Hollywood Helps Show Why DMCA Takedowns Are Dangerous, By Taking Down Links To MPAA's Search Engine
from the careful-what-you-wish-for dept
A little over a year ago, the MPAA pulled out all the stops in announcing and promoting its new WhereToWatch.com website, which provides lots of information on where you can watch authorized versions of various movies and TV shows. The idea behind it was certainly a noble one. One of the big arguments made by many concerning accessing unauthorized copies of such content is that there aren’t real legal alternatives. So the MPAA figured that if it makes it easier to find such authorized alternatives that would be helpful. And, indeed, that’s a good idea.
Of course, underlying all of this was that the MPAA hoped to use this site to try to undermine the argument that piracy is about a lack of alternatives. The MPAA basically never misses a chance these days to point to the site as “proof” that Hollywood is meeting consumer needs, and thus claiming that piracy is not about a lack of authorized versions. It seems worth noting that this leaves out that not all authorized versions are convenient (which is another big complaint), including things like restrictive DRM or security-faulty technology. Or they do stupid things (at the demand of Hollywood) like only letting you watch a movie you paid for within a 24-hour time frame. But, let’s leave that aside for the moment.
Instead, let’s focus on the fact that the MPAA is using this site to push for revisions to the DMCA, such as pushing heavily for a “notice and staydown” provision that means that once they send a DMCA takedown notice, online platforms would be required to make sure such content never shows up again, or face serious liability. This is problematic on any number of levels, including the fact that it increases monitoring, decreases privacy and does nothing to take context into account (the same content may be infringing in some cases, while fair use or authorized in others).
And it totally fails to take into account the vast number of false takedowns. For example, how about false takedowns directed at the MPAA’s own WhereToWatch website? Because TorrentFreak is reporting that Hollywood studios have been sending such bogus DMCA takedowns, directed at links to the MPAA’s own site, which the MPAA itself has argued is a key part of its “anti-piracy” strategy. The article points to DMCA takedown notices sent for the WhereToWatch links for such Hollywood blockbusters as The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 2 and The Fault in Our Stars on Google, meaning that when you do a Google search on trying to find those entries on WhereToWatch, you come up empty: