It Happened Again: Antipiracy Outfit Asks Google To Delist 127.0.0.1 On Behalf Of Ukrainian TV Station

from the where-the-piracy-is dept

We've made this point before, but the moment you attempt to scale up copyright enforcement, you run into problems. Collateral damage from automated systems mistaking non-infringing content for infringing, the possibility of fraud and abuse, the blind eye towards Fair Use all become problems. But sometimes those problems are so silly that they expose what a pure fiasco this has become. Several years back, we discussed Universal Pictures asking Google to delist a bunch of supposedly infringing sites, listing one of them as 127.0.0.1. Depending on how computer savvy you are, you may recognize that this IP address is how a computer or system refers to itself. In other words, it essentially means "home."

And, yet, despite how silly this all is, it just keeps happening. Most recently, the anti-piracy outfit used by a Ukrainian television broadcaster may have outed its own client by also asking Google to delist 127.0.0.1.

Ukrainian TV channel TRK has sent a rather bizarre takedown request to Google. The company's anti-piracy partner Vindex asked the search engine to remove a search result that points to 127.0.0.1. Tech-savvy people will immediately recognize that the anti-piracy company apparently found copyright-infringing content on its own server.

The request was sent by TKR’s anti-piracy partner Vindex, which essentially flagged a file on its own machine. The ‘infringing’ link is 127.0.0.1:6878/ace/manifest.m3u. This points to a playlist file, possibly for the P2P streaming platform Ace Stream that’s often used to pirate content.

Now, a number of things here should be unsurprising to our regular readers. That an antipiracy outfit sucks at identifying proper sites for delisting is no surprise. Likewise, the idea that a company that is crying about copyright infringement might be guilty of infringement itself also fails to shock the mind. But what is surprising is that the antipiracy outfit may have accidentally outed its own client through its own stupidity as a party infringing copyrights so thoroughly.

Google obviously cannot delist the IP address, as there is nothing to delist. And, frankly, Vindex is known to suck at its one job.

Since 127.0.0.1 refers to the host computer, Google is technically asked to remove a file from its servers. A file that doesn’t exist. Needless to say, Google hasn’t taken any action in response.

The above suggests that Vindex may want to take a good look at its takedown bots. The company doesn’t have a stellar reputation when it comes to DMCA notices. Of all the links that were reported to Google, little more than 10% were removed by the search engine.

Adding to it that you imagine there are some uncomfortable conversations being had between Vindex and its client today and you're left with the impression that there is a ton of egg on its face right now.

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Filed Under: 127.0.0.1, antipiracy, copyright, home, ip addresses, piracy, ukraine
Companies: google, trk


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  1. identicon
    Bobvious, 10 Aug 2021 @ 3:43pm

    127.0.0.1

    Hey, that's my home. Leave it alone. If Google delists it, I'll never be able to sell it. That of course, and my noisy neighbours down the street at 192.168.0.1.

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

  2. icon
    Mononymous Tim (profile), 10 Aug 2021 @ 3:54pm

    Who says you need to know what you're doing when setting up a business and promising IP owners you'll protect their stuff? You got paid, right?

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

  3. icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 10 Aug 2021 @ 4:09pm

    To wit: Prenda.

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

  4. icon
    MightyMetricBatman (profile), 10 Aug 2021 @ 4:25pm

    Re: 127.0.0.1

    Is the name of your neighbor Robert Router by any chance?

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

  5. icon
    That One Guy (profile), 10 Aug 2021 @ 4:44pm

    Must be a day ending in 'y'

    I am shocked, shocked I say to find evidence of copyright infringement at a company that promises to crack down on copyright infringement.

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

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Aug 2021 @ 4:49pm

    Wait, wait, wait: A possibly sketch playlist on a client's own server is sent as a URL in a takedown notice as an infringement on that client's copyrights? There's a whole other level of WTF here. I mean, maybe the playlist had content from TRK? ¯\_㋛_/¯ Also, was Vindex running the scan from the TRK server? I don't even.

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

  7. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Aug 2021 @ 5:09pm

    Considering the regularity that this happens, I would think it's worth Google's time to setup a bot/autoresponse that sends a (Google) translated explainer of what that IP actually means in reply.

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

  8. identicon
    Bobvious, 10 Aug 2021 @ 5:42pm

    Re: FTFY

    "Also, was Vindex running the SCAM from the TRK server?"

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

  9. icon
    sumgai (profile), 10 Aug 2021 @ 6:03pm

    Re:

    Oh Hail No! If I were Google, I'd add them them to the Lumen Database, with honors! We could all form a pool that guesses when the number of host entries will reach some particular milestone, like 1,000 or some such.

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

  10. icon
    That One Guy (profile), 10 Aug 2021 @ 6:31pm

    Re: Re:

    A little bit of public humiliation making clear what idiots the companies are would be both entertaining and encourage them to at least spend some time checking their work before sending it in, so yeah, that sounds like an excellent idea.

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

  11. identicon
    Bobvious, 10 Aug 2021 @ 7:01pm

    Re: Re: 127.0.0.1

    Yes. And living in the unit next door to them at 192.168.1.1 are some Modern Democrats.

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

  12. icon
    Ryunosuke (profile), 10 Aug 2021 @ 7:49pm

    Before even reading the article, I am going to guess

    Anti-piracy group was monitoring IP addresses and caught themselves pirating something and asked google to ban their (and by extension EVERYONE) from the internet?

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

  13. icon
    Ryunosuke (profile), 10 Aug 2021 @ 7:51pm

    Re: Before even reading the article, I am going to guess

    after reading edit: I was close.

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

  14. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Aug 2021 @ 1:38am

    Re: Re: Re:

    and encourage them to at least spend some time checking their work before sending it in

    Why would they do that, when they can pass that cost onto Google. Copyright maximalist do not care how much other people spend protecting their copyright, and indeed keep on getting laws passed to make others spend money policing their copyrights, like filters in the E.U.

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

  15. icon
    127.0.0.1 (profile), 11 Aug 2021 @ 2:38am

    Who Me ?

    I resent this invasion of my home and privacy.

    I have had this handle for over six years, here at Techdirt. They know where to find me - I am at home all day, and everyday.

    Unfortunately - stupid is forever.

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

  16. icon
    bhull242 (profile), 11 Aug 2021 @ 4:56am

    It occurs to me that the fact that 127.0.0.1 is among the ones listed for takedown could be used as evidence of a lack of a good faith inquiry into whether or not the use was fair or even actually infringing.

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

  17. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Aug 2021 @ 5:52am

    Re:

    To (half)wit: Liebowitz.

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

  18. icon
    James Burkhardt (profile), 11 Aug 2021 @ 8:00am

    Re:

    Listing 127.0.0.1 as containing an infring should be expressly be a Prima facie admission that no good faith inquiry was made. Not evidence, its an admission of guilt that they did so little inquiry they didn't even exclude their own "legally obtained material" used as refrence.

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

  19. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Aug 2021 @ 8:13am

    The call is coming from inside the house!

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

  20. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Aug 2021 @ 11:08am

    Vindex. who apparently believe Prenda Law had a sound business model.

    Honeypot your OWN movies and tv shows, then try to run a shakedown later on.

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

  21. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Aug 2021 @ 11:10am

    Re: Before even reading the article, I am going to guess

    The simple answer is to delist Vindex AND the TRK servers 100% from google search, images and Google news. 100% forever.

    They want 127.0.0.1 banned? fine by us!

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

  22. identicon
    SpaceLifeForm, 11 Aug 2021 @ 11:45am

    Investigation incomplete

    Wait until they discover ::1 and 127/8.

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

  23. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Aug 2021 @ 1:07pm

    Re: Re: FTFY

    Well that one isn't even a question. It's a business model.

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

  24. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Aug 2021 @ 1:21pm

    Re:

    These takedown bot outfits have never done any inquiry into whether the URLs they regurgitate into Google's lap contain any use of the claimed content at all, or indeed if the URLs even exist.

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

  25. identicon
    Rekrul, 11 Aug 2021 @ 2:54pm

    If Google has a presence in that country, they should send an employee over to Vindex's offices and tell that they're there to disconnect their systems from the internet at a request from their own company.

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

  26. icon
    bhull242 (profile), 12 Aug 2021 @ 5:58am

    Re: Re: Re: 127.0.0.1

    I hope they stay away from 192.0.2.0, 198.51.100.0, and 203.0.113.0! I keep all my important documents there!

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

  27. icon
    bhull242 (profile), 12 Aug 2021 @ 6:08am

    Re: Re:

    Virtually always true, but you missed my point. The problem is being able to disprove an assertion of good faith made by the defendant to prevail on a claim made under DMCA §512(f). Courts have traditionally given copyright firms and copyright holders a lot of leeway regarding sending out clearly fraudulent DMCA takedown requests when interpreting this section, so plaintiffs rarely succeed with such a claim, usually not making it past summary judgment.

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

  28. icon
    bhull242 (profile), 12 Aug 2021 @ 6:21am

    Re:

    Well, there are 2 differences.

    1. AFAICT, Vindex hasn’t sued anyone (yet); they’ve only sent out DMCA takedown requests. Prenda, OTOH, really only brought lawsuits, and (again, AFAICT) never sent any DMCA notices. So, to Vindex’s credit, they haven’t sued anyone for copyright infringement with their IP-tracking systems.

    2. OTOH, Prenda was never dumb enough to essentially admit or declare, under penalty of perjury, that they were using a honey pot. They were at least smart and competent enough not to sue the person at IP address 127.0.0.1 or claim that someone infringed their copyright using that IP address

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

  29. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Aug 2021 @ 7:29am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    And Google effectively agreed to this, when they decided to start taking down search results before any court ruled it was infringing to talk about where infringing material can be found. Even the DMCA did not seek to create such a privilege for copyright holders.

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

  30. icon
    Bergman (profile), 12 Aug 2021 @ 7:50pm

    Re: Re: Before even reading the article, I am going to guess

    Came here to say exactly that!

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

  31. icon
    Scott Yates (profile), 16 Aug 2021 @ 8:47am

    Re: Re: 127.0.0.1

    Well.. Bobviously... 8)

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


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