When organized groups release pirated content onto the Internet, one of the requirements is that they package a so-called NFO (information) file with the release.
These files are text-based but often include so-called ASCII art. Their purpose is to present details on the file they accompany. A typical NFO for a game might include the title, the name of the group making the release, the date of release, the machine the release is designed for, plus any special instructions needed for it to run.
Over the years people have sought to archive thousands of NFO files and present them in searchable databases. One such example can be found at NFORush.net. The site is purely informational and carries no copyrighted content, but some big companies can’t seem to appreciate that.
“Google has been notified, according to the terms of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), that some of your materials allegedly infringe upon the copyrights of others,” Google has informed the site several times this year.
The problem? Microsoft’s automated anti-piracy crawlers can’t tell the difference between pirated Xbox360 games such as Madagascar 3, and tiny, copyright-free text files such as this one. The result? Google has been de-indexing NFORush pages at the behest of Microsoft.
Fortunately, Google has an appeals process, one which the admin of NFORush has been resorting to to repair his standing with Google.
“Google just informed me that they reviewed the content of my site and that the pages
will be reincluded in the Google index shortly,” NFORush’s admin told TorrentFreak.
Although wrongful takedowns aren’t exactly unusual, it is encouraging to see Google take care over putting other people’s mistakes right once they’re informed. If those doing the takedowns could follow the same example, that would be an even better development.