There’s an organization called the U.S. Copyright Registry (USCR) that is sending out unsolicited commercial e-mails (spam) that looks like the messages come from the U.S. federal government. The e-mails contain repeated references to copyright law and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (which handles patents and trademarks but not copyrights). As a Web lawyer, this type of scam sickens me because of how many good people are duped by it.
It appears that USCR has harvested contact information for domain name registrants from the WHOIS registry. The information is plugged into the official-looking notice to add credibility to the sales pitch.
I have nothing against a company earning a buck or even clever copywriting. However, I do object to spam, particularly when it is designed to fool Internet business owners into thinking they should pay money to this company as part of complying with U.S. law as the company goes out of its way to make itself look like a government agency in its sales pitch.
Here’s a sample e-mail from USCR. Read it for yourself and warn others. If you’ve been deceived by them, have your Web lawyer handle it.
For information on how to protect your website’s content using U.S. copyright law, consult with your Internet lawyer to address specific legal issues. If you want to do-it-yourself, go to the U.S. Copyright Office’s website and learn more.
To your success!
-Mike the Web lawyer