In an effort to make piracy less visible, copyright holders send dozens of millions of takedown notices to Google every month.
Unfortunately not all of these requests are as accurate as they should be.
Due to the high number of often automated notices and the fact that copyright holders don’t check the validity of all requests, there are many questionable takedowns.
This week BBC Worldwide reported a record number of infringing links to Google, targeting more than 25,000 webpages. We decided to go through the links and it wasn’t hard to find several URLs that are clearly not infringing.
For example, one of the notices targets the IMDb pages of Top Gear, The Game and Top Fails.
The Internet Movie Database is one of the prime sources for movie and TV fans to get information and doesn’t host or link to infringing content, so taking these pages offline only hurts the BBC.
Perhaps even more worrying is that the same notice also lists the British home of the video site Dailymotion as “infringing.” While this page may have linked to unauthorized material in the past, it’s certainly doesn’t warrant the removal of the entire homepage.
Unfortunately this notice is not an isolated incident. In recent years we’ve highlighted countless examples of takedown requests that censor legitimate content, often hurting traffic for the affected sites.
The good news is that Google appears to have white-listed several domains, including the IMDb and Dailymotion. This means that while the links reported by the BBC were not removed, less prominent sites may not be so lucky.
As mentioned previously the DMCA notice surge is a growing problem, with Google now removing more than a million links each day on average. Since Google and other websites can’t possibly verify every DMCA claim, the problem is only expected to increase.