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From "David H. Lipman" <DLip...@Verizon.Net>
Subject Re: Scam issues.
Date Fri, 17 Aug 2012 20:37:42 GMT
From: "Rob Weir" <>

> On Thu, Aug 16, 2012 at 8:40 PM, Tamblyne <> wrote:
>> On 8/15/2012 9:06 PM, Rob Weir wrote:
>>> On Wed, Aug 15, 2012 at 4:28 PM, Tamblyne<>  wrote:
>>>> On 8/2/2012 11:31 AM, Rob Weir wrote:
>>>>> On Thu, Aug 2, 2012 at 11:50 AM, David H. Lipman<>
>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>> From: "Anastasia Cher"<>
>>>>>>> Hello there,
>>>>>>> I didn't know where to email, so I decided to just email to you.
>>>>>>> just
>>>>>>> want to tell that there is an issue, some website
>>>>>>> www.*openoffice*.fm/suitepretends that its you. When I googled
>>>>>>> Office it was the first website
>>>>>>> in research so I just clicked and downloaded what they offered.
>>>>>>> say
>>>>>>> that it's an Open Office suit. When I finished and installed
it, I 
>>>>>>> had
>>>>>>> lots
>>>>>>> of bugs and staff but no office. So I don't know, but these guys
>>>>>>> using
>>>>>>> your name for scam.
>>>>>> This is going on for numerous software from Adobe Reader to VLC Media
>>>>>> Player.
>>>>> Right.  This is how it seems to work:
>>>>> 1) They buy advertisements on Google and Bing and spam social
>>>>> networks, offering OpenOffice,Free Office and similar keywords.  These
>>>>> lure users into going to their page.
>>>>> 2) The pick URL's and brand the site in a way that makes it look
>>>>> official.
>>>>> 3) To download OpenOffice you need to use their special "downloader"
>>>>> tool.  The main purpose of the downloader tool is to install other
>>>>> unrelated applications onto your system.  It may or may not then
>>>>> install OpenOffice.
>>>>> 4) These other applications are sponsored apps, meaning another
>>>>> company is paying for these applications to be promoted.  That is the
>>>>> source of revenue for the websites that do this.
>>>>> I did a blog post on this:
>>>>> Note:  Users are not powerless.  There are places to report such
>>>>> issues.  Some are listed in the blog post.
>>>>> Regards,
>>>>> -Rob
>>>> Users aren't powerless, but too many of them just don't pay attention. 
>>>> I
>>>> pulled up your blog post to see if you addressed the easiest "clue" --
>>>> for
>>>> me, anyway -- the URL itself and I see you do mention it, but maybe it
>>>> could
>>>> be more directly stated.
>>>> *Any* URL that ends in a dot other than COM or ORG or NET should be
>>>> suspect
>>>> and probably shouldn't be clicked on at all.  The ".fm" in the URL the
>>>> poster provided is a dead giveaway.  Most of your suggestions of things
>>>> to
>>>> watch out for require the user to actually visit the page first, and 
>>>> too
>>>> many times it's already too late after that's been done.
>>> I think that another issue is that users are not very Google (or Bing)
>>> savvy.  They don't all know about sponsored links in search results,
>>> especially when they appear on top.   They have in mind what they are
>>> searching for, and naturally gravitate toward the top listing.  Subtle
>>> shading or small print does not cause them to slow down and even check
>>> the URL.
>>>> It always frustrates me that in these "modern times" so much time is
>>>> spent
>>>> cleaning up messes in the wake of these unethical people -- thieves and
>>>> liars.  I have no use for them.
>>>> For instance, I'm sure it took you a fair bit of time to write that 
>>>> blog
>>>> post -- which is very helpful.  Unfortunately, I would guess that a 
>>>> vast
>>>> majority of the people who need that knowledge won't find it until
>>>> *after*
>>>> they've been screwed and go to try to find out why.
>>> True.  But it does have some value for us to articulate what we
>>> consider to be acceptable and unacceptable.  As open source software
>>> we tread a narrow line.  We're open as a matter of principle, and from
>>> a copyright perspective our license allows anyone to copy the software
>>> for any purpose.  But that is only with respect to copyright.
>>> Trademark use is an entirely different beast, and no one is given
>>> permission to use our trademark in a way that confuses or harms our
>>> users.
>>> If we were a big corporation we'd have legions of attorneys at our
>>> call to apply their special powers of persuasion to remedy this.  But
>>> we're a non-profit, relying on volunteers.  So the emphasis
>>> necessarily focuses on user education.  We're not the only product
>>> that runs into this problem.  Many of the popular open source apps
>>> have the same issues, like 7-ZIP and VLC Player.  It comes
>>> hand-in-hand with popularity.  No one tries to misuse trademarks of
>>> unpopular programs.
>>> -Rob
>> I definitely agree with what you say, and am familiar with the issues. 
>> It's
>> only that the horse will have already left the barn before the people who
>> really need that info will find it.
> Any suggestions for how we could do this better?
> The one thing we're not able to do is go out, guns blazing, with cease
> and desist orders and DMCA take-downs, etc.  We're not a big
> corporation.
> One idea -- more of a dream than a plan -- is to contact other open
> source projects who face similar issues, and work together to raise
> recognition of the issue, educate users, but also push for less
> expensive routes for non-profits to raise complaints in these areas.

You can use the DMCA route.  You don't have to be a big entity.  The right 
is afforded to an individual or organization.  Just file it with the hoster 
of the content.

The second option of joining forces with other affected authors/software 
publishers can be done as well.

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