Movie Studios Get Circular, Ask Google to Take Down Their Own DMCA Takedown Requests
Let’s say you’re a wealthy, seafaring merchant. You suspect a pirate is sneaking up the hull of your ship to steal your hard-earned doubloons in the hold, so you cry out to the Imperial Navy to arrest the dastardly villain! But when the Imperial pirate-hunter arrives, you panic and call to the Navy to come and arrest him, too — yeah, the guy who was supposed to arrest the first guy. Well, that’s sort of what some movie studios are doing right now. NBC Universal and Lionsgate, among others, are asking Google to take down the takedown requests they themselves had requested, and Google isn’t having it.
Basically, in a crazy display of ouroboric Locos Tacos Doritos logic, the movie studios are calling on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to get Google to remove the infringing infringement notices they themselves sent previously. Which Google totally isn’t doing.
It isn’t helping that the number of such takedown notices is approaching 20 million per month. But this confusion is what Google gets for making their efforts visible.
Here’s an example: 20th Century Fox sent Google a takedown request to remove links to some sites pirating its content, and oh, could they also remove these previous DMCA notices 20th Century Fox sent, because those are infringing, too.
It’s enough to give you a recursive headache.
Now it may be that it’s just an automated tool doing the misinterpreting, a symptom of the problem of automated censorship that creates a feedback loop of DMCA notices. Google is being asked now to remove not only direct links to copyrighted material, per the DMCA, but links to links to links.
It’s machine against machine at this point, and nobody’s going to win in the end.