One of today’s favored anti-piracy methods is to have Google de-index alleged pirate links from its search results. The theory is that if users don’t find content on search pages 1, 2 or 3, there’s more chance of them heading off to an official source.
The trouble is, Google’s indexes are massive and therefore return a lot of data. This results in copyright holders resorting to automated tools to identify infringing content en masse and while for some people these seem to work well (the UK’s BPI appears to have a very good record), others aren’t so good at it.
Errors get made and here at TF we like to keep an eye out for the real clangers – obviously it’s of particular interest when we become the targets. After being wrongfully accused by NBC Universal eight times in February, we had to wait until April for the world-famous Web Sheriff to ride into town.
In a DMCA notice sent on behalf of The Weinstein Company, Web Sheriff tackles dozens of domains for alleged offering the company’s content for download. However, for reasons best known to the gun-slinging Sheriff, he told Google that TF’s list of the most popular torrent sites of 2015 is infringing on his client’s copyrights.
We weren’t the only targets though. The Sheriff also tried to have three pages removed from business networking site Linkedin and one each from movie promo sites ComingSoon and Fandango (which are both legitimately advertising Weinstein movies).
However, the real genius came when the Sheriff tried to take down the Kickstarter page for Weinstein’s own movie, Keep On Keepin’ On. Fortunately, Google is on the ball and rejected every attempt.
Three years ago file-hosting site Ryushare was a rising star in the so-called cyberlocker scene. Operating healthy affiliate and rewards schemes the site became a magnet for those looking to upload popular content.
After mere months online the site was already pressing the market leaders and by early 2013 was looking to break into the Alexa 500. Progress continued for another year but in April 2014 the site suddenly disappeared without explanation.
Rumors began to circulate that the site’s operators had been arrested but it took weeks for the arrival of an official announcement. The Vietnamese government eventually delivered the news that Ryushare had been closed down following the arrest of site owner Nguyen Duc Nhat plus three of his associates. Cars, motorcycles, and around $350,000 were seized.
While arrests are not a particularly unusual development in file-sharing cases, copyright issues weren’t at the heart of the site’s problems. It transpired that the authorities had taken offense at the huge amounts of “depraved content” being made available via the site.