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Question
Dear Dr. Nuccitelli,

I found my full name posted on an adult dating/sex site. I have no idea how they got my name. I never registered for the site. I never gave them permission to post my name.

I contacted the hosting provider about having my name removed. I was told to submit a valid DMCA complaint.

I do not have a legal background. I did a little research on DMCA, which seems to mainly be about copyright. I also found out that a person's name cannot be copyrighted. Is this true?

I do not think DMCA concerns trademark, but could I make a complaint involving trademark?

Is there anything I can do? I do not have a lot of money to spend pursuing legal action. Do I just have to live with my name being on the site?

Also, how can sites just post someone's name online without permission?

Thank you for your help.

Answer
iPredator Inc. | NYS Internet Safety Company
iPredator Inc. | NYS I  
Good Morning from New York D,

I'm sorry to hear about your circumstances regarding your full name being posted on an adult dating/sex site. I'm also perplexed why the hosting provider would suggest filing a notice of claimed copyright infringement per DMCA guidelines. A person's name cannot be copyrighted or trademarked meaning the hosting provider must have been confused. Although I am not an attorney with expertise in patent, trademark and intellectual property legal statutes, the only way I know a name can be trademarked is if it can be proven and directly tied to commercial enterprise. An example would be like Tommy Hilfiger or Calvin Klein.

In rare circumstances, and if a person can prove that their name has a "secondary meaning" by being part of a unique brand used in marketing and commerce, there is an outside chance. But even in these situations, the person also has to prove that their name [aka, a commercial brand] is widely recognized. Occasionally, a name can be trademarked if it is unique and proven to be “one of a kind”.

Not knowing the details, other than your questions, it is hard to advise you on options for solving the issue. You are certainly welcomed to call and there will be no charge for the consultation. As for your question regarding how social networking sites can post someone's name online without their permission, the answer would take a 2-3 page written explanation. Without knowing more about the details, the only steps I can suggest is to visit the adult dating/sex site's "privacy policy" and "terms of service" pages to see if there is any information that would be helpful.

Once you have reviewed their guidelines, send them a hard copy certified take down request letter followed by a series of phone calls and emails. Also having friends, family and work associates doing the same thing can help as well. With any correspondence with them it is vital to include some form of documented evidence that the name being used in their site is your name along with copies of their privacy policies and terms of service.  

Respectfully,
Michael Nuccitelli Psy.D., C.F.C.
NYS Licensed Psychologist
CEO, iPredator Inc.
Ph: 347-871-2416
Website: www.iPredator.co
Email: drnucc@ipredatorinc.com  

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Dr. Michael Nuccitelli

Expertise

cyber bullying, cyber stalking, cybercrime, cyber terrorism, online sexual predators, child predators, Internet safety, psychopathology, criminal psychology, forensic psychology and cyber psychology.

Experience

Dr. Michael Nuccitelli is a New York State licensed psychologist and certified forensic consultant. He completed his doctoral degree in clinical psychology in 1994 from the Adler School of Professional Psychology in Chicago, Illinois. In 1997, Dr. Nuccitelli became a licensed psychologist in New York State (License # 013009.) In 2006, he received the Certified Forensic Consultant designation from the American College of Forensic Examiners (Identification # 103110.) In September 2011, Dr. Nuccitelli established iPredator Inc. offering the private & public sectors educational and advisory services regarding cyber bullying, cyber stalking, cybercrime, cyber terrorism and Internet predators. In June 2012, Dr. Nuccitelli and iPredator Inc. launched their long anticipated website, www.iPredator.co, offering site visitors an incredible amount of information, education and advisory services. Over the last 25 years, Dr. Nuccitelli has worked in the mental health field in a variety of capacities with various clinical populations. Concurrent with his employment in mental health, Dr. Nuccitelli was a practicing psychologist for 10 years and worked in the field of forensic psychology conducting evaluations and consultation for attorneys and court systems. Dr. Nuccitelli has extensive career and academic experiences. His areas of expertise includes forensic & criminal psychology, digital forensic psychology, psychiatric & psychological disorders and developmental psychology. He is an avid follower of national & criminal news and enjoys educating the public by interacting with the media. Dr. Nuccitelli continues to investigate and expand his construct he has constructed, called iPredator. He presently consults with the American College of Forensic Examiners to become the resource and hub for Americans seeking information on iPredators, digital/computer forensics, cyber security and training programs for the professional sector and law enforcement.

Organizations
American College of Forensic Examiners International

Publications
Dr. Nuccitelli's theoretical construct, iPredator, was the feature article in the 2011 Winter issue of the Forensic Examiner published by the American College of Forensic Examiners International. His recent article "2012 Cyber Bullying Tactics," will be split and published in the Summer and Fall issues of their magazine.

Education/Credentials
Dr. Nuccitelli is a New York State Licensed Psychologist and certified forensic consultant.

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