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Author Topic: UK Newbie: A possible scam to be wary of  (Read 5735 times)

bpaw69

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UK Newbie: A possible scam to be wary of
« on: March 17, 2012, 06:59:56 PM »
I thought it may be useful to tell you of my experience of the company I work for receiving a Getty image claim letter here in the UK.

The letter had the usual evidence, claim, settlement, threat structure in a badly constructed format.  The main issue was the website domain name was ours with china at the end of it (Like www.microsoftchina.com instead of www.microsoft.com).

I checked the website and found it to be a parking website with the domain registrar.  A whois on the domain name shown it registered to a Chinese company.

I phoned Getty and explained this and they said it is obviously a mistake and they cancelled their claim.  I asked why is it I could spend sixty seconds to find out useful information and they didn’t, and exactly how did they come to the conclusion that they thought it was our company.  They said that information is given to them from a monitoring company on who to make a claim against, and they never get to speak to this company.  I guess they only looked at the domain name and regarded us as guilty.

What makes this scam more concerning (And maybe just a coincidence) is I received an email from a so called Chinese domain registrar called Yiguan Group prior to the Getty scam.  They claimed that they received a request from an individual wanting to register about ten variants to our domain name.  They suggested that if we wanted to protect our domain registrations, then we should register the variants with them (Obviously at a nice profit for them).

I’m not saying it is the case, but it could be that a Chinese company registers a similar domain name and put a copyright image on the website.  They notify Getty of this infringement and the victim company gets a letter claim.  Prior to all this, the victim company received an email mentioning an individual wanting to register variants of their domain name.  Do you take up the offer of registering the domains with this company?

Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi)

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Re: UK Newbie: A possible scam to be wary of
« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2012, 07:44:05 PM »
Getty gets it's reported infringements from Picscout (whom Getty also Owns) it was probably exactly what they said a "mistake" they ( Getty) seems to make plenty of those being in the trolling business. I highly doubt they are in cahoots with a Chinese company, in any way.
Most questions have already been addressed in the forums, get yourself educated before making decisions.

Any advice is strictly that, and anything I may state is based on my opinions, and observations.
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bpaw69

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Re: UK Newbie: A possible scam to be wary of
« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2012, 08:08:32 PM »
Thanks buddhapi  ;D

I don't consider Getty in cahoots with a Chinese company.  I did consider (But maybe see it as a coincidence) that Getty could be used by a Chinese company.

Getty did drop the claim once I explained a pretty simple point.

If anyone is a recipient of a letter claim for a variation of a domain, it maybe a scam that uses Getty (Or similar scam artists) to convince you to part with your money.  The beauty of this is a UK company is vulnerable to actions taken by potential Chinese companies.

Matthew Chan

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Re: UK Newbie: A possible scam to be wary of
« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2012, 03:20:02 AM »
This is absolutely a scam by the Chinese. They know many Americans want to do business in China and this is their way of taking advantage of it.

When I was approached on that, I told them if someone wanted it that badly and assume the risk of name confusion, it was their risk because I owned the "master" domain having the .com version for many years. I also had the dominant position in search engines.

I told them they weren't too smart by going after an established name. I said even if I was doing business in China, I would still use my .com address, not some bullshit domain extension no one cares about.

I never heard from them again when I told them I didn't care about it and it was THEIR risk, not mine.

Matthew


What makes this scam more concerning (And maybe just a coincidence) is I received an email from a so called Chinese domain registrar called Yiguan Group prior to the Getty scam.  They claimed that they received a request from an individual wanting to register about ten variants to our domain name.  They suggested that if we wanted to protect our domain registrations, then we should register the variants with them (Obviously at a nice profit for them).

I’m not saying it is the case, but it could be that a Chinese company registers a similar domain name and put a copyright image on the website.  They notify Getty of this infringement and the victim company gets a letter claim.  Prior to all this, the victim company received an email mentioning an individual wanting to register variants of their domain name.  Do you take up the offer of registering the domains with this company?
I'm a non-lawyer but not legally ignorant either. Under the 1st Amendment, I have the right to post facts & opinions using rhetorical hyperbole, colloquialisms, metaphors, parody, snark, or epithets. Under Section 230 of CDA, I'm only responsible for posts I write, not what others write.

bpaw69

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Re: UK Newbie: A possible scam to be wary of
« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2012, 07:32:08 PM »
Thanks Matthew  ;D

I completely agree about the so called Chinese registrar scam.  I am the registered contact for a number of domains, and I have been receiving these emails for years.  What is certain is I have always completely ignored them, and the mentioned domain names have never been registered.

The variation on this scam is one domain was registered by a Chinese company and the company I work for received a Getty scam letter regarding this domain.  When checking the website, it suddenly is not there as Getty proclaimed!  If I was of a nervous disposition, I could have panicked and took the Chinese registrars offer of registering the Chinese variant domain names.

What is particularly disappointing (Which has been noted on this forum) is Getty are quite happy to send out letter claims without really checking that their claims are valid.  A simple whois on the domain name should have stopped the claim.  They took the trouble of trying to find the company who owns the UK domain name, but didn’t look at the actual registrant of the domain in question!

I would say to any recipient of Gettys letter of claim to not take their evidence as fact.  Absolutely check everything they say.  I also had the personal misfortune of being a recipient of a letter of claim from ACS:Law (The infamous Andrew Crossley!) two years ago.  The monitoring company they used had a 25% error rate in monitoring IP addresses.  Look where ACS:Law (And Andrew Crossley) are now!

In the UK, we have a “Code of practice for pre-action conduct in intellectual property disputes” act which states in section 3.2 (b) “unless the letter is being sent to the legal advisor of the defendant, enclose a copy of the Code”.  Both ACS:Law and Getty did not supply a copy of this code of practice.

If it looks like a scam or smells like a scam then it is a scam, even if it comes with all the legal mumbo jumbo that accompanies it!

 

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