Beware of fake DMCA link requests by AI-generated lawyers

If you received a DMCA legal request demanding a link from a lawyer, well, that might be a scam.

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Have you recently received a DMCA copyright infringement notice through email from a personal claiming to be a lawyer? Well, that email might be a scam and the lawyer who emailed you might not be a real person, but rather an AI generated persona for a lawyer at a fake law firm. That is what The Next Web uncovered in a recent report about such a DMCA request.

What is a DMCA request. A DMCA request is when someone requests the removal of content or a web page due to copyright violations. DMCA stands for Digital Millennium Copyright Act and it is used to have hosting companies, Google and web site owners remove content that infringes on copyright.

What is the scam. In this case, the fake machine generated lawyer is emailing sites claiming DMCA copyright infringement and instead of having the site remove the content, they are asking for a link instead. The email says first starts off threatening, as most legal notices sound, but it ends saying “our client is happy for their image to be used and shared across the internet. However, proper image credit is due for the past or ongoing usage.” The proper image credit should be done with “a link to” the site “within 7 days.” “Otherwise, we are required to take legal action,” the email continues.

In short, the scam is to threaten copyright legal action for a link to a site.

Here is a copy of the email:

Nicole Palmer Email 1650883864

Fake lawyers. It gets even more creepy, as this reporter dug into this issue, they investigated who Arthur Davidson Legal Services was. The law firms site looked legit but the domain name was only registered this year but the site claims the firm has been around for many years. He then dug into the profile of Nicole Palmer and learned that she never existed, that she was made up by AI, by a generative adversarial network, a deep learning model that can be trained to create faces, art, or anything else. This is her photo, notice how the earrings and other aspects don’t exactly line up:

Nicole Palmer 2

It is just pretty wild how far scammers will go to manipulate the Google search rankings.

Why we care. Just beware of such legal threats, do your research to ensure the firm exists, the lawyer who emailed you is real and that this is not a scam. I can see many folks just reading the email, quickly adding the link attribution credit and emailing back saying this was done – without asking for more details or without verifying this is a real issue.

Online scams are only going to get more sophisticated and look more real with AI and machine learning at their disposal. So we all need to get more sophisticated in questioning everything we see, every email we receive and every request that is made from us.

About the author

Barry Schwartz
Barry Schwartz is a Contributing Editor to Search Engine Land and a member of the programming team for SMX events. He owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry can be followed on Twitter here.

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