WASHINGTON — The online activist group 18MillionRising.org, which committed a hoax against Gap Inc. and members of the media on Tuesday when it sent out a fraudulent press release and set up a fake Web site, alleged Wednesday that the retailer had acted to take down the site and a bogus Twitter account using a digital copyright law.
Gap on Tuesday was targeted by 18MillionRising.org falsely claiming the retailer had signed the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh and paid $200,000 in compensation to the victims of the Aswad Composite Mills fire in October 2013. Gap categorically denied those claims on Tuesday and said it was investigating the source of the “fraudulent Web site” and “fake digital properties.” A Gap spokeswoman told WWD on Wednesday that it was “exploring our options” regarding what action to take in the matter.
A check of the fake site, gapdoesmore.com, late Wednesday afternoon showed it was no longer available. It could not be independently verified why the site was no longer functioning and Gap did not comment further by press time.
In a tweet on its own still-functioning Web site, 18MillionRising.org claimed Gap served its host provider with a “DMCA takedown notice” to shut down the fake site and a related Twitter account.
Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998, companies can essentially notify Internet service providers in writing about infringing Web sites and the ISP must remove all infringing materials or face legal consequences for violating the DMCA. The law also heightens penalties for copyright infringement on the Internet.
Gap is a member of a separate industry initiative known as the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, which also includes Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and VF Corp. Labor groups have long been pressing Gap and other alliance members to sign the primarily European-led accord, which involves global union leaders and is what labor groups claim a more binding, five-year commitment to improve fire and building safety in Bangladesh’s garment industry. The Gap spokeswoman added in her statement to WWD that the company “remains committed to addressing the bigger issue — helping to make things safer for garment workers in Bangladesh.”