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,, and

While targeting the homepages of these sites is already quite broad, it also lists the main 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?

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Companies: facebook, google, premier league

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Comments on “The Premier League Kindly Requests Google De-List All Of Facebook Over Copyright Infringement Claims”

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That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

But we have to allow them to send shitty notices or the entire sky will fall!
So what if people abuse it to hide bad acts (Craig Brittan & others)
So what if they demand we delist their cliets site ( & others)
So what if they complain how they send 100’s of millions of notices and Google doesn’t remove them all!!! (because they try to vette at least some of them)

Google hosts NONE of this content, why are they responsible?
Google has to pay a stupid amount of money of a magnitude larger than it costs them to send shit notices or else.

The system is broken. They will not fix their notices, because it is spray and pray with no good faith basis in most of them. Costs them next to nothing to blanket all the search engines, while ignoring the main hosts. This is because the DMCA promised them all this power, ignoring that the US law doesn’t demand every nation comply.

It is a flawed system with many more downsides than upsides, even the **AA’s complain they are still bleeding kajillions of dollars even with the system & demand more.
Why expand a flawed system?
Just because we’ve done it for years, doesn’t mean we should double down on shit that is a failure.

The most basic root of the problem is failing to meet consumer demand. They make it so onerous for paying customers, that they drive them to look outside the normal channels. Millions of rights groups, windowed releases, & other hold overs from bygone days only still exist because we gave them everything they wanted (that the public would accept) and with record profits, its still not enough allegedly.

They have forgotten that if you want consumers to buy, you need to make it easy & not burden them. 5 minutes of forced commercials & warnings on things you purchase warning you to not steal it… but you paid for it already.

Rather than expand the insanity, why not remind them their business is selling content to consumers not buying politicians to try and make laws to keep it the 1950s forever.

New Mexico Mark says:

DMCA Bot Response

This is an automated response. Briefly, your request will not be fulfilled. You have been identified as an organization with a reputation for generating automated DMCA requests. These These requests are well documented to be error prone and overreaching.

Since you obviously do not have the resources to do real research before generating these requests, it is not reasonable for you to burden other organizations with doing your research. Feel free to contact us directly or work through our complex “I am not a bot” and “this takes considerable CPU resources” submission page to submit each *individual* takedown request. At that point we will gladly give your request a similar level of care in our response.


We need the big players to implement something like this (and sweep the legal minefield) to clear the way for organizations with fewer resources.

Anonymous Coward says:

>Google hosts NONE of this content, why are they responsible?

Because I think these people really do think that Google is a gatekeeper, like them, rather than an enabler with no interest in controlling what is published. They ere so besotted with controlling people that they cannot even understand that Google does not want to control people, but rather enable people to find Information and co-operate with each other people.

Googles business is providing automated services around which they can sell advertising,.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

These kinds of comments always fascinate me.

Story: DMCA being abused yet again, free speech protected because Google actually vets them and an obviously wrong site was targeted. However, most sites aren’t Facebook so may not be protected.

AC: Waaah! I don’t like Facebook!

Nobody cares, dude. Use it or don’t, your choice. No Facebook user is going to be swayed by your impotent whining here, and you add nothing to the conversation – your opinion on the site does not affect the attack on free speech in any way. The mentality involved here is embarrassing for an adult.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“No whining here, just stating the facts”

No, you stated a subjective opinion. The validity of which has absolutely sod all to do with the article. The facts in the article are the same no matter how much you personally love of hate a particular site.

“same story different day because the powers that be refuse to do anything about it”

So, are you saying that things shouldn’t be written about unless they’re totally unique? Or, that you should just give up talking about something if the people responsible for change aren’t currently doing something about it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Empty comments like this always remind me of a scene from the Simpsons episode "New Kid on the Blecch."

Mad Magazine Writer #1: Why don’t we call it "Everybody Hates Raymond?"

[The other "Mad" writers laugh]

Mad Magazine Writer #2: Well, we stayed up all night, but it was worth it.

Hope you at least get to catch a nap today!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: De-List facebook

What if Google required a retraction from the notice sender before relisting, and pointed Facebook at them? It is unfortuante tha Goggle can best protect big companies, while not being able to protect individuals and small companies, where the accuracy og the notice is much harder to validate.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: De-List facebook

It would also work if there was a 6 strike plan to make rights holders actually go through their requests. If they send a bogus request, it goes against their 6 strikes. Once they reach the 6, they lose all rights to the works and the public gains them as the law states from the beginning.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: De-List facebook

Delisting wouldn’t do crap.. The users of Facebook would still be able to use Facebook and to be honest would most likely not notice that Google is no longer listing Facebook. The real impact of delisting Facebook would be for non-users of Facebook performing a search and not seeing Facebook URLs as part of the results.

It might actually be an interesting experiment to see how long it takes for people to actually notice Facebook being delisted.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: De-List facebook

“The users of Facebook would still be able to use Facebook and to be honest would most likely not notice that Google is no longer listing Facebook.”

You’d be surprised. The number of people who don’t understand what a URL is and just type “” into the Google search bar instead of the browser address bar is depressing, as anyone who’s had to spend time supporting end users can attest. Honestly – they will type the address into Google, wait for the results and then click on the first one.

They’d notice – not because it actually breaks any functionality on Facebook’s site, but because some people simply don’t know what they’re doing to get there.

New Mexico Mark says:

Re: The solution is simple ...

Even better, charge by the size of the actual takedown requested. One image with low views, $1. “Your request has been granted and you are being charged one biiillliiooonn dollars per day. Failure to pay will result in rejection of all future requests and collection actions / criminal prosecution initiated against the submitting organization / representatives by both Google and Facebook.”

Now grab the popcorn and enjoy the fun of another Prenda Law debacle.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: The solution is simple ...

You could keep it at free and still drastically cut down on abuse by simply enforcing punishments for abuse.

Perjury for bogus claims, or even better, and taking a trick from the Copyright Is The Best Thing Every group, institute a ‘six strikes’ system for DMCA claims, where if they send six bogus claims in a certain amount of time(let’s say a year) then the copyright in question is revoked immediately and enters the public domain.

Anonymous Coward says:

In this case I'm OK with this..

Facebook should be flat out de-listed and outright banned from BGP for the good of all humanity, I don’t care about soccer most of them are criminals anyway so maybe they should also be de-listed, in fact lets get ride of any always on connections and go back to BBSs, the internet has just become a tool of violent control and deserves to die

Anonymous Coward says:

No, the Powers That Be don’t need to acknowledge there is a problem. They deny reality every time they open their lying mouths. Climate change isn’t happening, sea levels aren’t rising, police actions aren’t wars, fees aren’t taxes, and we aren’t and never were at war with Eastasia. Also, isn’t it just terrible that Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt broke up?!

Anonymous Coward says:

Would,nt it be great if someone did the same to the premier league ,ask for all soccer websites sites to be delisted,with the request sent by a bot.
sky etc But i bet google has a white list of websites that wont be delisted under any circumstances eg fox news ,nbc,abc,newyorktimes etc.
There should be some penalty for pointless requests sent out by companys who use bots for dmca take downs.
Of course there maybe many small sites being delisted
by google because maybe there were a few short
video clips of a soccer match or a tv show .
And we don,t notice it because the site has no users
in the usa.

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