The Story of GrayZone

In today’s rapidly changing field of global content management and digital rights enforcement, GrayZone is a pioneer that remains at the forefront of content and brand protection. In the early days, GrayZone was dubbed the bootbusters of the entertainment industry. We were the first company working in anti-piracy, in what is now an expansive industry.  Many new companies have claimed 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 were the pioneer in high-tech, cutting-edge internet investigations long before the advent of websites, when the internet was nothing more than a blinking cursor on the computer screen. Through the years, we continue to witness and embrace new technologies and challenges—from torrent sites and file hosting services to cloud-based computing and social media, including streaming video and YouTube.

As part of its anti-piracy services, GrayZone has contributed to major investigations, building databases to be used in court proceedings and providing the “meat and potatoes” evidence that has led to successful conclusions, such as shutting down infringing websites.

GrayZone Founders

GrayZone, Inc. was founded in 1995 by Dorothy Sherman. Dorothy believed that a cost-effective investigative, paralegal and internet technology research practice of the highest quality could be established in a creative and stimulating environment. Dorothy is a graduate of Oakland University, New York University and Naropa Institute of Arts. She previously worked at MTV Networks and Home Box Office in legal and business affairs.

In 2003, Douglas Kassem joined the GrayZone Team and currently serves as President and Chief Executive Officer. Doug, a graduate of Columbia University, is GrayZone’s cutting-edge IT scientist and all-around “Mission Impossible” problem solver.  After joining the GrayZone Team, Doug worked with Dorothy to push for levels of unparalleled content protection.  GrayZone was the first anti-piracy company to have dedicated copyright accounts at the major digital platforms. Doug has also been instrumental in the development and expansion of proprietary IP agreements with these platforms. Doug prides himself on leading the GrayZone Team for their clients, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  His work ethic and determination for his clients to succeed is unrivaled as he continues to manage the daily operations of the company.

Doug has dedicated his career to making GrayZone the success that Dorothy envisioned at its founding.  Doug has served as an account manager (2003), Director of Operations (2005), Vice President (2007), Senior VP, Operations (2009), President (2010) and Chief Operating Officer (2015), and now serves as President and Chief Executive Officer (2022).

The GrayZone Team

Through the years, Dorothy and Doug assembled an international team of highly skilled internet sleuths who could deftly navigate every corner of the web to uncover and eradicate copyright infringement, digital piracy and trademark infringement wherever it appeared. In the complex environment of entertainment marketing, promotion, copyright law and content protection, they have added the all-important human element to the equation.

The GrayZone team combines technical savvy and sharp discernment to understand the nuances of every situation.  We are a team of trained professionals that does not rely on automation.  We greatly expand upon and go beyond the capabilities of automatic systems and algorithms. In this way, we have been able to successfully integrate into the daily operations of entertainment firms, rooting out piracy while respecting promotional and marketing efforts and the organization’s critical relationships with its clients and customers.

A New Chapter, the Same Determination

In 2022, Dorothy retired from her role as founder and CEO. Doug has assumed the leadership role to guide GrayZone deeper into the 21st century.  The focus of our organization remains the same: to provide our clients with the personalized service they have come to expect, as we protect the intellectual property of artists, publishers, labels, film companies and other entities.  Dorothy’s vision has been achieved.  GrayZone has become the most cost-effective investigative, paralegal and internet technology research firm that was first envisioned when founding the company.  The vision for the future is also clear:  GrayZone continues to provide unparalleled services and continues to be the most trusted name in content protection.  GrayZone will continue to be at the forefront of the ever-changing content, copyright and trademark landscape.

GrayZone’s Commitment and Core Principles

Two basic principles have guided our company throughout its 27-year history. First and foremost, we are committed to providing our clients with services of the highest quality with the utmost integrity. Second, to attract and retain our clients, we are committed to providing services on a cost-effective basis. Our commitment to both of these principles led us to reject the fast-growing, high-leverage and media-hungry investigative firm model long before it became fashionable to do so and to create a company distinguished by its international reputation, a thriving and interesting practice, and the diverse backgrounds and achievements of its employees.

The Future of Copyright, Trademark and Content Protection

Today’s challenges in copyright, trademark and content protection, digital piracy and counterfeit merchandise bear no resemblance to the past. Digital piracy of music, TV shows and films, games, software and books has exploded, and legal experts are grappling with how to protect the copyright of creative endeavors that incorporate newer technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), cryptocurrency and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). The concerns over counterfeit products have expanded from knock-off designer watches and handbags to everything from consumer electronics and industrial equipment to pharmaceuticals and N95 masks.

GrayZone is committed to helping lead our clients through the ever-changing content, copyright and trademark landscape, addressing any potential pitfalls with innovative solutions while recognizing new opportunities.

Scroll to Top