A short while ago we reported that Google has already received takedown requests for more than 200 million URLs this year.
While most of the submitted URLs do indeed link to infringing content, not all takedown notices Google receives are correct.
A recent takedown notice that Random House sent to Google is most likely an example of the former.
As the largest trade book publisher in the world, Random House sends out thousands of takedown requests every week, and one of the most recent notices includes the URL of Kim Dotcom’s cloud hosting service, mega.co.nz. While Mega probably hosts several Random House books, these are definitely not listed on the homepage.
According to the publisher, however, mega.co.nz infringes the copyrights of Stephen King’s novel Carrie.
Random House targeting Mega
Luckily for Dotcom, Google caught the error and refused to remove the Mega homepage so it remains available in its search results today. However, these kind of mistakes are certainly not an isolated incident, nor are they limited to Google.
For example, before Kim Dotcom’s Megaupload was shutdown early 2012 the site received many erroneous takedown notices.
“During the Megaupload days over 20% of all takedown notices were bogus,” Dotcom told us previously.
“We analysed big samples of notices and most were automated keyword based takedowns that affected a lot of legitimate files. The abuse of the takedown system is so severe that no service provider can rely on takedown notices for a fair repeat infringer policy.”
Random House’s recent mistake shows once again how much can go wrong with automated DMCA notices. Google doesn’t have a repeat infringer policy but the errors can cause trouble in the long run since Google down-ranks sites based on the number of DMCA notices it receives for them.
Perhaps it’s also an idea do de-prioritize DMCA requests from copyright holders who continues to make easily avoidable mistakes?