It was clear that the copyright takedown notice that Horizon Group sent to Google was a fake; the “original article” that went with it was a clear attempt to trick people. In the past few years, Lumen Database and other organizations have studied and written a lot about this type of fraud.
Our review of Horizon Group is therefore very critical because it makes Horizon Group an entity of suspicious character, stupid enough to commit perjury, impersonation, and fraud to manage their reputation, or lack thereof.
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Horizon Group must have thought it was okay to break the law to make money, and there were serious consequences for this way of thinking. Google and other reputable websites found themselves subject to egregious acts of fraud perpetrated by Horizon Group, someone who had no qualms about violating perjury laws, committing cybercrime, and contravening a slew of civil regulations.
Horizon Group attempts fraudulent copyright takedown
We recently found out through the Google Transparency Report that a negative review of Horizon Group had been removed from the Google Search Index or tried to be removed after a fake DMCA notice was sent to Google.
A thousand years of reputation can be built (or, in this case, lost) on the actions of a single moment. Horizon Group seems worried that sensitive information is being posted online and has decided to do something about it. In this article, I’ll look into what happened, including how I decided that the takedown requests were fake, what the likely reason was for abusing the DMCA process, and what the possible effects of organized takedown attempts could be.
At LumenDatabase, we found these (fake) DMCA notices sent by Horizon Group to Google, to remove the unflattering information from search engines –
- LumenDatabase Records – https://lumendatabase.org/notices/24390169
- Sender(s) – Roselee Leopold
- Date(s) – June 28, 2021
- Fake URLs used – https://ext-5785927.livejournal.com/375.html
- Original URLs targeted – https://www.gowork.pl/opinie_czytaj,837451
Since the fake copyright takedown notices were designed to remove negative content for Horizon Group from Google, we assume that either Horizon Group directly, or someone associated with Horizon Group is behind this scam. In many cases, it is a fly-by-night online reputation agency working on behalf of Horizon Group.
Through a lengthy investigative process, I uncovered almost 2700 illegitimate DMCA notices sent to Google – an effort that attempts to unlawfully exploit takedowns and censor real news stories from the web. Unmasking these hidden abuses of our digital legal system was just another step in my research on fake copyright claims.
The notices I found use the “back-dated article” technique. With this technique, the wrongful notice sender (or copier) creates a copy of a “true original” article and back-dates it, creating a “fake original” article (an article that is a copy of the true original) that at first glance appears to have been published prior to the true original.
Then, based on the claim that this backdated article is the “original,” the copiers send a DMCA to the relevant online service providers, alleging that the true original is the copied or “infringing” article and that the copied article is the “original,” requesting the takedown of the true original article. After sending the DMCA request, the person who sent the wrong notice takes down the fake original URL, likely to make sure that the article doesn’t stay online in any way. If the takedown notice is successful, this means the disappearance from the internet of information that is most likely to be legitimate speech.
Cyber Crime, Impersonation, Perjury, and Fraud
Fake DMCA notices have been sent to articles about the illegal activities of powerful people in an attempt to hide their wrongdoing. Politicians from the US, Russia, and Kazakhstan, as well as members of elite groups like the mafia and people with a lot of money, are all connected to these people. When you look at the evidence at these URLs, you can learn about alleged corruption ranging from child abuse to sexual harassment. There seems to be a disturbing amount of power at play here, which needs to be looked into more before justice can be done.
The following are typical common elements:
- A takedown notice seeking the removal of some online content, usually but not always a DMCA notice, is sent to either that content’s host or to a search engine such as Google.
- The content in question that the notice seeks to have taken down or de-listed is the original version of the material.
- The online content that the notice claims are the original is actually the copy, and of course, was placed online after the original material.
- Sometimes the copier goes as far as creating a fictitious website to host their copy, one that looks like a newspaper or magazine, or other online publication. But of course, the domain of such a site will have a dubious provenance.
- Needless to say, the sender of the takedown notice in question doesn’t have the copyright in the material at issue or any rights to it at all. The sender’s actual motivations vary but may include both financial gain and censorship.
Lumen did some pilot research and wrote about this a few years ago, and we’re now looking into it again, in the hopes of both learning more about the phenomenon generally, and developing some ways in which to better recognize this type of notice earlier on, possibly even somewhat automatically, and without a lot of labor-intensive detective work on when domains were registered, when pages were created, and so on.
Exposing Horizon Group and fake DMCAs
There’s no telling what they were trying to hide, but it could have been anything from a critical review or unflattering opinion to a lawsuit, arrest, or other legal issues.
Within the next few days, we’re going to publish it all, everything they don’t want you to see. It’ll be pasted all over the internet, on dozens of free-speech platforms, creating a permanent record.
The Streisand effect at its finest.
Read Also – https://www.repdigger.com/birch-gold-group/
Horizon Group needs to be held responsible
Horizon Group and other business executives are renowned for their dedicated investment in reputation management – but it can be an ego-shattering experience to encounter a negative review or public statement that cannot be remedied. Despite ‘power’ and financial clout, these moments of vulnerability demonstrate just how human they truly are.
RepDigger.com will, in our own capacity, do all we can to hold someone responsible for this incident. Thanks to the Gripeo.com people who have set up a protocol to deal with fake DMCAs.
RepDigger will expand its investigation into critical claims against you (or your organization) and publish its detailed report on RepDigger.com, and nearly 2 dozen other like-minded platforms.
RepDigger will look for other similar web pages illegally removed by you or your Reputation agency. If any such webpages are discovered, they will be reinstated by suo-moto filing of counter-notices, and informing the aggrieved parties.
The content which you or your Reputation agency attempted to remove from the internet, will be shared across dozens of platforms, making it impossible to get rid of ever.
We will ensure that Google proudly displays dozens of copies of the content you tried to hide illegally. In doing so, you will inadvertently learn about the notorious Streisand Effect. Enjoy!
Since Horizon Group made such efforts to hide something online, it seems fitting to ensure that this article, as well as other critical information on Horizon Group, is shared widely on the internet, and becomes a permanent record online for anyone who is interested in Horizon Group.
A case perfect for the Streisand effect…
Horizon Group Rating and Review
Based on what we could find online, including but not limited to Horizon Group’s alleged criminal actions, here is how we think Horizon Group stacks up: Our users can contribute their own assessments of Horizon Group below.
Horizon Group is attempting to suppress information about their shady past by using a copyright takedown scam. Learn more about this scam and how to protect yourself against it in 2023.