Thanks to Google and the Chilling Effects Clearinghouse, spotting potential abuses of the DMCA takedown process has become easier than ever. Both organizations carefully catalog the notices they receive and as a result it’s possible to bring issues to the attention of the public.
Most of the time problems arise with companies making the odd embarrassing mistake. At other times things get more serious. Today we bring news of another mess that would’ve ordinarily flown under the radar.
On its Twitter account, Total Wipes Music Group claims to work with 800 music labels and cooperates with major digital music stores such as iTunes, Beatport and Juno. Early July the company began sending DMCA notices to Google and out of more than 15,000 URLs sent so far the majority have been rejected.
In an early notice the company asked Google to remove website pages of several of its partners including BeatPortCharts, Napster (UK and Germany), Rhapsody and TraxSource. Other notices targeted both iTunes and Apple.
In this notice, which claims to protect this content, Total Wipes launched a full frontal assault on anyone daring to use any words used in the title of their clients’ track “ROCK THE BASE & BAD FORMAT”. The results are awful.
In April this year DJ E-Z Rock, best known for the track ‘It Takes Two’ with partner Rob Base, sadly passed away. MTV, Rolling Stone and a number of news outlets all wrote about the event but in their notice Total Wipes demand that Google de-list all of their reports. They also attack a wide range of other random sites, some which dared to mention “rock” climbing and others which mentioned a rock festival on a military “base”.
For no apparent reason, another notice targeted The School of Performance and Cultural Industries at Leeds University in the UK, stopping off to admonish music mag Pitchfork Media and the evil PC gaming bloggers over at Rock, Paper, Shotgun.
Perhaps the weirdest notice, currently being processed by Google, sees the music outfit target a wide range of sites with the word ‘coffee’ in their URLs. Cariboucoffee, cartelcoffeelab, clivecoffee, coavacoffee, coffee.org, coffeeandtealtd, coffeebean and coffeegeek are just the tip of a very large iceberg.
Quite what Ikea, Walmart, Fair Trade and Dunkin Donuts did to warrant inclusion is a mystery, but our money is on their connections to coffee. Github’s crime will be revealed in due course.
The end result is that Google has rejected what appears to be the lions’ share of more than 15,000 URLs sent by Total Wipes, even those that appear to target well-known ‘pirate’ sites.
There are far too many URLs for us to check individually but some poor soul at Google is probably going to have to do just that. It’s a dirty job, but someone has to do it.