While search engines are extremely helpful for the average Internet user, copyright holders also see a massive downside.
The fact that “infringing sites” show up in search results has become a source of frustration. As a result, Google and other search engines are facing a steady stream of DMCA takedown notices.
Google alone has processed more than five billion takedown requests and millions of new URLs are reported every week. While the majority of these correctly point to problematic links, there are plenty of mistakes too.
Some copyright holders flag perfectly legitimate websites as piracy havens, which others shoot themselves in the foot by targeting their own websites. The latter happened to the webtoon subscription service Toomics just recently.
Please Take 127.0.0.1 Offline
This week we saw yet another problematic DMCA notice, which is perhaps even worse. TV channel TRK Ukraine asked Google to remove content hosted on the IP-address 127.0.0.1, which is the localhost of a device or server.
The request was sent by TKR’s anti-piracy partner Vindex, which essentially flagged a file on an internal network. 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.
Update August 12: A Vindex representative informs TorrentFreak that the 127.0.0.1 link was found in the HTML code of tvizor.org. This means that it points to a file on that server. 127.0.0.1 is not publicly accessible though and can’t be removed by Google. We made some changes to the article to reflect this.
According to the takedown notice, all reported links “illegally provide external links with which users can access and/or download unauthorized copyrighted contents of Football.”
Since 127.0.0.1 always 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. At the moment, most of the links it sends to Google are not indexed by the search engine and of all the links that were reported to Google, little more than 10% were removed.