It’s commonly known that copyright holders regularly send takedown notices to torrent sites, asking the operators to remove pirated content.
While not all sites comply with these, many do, to avoid drawing any unnecessary attention.
This week we were contacted by the operator of one of the larger torrent sites, who prefers to remain anonymous. He also processes takedown notices regularly. However, one request he received this week seemed a little out of the ordinary.
The site operator was contacted by the anti-piracy department of the entertainment company CANAL+. Unlike other notices, where the site is asked to remove content, this request was sent to protect content that hasn’t even aired yet.
The notice in question mentions the Polish series Mały Zgon (Little Death) to which Canal+ has the exclusive rebroadcasting rights. However, the company fears that it will end up at the targeted torrent site as well.
Canal+ stresses that the torrent site and its users don’t have the right to distribute the upcoming series. If the site’s operator fails to remove or disable content when it’s made available, it can be held liable, the company explains.
“Thus, this letter gives you actual knowledge of illegal activity or information as regulated in [the EU e-commerce directive] and its receipt obliges you to act expeditiously and remove or to disable access to any of the above mentioned files from the Website – otherwise you will not be able to take advantage of the release from liability for unlawful sharing of files containing the episodes of the Series on the Website,” the letter adds.
In order to help the site operator a bit, Canal+ shared the series release schedule. The first two episodes are set to come out on March 8 and it ends on April 5, with two new episodes coming out every week.
In addition, the anti-piracy department has another tip. The letter notes that most illegal activity will likely take place shortly after the episodes come out, so Canal+ encourages the site operator to be extra vigilant during that time.
“Based on the experience gained during work on the protection of copyrights and related rights vested in the Company, I can point out that the highest probability of increased activity of the Website’s users will occur within a few days of the release of the subsequent episodes – for this reason I recommend special vigilance in these periods,” the notice adds.
These type of preemptive takedown notices are rather unusual. At this point, there is nothing for the site operator to take down. While Canal+ may hope that the site will install some kind of filtering mechanism, we doubt that this will happen.