The Premier League Kindly Requests Google De-List All Of Facebook Over Copyright Infringement Claims
from the like dept
If ever there was a thing that the founding fathers were incapable of foreseeing as they created the foundational law of the United States, certainly that thing must have been how the chief tool used in copyright enforcement has become automated bots used to auto-generate DMCA notices. It’s something we, however, have become quite familiar with by necessity, with reports indicating that roughly all of the DMCA takedown or delisting notices received by sites like Google are generated from these bots. Whatever one might think of publishing companies and their policing partners using this tool at all, there is certainly no serious argument to be made that collateral damage from their use isn’t a real problem. When public political organizations, streams for awards ceremonies, and even NASA landing on Mars gets flagged by these auto-systems, it’s time to admit there is a problem.
But it’s a problem not being addressed, it seems. The most recent example of this comes to us from the Premier League, which has long waged an overreaching war on streams of soccer games, and most recently asked Google to please delist all of Facebook as part of it.
This week we stumbled upon a takedown notice that’s clearly not right. The request was sent by NetResult on behalf of the Premier League, and targets a wide variety of sports streaming related sites.
“The reported URLs are offering unauthored live streams of Premier League content,” it reads, listing the homepages of sites such as streamsarena.eu, letsfooty.com, tvlink.in and sportcategory.com.
While targeting the homepages of these sites is already quite broad, it also lists the main Facebook.com URL among the infringing domains, asking Google to remove it from the search engine entirely.
This is the part of the story where we all have a laugh, because Google is of course not going to delist Facebook’s homepage over the Premier League’s pirate streaming concerns. But this is also the part of the story where I remind those laughing that most sites are not Facebook. Most sites have neither the resources nor the notoriety of the world’s most popular social media platform. How many smaller sites and companies have been delisted due to these kinds of errors? There’s no way to know, but it’s a certainty that the answer to that question is not “zero.” Given that reality, why does the use of faulty copyright killbots continue to go on unaddressed?
In situations like this, we can see how easy erroneous takedown claims can easily lead to over-blocking. It’s good to know that, despite receiving millions of requests per day, the search engine is still able to spot most of these flaws. Unfortunately, however, not all mistakes are easily caught, especially when they concern smaller sites.
It’s also worth pointing out that Google is not the only search engine or service provider that receives these kinds of erroneous delisting requests. If Google is particularly good about pushing back against this type of thing, and it generally is, that’s not the case with other sites and services which might simply comply with the request. This whole copyright enforcement by SkyNET routine relies on a lack of pushback from innocent victims and the public at large. Sure, we still have our Facebook search results in Google, but what don’t we have that we don’t even realize we’re missing?