One way of dealing with bad PR

Copyright claim used to target doctor disciplinary links

DR. ELAD ANTER, or someone impersonating him, tried to make links to a state medical board disciplinary action against him and a CommonWealth news story about that action disappear from the internet.

The Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine late last year disciplined Anter, a former Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center cardiologist, for losing his temper and using disrespectful language in the operating room while performing a procedure.

CommonWealth published a story about the disciplinary action under the headline, “Board admonishes Beth Israel cardiologist.”

Google subsequently began getting bombarded with requests to take down the links to a press release announcing the board’s decision to discipline Anter and the CommonWealth news story reporting the decision.

The requests falsely claimed both documents were infringements on previously published copyrighted material. Under Google’s protocols, the CommonWealth story was taken down while the magazine was given the opportunity to rebut the allegations. The press release was not taken down.

The copyrighted material turned out to be identical versions of the press release and the news story posted on a website blog with a web address incorporating Anter’s name – dr-elad-anter.blogspot.com.

The news story, which appeared in CommonWealth on December 26, 2019, was backdated on the blog to early November 2019. Anter’s name was at the top of the blog post. The original November 22, 2019, date of the press release was not changed on the blog, which may explain why Google didn’t remove it.

The material on the blog was used to buttress the claim to Google that the Board of Registration in Medicine and CommonWealth had plagiarized the material that originally appeared on the blog. Once Google took down the CommonWealth link, the blog disappeared from the internet.

“This is a scenario used by so-called reputation managers,” said Wendy Seltzer, who founded the Lumen Database, which collects and analyzes requests for removal of online materials. “It’s not all that uncommon.”

There is a company, in fact, that focuses specifically on managing the reputation of physicians.

The CommonWealth article was removed by Google, but it was eventually relisted in the search engine after the magazine submitted a successful counterclaim.

Anter, in a telephone interview, said he did not orchestrate the “take down notices” that were filed with Google, although Google lists his name as the person requesting the removals from its listings.

“This is not something that Dr. Elad Anter did,” Anter said. “One hundred percent I had nothing to do with it. . . . And I have no clue who did.”

As to blogging, Anter says, “Honestly, I have no blog. I don’t participate in blogging.  I don’t do any of that. I can reassure you I do not do any blogging.” 

Meet the Author
However, there are two other blogs in Anter’s name — here and here.

A few months after being disciplined by the medical board, Anter moved on from Beth Israel and is now working at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio.