Since I noticed the traffic drop to zero from Bing a few weeks ago, I have been in touch with Bing trying to “fix” the problem. At first, I thought it was a WordPress plugin (providing features to our website) which might have been causing a problem.
The Bing Webmaster Platform has provided me hints on why my website was banned.
It was the Bing Webmaster Platform which provided me hints as to what I am horrified to think might be happening.
WE HAVE CHECKED: THERE IS NO MALWARE ON OUR TORRENTLAWYER.COM SITE.
TO BE CLEAR: Our TorrentLawyer.com website has always been very strict with security. We run firewalls, we have security plug-ins, and we pay for the services we use. We regularly run malware scans with multiple companies, and our website has always been free of malware.
I could not understand why the Bing Webmaster Website classified our content as “malware.”
What was confusing to me is that on the Bing Webmaster Website, I could not understand why some of our articles were classified as “malware.” These web pages did NOT have malware.
The way they banned our TORRENTLAWYER.COM domain was that they marked the “/” page as having malware. It does NOT have malware, we have checked, re-checked, and have had other companies recheck.
THERE IS NO MALWARE.
To confirm this yourself, these links have been provided to me by a friend (I’m not sure he wanted me to share his info, so I’m posting the links).
Bing elevated my ticket, and then explained that my TorrentLawyer.com website certainly violates Bing’s guidelines.
As a quick update, after communicating with Bing trying to resolve the problem, they elevated my ticket, and then responded that “our TorrentLawyer.com website certainly violates Bing’s guidelines.”
Now Bing has added most of my articles and pages to be classified as “malware” on their Bing Webmaster platform.
Here is the strange thing. After confronting them on the malware question (again, our website has no malware), the following day, I observed a change of how many more of my pages were classified on their Bing Webmaster Site. Bing classified mostly all of my articles and pages on my Torrentlawyer.com website as “malware”.
Again, I know this wasn’t there before because I was watching this category literally the day before trying to find out why my website was banned from Bing Search Engines.
Bing has now restricted my account to prevent me from adding or updating URLs on their search engine.
In the past few days, Bing has restricted our ability to add URLs to their search engine. The default is that users can add 1000 new URLs per day.
Bing initially lowered my ability to submit new URLs from 1000/day (originally), to 10/day, and as of yesterday, it was lowered to 0/day. They have not even given me a chance to contest or correct their new classification.
So what in the world is happening at Bing?
I suspect Bing has a new definition of malware. Does “malware” now include harmful content (instead of harmful code)?
I am grief-stricken to even consider this possibility. I am concerned that Bing might have a new definition of malware.
Definition: Malware is code that can infect the machine that accesses that code.
New Definition: Malware is website content [code] that can infect the reader [machine] that accesses that website content [code]?
Is it possible that the term “code” now means “website content” [meaning, harmful words on a webpage which could now be classified as harmful “code”]?
Is it possible that the term “machine” now includes not only the computer, but the reader who accesses the content (code) of the website?
Because if so, then yes, my website articles can all be considered malware — each article provides useful content which can affect the thoughts of my readers.
What I told Bing to explain the content on my TorrentLawyer.com website.
This is a snippet from my most recent e-mail to the Bing Search Engine (I added the bullet points):
“TorrentLawyer.com” is a blog of the Cashman Law Firm PLLC.
We do not encourage piracy, nor do we link to any content which infringes the copyright rights of any copyright holder.
All content on that website discussed copyright infringement lawsuits filed in federal courts, as we represent clients in those lawsuits.
All of these lawsuits surround the defendants’ alleged use of the BitTorrent networks, hence the name “TorrentLawyer.”
As for our beliefs, we believe in the enforcement of U.S. copyright laws and statutes.
Our law firm’s mission is to fight against entities known as “copyright trolls,” who misuse the U.S. copyright laws to monetize their copyrights rather than to take steps provided to them by the DMCA to stop the infringement of their copyrighted content.
Lastly, there is NO ADULT CONTENT on our website. The lawsuits in which we represent clients are adult film companies, e.g., Strike 3 Holdings, LLC and formerly, Malibu Media LLC.
However, we do not endorse or encourage the viewing of adult content, nor do we link to adult content on our website.
Is anything here so offensive that they should classify my articles as “malware” and block my entire TORRENTLAWYER.COM domain from posting useful content on their Bing Search Engines?
Even Bing’s own Site Explorer shows I have NO URLs with Guideline Issues.
Lastly, IF our TORRENTLAWYER.COM website violated Bing’s guidelines, wouldn’t it show up in their Site Explorer under the “Filter by: URLs with guidelines issues” category?
As you can see from the attached screenshot, there are “No URLs Applicable” to this category.
So I guess the question that needs to be asked is…
“If there are no Bing Guidelines Issues, why does my TorrentLawyer.com website have Bing Guidelines Issues?”
I am frustrated to share this news, but our entire TorrentLawyer.com website has been banned from the Bing Search Engine. Being banned from Bing Search Engines means that our 10+ years of content have also disappeared from DuckDuckGo, and all other search engines which obtain their results from Bing.
Hundreds of articles have disappeared overnight from being banned from Bing Search Engines… by the push of a button.
Our TorrentLawyer blog has hundreds of articles that we have written since 2010 on the copyright troll problem, and now all of that work and all of that information has DISAPPEARED OVERNIGHT because someone at Bing did not like our content.
We contacted Bing multiple times about the issue, and they merely said that our content “violated their guidelines” and thus we are banned from their search engine. When we asked them for further details, they refused to give us anything other than, “Refer to our guidelines. We have looked at your website and have determined that it violated our guidelines.“
I have looked at the guidelines, as have other attorneys. Our only conclusion is that our TorrentLawyer website violated their guidelines because “we say so.”
Our website has been attacked hundreds of times over the years by those that do not want our content shared.
Behind the scenes, over the years, our website has been constantly attacked, hack attempts have been blocked, and we have spent a considerable amount of time simply keeping the TorrentLawyer Blog website up.
We have signed up to Cloudflare so that our content still shows up when our website goes down (because of a successful intrusion into our website).
We have our website hardened to make it difficult for hackers to change the content of our website articles (this has happened).
We have implemented strict https only (encrypted SSL traffic) on our websites, and we have changed our http headers, sometimes breaking the functionality of the website itself… just to keep the website up and running.
We cannot control those who have a different opinion than us.
What we cannot control, however, is someone who has a viewpoint which differs from ours. Our law firm is a DEFENSE LAW PRACTICE. We defend people ACCUSED of committing crimes and violations of laws and rules. Such accused defendants deserve an attorney to represent them, even if public policy declares them as “bad” or “evil.”
With so much crime and things going on in our news, it is honestly shocking that our content should get so much concern. It is even more shocking that we would ever be banned from Bing’s Search Engine (or any search engine, for that matter — these are supposed to share useful content, not to moderate it).
Yes, we defend internet users accused of piracy. Yes, we defend clients in cases involving adult content. Yes, our website article titles sometimes contain NSFW terms. Yes, the copyright lobby hates that we exist, but we do.
Suspicion of “settlement factory attorneys” Uch. I really don’t want to go here.
What bothers me more than thinking that the pro-copyright lobby wants us to disappear is the thought that some of our so-called competition also wants us to disappear.
SETTLEMENT FACTORY SO-CALLED “BITTORRENT DEFENSE” LAW FIRMS
For years, we have called out practices by other law firms which we refer to as “settlement factories.” We have exposed their tactics, we have openly shared their scams.
Simply put, we have made enemies, and we have been attacked as a result.
Unauthorized Attempted Logins on our WordPress websites.
I have looked at the logs on our website’s firewalls. I have watched the attacks as they relentlessly happened over the years, as they happened. I have personally blocked hundreds of IP addresses who tried to log into the back end of our WordPress websites with usernames of only someone who would know us would try to use.
Why would a hacker try to log in as “Rob Cashman” or “houstonlawy3r”?
I frequently see logins with variations of “Rob Cashman” or “Cashman Law Firm” as the username, or more frequently, “houstonlawy3r,” which is a username someone would only to know to use if they knew that I post my Twitter comments as “houstonlawy3r.” This is too much of a coincidence; it is not a random hacker (we have those too that regularly try to get into our websites).
So as a sidenote, I cannot give up the suspicion that another law firm I have called out as a “settlement factory” [never by name — I don’t destroy reputations — but by their activities] have hired hackers who use bots and DoS attacks to take down our website.
Thus far, that strategy of breaking into my site didn’t work… but convincing someone at Bing to remove my entire website and the TORRENTLAWYER.COM domain — because our content allegedly “violated their guidelines” — that did work.
Accused defendants in copyright infringement lawsuits were hurt by this ban.
Whoever it is that caused our website to be banned from Bing has hurt our readers.
Yes, our business will be hurt by this — for over a month now, we have had ZERO WEBSITE VISITS FROM BING SEARCH ENGINES, and we are fine. It is simply unfortunate that someone would go so far as to try to make our ENTIRE WEBSITE disappear. This is simply wrong.
What Free Speech? What Free Press? What Rights of Appeal do we have when it is the Bing Search Engine itself which banned us?
There should be free speech and free press, but every day, that seems to be dwindling into the twilight. With so much pro-copyright legal power, damages for copyright infringement have done nothing but increase. It is simply surprising that the copyright lobbyists, the lawmakers, and the politicians have joined up with pornography companies and adult film companies to enforce their rights over the rights of the individual.
Why I believe as an attorney that adult films should not be copyrightable.
Specifically, see this article of mine from 2012, reason #3, “Scènes à faire” (or, Scenes a faire in plain text). Not only should adult films be classified as obscene, and thus ineligible for copyright infringement, but rather, every adult film has the same scenes, the same acts, the same genres, the same nurse, police outfit, or story line. Only the actors are different, but the scenes are all the same (mixtures of various acts in one order or another).
Copyright Trolls misuse the US Copyright Laws, and THIS is what we fight against.
However, copyright protection should allow a copyright holder to go to a court and get an INJUNCTION to force a website to take down a web page illegally hosting copyrighted content. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) allows copyright holders to send DMCA copyright violation notices to internet users directly telling them to “cut it out, or else.”
Copyright holders have many ways to enforce their copyright rights, which their intended outcome should be TO STOP THE INFRINGEMENT OF THEIR COPYRIGHTED CONTENT.
Copyright Trolls use the federal courts to monetize their copyrights, not to stop the infringement of their copyrights.
Instead, copyright holders have resorted to using the federal courts “as a sword, rather than a shield.” They wield a federal court lawsuit like a weapon to hold that sword over the heads of individual downloaders who are sued as “John Doe Subscribers” in copyright infringement lawsuits.
And, instead of trying to take down the copyrighted content which was put on a particular website without their permission, they use the federal court lawsuits to solicit (dare I say extort) thousands of dollars from each accused defendant in return for their promise not to name and serve that defendant in the federal court lawsuit.
The TorrentLawyer Blog is simply trying to expose the misuse of the US Copyright Laws by copyright trolls.
STOPPING THIS (misuse of the US Copyright Laws) has been the focus of our Cashman Law Firm PLLC law firm since 2010. It is not that we are piracy friendly (as some search engines might think), and it is not that we are promoting piracy or copyright infringement in any way, shape, or form. WE ARE NOT.
We are simply trying to stop the copyright trolling problem. For now, that means 1) teaching internet users about the schemes and methods of the copyright holders to avoid being sued in a copyright infringement lawsuit, and 2) defending accused downloaders who have found themselves entangled in a lawsuit.
Until now, we relied on Search Engines to share our content.
Until now, we relied on the search engines to share our content with would-be readers. The logic is that if we provided good quality content, and if we complied with the rules and guidelines of each of the search engines (e.g., having content in a specific format, properly marking up our websites so that search engine bots and crawlers will be able to understand our articles, etc.) we will be listed on the search engines where readers could find our content. This is not “SEO.” This is simply providing good and valuable content.
We never anticipated that our entire website would be taken down by the Bing Search Engine.
However, what we at the Cashman Law Firm, PLLC could not anticipate that there would be forces beyond our control who could make our content DISAPPEAR without warning, without us being able to contest any opposition to our content, and unilaterally without any oversight.
This happened when we were banned from the Bing Search Engine in January, 2022. Overnight, our website went from being listed on the top of the search engine results to being banned by Bing and delisted COMPLETELY from their search engine, as if our content never existed.
Banning TorrentLawyer.com from Bing causes us to be delisted also from DuckDuckGo, Brave, other privacy-based search engines.
Again, being banned from Bing’s search engine isn’t the issue. The fact is that so many other search engines use Bing’s search engine results when pulling content which will show up on THEIR search engine’s results. This includes search engines such as DuckDuckGo, the new Brave search engine, and pretty much every other “anti-Google,” “anti-tracking,” “pro-privacy” search engine. These search engines are right in line with our views and beliefs, yet our TorrentLawyer website is now banned from those websites too.
If you search “site:https://www.torrentlawyer.com” on any Bing Search Engine (or on any of the DuckDuckGo or related search engines), you will find that now ZERO articles show up. At the bottom of the search engine page, you will now see a notation that all content from this website has been removed.
Now we know we cannot rely on the search engines to deliver our content.
In sum, we cannot control the search engines — we know that now. “Fairness” and “Free Speech” are no longer concept that protect our content from being erased from history.
We are asking for YOUR help to share your thoughts on how we can deliver content to you. Solution #1: GitHub Page.
We do have enough of a following over the years to still provide content to our readers, even if we are no longer on the search engines. The challenge now is how to present our content in this new pro-censorship environment on the website itself.
For this reason, I have started a GitHub page at https://github.com/TorrentLawyer. Assuming they are willing to allow us on their website, we will be seeking your assistance on how to properly present content on our website and handle issues that pop up.
If you see anything wrong with our TorrentLawyer Blog website or our Cashman Law Firm PLLC website, please log into GitHub and open up a new issue on our GitHub page, and let me know that a particular issue exists.
If you can suggest a change to our website, or a suggestion on how I can properly present the hundreds of articles and posts in a way that would be useful and accessible to you as the reader, please open up an issue on our GitHub page and let me know.
What we are doing now with the Bing Search Engine to fix the problem.
As far as being banned from Bing’s Search Engine, we are currently working to eliminate any content which they might find as misinformation, harmful, or offensive. I will be removing any category which references adult films, and I will be removing brand names of companies like Strike 3 Holdings, LLC, including references to their “Tushy, Vixen, Blacked, and Deeper” brands.
However, honestly, I am concerned that this will not fix the problem. I suspect their problem with our website is its so-called “harmful” content.
We cannot remove the fact that we defend accused downloaders accused of piracy. This, and the implications that follow will continue to have those who are against our content continue to attack our site, and they will continue with their efforts to de-list us from the search engines.
CONTACT FORM: If you have a question or comment about what I have written, and you want to keep it *for my eyes only*, please feel free to use the form below. The information you post will be e-mailed to me, and I will be happy to respond.
NOTE: No attorney client relationship is established by sending this form, and while the attorney-client privilege (which keeps everything that you share confidential and private) attaches immediately when you contact me, I do not become your attorney until we sign a contract together. That being said, please do not state anything “incriminating” about your case when using this form, or more practically, in any e-mail.