German Film Distributor Issues Takedown Request Falsely Targeting IMDb, Reddit And Techdirt

from the HOW-DO-I-ANTIPIRACY dept

You'd think it wouldn't be too hard to vet a DMCA takedown request for false positives, especially when the request only includes 28 URLs. You'd be wrong.

TMG (Germany's Tele Munchen Group, which acts as a European distributor for several motion picture studios) issued a takedown request on behalf of Universal Pictures France, hoping to delist links to a few movies. But its algorithm is obviously flawed.

To start with, it listed our article on the Hacking Team hack under its list of supposedly infringing URLs for the movie "Hacker."


Now, Hacking Team itself announced shortly after the data dump that "law enforcement was involved" and that orders were being sent out to have their leaked documents and emails removed from the web. Without a doubt, Hacking Team does have law enforcement involved somewhere, but takedown notices from the company itself have yet to arrive. (Third parties seem to be a bit more active on that front.) And with the documents stashed multiple places around the web, any takedown requests will be little more than symbolic.

I doubt it's using distant third parties to achieve its takedown goals, but clumsy, automated, Googling, "content protection" companies and rights holders are perfectly capable of inadvertently achieving the same aim.

It appears TMG's search for infringing URLs includes little more than the title, as this same request also targets a Reddit post that has nothing to do with its "Hacker" movie.


Instead, this links to a twitch.tv account of a gamer allegedly using hacks to get an edge in DotA 2 (Defense of the Ancients 2). Obviously, this has nothing to do with copyright infringement.

And, for good measure, TMG's efforts on behalf of Furious 7 in the same takedown request targets the movie's IMDb page. Because why not take down a wholly legitimate page on a wholly legitimate site that not only offers a wealth of information on the movie itself, but also acts as an unpaid promotional platform, what with its ample supply of trailers and links to retailers.

And, yes, some people will point out that most of what is targeted appears to be infringing content (or links to it). But here's the thing. It doesn't take long to vet small requests like these for false positives. At the very least, TMG owes it to the rights holders that pay for these services to issue legitimate takedown requests. Something like this making its way to Google makes TMG look, at best, clumsy, and at worst, incompetent and censorious. And while it's rarely a concern for rights holders and content protection companies, they also owe it to the rest of the internet to do their best to avoid targeting legitimate URLs -- especially those that have absolutely nothing to do with the content being "protected" and are, as in the case of IMDb, sites that can actually increase sales.


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Jul 2015 @ 11:56am

    Bill them

    Treat every single false takedown notice as a legal nightmare and let your legal team come up with an appropriate and costly response. That is sadly the only response that would work on what is after all a parasitic organization.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Whoever, 21 Jul 2015 @ 12:20pm

    No penalties for false takedowns

    It doesn't take long to vet small requests like these for false positives.

    The root problem is that there are no penalties for false notices. Thus, the rational actor expends zero effort filtering out false positives.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      DannyB (profile), 21 Jul 2015 @ 12:39pm

      Re: No penalties for false takedowns

      In all fairness there should be either:

      * No penalties for copyright infringement

      -or-

      * Huge penalties for false DMCA takedowns

      Bogus DMCA takedowns can harm businesses just as much as copyright infringement.

      Copyright infringement can be done cheaply but cost actual money to go to court. Similarly bogus DMCA takedowns can be done cheaply but cost money to defend.

      Just as copyright infringers might have to pay actual damages, bogus DMCA filers should have to pay actual damages.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Jul 2015 @ 12:43pm

    Imd should take it down and refuse to restore it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Jul 2015 @ 12:50pm

    How in the world did Techdirt get listed with pirate sites?

    Perhaps the algorithm doesn't use just one word, but is smarter than you pirates suspect.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Jul 2015 @ 1:25pm

      Re: How in the world did Techdirt get listed with pirate sites?

      Then why is it so wrong?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Jul 2015 @ 1:28pm

      Re: How in the world did Techdirt get listed with pirate sites?

      Then again, perhaps the algorithm is just a bunch of useless shit that you overpaid to make....you know, kinda like most of the "content" you "create."

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Machin Shin (profile), 21 Jul 2015 @ 1:28pm

      Re: How in the world did Techdirt get listed with pirate sites?

      If it was smart then it wouldn't incorrectly tag URLs that have nothing to do with the movie it is claiming was being pirated. It really would try to avoid doing something like to URLs belonging to a popular blog that is very likely to call them on it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Jul 2015 @ 1:30pm

      Re: How in the world did Techdirt get listed with pirate sites?

      Ha ha, you lose

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Jul 2015 @ 12:51pm

    >>> In all fairness there should be either:

    * No penalties for copyright infringement
    -or-
    * Huge penalties for false DMCA takedowns

    Right... Because pirates are stealing value, and copyright holders are trying to protect property they created and paid to make, so that's totally equitable.

    Sheesh. You pirates don't even pretend to be sane anymore.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Jul 2015 @ 12:55pm

      Re: >>> In all fairness there should be either:

      and copyright holders are trying to protect property they created and paid to make

      Universal pictures makes nothing, and only distributes films made by other companies. It is all part of the Hollywood accounting scam that ensures that films do not make a profit.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Jul 2015 @ 1:25pm

      Re: >>> In all fairness there should be either:

      I don't want to be as dumb as you, but

      'Huge penalties for false DMCA takedowns'

      do you see the word false?

      Are you saying these DMCA's are legit?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 21 Jul 2015 @ 1:27pm

        Re: Re: >>> In all fairness there should be either:

        By pirates, he means the studios, they are trying to pirate the word hacker.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Jul 2015 @ 1:27pm

      Re: >>> In all fairness there should be either:

      Right...and if their bullshit DMCA notices take down someone else's content that they created and paid to make, well, tough shit because they're just more important.

      Sheesh. You shills aren't even hiding the fact that you're just plain assholes anymore.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 21 Jul 2015 @ 1:41pm

      Re: >>> In all fairness there should be either:

      Can always trust one of you lot to pop up and expose your hypocrisy.

      Pirates causing 'harm'? Bad, terrible, must be stopped at all costs, collateral damage be damned.

      Companies trying to 'protect' themselves, so ineptly that they target innocent people/sites? No biggie, it's not like having to consult a lawyer, or go through the process of defending yourself and/or your site from being taken down or delisted is that much of a chore.

      So if pirates took the same tack, just downloading stuff at random, would that be okay then? I mean they wouldn't intentionally be infringing on any given copyright, and since 'accidental' or collateral harm is apparently acceptable, that would make the piracy fine then, right?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      tqk (profile), 21 Jul 2015 @ 2:09pm

      Re: >>> In all fairness there should be either:

      Right... Because pirates are stealing value ...

      No, they're infringing copyright. As for "value", that's questionable.
      ... and copyright holders are trying to protect property they created and paid to make ...

      By attacking innocent third parties? How's that going to help copyright holders?
      You pirates don't even pretend to be sane anymore.

      You should probably try to perfect your game a bit more. I doubt your paymasters are going to pony up for this level of incompetence much longer.

      BTW, I recommend boycotting your employer's garbage, for this and a host of other terrific reasons.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Jul 2015 @ 5:20pm

      Re: >>> In all fairness there should be either:

      Because pirates are stealing value, and copyright holders are trying to protect property they created and paid to make


      But they are taking down content they did NOT create. The penalties should be the same, because by causing the takedown of something they do not own they are infringing on the true owner's exclusive rights to the material.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 21 Jul 2015 @ 11:45pm

      Re: >>> In all fairness there should be either:

      "copyright holders are trying to protect property they created and paid to make"

      ...by lying about innocent third parties and forcing them to fight against such lies at their own expense. While doing nothing to effectively prevent infringement, of course.

      Somehow, the losses borne by others in time, money and availability don't matter so long as your heroes get paid. This is why you're considered a dishonest fool.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Baron von Robber, 21 Jul 2015 @ 12:52pm

    Issue a DMCA takedown of www.tmg.de. They obviously are using Techdirt copyright material.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Jul 2015 @ 3:33pm

    They dont give a rats ass about the collateral damage just as long as they get their target by any means necasary.......A worrying mentality

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Jul 2015 @ 5:43pm

    out_of_the_blue just hates it when due process is enforced.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 21 Jul 2015 @ 6:24pm

    wOULD IT BE FUN...

    It would be interesating to find out how much this 2nd and 3rd party are getting to track Illegal copies...
    Then send that to the Producer..and show him what he is paying for..

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    OldCurmudgeon (profile), 22 Jul 2015 @ 3:44am

    Clever use of Striesand effect to promote their film.

    Fancy using a DMC to Techdirt to incite discussion and free adversing for their film. Is this ironic?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Jul 2015 @ 6:18am

    Legal Standing

    How does a foreign company get legal standing to avail themselves of a US law? Plus they are European distributers where there is no DMCA.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Jul 2015 @ 12:12pm

    Someone needs to show the copyright holders just what a poor shitty service these takedown companies give. Not only taking down UNRELATED content but not even getting ONE SINGLE legitimate target taken down....money for nothing. They must be laughing like monkeys bejind the labels backs.....

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 23 Jul 2015 @ 9:44am

      Re:

      I think the copyright holders couldn't care less. Or if they do care, they prefer that unrelated things get included in the takedown lists over the chance that even a single legitimate infringement might go without a takedown.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Seegras (profile), 23 Jul 2015 @ 6:11am

    localhost

    It's gotten even better. The same stupid fucks at TMG just sent this DMCA takedown request:

    http://127.0.0.1:4001/#/fr/

    Really. See https://www.chillingeffects.org/notices/10969223#

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Jul 2015 @ 6:04pm

    out_of_the_blue just can't stand it when due process is enforced.

    If this comment is hidden from view, out_of_the_blue considers it truth.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    anonymous, 24 Jul 2015 @ 1:22am

    Trident Media Guard

    You need to change your headline: Trident is apparently a French-owned company.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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