Earlier this year an unprecedented flood of leaked movies hit the net, including screener copies of popular titles such as American Sniper, Selma and Unbroken.
Hoping to steer people away from these unauthorized copies the copyright holders sent out thousands of takedown notices.
These efforts generally target URLs of torrent sites, cyberlockers and streaming services that link to the unauthorized movies. However, some requests go a little further, targeting news publications such as the one you’re reading at the moment.
Last week NBC Universal sent a series of takedown notices to Google including one for the leaked movie “Unbroken.” Aside from the usual suspects, the list of allegedly infringing URLs also included our recent coverage of the screener leaks.
As with the other pages, NBC Universal urged Google to remove our news report from its search results.
The overreaching takedown request doesn’t appear to be an isolated incident. Two days earlier NBC Universal sent another takedown notice targeting our coverage of the “Taken 3” leak.
The question remains whether NBC Universal intentionally targeted our news articles or not.
While the latter seems to be the most likely explanation, it doesn’t change the fact that the overbroad censorship requests go too far.