Web Sheriff Abuses DMCA In Weak Attempt To Hide Info Under UK High Court Injunction, Fails Miserably
from the hopefully-clients-are-only-paying-for-successful-takedown-requests dept
Last week, Twitter engaged in some dubious behavior on behalf of a few super-secret someones who'd rather the press didn't discuss their sexual activity. Twitter was apparently firing off "letters of warning" to users who had dared break an injunction issued by the UK Supreme Court forbidding anyone in the media from discussing a threesome involving a prominent British celebrity.
There was very little legal force behind the "warning letters" (despite threats from local authorities) and Twitter users were under no obligation to comply with the company's request. The fact that Twitter even bothered to issue these highlights the utter futility of injunctions/super-injunctions of this variety, which are really just a way for British citizens of a certain level of importance to control local media. It doesn't really matter if the UK's highest court upholds a super-injunction if it has no way of enforcing it beyond its super-limited purview.
That doesn't mean the lawyers who have obtained these injunctions on behalf of their clients aren't trying. While doing a bit of research for an unrelated story, I stumbled across Web Sheriff's utter failure to talk Google into delisting URLs by waving this injunction around in a threatening manner.
The copyright owner is (apparently): APPELLANT (COMPLAINANT’S IDENTITY PROTECTED BY COURT OF APPEAL RULING / ORDER)
Whatever these clients are paying Web Sheriff, it's far too much. Web Sheriff has issued 12 requests targeting 447 URLs. And so far, all 447 URLs are still live.
Contained in these takedown notices is an awe-inspiring wall of text -- something that might impress the average DMCA notice recipient. But Google? Not so much. Here's just a very small portion of it:
Then, of course, there are the URLs targeted for delisting, which -- thanks to Web Sheriff's failed injunction-quoting requests -- are all basically injunction spoilers.
Included in the failed notices are some seriously dubious requests, like Web Sheriff demanding an entire post at the Onion's AV Club be taken down because of a single comment and what appears to be Web Sheriff's own attempted Zendesk request for removal of content from Reddit.
Thanks to Web Sheriff's efforts to force the rest of the world to comply with UK law and its ridiculously unenforceable injunctions, more people are now aware of who's being "protected" by the ruling and where to find more details.