For every few dozen pirate sites on the Internet, there’s an anti-piracy outfit claiming that it can claw profits back for copyright holders. Whether or not they live up to these promises is up for debate, but there can be big differences in how these companies go about their trade.
While some clearly strive to be accurate, others make errors that are so huge it raises questions whether there’s much oversight at all. Case in point, the recent wave of DMCA notices targeting Discogs.
For those out of the loop, Discogs is one of the best music databases on the Internet. From its inception in 2000, it has crowdsourced information on 8,400,000 recordings and 5,000,000 artists across all genres, with a particular emphasis on electronic and dance. The site also has a massive marketplace offering more than 23 million titles for sale.
According to anti-piracy outfit Rivendell, however, Discogs is actually a hub of pirate activity.
For the past several weeks on an almost daily basis, Rivendell has been bombarding Google with requests to delist thousands of Discogs URLs, claiming that the site infringes its clients’ copyrights. A small sample is shown in the image below.
What’s most annoying about these bogus reports is that in many cases they target the work of Discog contributors, who volunteer their time to build one of the most comprehensive databases available today. The site actually works as a brilliant promotional platform, but Rivendell seems intent on making content as difficult to find as possible.
Fortunately for Discogs, Google appears to be rejecting the bogus complaints filed by Rivendell which means that its listings are safe for now. However, the music database site has another piracy related problem to deal with, again through no fault of its own.
As illustrated via the custom Google search below, Discogs is being used by spammers to promote ‘pirate’ downloads. Pages and pages of results are available for a wide range of video content, from TV shows such as The Walking Dead to Hollywood movies.
Site-specific searches (such as Putlocker and Vodlocker) yield plenty of results, as do more generic terms such as ‘free’, ‘download’, and ‘HD’. However, for those thinking this might be a good way to download a movie or TV show for free, think again.
In common with most online spam, these ‘pirate’ entries on Discogs are often worse than useless, leading unsuspecting users to fake streaming sites that probably deliver malware, subscription traps, or other content best avoided.
But of course, if they can’t tell the difference between a database entry on Discogs and a pirate music download site, anti-piracy outfits won’t be able to tell the difference between a scam and copyright infringement. To that end, they’ve been taking down fake pages too.
It must be said though, that since these pages are designed to deceive, it shouldn’t be a surprise that some get caught up in the anti-piracy dragnet. It’s actually one of the few situations where most people would welcome a wrongful takedown.
At the time of publication, Discogs had not responded to our request for comment.