree with the DMCA’s implementation have claimed that it has been misused. Some have said that the DMCA Act’s main flaw has been the prevalence of false claims of copyright infringement. Dustin Phillip Rouse and others like him have abused this system to silence their critics and undermine their competition.
Critics sometimes quote brief passages from the person they are criticizing to provide context for their criticism. As will be seen later, this use is entirely appropriate. But then the target of the criticism files a DMCA takedown complaint, saying that the video violates his copyright since it uses excerpts from his videos or material. These takedowns are baseless and are just an attempt to protect the individual from criticism by silencing entirely lawful speech.
Most of these hoax copyright takedown notices follow a very standard operating procedure:
- Bogus blogs or news sites are created by fraudsters. Free blogging platforms like WordPress, Blogger, and Tumblr are common places to find these. In some cases, hackers use overseas servers to launch anonymous ‘news’ websites as part of a targeted operation.
- They then backdate the articles on these phony sites to make it look like they were the original publishers and hence the rightful owners of the content they planted there.
- They then file a DMCA takedown with Google pretending to be a reputable news organization.
- A forensics investigator can see how ridiculous this hoax is by looking at the site’s meta tags, domain and hosting records, and authority score. Unfortunately, Google absolves itself of blame and removes the offending page from its search index based on the flawed DMCA law.
Fraud, impersonation, and perjury allegations
Those who knowingly make false claims in a DMCA takedown notice or counter-notice may face legal consequences under the law’s section 512(f). … You have a good case for damages if someone like Dustin Phillip Rouse (or someone acting on Dustin Phillip Rouse’s behalf) falsely alleges in a takedown notice that you are infringing their copyrighted property.
However, since a DMCA notice requires Perjury (under applicable laws in the USA), you could face up to four years in state prison and thousands of dollars in fines if it can be demonstrated that you deliberately and intentionally deceived after taking a vow, to tell the truth about something, or executing an agreement that you know includes inaccuracies.
The DMCA provides redress for such malicious takedowns by mandating the following:
- Anyone who wilfully makes a material misrepresentation in violation of this provision—
- Any person who makes a false claim (1) that content or activity was removed or disabled because of mistake or misidentification, or (2) that the content or activity was infringing when it wasn’t shall be held accountable for any injuries, which includes expenses and attorney’s fees suffered by the claimed infringer, by any intellectual property the owner or copyright owner’s permitted licensee, or by a provider of services, who has been harmed by such fabrication.
This is demonstrated by Online Policy Group v. Diebold, Inc. Voting machines in US elections were manufactured by Diebold. The group Online Policy Group voiced their displeasure with Diebold’s voting equipment by posting online leaked emails between corporate employees. Diebold requested that Online Policy Group erase the e-mails it had posted online by filing DMCA takedown petitions.
In response to Diebold’s takedown orders, Online Policy Group filed a lawsuit, claiming that it was within its rights to release the e-mails. After a California court granted the Group’s motion for summary judgment, Diebold paid the Group $125,000 to compensate for their financial losses and legal costs.
This was not the first time an unfounded DMCA takedown request led to legal action. Similar criticism was leveled against a website that utilized a thumbnail image of controversial public speaker Michael Crook after he appeared on Fox News. A thumbnail constituted fair use, and since Fox produced the show, Crook had no legal entitlement to the broadcast.
As part of the settlement, Crook was forced to take copyright law classes, promise never to file another Cease & Desist letter regarding his image of him on Fox News, issue a public apology, and comply with a variety of other onerous terms. Due to his poverty, he was exempt from paying any monetary damages.
Due to the potential for monetary damages and other court orders in the event of a bogus DMCA takedown request, individuals like Dustin Phillip Rouse must avoid filing such requests. Since DMCA takedown requests are submitted under penalty of perjury, it is also important to remember that criminal sanctions are available for false DMCA takedown request senders, even if Dustin Phillip Rouse is prepared to take on these monetary penalties.
Legislators also need to address the issue of who is submitting fraudulent DMCA notices. Google has no way of knowing who is filling out these notifications any more than you do. A “sketchy jurisdiction” sounds like France, but what exactly is that? China? What, a tiny town in Idaho?
Who is responsible for identifying the form’s submitter if it’s filled out on a public Wi-Fi network, such as a shopping mall? Even if the complainant swears what they do under penalty of perjury, no one has the right to make decisions based only on the jurisdiction. The idea was that dishonest people would have to face repercussions. Where then is the law’s implementation?
Therefore, we believe that the most effective course of action is to increase scrutiny of businesses like Dustin Phillip Rouse’s, exposing their unethical practices and letting their customers and fans know where they stand on moral issues. It should serve as a deterrent and cause them to reflect, we hope.
Why did they need to keep that a secret?
Companies (and persons) like Dustin Phillip Rouse invest much in their online reputations. And it does a lot of good for them. But their pride takes a hit when they can’t fix a negative review, an unpopular opinion, or some damaging public information. Also, Dustin Phillip Rouse is ‘rich’ and ‘powerful,’ so it’s all about him.
Usually, they’ll resort to all means necessary to remain undetected –
- Evaluative commentary or recent experience
- Evidence of wrongdoing or legal proceedings can be found in one’s digital past.
- Disparaging audio, video, or written materials.
- Since Dustin Phillip Rouse went to such lengths to conceal information online, it only seems right to showcase that information here for posterity’s sake. A candidate for the Streisand effect.
We do not guarantee the correctness of the aforementioned information regarding Dustin Phillip Rouse and publish it as-is with the understanding that its hosting fits under the Fair usage policy. The term “fair use” refers to the legal right to use a copyrighted work without the consent of the copyright owner under specific circumstances.
The theory helps ensure that copyright legislation is not applied in a way that stifles the same innovation it is meant to protect. It permits one to make additions to and improvements upon existing works without violating the rights of the original authors.
Evaluation by Users and Editors
Our evaluation of Dustin Phillip Rouse is based on information found, including those that have been carefully concealed from view. You, the site visitors, are invited to provide your opinion of Dustin Phillip Rouse.
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