Netflix offers a great selection of movies and TV-shows and dozens of millions of people can’t go a week without it.
Netflix is seen as an alternative to piracy. However, since Netflix’s priorities are shifting more to the production of original content, piracy is also a problem.
The streaming service now has its own anti-piracy unit and works with third-party vendors to remove unauthorized content from the Internet. This includes links to their shows in Google’s search results.
While most requests are legitimate, a recent takedown notice targeting “Stranger Things,” was a bit off. Tucked in between various pirate sites, we spotted articles from news sites Express and The Wrap.
(Update: The notice in question appears to be fake/fraudulent, see update below. This is potentially an even problematic.)
The Express article has an obvious clickbait title aimed to attract freeloaders: “Stranger Things season 2 streaming – How to watch Stranger Things online for FREE in UK.”
While there are no references to infringing content in the piece, it’s at least understandable that Netflix’ anti-piracy partner confused by it. The Wrap article, however, doesn’t even hint at anything piracy related.
That’s not all though. Netflix’s takedown request also lists the “Stranger Things” subreddit. This community page has nearly a quarter million followers and explicitly forbids any pirated content. Still, Netflix wanted it removed from Google’s search results.
To give Netflix the benefit of doubt, it’s always possible that a link to pirated content slipped through at the time the notice was sent. But, if that was the case they should have at least targeted the link to the full Reddit post as well.
The more likely scenario is that there was some sort of hiccup in the automated takedown software, or perhaps a human error of some kind. Stanger things have happened.
The good news is that Google came to the rescue. After reviewing the takedown notice, the three mentioned links were discarded. This means that the subreddit is still available in Google’s search results. For now.
Reddit itself is also quite skilled at spotting faulty takedown requests. While it’s unknown whether they were contacted directly by Netflix’s anti-piracy partner, the company rejects more than half of all DMCA takedown requests it receives.
Update: A spokesman from IP Arrow, who are listed as the sender, they have nothing to do with the takedown notice. This suggests that some third party not related to IP Arrow or Netflix may have submitted it.
IP Arrow will ask Google to look into it. Strange things are clearly happening here.