04.11.2010 Uncategorized No Comments

DMCA Complaints and Ugg Boots

Ugg Boots has been filing massive numbers of DMCA Complaints. The complaints are disturbingly vague, and yet Google has been processing and approving them.

The complaints state:

Our firm represents Deckers Outdoor Corporation, (“Deckers”) in trademark
and copyright matters. Deckers is known in the trade as UGG Australia and
owns the UGG trademark. Pursuant to 17 U.S.C. §512, we hereby request that
you expeditiously remove the websites located at the domains in the
attached spreadsheet from your search index for violations of United States
Copyright law. Google has my signature on file.

In addition, investigation suggests that the website(s) is/are being used
to sell counterfeit UGG goods from China and/or other foreign countries to
consumers in the U.S. These counterfeit sales violate multiple U.S. laws,
including Title 15 of the United States Code.

Examples of the complaints can be found here:

We have not received a complaint from Ugg Boots, also known as Deckers Outdoor Corporation, or their lawyers, Greer, Burns & Crain, Ltd.   In fact, our own Cheap Uggs page is actually benefiting from these complaints, because many of our competitors have been kicked out of the SERPs.  However, I am worried about the chilling effects of this combination of the business practices of Ugg’s and Google.  Ugg has successfully removed six entries from the first page of Google’s search results, twenty-one entries from the page two results, and thirty-two entries from the page three results.

Note the wording of the complaint, “for violations of United States Copyright law.”  That’s it.  That is the entire proof offered — and Google complies without question.  The lawyers go on to suggest “that the website(s) is/are being used to sell counterfeit UGG goods from China and/or other foreign countries”, but that appears to be immaterial to their claim or their request.

I would like to know their nature of Ugg’s claims, and I believe that Google should want to know the nature of these claims before censoring web sites from the search results.  Censorship is dangerous stuff, only slightly less so when done by corporations than by governments.

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