Over the past year several major torrent sites have shut down, causing quite an uproar among file-sharers.
Interestingly, however, several copyright holders still appear to think that these sites are alive and kicking. That is, judging from the takedown notices they send to Google.
Publisher Penguin Random House is particularly forgetful. Through its anti-piracy partner Digimarc, the company has reported hundreds of ‘infringing’ KickassTorrents URLs. Not only was KAT shut down last summer, the reported URLs are no longer listed in Google’s search results either.
Penguin is not alone though. Other rightsholders such as Sony Music, Dreamroom Productions, Taylor & Francis Group, The University of Chicago Press and many others have made the same mistakes recently.
Over the past month alone Google has received 1,340 takedown notices for Kat.cr URLs and an additional 775 for the Kat.ph domain name.
The problem is not limited to KAT either. Torrentz.eu, another major torrent site that went offline last summer, is still being targeted at well.
For example, earlier this week Sony Pictures asked Google to remove a Torrentz.eu URL that linked to the series Community, even though it is no longer indexed. In just one month copyright holders sent Google 4,960 takedown requests for “dead” Torrentz URLs.
Apparently, the reporting outfits have failed to adjust their piracy monitoring bots for the changing torrent landscape.
The mistakes are likely due to automated keyword filters that scour sites and forums for links to hosting services. These bots don’t bother to check whether Google actually indexes the content, nor do they remove dead sites from their system.
While targeting dead KAT and Torrentz links is bad enough, things can get worse.
The iconic torrent search isoHunt.com shut down following a MPAA lawsuit in 2013, well over three years ago. Nonetheless, rightsholders still sent Google takedown notices for the site, more than a dozen a month actually.
Or what about BTJunkie. This torrent indexer closed its doors voluntarily more than half a decade ago. Dead or not, some copyright holders still manage to find infringing links in some of the darkest corners of the Internet.
Apparently, torrent users are far quicker to adapt to the changing landscape than the monitoring outfits of some copyright holders…