Movie studios’ automated takedown requests target legitimate links

Dec 3, 2012
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In what may end up becoming a legendary moment of public embarrassment, several movie studios have issued DMCA takedown notices to Google for legitimate content, including official Facebook pages, Wikipedia entries, and legal copies of their own movies. This is the by-product of automated takedown requests submitted on behalf of the studios by YesItIs.org, which has since gone offline, indicating that perhaps the issue isn't as straight-forward as it seems.

The takedown requests concern a mixture of both infringing and legitimate links, with the proportion of legitimate links being exceedingly high. Several movie studios are swept up in the takedown requests, including Lionsgate, BBC Films, 20th Century Fox, Sony Pictures, Summit Entertainment, and Disney Pictures. Fortunately for them, Google has not censored most of the links.

Some examples include a takedown notice on behalf of Lionsgate, that, if it were followed through, would end with copies of Cabin in the Woods available via Blockbuster, iTunes, Comcast, and Amazon all being censored. This same sort of issue strikes the other studios, with other legitimate links including the Family Guy Wikipedia page, movie reviews on sites like The Independent and the Daily Mail, news pieces published on various websites, including CNET and Forbes, as well as links related to films other than the ones specified in the takedown notices.

There is speculation, however, that the takedown notices are not valid. The website YesItIs.org, which issued the takedown notices on behalf of the movie studios, now leads to a Go Daddy landing page. There's no official word yet on whether the takedown notices were authorized, but if they weren't, this is an excellent example of how the system can be abused by those with ill intent.

[via Torrent Freak]


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