Copyright complaint as phishing email

An anonymous bank worker writes, "What follows is the content of an email send to the whole company as a warning:"
A fraudulent email has recently made its way into xxxxxxxx entitled “Cease and Desist”. It claims to be from an individual or company informing you that your website is publishing copyrighted materials, and it includes a link to show which portions contain the infringements.

DO NOT click on the link – simply delete the email. See below for a sample of one of these emails.

From: Mark Wahlberg - WMLLP law []
Sent: Tuesday, August 16, 2011 7:39 AM
To: xxxxxxxxx
Subject: Cease and desist!
We hereby inform you that you are infringing on copyrighted material. I represent Phoenix Meresis/MBS LP. It has come to my attention that you have used and/or published on your website (commencing on or about May 18, 2011, pursuant to our information and good faith belief) and continue to publish without permission a number of pieces owned by Phoenix Meresis (webpages, text, images, animated clips, source code, etc.) at your site including, but not limited to, the following url references cited below.


http://www.[website they want you to click]

Mark Wahlberg,
Bretz & Coven, LLP

I love that Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch have become a zombie front for a copyright phisher.


  1. When spammers adopt your business model, shouldn’t this be a sign the model itself is not legit?

    1. Perhaps the only difference between these scammers’ phishing technique and the phishing technique–sorry, “business model”–of the copyright trolls is that these guys aren’t actually giving a cut to a lawyer. 

      1. So we should send them letters pretending to be lawyers and demand our cut or we’ll sue them for making legal negotiations without a lawyer?

        1. So we should send them letters pretending to be lawyers and demand our
          cut or we’ll sue them for making legal negotiations without a lawyer?

          Welcome to the world of scam baiting.

          1. I have enough problems trying to keep up with people flipping out when a Copyright Troll sends them a letter.  I’ll stick with that and hope someone else will take care of these freaks.

          2. Mine is to blackened for the open market.

            I show people the flaws in the copyright troll cases, and keep them from caving in and spending money they don’t have because one of the Troll Firms has produced a piece of paper claiming they were on the grassy knoll and shot. 

            Given the sheer numbers in these mass travesties right now, I think I will be busy for a while.

      2. The only difference between these scammers’ phishing technique and the “business model” of companies like Rightshaven LLC is what? The scammers have a law degree? Basically there is no difference.

        If you thought the difference was that some of the money actually went to the artists you’d be completely wrong.

  2. From: Mark Wahlberg – WMLLP law [

    Doesn’t that pretty much undermine their credibility from the get-go? I mean, I don’t even have television and I know who Mark Wahlberg is and that he’s no IP lawyer.

    1. The musician/actor or the host of Antiques Roadshow?

      They often use names like this, and people blindly ignore the warning sign.

      If common sense was actually common, email scams would never work.
      Instead, they are a booming industry

    2. I dunno, there could another Mark Wahlberg.  When I was in law school I did work for attorneys named Jack Matlock and Douglas MacArthur in the same summer.  

    1. Serious about what? Or was that just a general comment on your disposition? :P

      “Mark Wahlberg???” could mean just about anything. :P

  3. KBert, Mark Whlberg is an actor. He’s pretty good. Not Justin Timberlake good, but not bad. BTW, the executives at the credit union I work for got this too.

  4. Does anybody know what the fishing link collects? Or if there is any kind of malicious payload? I work for a financial institution and we got this to several inside people, I am afraid one or more of them clicked it, but I have run every scan I can, nothing seems out of the ordinary… 
    It could just harvest email addresses… anybody know?

  5. This is actually kind of clever. We’ve been trained by now to ignore not only Nigerian prince emails, but also emails threatening to close our account or whatever. So they’re using copyright threats, which we’ve been trained to take seriously.

  6. I actually received this very email at work earlier this week… and promptly deleted it without clicking the link. Admittedly, the name Mark Wahlberg did cause the scammer alarm bells to start ringing.

  7. I got an interesting one earlier this week:

    From: Aggressive Lawyer
    Subject: CEASE & DESIST
    Date: Tuesday, August 16, 2011, 3:21 PM



    RE: cease and desist or face legal action

    The website XXX and XXX with the IP address XXXXXX hosted by XXX in the state of XXX in the United States of America contains (in the thread “XXXXX”) copyrighted material from the blogs XXX, XXX and XXX

    If all of the copyrighted material is not removed from your website immediately, then the OWNERS of the website and the HOST of the website will be exposed to legal action in any state of the United States of America where the material was read and published as well as in any other jurisdiction where the laws of copyright apply and the contents of your blog were read.

    If you ignore this cease and desist letter then you will be subject to punitive damages and any applicable criminal action. The IP addresses of the individuals who post in your forum will be summonsed and they will be subjected to both criminal and civil procedures. 


    Judging by the writing style though, this rather looks like the author of the blogs not taking too kindly to people on the internet discussing said blogs.

    1. *yawn*
      Except the hosting company has immunity, this isn’t a DMCA compliant notice, no proof of the copyright attached, and providing clear proof of being a moron.

      Real lawyers put in their contact information.

      Which begs the question, how many people has this nut job managed to scare so far?

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