Yesterday, I returned to find a DMCA claim filed against us by Red Points Solution SL, purporting to act for Harper’s Bazaar España publisher Hearst Magazines SL, falsely accusing us of breaching their copyright with this article. You can read the notice here.
Naturally, I filed a counter-claim because their accusation is baseless.
Our source was PR Newswire, and it’s not uncommon to find stories of interest through that platform. In fact, Armani Beauty was so keen to get this out there on November 3 that we received the release in four languages at 15.28, 15.30, 15.33, 15.36, 15.39, 15.46 and 16.03 UTC.
The quotations and images were supplied by Armani Beauty, which is part of L’Oréal. I’ve worked with people from L’Oréal for over two decades and know their systems well enough, including the money they have for licensing images for press usage.
Lucire has a lot of original articles, but some of our news is release-based, as it is for anyone in our industry.
Our rule is: even when it’s a release, you write it up individually in your own words. You may have something additional to bring to the story. And we aren’t a repository of releases.
The only time we would run a release mostly verbatim is if we issued it, something that might happen once every couple of years.
Naturally, Google has so far done nothing and our story remains absent from their index. Big Tech loves big firms like Hearst.
I’ve tagged Harper’s Bazaar España in social media demanding they front up with their evidence. I’ve also messaged Hearst’s Spanish office with the following.
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Yesterday, your firm lobbed a false accusation against us by deceptively claiming your copyright had been breached by one of our articles. I note that you filed this as a DMCA complaint with Google.
We have filed a counter-notice.
We find it appalling that you would claim an original work has breached your copyright.
The imagery and quotations to our articles were sourced from L’Oréal, and we have informed them directly of your deceptive and misleading conduct.
I demand you furnish proof. As you will no doubt fail to, we demand you withdraw the complaint. We reserve the right to pursue our own legal remedies against you.
I basically thought they were being dicks and my friend Oliver Woods chimed in on Twitter about it. Oli’s very insightful and objective, and I respect his opinion.
Absolute muppets. Just goes to show how bad the race to the bottom in digital/SEO is getting.
— Oli (@oiwoods) August 17, 2022
They are being dicks, but there is a strategy behind it. Petty little minds wanting to look good on Google, not liking someone else ahead of them. (Not that I ever looked to see where our story ranked. I mean, seriously?)
It reminds me of a US designer’s rep who emailed me a while back wanting us to remove an article.
I asked: what’s wrong with it? Did we err in facts? Is it somehow defamatory?
When I probed a bit more deeply, it turned out that they were incensed it came up so highly in a Google image search.
I explained that that wasn’t a good enough reason, especially since the story had been provided to us by a PR firm.
They countered by saying that as they had not heard of us, it was highly unlikely that they would have released us that news.
I thought it was a very strange strategy to accuse someone you wanted a favour from of lying.
I still have the email from their PR firm. Call me Lord of the Files.
I’m not going to reveal the identity of the designer. I asked one of my team to see if he would call me directly instead of having one of his rude staff insult me. He never did call. The image is still there, and I bet they’re seething each time they see it.
It’s not even a bad image. It just doesn’t happen to be hosted by them.
I don’t really know why search engine domination is so important. We all should have a fair crack at it, and let whomever has the most meritorious item on a particular topic come up top.
The American designer, and the Spanish outpost of this American media giant Hearst, are obviously not people who like freedom of the press, freedom of expression, or a meritorious web. American people might like this stuff but a lot of their corporations don’t.
Which is why Google is terrible because it doesn’t allow it. We know through numerous lawsuits it has biases toward its own properties, for a start. I’ve observed them favouring big media brands over independents—even when independents break a news story.
Mojeek is just so, so much better. No agenda. Just search the way it was and should have stayed. That’s the “next Google”, the one that could save the web, that I had asked for in 2010.
Except it shouldn’t be the next Google because we don’t want more surveillance and tribalism.
Fair, unbiased search is where Mojeek excels. I really hope it catches on more. God knows the world needs it.
I think the world needs Lucire, too, the title that Harper’s Bazaar Australia named as part of its ‘A-list of style’. The Aussies are just so much nicer.
PS.: Hearst uses a company called Red Points Solution SL to do its supposed copyright infringement detection. Based on this, they must be pretty shit at it. And remember, we don’t even publish in Spanish. Yet.
I see you have falsely accused us of copyright infringement with our article at https://lucire.com/insider/20211103/valentina-sampaio-named-armani-beautys-newest-ambassador/ when we have done nothing of the sort.
We demand that you withdraw your DMCA complaint to Google.
Our story’s source is Armani Beauty through PR Newswire, to which we are signed up as a legitimate international media organization. The story is our work, using facts and quotations provided in the release.
PR Newswire provided us with this release on November 3, 2021, at 15.28, 15.30, 15.33, 15.36, 15.39, 15.46 and 16.03.
A counter-notice has been filed.
We require an explanation from you on why you have targeted a legitimate media organization with your deception. Clearly your detection systems are not very good and we would certainly be discouraged from using them.
P.PS.: One more email to Red Points Solution SL on August 19, 21.56 UTC after they doubled-down with another notice removing two URLs from Google. Again, no proof of their original work was provided, and none can be seen in Lumen even when requested. It seems Google will lap anything up if it sees a big company behind it.
I have reached out to you through numerous means but yet to hear back.
I publish Lucire, a magazine with a 25-year history and five editions worldwide. You might even say we’re the sort of business that would need Red Points Solution’s services.
However, we’ve found ourselves at the other end, with legitimate media stories from our website removed from Google with DMCA notices you’ve filed.
Your client is Hearst SL.
If your latest efforts are down to Hearst’s orders, then they are claiming ownership over material that is not theirs.
All our content is original, and where it is not, it is properly licensed.
In the first case:
Your client does not own this material at all. We own the story, and the quotations and images are owned by and licensed to us by L’Oréal. Hearst has no connection to it other than Harper’s Bazaar being mentioned in an editorial fashion.
In the second case:
Your client does not own this material at all. We own the story, and the images are owned by and licensed to us by French Sole and BFA.com. Hearst has no connection to it other than Harper’s Bazaar being mentioned in an editorial fashion.
In the third case:
Your client does not own this material at all. In fact, we own this material fully. No Hearst properties are even mentioned.
Counter-notifications have been filed on the basis that it is our original content and that your client has no right to make the claim in the first place.
It would be far easier if you would review your systems as presently they are opening your client and yourselves up to a legal claim …
We think you need to go back to your client and have them show you just how they can legitimately claim ownership of material that is not theirs.
In the meantime, we insist you stop these notices as they are unwarranted and unfounded.
We look forward to hearing from you.