Microsoft Accidentally Issues DMCA Takedowns for U.S. Gov't, Google, Itself
October 8, 2012 1:42 PM
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Seemingly incompetent contractors lead to bizarre DMCA notices on Microsoft's behalf
In a fit of sloth, Microsoft Corp. (
) has become among the companies to outsource/automate its
Digital Millennium Copyright Act
(DMCA) [PDF] (see
of the U.S. Code) takedown request process. Unfortunately, its partners' codes appear to be badly broken and posting a whole host of
For those unfamiliar, the DMCA gives an apparatus where companies can send requests to search engine firms like Google Inc. (
), demanding they remove certain search results that
are believed to contain "stolen" intellectual property
. By blacklisting sites, companies can stop users from finding them and (in theory) halt the spread of the "stolen" work.
Such requests are
1/3rd of takedown requests are
not valid copyright claims
and the three fifths target a competitor's webpage.
But in Microsoft's case the abuse appears to be accidental.
In fact Microsoft's third-party DMCA takedown contractor
, asked Google to remove "bing.com" from its search results
. Microsoft's contractor also asked Google
to take down its own homepage, on Microsoft's behalf.
In a testimonial on its homepage Marketly quotes Microsoft as pleased with its performance, quoting, "Marketly has engineered solutions that address today’s anti-piracy challenges, producing quantifiable results for Microsoft. We are pleased with Marketly’s responsiveness. They have been very easy to work with. – Online Piracy Senior Program Manager, Microsoft Corporation..."
Thanks to another partner --
, a "digital agency... founded by experts from the world of radio, television and internet" -- Microsoft also became
the only party
request the takedown
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
U.S. Department of Health
Microsoft wants to take down the U.S. government -- or at least some of its webpages.
[Image Source: Microsoft]
Microsoft was one of only two copyright owners to
try to take down
U.S. National Institutes of Health
webpage, as well.
Those takedowns were among the high profile targets of a July 27, 2012 takedown request list on Google's clearinghouse of takedown information and
by chillingeffects.org – a collaboration between the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and various law school professors. Among other high profile targets of Microsoft's/leakid's July scattershot include a number of news sites, such as
, CBS Corp. (
, Time Warner Inc.'s (
The Huffington Post
Leakid has tried, on Microsoft's behalf,
to take down
Microsoft and DMCA cat have a lot in common. [Image Source: Error Access Denied]
Microsoft's contractors have sent out
nearly 5 million takedown requests
to Google alone, so it's easy to note how such sloppy errors could occur, though you'd think the partners could be a bit smarter with their filtering.
Sadly Microsoft is not alone in its display of DMCA insanity. Just ask
convicted tax evader
Gary Quintinsky who
tried to take down
U.S. Internal Revenue Service
's homepage. That said, Microsoft and its "cronies" appear to be leading the way in bogus takedown requests.
Google [Transparency Report]
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
RE: It's not really a laughing matter.
10/9/2012 7:16:29 AM
Just because it has classically worked like that (put it out there, patch it/fix it later), doesn't mean that it's the correct way of doing it. There's a reason that PC gaming has slowly been dying, and it sadly doesn't have to do with piracy or cost, it's the lack of well developed games.
Consider the fact that for each and every DMCA takedown, Google has to invest time and money into investigating every single one. In effect, it's a way for Microsoft (and others) to bleed Google dry, one drop at a time.
Personally, I think some kind of fine system should be in place for improper DMCA takedowns. The current system has provides all the power for the issuer of the takedown, and none for the entity being issued. Make it enough that it encourages companies to double check their data before issuing it. $10k per improper takedown? I don't know, but that would be a good start.
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