How Much Does HBO Pay MarkMonitor To Send DMCA Notices Removing Its Official Content From Google?

from the and-why-does-this-keep-happening dept

We've seen plenty of ridiculous stories about bogus DMCA takedowns, but none get so ridiculous as the ones in which the content being demanded taken down is the officially released content. This often happens because of shoddy / clueless middlemen, as is the case with the latest example being passed around. HBO hired DtecNet / MarkMonitor to keep infringing copies of its works offline, and as TorrentFreak notes, the company sought to achieve this by sending a DMCA takedown notice to Google that demanded the removal of links to HBO's own website (as well as links to legitimate sites that included reviews of the show in question, Eastbound and Down).
Again, this kind of thing seems to happen all the time, once again confirming the key point that despite all the talk by maximalists that Google should just "know" when a work is infringing, copyright holders' own representatives have absolutely no clue at all, and that should weigh against the idea that Google or any other third party might magically know.

My real question, though, is just how much is HBO paying DtecNet / MarkMonitor for this "service"? Not only is it making a complete mockery of HBO itself, but potentially killing search engine optimization value that HBO might have towards its legit and authorized content.

Also, isn't it comforting that DtecNet / MarkMonitor are going to be the ones responsible for going after people under the new six strikes program? Stories like this really add confidence to the idea that they're going to make a complete mess of the whole thing.

Filed Under: dmca, hbo, takedown
Companies: dtecnet, google, markmonitor


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Feb 2013 @ 12:44pm

    Re: And so what if there are glitches?

    "When someone points out this mistake with an obnoxiously complicated DMCA process, Big Search just says, "Ooops" and goes merrily on its way making more and more mistaken recommendations for law breaking."

    The point is, Google cannot filter copyrighted results out without this sort of thing happening. Here, DMCA notices were filed against HBO and against sites merely containing reviews of the show. And that was by a company HIRED BY HBO, not a third party search engine trying to index the entire Internet. If automatic filters were in place, would some of those review sites even know that they were mistakenly being censored? Would HBO file a lawsuit against Google for taking out their legitimate movie?

    "This is why there's an appeals process. This is why people are given SIX strikes. If mistakes are made, they can be corrected. (Other criminals only get THREE before getting a life sentence.)"

    You don't get life for shoplifting three times, or even six times. And from what I've seen, many providers won't even let you appeal until you're to the point of your account being suspended, you have to put up your own money to appeal, you don't get to argue in actual court, and some won't even let you use fair use as a defense.

    "So man up. If you're getting caught a few times, I think the odds of a mistake get smaller and smaller. If you do the crime, do the time."

    In case you didn't see, HBO was accused 6 times above. Enough to get them kicked off the Internet. I wonder how HBO would take it if they were actually kicked off until they managed to schedule an appeal.

    "So I say let's give the artists and copyright holders the same leeway. We're not asking for any more forgiveness, just the same flexibility that the billionaires at Big Search claim when they're caught. "

    It's not the same, though.

    Filing a DMCA notice means you are making a legal declaration. When they file these notices recklessly, it means innocent people are being censored. I would rather see a hundred infringing sites stay up than one legitimate site taken down.

    Frankly, HBO should fire MarkMonitor, and the person who sent the notices should be investigated for possible perjury charges. A notice must contain "a good faith belief that use of the material in the manner complained of is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law. " You cannot have a good faith belief if you don't even look at what you're signing.

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