The battle over movie piracy just became a bit more transparent, with unsealed court documents revealing how Warner Bros. goes about finding infringing content and issuing takedown notices. The information was revealed as part of a lawsuit by file-hosting service Hotfile, which was a counter-suit issued during a legal debacle with the MPAA, something that ultimately resulted in a large settlement. The counter-suit resulted in redacted court filings hiding how Warner Bros. goes about finding pirated content, which attracted the attention of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Upon request by the EFF, the case judge ruled that the records be unsealed.
In those records, we discover that Warner Bros. — at that time, at least — employed a total of seven workers in its anti-piracy division, and that a lot of the work was done by robots of sort, which trawled the Internet for pirated content and fired off automated DMCA takedown notices.
All of the unredacted documents haven’t yet been published, but the first batch was made available on Monday, and in them we see details about the automated process Warner Bros. uses. Using the so-called robots, searches are carried out the same way a human would search for content, only faster.
Certain websites that have been manually pegged are subjected to keyword searches. When one of these searches returns a result, Warner Bros.’ system issues a takedown notice and sends it to the hosting site. At no point is a manual review of the flagged content performed to see if it is, indeed, infringing on copyrights.