Mass Bogus DMCA Takedowns Impersonate Reddit to Attack Downloading Tools

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Reddit downloader bot SaveVideo took itself offline this week following what appeared to be a copyright and trademark complaint from Reddit. However, it later transpired that the main document was an elaborate fake designed to sow confusion. We can now reveal that an additional batch of bogus DMCA notices has been filed with Google in Reddit's name, targeting many functionally similar tools.

redditEarlier this week the popular Reddit downloading bot ‘SaveVideo’ unexpectedly threw in the towel.

According to early reports from the operator of the service, which in part operated from, Reddit sent a rather aggressive copyright infringement complaint warning of a potential lawsuit.

Wanting to take no risks, the decision was taken to shut down the SaveVideo bot and the RedditSave website. TorrentFreak contacted SaveVideo and Reddit for comment, with both eventually responding after publication with new pieces of interesting information.

Reddit was first to confirm that whatever legal threats SaveVideo had received, the social media platform had nothing to do with them. For his part, the operator of SaveVideo shared the complaint for transparency. While certainly elaborate, many features identified the document as fraudulent and designed to deceive.

Part of the bogus complaintBogus SaveVideo complaint

Someone, somewhere, clearly has a problem with SaveVideo and by impersonating Reddit, could now have issues with the social giant too. However, with SaveVideo returning online and now back in business, it seemed like the problems would fade away. That hasn’t proven to be the case.

Imposters Masquerade as Reddit in DMCA Notices to Google

With assistance from the Lumen Database, TorrentFreak has obtained four new DMCA notices that were sent to Google this week. Each seeks to delist URLs (including its homepage) from Google’s results on the basis they are infringing copyright.

Ominously (and in common with the notice detailed above) these were all sent with claims they originated from Reddit. However, Reddit informs TorrentFreak that it had nothing to do with these notices and is currently conducting an investigation.

Why RedditSave is being targeted here is unclear (its operator informs TF he has no idea who is behind the notices) but he will now feel less singled out knowing that these new bogus DMCA notices also attack dozens of similar tools with the ability to download content from Reddit. A small sample is shown below:

bogus downloader complaint

Trying to determine who is behind these fraudulent complaints isn’t an easy task. There are plenty of entities who would like to see downloaders out of business, not least content providers, but it is doubtful that most would be so foolish. Other options include download tool rivals looking to receive a rapid boost in traffic but, at this stage, it is far too early to say with any certainty.

One silver lining is that Google might spot the bogus nature of the complaints. At the time of writing, none of the URLs have been removed yet and most are still pending further review.

The four DMCA notices attacking dozens of download tools can be found here (1,2,3,4)


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