(Please note, the title to this blog is my original work and I have posted this in many places – I own the copyright so please don’t copy my work.)
I have previously blogged about Mugshots.com and Pornographic e-Blackmail on May 17, 2013 and on Sexting – More Permanent than a Tattoo on May 31, 2013. Today’s post is in a similar vein.
What do you do when someone has posted an article that names you in a bad light? What about a post that slams your business? What if you created a post that has back-fired and you want it removed? What if a competitor has hijacked your links or your domain name or trademarks or copyrights? I face each of these scenarios and more every week.
You should first attempt to help yourself out of the situation. Removing posted content is often as easy as contacting a site through their customer service people and asking for it to be removed for a good reason – e.g. it is defamatory, it shows nude pictures, the post is a forgery, etc. You can usually get material that you own the copyright for deleted by following the DMCA notice on the web site.
However, if this contact by you does not accomplish its goal, you are going to need to hire a lawyer. Often, repeating the contact through customer service on my legal letterhead is all that is needed. The customer service people know to forward a lawyer’s letter to their legal department, and their legal department contacts me. During the ensuing discussions, we come to a solution and I can often get the post removed.
If I cannot get a post removed, sometimes, I can get it de-listed from the major search engines for many of the same reasons.
That having been said, I have worked for dozens of clients to get information removed or search engine de-listed. I would say the success rate for these kinds of actions among Internet attorneys is around 70% and that the cost is from $1,000 to $1,500. It all depends on the circumstances. This is not cheap, but may be worth the cost to you depending on how much the post is hurting you. (e.g. interfering with job, school or finding an apartment.)
As I stated in my previous posts, don’t step on your own foot. Don’t post nude pictures or defamatory rants on the Internet. On the other hand, when the posts are about you by other people, you need to take action. Do what you can for yourself first, and if that fails, contact an attorney to help you.
Finally, I am finding the hardest part about starting a blog is developing a readership. If you enjoy my posts, please come back! And, please share my blog with your friends!