Geniuses Representing Universal Pictures Ask Google To Delist 127.0.0.1 For Piracy

from the furiously-dumb dept

We recently wrote about a German film distributor that went on a DMCA takedown blitz and managed to send notices for sites that had nothing to do with infringing files (such as IMDB and, er, Techdirt). In a somewhat related story, we learn that representatives of Universal Pictures have likewise gone DMCA happy over infringing versions of movies like Furious 7 and Jurassic World — even to the point of issuing takedowns not only for the film’s IMDB page (for Furious 7), but for “127.0.0.1” for Jurassic World.

And while we’re on the topic of self censorship, it’s worth noting that Universal Pictures also asked Google, in a separate notice, to remove http://127.0.0.1 from the search results. The mistakes were made by the French branch of the movie studio, which only recently began sending takedown notices to Google. The company has reported less than 200 URLs thus far including the mistakes above.

You can see the notice here.

127.0.0.1 is, of course, the IP address a machine uses to refer to itself. It’s also known as “localhost.” In other words, it basically means “home.”

…Should we delist this house from the address books?
This is obviously a case of these companies setting up some kind of automated system, working off of an obviously flawed algorithm, that is causing these errors, rather than having real people going through to see if the targets for these takedown notices are actually infringing. Why do we allow this kind of collateral damage in the DMCA system?

Even more ridiculous? The organization representing Universal who sent this notice is TMG, or Trident Media Guard, which is the company that is officially working with the French government on its Hadopi copyright enforcement program. You’d think that a company so closely involved in such issues, working with a major movie studio, might try to be a little more careful about these things. But, of course, when have copyright defenders ever cared about collateral damage like this?

And here’s the really crazy part: it’s not like this is even particularly rare. Chilling Effects has long lists of DMCA complaints that point to 127.0.0.1. We’re talking about a whole lot of armed militias running around utilizing a targeting system that wouldn’t be trusted in a snowball fight, never mind in the realm of something as important as speech and communication via the internet. Here are just some of the most recent (many filed by NBC Universal):

If we have to live with the DMCA, filers ought at least be forced to take responsibility for their own notices. Pointing back to their own flawed algorithms shouldn’t be an excuse — especially when the requests are so obviously wrong.

Filed Under: , , , , , ,
Companies: google, tmg, universal, universal pictures

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Comments on “Geniuses Representing Universal Pictures Ask Google To Delist 127.0.0.1 For Piracy”

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69 Comments
DannyB (profile) says:

Re: DMCA Takedown of 127.0.0.1 equivalent to

I think Universal should continue to use their Shoot First, ask questions Never approach in diligently pursuing the owner of the computer at 127.0.0.1.

Find that box. Find its owner. Find all copyrighted files on that box. Ask no questions. Have the court impose statutory judgement against the owner of the 127.0.0.1 box for $150,000 per copyrighted file found on 127.0.0.1. Donate the judgement to fund the development of open source projects. Or other worthy projects such as Whistleblowers Without Borders.

Anonymous Coward says:

This anomaly probably due to automated skimming, such as of publicly available "hosts" files that blacklist: "127.0.0.1 piratesite.com",

so that honest people don’t get there accidentally. Should be special-cased, but what would Techdirt do without anomalies to be used against copyright?

Next anomaly, if you have one, dull day so far.

Anonymous Coward says:

This anomaly probably due to automated skimming, such as of publicly available "hosts" files that blacklist: "127.0.0.1 piratesite.com",

so that honest people don’t get there accidentally. Should be special-cased, but what would Techdirt do without anomalies to be used against copyright?

Next anomaly, if you have one, dull day so far.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: This anomaly probably due to automated skimming, such as of publicly available "hosts" files that blacklist: "127.0.0.1 piratesite.com",

Did you even look at the chilling effects picture?
Its obvious these are actual urls, not a localhost redirect.

It looks more like where ever they are doing the scanning from, is on the same server as these urls hosts.

RD says:

Re: This anomaly probably due to automated skimming, such as of publicly available "hosts" files that blacklist: "127.0.0.1 piratesite.com",

“so that honest people don’t get there accidentally. Should be special-cased, but what would Techdirt do without anomalies to be used against copyright?”

An anomaly, by its very definition, is an outlier, a singular instance. THOUSANDS of instances are not “anomalies”, they are abuse.

Karl (profile) says:

Re: This anomaly probably due to automated skimming, such as of publicly available "hosts" files that blacklist: "127.0.0.1 piratesite.com",

what would Techdirt do without anomalies to be used against copyright?

Yet if a UGC site has as many infringing files as there are these DMCA “anomalies,” rights holders would successfully sue them out of existence.

Funny how you consider “oh, it’s a mistake that got through our system” to be a valid defence when censoring protected speech, but when the censors use that excuse, you defend them to your dying breath.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: This anomaly probably due to automated skimming, such as of publicly available "hosts" files that blacklist: "127.0.0.1 piratesite.com",

So lemme get this straight…the software that these asshats use to detect all these copyrighted files is so, so, so sophisticated, where the possibility of any false positives would be minimized to the point of insignificance – yet doesn’t exclude the 127.0.0.0/8 network?

Are you seriously trying to sell that horse shit here?

It’s shitty programming. And the fact is hasn’t been fixed shows that not only is it shitty programming, but a lack of sense to even fix the fucking problem.

Anomaly my ass. Your software just sucks. Keep making excuses – I’m sure you work in an industry where less-than-mediocre is perfectly acceptable.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: This anomaly probably due to automated skimming, such as of publicly available "hosts" files that blacklist: "127.0.0.1 piratesite.com",

You brave, brave soul. I keep mentioning that Masnick never focuses on the actual details or the fact that no enforcement action has been taken, but he absolutely refuses to believe me and insists on rallying his defamatory minions to call me demeaning names such as “moron”.

Please, I beg of you. Permit me to have your offspring.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Since they insisted....

I see where that joke was trying to go, but it doesn’t work.

127.0.0.1 is a non-routable address that every machine with an IP stack has whether or not they’re connected to the internet. Which means that an ISP removing service doesn’t do anything relevant to the takedown request.

Also, Google doesn’t index anything with that address (for what I hope are obvious reasons), so they’re already effectively “delisted”.

Anonymous Coward says:

I'm with Orrin Hatch on this one

I am perfectly alright with letting the entertainment industry free license for some vigilante justice. They should hack that address and incapacitate the server on the other end. Just beware, the enemy may retaliate and try to take down you machine. In which case you’ll need to get more machines to attack that address. Don’t give up until you are sure it’s down!
(Feel free to invite the FBI’s Intellectual Property enforcement squad to participate in the assault).

Anonymous Coward says:

Chilling Effects search

Note that the particular chilling effects search linked to lists everything that has 127.0.0.1 in the entry.

This includes things like a “bot spawner” with localhost in the description field of ChillingEffect’s record.

Some of the other description field localhost records include this trippy vietnamese takedown request reminiscent of Dr Bronner. Even better, that one describes the offending work as an image, but the description seems to be talking about a cracked version of Adobe Illustrator…

So yeah, a trivial search of Chilling Effects leads to lots of 127.0.0.1 address DMCA takedown requests, but not as many as simply looking at the page count would have you believe.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

The greatest example

I think this is the best example of how utterly broken the takedown mechanism is. You can sortof understand how actual sites could get mistakenly caught up in the net, but the inclusion of 127.0.0.1 is so utterly and completely braindead (and trivially avoided) that their inclusion is a straight-up admission that the filers aren’t doing even the most basic checking.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: The greatest example

I agree.

Shouldn’t the correct and safe response to these stupid errors be a complete ignoring of the entire DMCA takedown request message instead of just that one URL?
I mean, if they make this kind of obvious errors, how can anyone trust the takedown sender on the other URL’s?
Maybe that will at least improve the quality of the takedown requests…

Anonymous Coward says:

The companies in question are attesting that the website they call Home is infringing. Google should honour DMCA requesters who ask for 127.0.0.1 to be delisted… by delisting the requester’s main site, preferably with a message saying it was by that company’s request.

– It honours the company’s request.
– Bulk requesters might care more what goes into their DMCA requests.
– The public will note major sites going offline.
– News agencies might take note and be inclined to cover DMCA abuse.

Google should also implement this algorithmically.

John85851 (profile) says:

IMDB should comply

What would happen if IMDB complied with the studio’s fraudulent takedown notice and actually replaced the movie’s page with a big notice saying “This page was taken down due to a notice from the studio”?
Would all the people who worked on the movie complain… you know, the people whose jobs are at stake when movies are pirated, but who now don’t credit for working on a movie because the site has been taken down by the movie’s owner.

DaveK (profile) says:

Re: Probably not malware

If you look at other complaints from NBC / Universal in that list, you’ll see lots of URLs similar to (e.g.) “http://127.0.0.1:4001/?f=155981622851235502f234201111b20d”.

These are the format of file-download URLs used by the Cacaoweb collaboration / file-sharing software, which runs a local webserver to provide access to content hosted on its overlay network. So I think somebody’s been searching for pirated content on that while being completely clueless about how it works.

DannyB (profile) says:

Universal -- Demand Justice from the court !!!

Dear Universal, please ask the court to do the following:
* Find the actual computer that Universal identified as 127.0.0.1
* Find the owner of that computer
* Seize all of that criminal’s assets
* Order the criminal to cease any use of the internet forever
* Investigate the principals directing the criminal operations of the criminal enterprise that owns that server to potentially uncover other criminal activities they are almost certainly involved in
* Donate all seized assets to a foundation that distributes the funds to develop and improve open source projects
* And whatever other penalties the court may find just and fair

I think that would help.

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