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Arecont Threatens IPVM with Legal Action over Critical Blog Post

An IP camera manufacturer has sent acease-and-desist letter to a well-known site that covers the surveillance camera industry accusing the site of publishing malicious information about its products online.

The Web site, IP Video Market (IPVM), posted the letter online Monday after receiving it from legal counsel for Arecont Vision, LLC.

The letter is a response to a blog entry on the IPVM Web site describing a recent ad in SDM Magazine. The ad shows a scene in a bakery, presumably from a surveillance camera. An inset photo shows a zoomed-in version of a transaction taking place at the register.

Security blogger Colin Bodbyloriginally pointed out confusing elements of the ad in a blog last Tuesday. Bodbyl called the ad misleading for making it look like the inset image came from the bigger shot of the store, a technique he said camera manufacturers often use to show off camera capabilities.

An enhanced version of the ad in Bodbyl’s post shows that the main photo and the inset are similar but not the same.

IPVM followed up with apost of its own, noting the same inconsistencies.

“Looking at the circles side by side, they are clearly not the same scene,” IPVM founder John Honovich wrote. “Arecont's ad falsely misrepresents their performance by showing a very wide Field of View (FoV) in the advertisement but then taking the 'actual image' from a far smaller FoV with a different angle.”

Arecont contacted both Web sites to clarify the ad andpublished a post online showing the video it says the inset photo was taken from. Honovich and Bodbyl say Arecont told them the wide shot of the bakery wasn’t taken with an Arecont camera, but the detailed image was.

Honovich said the provided video confirms the ad’s deception. “A five foot wide FoV covering two cash registers is misrepresented with an overview shot of the entire café,” he wrote.

In the cease-and-desist letter, Arecont accuses Honovich of “a campaign to intentionally defame.” Arecont, through a spokesperson said it is proud of its images and image quality of its products.

“Rather than falsely conclude that the image was simply too good to be true and, therefore, that it must be false advertising, you should have investigated the quality of Arecont’s products more thoroughly,” the letter says.

Since 2008, IPVM has written more than 20 articles, both positive and negative about Arecont, from its “impressive and formidable” growth in 2011 to product reviews and other criticisms of its marketing techniques. Honovich is well-known in security circles for both his knowledge of security products and his assertive tone in critical posts.

Arecont is threatening legal action against IPVM if it refuses to “correct” its two most recent posts about the bakery ad.

Honovich says the difference is important because the ability to capture detail is a key differentiator inthe surveillance camera market.

“The smaller the FoV, the easier it is for any camera to capture and display such details. Arecont's manipulation of images from two FoVs enables them to deceive and falsely represent the ability of their product to capture such details,” he wrote.

“I do not believe the issue with false advertisement is related to quality. Regardless of whether Arecont had the best or worst product quality, this practice is deceptive,” he said by e-mail Tuesday.

Arecont says the ad is no longer running.