GrayZone provides research, removal and reporting of pirated product, counterfeits and copyright infringement to the music industry, film industry, book publishers, software companies and other trademark or copyright holders.
We specialize in alternative dispute resolution in a discreet and low profile manner, and we are proud of the reputation we have achieved for providing high quality services on a cost-efficient basis.
A Brief History
GrayZone was founded in 1995, when CEO Dorothy Sherman recognized a growing threat to the music industry from bootleg, pirated and counterfeit products. This was long before file-sharing sites, torrents, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. At that time, the focus in combatting music piracy was on bootleg albums in record stores and in eBay auctions. You can follow the history of GrayZone in our company archives. Move forward years, and the entire world of bootlegs and digital piracy has changed. GrayZone remains poised for every new frontier that emerges in the rapidly changing landscape, from file hosting services (cyberlockers) and other file-sharing sites, to torrent sites, P2P networks and cloud-based services, to streaming video, Tube sites and the Usenet. When monitoring for infringing content, we keep a close eye on everything from online marketplaces and forums to social media sites.
The GrayZone Difference
GrayZone was the first, the original "bootbusters," in what has now become an enormous industry. There are many new companies that claim to be able to eradicate online music piracy and other illegal downloads and counterfeit products. However, GrayZone sets the standard and remains the premiere anti-piracy firm. We have been on the frontlines from the very beginning. Before anyone else, we realized the opportunities and challenges faced with the growing online community, and knew that digital downloads would be the way of the future. In our + years in business, we've built a large network of partnerships with law enforcement agencies, website owners, Internet service providers and experts in computer technology and anti-piracy.
While GrayZone stays on top of all technological advancements that can impact online piracy and copyright matters, we choose by design to maintain a low profile on the Internet. Unlike our competitors, you won't find us tweeting or otherwise trumpeting our connections, affiliations and conquests. We recognize the delicacy and sensitivity required to protect intellectual property while not threatening promotional efforts or jeopardizing public goodwill. We can provide a partial list of file-sharing websites and other online entities with which we have an ongoing relationship. These valuable partnerships, built upon many years of mutual trust, allow us to quickly remove infringing material without the normal wait times. We are the fastest at achieving results when it comes to removing pirated material, keeping the problem from spreading further. When it comes to downloadable or illegally streaming material online, time is of the essence!
- The longest operating anti-piracy firm in the business.
- On the job 24/7, including all holidays.
- An effective "search and destroy" service that combines custom online search algorithms with manual review and analysis by piracy experts.
- Professional, discreet, knowledgeable and efficient.
- Fan-friendly and sensitive to public relations and promotional efforts.
- A team of technical and legal professionals with many years of anti-piracy experience.
- 24/7 monitoring of file-sharing sites, torrent sites, streaming services, search engines, blogs, forums, newsgroups and social networking sites to locate infringing material.
- A large network of anti-piracy resources for quick and effective removal of illicit files.
- The benefit of our strong relationships with many file-sharing sites, torrent sites, video sites, ISPs and others, which gives us "backdoor access" to remove infringing product immediately with no wait time.
- Quiet and seamless removal of infringing products.
- Extensive forensic evidence for use in court cases, when necessary.
- Specially tailored programs to suit your specific needs and budget, with no job too large or too small. Our clients range from individual artists, publishers, fashion designers and copyright holders to major record labels and music distributors.
- Status reports on an as-needed basis, in addition to weekly and monthly status reports.
- A 24-hour client portal for reviewing take-downs and status reports.
What We Do
In our Search and Destroy program, we:
Conduct extensive research to find the leaked track or album, uploaded eBook or film, pirated merchandise, counterfeit official music releases or pirated software, wherever it exists.
Immediately remove infringing files from many major file-sharing and streaming websites on which we have access (through a special interface) in real time. A partial list of websites is available on request. The ability to remove infringing content in real time, at the moment it first appears online, is imperative to limiting a leak.
Issue DMCA notices (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) to websites worldwide that are hosting the infringing product, track those notices, and send follow-up notices when necessary. If the files are not removed, we are poised to take additional steps.
Send reports as to our progress, with those reports available 24/7 on our secure client portal.
Take proactive measures, when requested, with online monitoring for leaks of upcoming releases. If a leak appears, we are the first to see it through our monitoring methods so we can take it down immediately before it spreads.
Specific examples of GrayZone services for the music industry include finding and removing:
- Pre-release materials (for an upcoming album) that have not been authorized. These can be demos or the unfinished album at any stage of the process.
- Albums that have been released and are being spread throughout the piracy websites.
- Unauthorized use of copyrighted music (including but not limited to advertising, marketing campaigns, samples and remixes).
- An established artist's entire back catalog of releases.
- Counterfeit, unauthorized and unlicensed artist merchandise (T-shirts, posters, products with the band name and/or logo, etc.).
- Unauthorized images (so long as they aren't generic icons and/or public domain).
- Unauthorized videos.
We also monitor and remove illegal downloads for movies, eBooks, games and software, pre- and post-release, and can locate and remove any pirated, counterfeit or unauthorized products.
How We Do It
A perfect match of technology and the human touch - We use a combination of proprietary search algorithms, automated monitoring and careful review by our experienced staff of Internet professionals and anti-piracy experts. In this way, we can ensure that our DMCA notices and file removals are precise, accurate and effective in protecting your copyright and your brand. All audio and video files are carefully reviewed before removing.
We can find and remove:
- Illegal music, film and book downloads (found on blogs, online forums, peer-to-peer networks (P2P), Usenet services and other websites and social media sites).
- Search engine results for infringing material. This prevents pirated content from competing with legitimate releases. We can remove URL listings for illegal downloads and pirated merchandise, ensuring that when someone searches for your products, only your official sites and distributors are displayed.
- Streaming video and video downloads.
- Torrents from BitTorrent sites.
- Embedded downloads on blogs or message boards. We remove the download posted at the source (typically a public file-sharing site). When users click on the download link, the file is no longer available. We avoid sending DMCA notices to blog sites and message boards, unless they are hosting the pirated content on their own server.
- Auctions of bootleg, counterfeit, pirated and leaked material. All auctions are reviewed before a notice is sent for removal. Most auctions can be removed instantly or within minutes.
Comprehensive Reporting - We provide our clients with weekly and monthly reports listing all the files removed and takedown notices sent. These reports are accessible at all times on our secure client portal. Additional or more frequent reports are available on request.
For more information on GrayZone's anti-piracy services, please call us at 718.360.9941 or email us.
Frequently Asked Questions
A track/album of ours just leaked. What can you do to get the situation under control?
Since we tailor our costs to fit each client, we can very quickly set you up with an account for that specific track or album and begin our work immediately to remove all online files as well as search results pointing to those files. You'll be routinely updated on our progress. Status reports are also available on our client portal, accessible at all times.
Will you monitor the track/album on an ongoing basis, or should we send you the links we want removed?
We offer both services. You can send specific links that come to your attention and we will investigate and remove the illegal content immediately. We can also put the track or album on our "Search and Destroy" list, which means we will continue to search for the material around the clock, removing illegal files whenever and wherever we find them.
How much will it cost?
There isn't a stock answer to that question, as we tailor our pricing plans to match each client's needs. We can bill by the project or hourly. Some of our larger clients prefer to pay us a retainer to monitor specific tracks, albums or artist catalogs. In these cases, we will be automatically on alert leading up to new releases and are "on call" for any emergency situations that may arise. You can also put a 'cap' on the number of hours we work. We charge by the Internet hour. Although we conduct manual and automated searches 24 hours a day, the client is only billed for the actual time our staff spends taking action to remove unauthorized product. Please contact us for more information about our pricing plans.
A common scenario: A popular release has leaked. GrayZone will spend the entire month searching for unauthorized postings of the product. However, the client will only be charged for time spent enforcing the copyright (locating product and sending notices for removal). If no links are found, the invoice will be $0.00.
Can you help me get a fake Twitter account removed?
Can you help me shut down a bunch of fake Facebook pages that aren't really me?
Why don't you mention specific websites and list the ones you have "backdoor access" to?
Through the years, we have cultivated amicable relationships with many websites and Internet providers. These partnerships are based on trust, professionalism and discretion. We believe that our work is best done "behind the scenes" with little fanfare. A partial listing of specific sites that we have relationships with for instantly removing infringing product is available by request.