“Dallas Buyers Club” Makers Censor Comcast On Demand, By Mistake

The makers of the Oscar-nominated movie Dallas Buyers Club are doing all they can to prevent their work from being pirated online. In some instances, however, their anti-piracy work is counterproductive. In addition to suing file-sharers, the company has recently asked Google to censor the film's listing on Comcast's XFINITY on-demand service.

dallasIn a few hours from now we will know which film has won the 2014 Oscar for Best Motion Picture.

One of the contenders is Dallas Buyers Club, which grossed over $30 million at the box office on a relatively small budget. Despite this success, the studio behind the movie fears that piracy may cannibalize future profits.

Last month we reported that its makers, Voltage Pictures, launched a series of lawsuits in the U.S. against dozens of people who downloaded an unauthorized copy of the film via BitTorrent. This is not the first time for the studio – it previously launched a similar campaign against downloaders of The Hurt Locker.

Voltage’s anti-piracy actions are not limited to the courts though. The company is also sending out DMCA takedown requests, one of which was directed at Google. While this isn’t something newsworthy per se, the takedown request does include some curious URLs which appear to be counterproductive.

The DMCA notice lists 388 URLs in total. As can be seen below, these links are not all pointing to copyright-infringing content. On the contrary, Voltage Pictures asks Google to censor a perfectly legal Dallas Buyers Club page on Comcast’s XFINITY on-demand service.

The notice also includes several other URLs which don’t link to pirated material, including an article on CNN and a page from Google’s own webmaster FAQ.

Dallas Buyers Club Takedown Notice

dallas-comcast

It appears that Google isn’t happy with the sloppy DMCA notice, as the search engine has decided to remove none of the links in the request. This means that the Pirate Bay links listed in the notice remain accessible through Google.

Also of note, is that this is the first and only DMCA request Voltage Pictures has ever sent to Google. This suggests that the company might not be too worried about appearing in search results. Instead, the takedown notice may have been a preemptive action related to the BitTorrent lawsuits we mentioned earlier.

With this DMCA notice Voltage can show the court that it took other anti-piracy efforts as well. Whether that is wise has yet to be seen though, since right now it mostly shows how weak the studio’s evidence gathering tools are.

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