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Fake AI law firm sends fake DMCA threats in SEO scam

A journalist found himself the target of a fake artificial intelligence law firm over a copyright-free photo posted on his website, but all is not quite as it first appeared as the law firm has been exposed as fake of.

Ernie Smith, online publisher and author of the newsletter Tedium, shared the first email from the law firm “Commonwealth Legal Services” and the following conversation on Mastodon in late March.

First receiving a DMCA copyright infringement notice, trademark attorney “Will Thomas” said “we need you to immediately add credit to our client” for use of the image.

A visible and clickable Tech4Gods link is said to be “required” and should be completed within the next five business days.

The email stated that removing the image “does not resolve the issue” and that if “appropriate action is not taken within the given time,” they would need to “open Case 86342 and take action as described in Section 512 of the DMCA” (C ). “

The image comes from the Unsplash website, which gives downloaders “the right to copy, modify, distribute and use these photos free of charge, including for commercial purposes, without asking permission from the photographer or Unsplash or providing attribution information.”

Law firms investigating DMCA threats

The reporter then went on to do some examination of the company, citing the “Our Lawyers” section of the website, which includes all of the “artificial intelligence generated” photos.

404 Media also backed up the claim, calling the so-called lawyers “blank-eyed and hollow-eyed” and not one of them showing up in any lawyer or LinkedIn searches. Their reverse image search results pointed to a now-broken website called “Geneved.Photos.”

Smith then looked at an address described as being on the fourth floor of his building. A quick Google Maps search revealed that the proposed address is actually a one-story structure.

Screenshot of Ernie Smith's Mastodon post showing the law firm's address, a one-story building that can be found on Google MapsScreenshot of Ernie Smith's Mastodon post showing the law firm's address, a one-story building that can be found on Google Maps

Tech4Gods is a gadget review website run by Daniel Barczak. When contacted by 404 Media, he said in an email: “I certainly do not own any of the images on the web.”

He then went on to say that he had previously been buying backlinks to his site for SEO purposes, but said he had no idea who was doing it or why: “I don’t know; it certainly has nothing to do with me .

“Recently, however, someone spammed links to a website I’ve been working on…

“I’ve been a terrible link builder in the past. I wonder if he’s mad at me for letting him go… It’s hard to argue that the web is so big that everyone can link to anything they want.”

Featured Image: Via Ideographies

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