Im being impersonated on yahoo
January 7, 2008 11:23 AM   Subscribe

I am being impersonated and misrepresented by someone who is using a Yahoo ID similar to my name and using my photo. Could get NSFW inside.

Hi Gang.

I am an "adult performance artist". :-) I have a Yahoo account, "MYNAME", where "MYNAME" is my actual name. I have had it since 1999.

Someone has started a Yahoo account recently under the name of "MYNAME_X", where "X" is a term tangentially related to my performance art. They have started a Yahoo 360 group and are trying to pass themselves off as me. They are using copyrighted (by me) photos of me (available in literally thousands of places online or directly from my website) and writing in the first person as if they were me. The 360 profile is very misleading/blatantly wrong as to my tastes/interests, and offers "me" for services of which I am NOT available.

I do not know who this person is, however, i do not think from the info they are posting that they know me personally.

Because I am being impersonated by this person and harassed because of their actions, I contacted yahoo via their online abuse reporting form. My letter was never read by a human and their automatic system picked up on the word "copyright" and emailed me a form letter on how to initiate a DCMA "Notification of Infringement" and that once that is received, they will "look into" the copyright infringement case.

I dont give a hoot in heck about the copyright infringement. I am worried about Impersonation and harassment.

I have left a voicemail at Yahoo corporate (2+ hours ago) with someone who the operator transferred me to.

I have an email into my legal counsel. However, I would like to know if anyone has any experience with a situation like this (especially with yahoo), and has any advice on the situation.

Harassment and stalking are all-too-common in this industry and sometimes, they don't get resolved utill its to late for the impersonated.

Thanks all!
posted by sandra_s to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Follow up:

The phone number Yahoo provided me in their automated response is "Not in service"
posted by sandra_s at 11:27 AM on January 7, 2008

Well, one step to take is to re-send an email to Yahoo Abuse, leaving out the copyright claim.
posted by me3dia at 11:28 AM on January 7, 2008

Yahoo won't care until your lawyer contacts them; harassment and abuse on Yahoo is a problem with a long history.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 11:36 AM on January 7, 2008

If you have legal counsel and really do own the copyright to (some of) the pictures being used, why wouldn't you want to file a DMCA takedown notice with Yahoo? It might not solve all of your problems but it will cause the site's proprietor (some) problem. Yahoo gets lots of DMCA takedown notices and there is a well-defined procedure for handling these issues.

I'm not saying that you should ignore the other issues; it's just that it sounds like the copyright violation/takedown notice framework is probably a useful arrow in your quiver to fire off here.

(Of course, you should make sure that you really do own the copyright to the pictures and that they're not pictures that were taken of you by some random photographer, etc.)

IAAL but IANYL; your own lawyer will be able to give targeted legal advice.
posted by QuantumMeruit at 11:58 AM on January 7, 2008

I think this is a situation where an attorney is needed. IANAL, and IANYL, but layman's view is that you need to subpoena from Yahoo the personal information of username MYNAME_X and then issue them a cease-and-desist.

The DMCA notice is a good interim measure, since it's almost a sort of autoresponse from companies until the other party rebuts it.

Also, the contact information available on this page on Consumerist might be of use to you, even though the specific circumstance isn't what you're talking about.
posted by WCityMike at 12:41 PM on January 7, 2008

IAAL but IANY either. If a case like this would happen in my state, it would likely be grounds for a "repeat violence injunction" against the impersonator, based on stalking. That assumes that I could find out who the bad guy is and that they were also in my state.

It seems to me like the copyright dispute is the best way to get a toehold on the person's identity for further enforcement.
posted by mikewas at 1:03 PM on January 7, 2008

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