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Like many other copyright holders Fox isn’t pleased that their content is being shared for free on The Pirate Bay.
To make pirated copies harder to find the Hollywood studio asks Google to remove links to Fox movies and TV-shows from its search results.
But targeting The Pirate Bay alone is not enough. Fox also has to send the same notices for links to Pirate Bay proxies. After all, all content on TPB is mirrored on hundreds of proxies.
To streamline the process, someone in the company’s take-down department came up with the brilliant idea of making a huge list of Pirate Bay proxy site URLs appended with the presumed location of the content on The Pirate Bay.
In other words, copy thepiratebay.se/search/tpb and paste it after pirateproxy.netsearch/tpb and the other proxy domains.
The end result is a removal request that looks like one of these which lists nearly 200 Pirate Bay proxies. After every proxy URL the same search string is added, in this case related to the TV-series Wilfred.
While this may seem a clever approach, the way Fox has carried it out has resulted in many faulty DMCA notices.
The first issue is that many proxies specifically ask Google not to index their site, since being listed on the search engine usually means receiving thousands of take-down notices.
The owner of the Pirate Bay proxy hosted at Offpeat.com told TorrentFreak that this is also the case for his site, but that Fox still asked Google to remove these non-existent links that can’t be found through Google.
“The proxy is not indexed by Google. I tell crawlers not to go there and they don’t. Still, I received a complaint regarding a URL deemed infringing by Fox,” the proxy operator says.
And that’s not all.
Upon closer inspection it appears that the mistakes run deeper since the format of the search strings is incorrect. We couldn’t find a single URL in the take-down request that actually points to (searches for) infringing material. They all include ?search= which produces no results.
The Offpeat.com owner confirms that none of the links listed for his site point to copyrighted material.
“Neither Fox or Google even bothered to check if these URLs even exist. In my case they don’t and never did,” he says.
To make matters worse, many of the links still produce no results when the ?search= part is left out.
Apparently Fox is not up to date on the proper naming conventions of pirated TV-shows as they don’t use the proper S01E03, but S1E3 which produces no results. The S1E3 keyword was probably made up in an office and entered into the system without checking.
Finally, and this is perhaps the worst part, the DMCA notice also tries to take down searches for TV-shows that have yet to air. The search phrase “Wilfred Season 3″ jumps out immediately since that season is still in production.
The above mistakes are relatively harmless to the site owners, but they show once again how much can go wrong with these automated DMCA notices. This is particularly troublesome since Google is down-ranking sites based on the number of DMCA notices it receives for them.
Perhaps a six-strikes plan is in order for copyright holders who fail to learn from their mistakes?
Source: Fox Targets Pirate Bay Proxies With Bogus DMCA Requests