Google's decision to be much more transparent
about DMCA takedowns for search has revealed a swathe of absolutely ridiculously stupid DMCA notices. We've covered
some already, but TorrentFreak has found some more
-- including multiple cases of DMCA notices by copyright holders that aren't just against their own best interests, but are often against content they, themselves, put up. This isn't even a situation like Viacom suing YouTube over clips that Viacom's employees had uploaded
. In those cases, at least, it involved attempts to make the clips look
Here, however, it appears to just be ridiculous bad processes in place to make sure DMCA takedowns are legit. There is, for example, the case of Warner Bros. sending a DMCA takedown
for the IMDB page
of its own movie, Wrath of the Titans
. It also demanded that the Guardian newspaper's showing of the official trailer of the movie
be removed from Google search. Ditto the official trailer on Apple's site
and Hulu's site
. And, let's not forget the BBC America news article
about how the film might be "critic proof" as well as a page from Charleston South Carolina's newspaper, The Post & Courier about the film
and telling people where to go see it. Though, I guess Warner Bros. lawyers didn't want you to see it at all, because all of those were DMCA'd for being in Google's search.
It's almost as if the lawyers at Warner Bros. are so clueless that they were actively trying to hide any legitimate marketing for the movie. I'm sure their colleagues in the marketing department must have been just thrilled
about these efforts.
The TorrentFreak article lists out a bunch more takedowns, directed at news sites, often promoting the works in question:
In addition to the Warner instance mentioned above, the RIAA asked Google to delist a review of the album Own The Night published on The Guardian. The artist behind the album is Lady Antebellum, signed to RIAA-member Capitol Records.
Even more worrying, the RIAA asked Google to delist Last.fm’s entire Electro Pop section because they thought it carried a pirate copy of All About Tonight by Pixie Lott.
Warner also reappeared later on, asking Google to delist a page on news site NME which lists information on the latest movies, which at the time included information on the movie Hall Pass. The same page on NME was targeted on several other occasions, including by anti-piracy company DtecNet on behalf of Lionsgate, who had info on The Hunger Games delisted.
Hollywood Reporter didn’t fare much better either. Sony Pictures asked Google to swing the banhammer against the popular news site after it published an article called “Trent Reznor Releases Six Free Tracks From ‘Girl With the Dragon Tattoo’ Soundtrack” and Sony mistook it for a DVDRIP.
But as soon as Sony’s piracy fears on the first ‘Dragon Tattoo’ movie had subsided they were back as strong as ever with the sequel. This time the sinner was Wikipedia who dared to put up an information page on the movie The Girl Who Played With Fire. Luckily Sony were on hand to ask Google to delist the page.
The more you play around, the more examples like this you can find. Zuffa, the notoriously litigious folks behind UFC, demanded a Hulu link
be disappeared from Google search, despite Hulu only posting authorized content.
Sony Music and the Estate of Michael Jackson tried to get a page on Last.fm
for Slave to the Rhythm removed
Let's see... we've got Universal Music/Interscope (by way of Web Sheriff) demanding
that Google delete a link to Wall Street Journal post
(reprinted from Mashable) embedding an official Lady Gaga video from last year. Oh, and that wasn't all. They also went after an MTV news article
about the video shoot -- which did contain some footage that someone had shot from a distance, but that seems extreme to kill the whole article. Ditto for a NY Post article
Sony Music Nashville was so worried about a Carrie Underwood leak that it tried to erase
a Reuters archive page
from 2008 that just lists a bunch of headlines -- none of which has anything to do with Carrie Underwood.
TorrentFreak noted above that the RIAA asked the Guardian to takedown its review of the Lady Antebellum album Own the Night
, but that wasn't the only target. The RIAA demanded
that Google remove a link to a review of Lady Antebellum songs
on AOL's music site. Lady Antebellum was clearly so upset by AOL breaching its copyright that the band posed for a photo at AOL studios.
For most musicians, getting onto Pitchfork is a goal. For the RIAA? Well, apparently Pitchfork must be stopped. That's why it DMCA'd
the tastemaker website for daring to post an article
about Coldplay, in which they embedded a song
directly from Coldplay's own YouTube account. The article even notes that the band had released the song to Pitchfork. Nice going RIAA, trying to stop your own bands from getting the publicity they seek.
Anyway, that's just after a little bit of searching... I'm sure we'll have more examples going forward... Thanks to the folks at Torrentfreak for their initial research which inspired some of these other findings as well.