It seems as though the head honchos over at GoPro don’t take kindly to websites that review their action camera with its rivals and decide that actually, the rival product is the far superior action camera.
This week GoPro have received a lot of negative attention after it was revealed that they sent a DMCA notice to DigitalRev after they published an article last month that compared the GoPro Hero 3 with Sony’s HDR-AS15. The DigitalRev article concluded that the Sony action camera was the better product, however they were forced to take the article down after receiving the DMCA notice.
This is the notification that DigitalRev received from GoPro:
“We are providing you this letter of notification pursuant to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act 17 USC??512(c) to make Softlayer.com aware of material on its network or system that infringes the exclusive copyrights of Woodman Labs, Inc d/b/a GoPro (“Company”). We hereby affirm that the undersigned is authorized to act on behalf of Company whose exclusive intellectual property rights we believe to be infringed as described herein.
We have a good faith belief that the Internet site found at digitalrev.com infringes the rights of the Company by using the following trademarks of the Company:
“GOPRO” Registered: 3/3/2009 US Registration# 3032989
“HERO” Registered: 12/20/2005 US Registration# 3308141
The Company represents that it has not authorized your customer to use the Infringing Material. Based upon information at its disposal on digitalrev.com, we believe that the statements in this notice are accurate and correctly describe the infringing nature and status of the Infringing Material.
Accordingly, we hereby demand that Softlayer.com immediately remove or disable access to the Infringing Material at:
As you may know, if this information is not removed after notice that complies with the DMCA, the Internet Service Provider may also be held liable for the copyright infringement.
I have a good faith belief that use of the trademark(s) described above in connection with the domain and URLs described above is not authorized by the trademark owner, and such use is not otherwise permissible under applicable law.
I represent that the information in this notification is true and correct and that I am authorized to act on behalf of the trademark owner.
Woodman Labs, Inc d/b/a GoPro
+1 (415) 738-2480 x7282
+1 (415) 814-5373 fax”
So in fear of repercussions, the folks at DigitalRev immediately took down “offending” review, though this screenshot of it was salvaged.
Obviously feeling harshly done by, DigitalRev then published a blog post entitled “GoPro doesn’t like their Hero 3 compared to Sony’s AS15?” that explained the whole sorry affair to their readers.
In the blog post, DigitalRev elaborated that the DMCA notice they received warned them that they were prohibited from mentioning GoPro trademarks “GoPro” and “Hero” without first obtaining authorization. They called this an “eye-opener” because prior to receiving this notice, they had absolutely no idea that you needed a manufacturer’s permission in order to publish a review of their product.
“Those who are familiar with DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) might know that more than 50% of DMCA notices are filed with an abusive nature to suppress freedom of expression or to prevent fair competitions. We hope GoPro is not suggesting, with this DMCA notice, that camera reviews should be done only when they are authorized by the manufacturers.”
In response to these developments GoPro issued this official response:
“The letter that was posted next to the review on DigitalRev was not sent in response to the review. Obviously, we welcome editorial reviews of our products. This letter was sent because DigitalRev is not an authorized reseller of GoPro products and they were using images and had incorrect branding and representation of our product in their online commerce store. As part of our program – we ask merchants who are selling our product to use authorized images. That is why DigitalRev was contacted. But – our letter did not clearly communicate this and that is something we will correct.”
Their explanation however has not been particularly well received, BoingBoing said that the DMCA was for copyright concerns not trademark ones and that; “GoPro violated the law, and then offered a lame-ass, weak-ola excuse for it.” They stated that you categorically do not need a trademark holder’s permission to carry out a review nor do you need to be an authorized reseller and they are pretty damn sure that GoPro’s copyright crew should know this!!
The whole thing has become a bit of a PR nightmare for GoPro and the Streisand Effect is in full motion. The number of people that would have heard about the review that claimed Sony’s action camera was better than the Hero 3 has increased dramatically, since the story has been covered by numerous sites that are concerned with copyright abuses. Hopefully GoPro will offer an acceptable apology to DigitalRev and save some face before it’s too late.