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Movie Studios Ask Google To Censor Links To Legal Copies of Their Own Films 196

Posted by Soulskill
from the don't-you-dare-point-at-my-stuff dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Several large movie studios have asked Google to take down legitimate pages related to their own films, including sites legally hosting, promoting, or discussing them. Victims of the takedown requests include sites where the content is hosted legally (Amazon, CBS, iTunes, Blockbuster, Verizon on demand, and Xfinity), newspapers discussing the content in question (the BBC, CNET, Forbes, The Huffington Post, The Guardian, The Independent, The Mirror, The Daily Mail, and Wired) as well as official Facebook Pages for the movies and TV shows and even their Wikipedia entries. There are also a number of legitimate links that appear to be completely unrelated to the content that is supposedly being protected. The good news is that Google has so far left many of the links up."
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Movie Studios Ask Google To Censor Links To Legal Copies of Their Own Films

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  • Hm... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sidthegeek (626567) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @05:51PM (#42185003)
    I'm thinking Google should just remove any and all links to anything that even just has the movie studios' name on it. Including their own websites.
    • Re:Hm... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by SleazyRidr (1563649) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @05:53PM (#42185033)

      Perfect time to show them what Google really does for them: any page that includes the name of the studio, or any of the movies that the studio has ever made will no longer appear in search results. See how long it takes them to realise their folly.

      • Re:Hm... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn&gmail,com> on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @05:56PM (#42185099) Journal

        Perfect time to show them what Google really does for them: any page that includes the name of the studio, or any of the movies that the studio has ever made will no longer appear in search results. See how long it takes them to realise their folly.

        And then people use Bing because they can't get to RottenTomatoes or IMDB through Google? And everyone says "Google is broken" and they show just how flippant they are when it comes to searching?

        • Re:Hm... (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @06:15PM (#42185377)

          Why purge it from the system entirely?

          Leave the results there, but poison the link itself to take to a Google landing page of "Sorry, but we were told we cannot link to this {movie studio, movie, whatever} by {MPAA, others}. If you have a problem with this, please talk to them. Fuck you MPAA, Google."

        • Re:Hm... (Score:5, Funny)

          by organgtool (966989) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @06:23PM (#42185489)

          And then people use Bing because they can't get to RottenTomatoes or IMDB through Google? And everyone says "Google is broken" and they show just how flippant they are when it comes to searching?

          What's a Bing? Sorry, I'm just too lazy to Google it.

        • by icebike (68054)

          And then people use Bing because they can't get to RottenTomatoes or IMDB through Google? And everyone says "Google is broken" and they show just how flippant they are when it comes to searching?

          Bing has the same problem handling automated takedowns.

          If all the big search companies put the studios on notice that misuse of take downs (automated or not) will result in their interests being also taken down, this nonsense would stop.

        • by PopeRatzo (965947)

          And then people use Bing because they can't get to RottenTomatoes or IMDB through Google?

          It would take more than that to make me use Bing.

          Anyway, I've got RottenTomatoes and iMDB bookmarked.

          I still say Google should put movie studios on the pay-no-mind list.

    • take down their domain names because they are promoting valuable content! don't publish advertising related to these products! and Mr. Governor Brown, TAKE DOWN THOSE BUILDINGS!

    • Re:Hm... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jcoy42 (412359) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @06:15PM (#42185393) Homepage Journal

      I think Google should impose a fee to said studios for making bogus takedown requests. After all it's not free for Google to comply with these requests, and if the studios aren't even willing to validate them perhaps they should be billed for the time it takes to do so.

      • Don't forget to use the MPAA and RIAA's "special" calculators to calculate the cost in damages caused by these interruptions. $50,000/link should just about cover it.
    • by ackthpt (218170)

      I'm thinking Google should just remove any and all links to anything that even just has the movie studios' name on it. Including their own websites.

      So it would serve the studios right if you could no longer even find the stuff using Google .. no TV shows, no movies, nuthin.

      Google [The Hobbitt]

      only links to the book are found, no references to the upcoming films.

      Yeah, that'd fix em.

  • Huh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Cinder6 (894572) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @05:51PM (#42185005)

    So, Hollywood is actively trying to push itself into obscurity?

    • by Mashiki (184564)

      Works for me. I'd much rather read a book than watch a movie, then again the last time I went to go see a movie was Lord of the Rings. I have a feeling that I'll be suckered into seeing the new Hobbit movie though.

    • Re:Huh (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Pieroxy (222434) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @06:26PM (#42185529) Homepage

      So, Hollywood is actively trying to push itself into obscurity?

      There's nothing new here. First DRM, then DMCA, and now they want to censor themselves. Their own sheer stupidity truly is amazing. Maybe they'll make a movie off of it one day...

    • Re:Huh (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Deadstick (535032) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @06:56PM (#42185865)

      Eons ago there was a magazine called Softside that published games written in BASIC for the Apple II, Atari and TRS-80. It soon got a visit from a Radio Shack lawyer asserting that only Tandy had the right to publish software for their computers, and demanding that they cease and desist from saying "Radio Shack" or "TRS-80" in their articles unless they paid Tandy a royalty.

      The magazine complied by saying "S-80 Bus" which was not within the scope of Tandy's trademarks. Tandy got its wish: nobody ever writes about Radio Shack computers today.

  • Google should comply (Score:5, Interesting)

    by icebike (68054) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @05:54PM (#42185053)

    Take them all down, plus any link relating to the studio, all studio movies, show times, or anything similar.

    Make the bastards pay for promotion like they did in the days of newspaper advertising. Charge them 10 million dollars per movie studio, 1 million per movie, and 100k per site to get back into Google's index.

    • Make the bastards pay for promotion like they did in the days of newspaper advertising. Charge them 10 million dollars per movie studio, 1 million per movie, and 100k per site to get back into Google's index.

      Google could justify that fee as an increased cost of doing business due to all of the personnel they need on hand to deal with DMCA requests for the studios' products.

    • by rwise2112 (648849)

      Take them all down, plus any link relating to the studio, all studio movies, show times, or anything similar.

      Make the bastards pay for promotion like they did in the days of newspaper advertising. Charge them 10 million dollars per movie studio, 1 million per movie, and 100k per site to get back into Google's index.

      Make sure to include all the listings from shopping sites like Amazon, Ebay etc as well, because they are obviously pointing to the same items.

  • I hope Google delists these webpages (only the specific pages that correlate to the films) and any other (free?) advertisements. Maybe then the film studios get to feel, how it is not having ads in the internet. Just let them shoot in their own feet.

  • Many of the links (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SleazyRidr (1563649) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @05:54PM (#42185063)

    The good news is that Google has so far left many of the links up.

    No, good news would be that Google has completely disregarded any communications. The fact that the word "many" was used rather than "all" means that it is in fact quite bad news.

    • Re:Many of the links (Score:5, Interesting)

      by niado (1650369) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @05:57PM (#42185123)

      The good news is that Google has so far left many of the links up.

      No, good news would be that Google has completely disregarded any communications. The fact that the word "many" was used rather than "all" means that it is in fact quite bad news.

      Well, the reporter possibly checked some of the links in questions, found they were still up, and used "many" as opposed to "all" since they couldn't verify "all".

      • by Hillgiant (916436)

        The good news is that Google has so far left many of the links up.

        No, good news would be that Google has completely disregarded any communications. The fact that the word "many" was used rather than "all" means that it is in fact quite bad news.

        Well, the reporter possibly checked some of the links in questions, found they were still up, and used "many" as opposed to "all" since they couldn't verify "all".

        If only there were some sort of machine for automating such drudgery.

    • The good news is that Google has so far left many of the links up.

      No, good news would be that Google has completely disregarded any communications. The fact that the word "many" was used rather than "all" means that it is in fact quite bad news.

      No, good news would be that Google (and probably all other search engine, who do not show the DCMA requests) had completely followed all requests. There is no better way to show how stupid this whole DCMA business is.

  • It's BULLSHIT. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Frosty Piss (770223) * on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @05:55PM (#42185077)

    There has to be some sort of fine for this automated bullshit. The price for bullshit "take-downs" should be enough to discurage this automated take-down crap.

    In fact, automated requests should not be allowed.

    • by organgtool (966989) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @06:28PM (#42185543)
      I would recommend something like $150,000 per false request, but I think that most legislators, judges, and lawyers would surely find that figure to be absurd for a minor civil offense.
      • I would recommend something like $150,000 per false request, but I think that most legislators, judges, and lawyers would surely find that figure to be absurd for a minor civil offense.

        Hahhaaaaa. I get it!

    • by ganjadude (952775)
      Exactly. Why cant the site owners sue the sender of the takedown for loss of revenues and mis-use of the law? IANAL but there should be some thing that they can do top stop this.
    • by sjames (1099)

      I'd say the punishment should fit the crime. Abuse the DMCA and lose the benefit of it. No more takedown notices of any kind for a year.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @05:57PM (#42185111)

    Victims of the takedown requests include sites where the content is hosted legally (Amazon, CBS, iTunes, Blockbuster, Verizon on demand, and Xfinity), newspapers discussing the content in question (the BBC, CNET, Forbes, The Huffington Post, The Guardian, The Independent, The Mirror, The Daily Mail, and Wired) as well as official Facebook...The good news is that Google has so far left many of the links up."

    I'm thinking the net would be a much better place if Google just obeyed these requests, no questions asked. And did it very fast.

  • by yotto (590067) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @05:59PM (#42185155) Homepage

    Seriously this sounds like an Onion article that someone copied and put on their site.

  • "The good news"? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Huntr (951770) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @06:00PM (#42185173)

    "The good news is that Google has so far left many of the links up."

    How is that good news? If the studio wants a link to their own Facebook page for a movie removed from search results, DO IT. Google should comply with the idiotic requests. I would imagine the response would be similar to those newspaper sites that have requested their stuff be removed from Google News: traffic dives and they change their tune rather quickly. IMO, the best way to show the stupidity of the DMCA is to plainly demonstrate it to the content creators.

    • by Tx (96709)

      Yes; organisations like Google are in the unenviable position of having to either a) devote a great deal of resources to looking into all these takedown requests to see if they are valid, or b) accept the takedown requests at face value, and wait to see if the person on the receiving end protest. Neither choice is good, but it might make a point to the studios if Google chose to take the latter course as far as these particular requests are concerned. And perhaps not be in too much of a hurry to restore the

      • organisations like Google are in the unenviable position of having to either a) devote a great deal of resources to looking into all these takedown requests to see if they are valid, or b) accept the takedown requests at face value, and wait to see if the person on the receiving end protest.

        B appears to be standard operating procedure for YouTube.

      • To qualify for the protections under the DMCA, Google is required to so b), accept them at face value UNLESS the other side calls BS (files a counterclaim.) . If they call BS, Google has to accept that unless the complainant comes back sating they are filing suit in federal court. So either way Google doesn't have a choice, if the notice is in the proper form. They can't play judge and jury -they are required to act based on what the parties tell them.
    • by webdog314 (960286)

      Maybe, but consider... Movie studios don't make money on movies that get bad reviews. So if they make it impossible for people to find reviews of a new release, they can sucker more patrons to the theater before word gets around. How many movies do you go see after finding reviews with one and two stars? And given the utter unimaginative crap that Hollywood is passing off for entertainment lately, this may actually be a reasonable business move for them.

      • by tehcyder (746570)

        Movie studios don't make money on movies that get bad reviews.

        Of course they do. How would people like Will Ferrell or Jennifer Aniston have careers otherwise?

  • Another way the studios could have asked this was to change the entire nature of the internet, since that is the whole purpose of links.
  • by RichMan (8097) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @06:13PM (#42185355)

    a) all takedown notices from a rights holder will be sequentially queued
    b) right holder must provide complete history of ownership and demonstrate right to assert takedown
    b) if item (N) is found to be an invalid take down request a fee of $ZZ,ZZZ must be paid
    c) regardless of the validity of request (N+1) it will not be acted on until any fees requried for invalid requests (MN+1) have been paid

    As long as the rights holders are making valid requests they get serviced. Mess around and they have to pay for the work done.

    • Or an alternate - if any claim in the request is found to be false, the entire request is thrown out. If they want to list 100 URLs that supposedly infringe, and one of them doesn't, then the request is thrown out and they get to figure out which URL wasn't correct.

    • by lannocc (568669)

      It's a nice idea, but I see a couple problems:

      1. The rights holders likely subcontract out the actual take-down notification services, perhaps more than one.

      2. An infringing site today may be no longer infringing when the request is reviewed. That is, the site may change between the time the take-down request is generated and the time Google actually reviews it. How would Google know?

      • by RichMan (8097)

        1) someone other than the rights holder can request a takedown. They have to provide proof of delegation. All requests from a rights holder enter the same queue. They are not queued by delegated authority. If one delegated authority makes a bad request and does not pay then all other requests from that rights holder are queued. Make sure you delegate authority correctly and oversee their actions. Delegats acting wildly will cause a pain

        2) All requests for take down must include a URL and quote of identifiab

  • Perhaps they should also censor themselves from print media including movie posters and lets not for get radio..

    This should help productions that do not follow such self defeating mentality

  • They didn't use the word illegitimate.... Does this mean they are running out of who to sue and need Google to help filter their search for who to sue?

  • FALSE ALARM (Score:4, Informative)

    by fwice (841569) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @06:19PM (#42185443)

    It may have been some randoms doing DMCA illegally:

    FTFA:

    Update: Yesitis.org now points to a parked page. Yet another sign that these notices may be fraudulent, and not authorized by the copyright holders at all. If that’s indeed the case it remains unclear what the purpose of these notices is. It would show how easily these DMCA notices can be abused.

    • It may have been some randoms doing DMCA illegally:

      FTFA:

      Update: Yesitis.org now points to a parked page. Yet another sign that these notices may be fraudulent, and not authorized by the copyright holders at all. If that’s indeed the case it remains unclear what the purpose of these notices is. It would show how easily these DMCA notices can be abused.

      More like "False Flag".

  • Is simply to take it down as requested. Allow "Big Content" to face the real consequences of their actions.

  • Perjury? (Score:5, Informative)

    by hawguy (1600213) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @06:37PM (#42185645)

    So what does the "under penalty of perjury" part of a DMCA takedown notice mean?

    AFAIK, a takedown notice has to include something like this:

    Under penalty of perjury I certify that the information contained in the notification is both true and accurate, and I have the authority to act on behalf of the owner of the copyright(s) involved.

    Doesn't that mean that someone can be held legally liable for fraudulent takedown notices? Who would have to sue to enforce it? Google? The legitimate site that was taken down because of the notice? The Department of Homeland Security since they are supposed to be keeping us safe?

    • by whoever57 (658626)

      AFAIK, a takedown notice has to include something like this:

      Under penalty of perjury I certify that the information contained in the notification is both true and accurate, and I have the authority to act on behalf of the owner of the copyright(s) involved.

      Perhaps you should, you know, actually try reading the DMCA some time. You would discover that the "penalty of perjury" part only applies to the claim to be acting on behalf of the copyright owner of some particular work. The perjury part does not appl

    • by Kjella (173770)

      Don't mangle a legal text. This is the actual phrase in law:

      (vi) A statement that the information in the notification is accurate, and under penalty of perjury, that the complaining party is authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.

      The only part that is "under penalty of perjury" is the last half which says that they have permission from the copyright holders of the alleged work - not the actual work. In short "I think this file is the latest Harry Potter movie, and under penalty of perjury I'm authorized by Warner Bros to send DMCA notices for the latest Harry Potter movie". What's in the file is irrelevant as long as they don't lie about being authorized by Warner Bros. If

  • The best way to protect copyright holders is to not watch, discuss or promote any of their products. Make it illegal to even announce the availability of a copyrighted work because that would lead directly to infringement. Information Sequestration! If they don't know about it, they can't steal it!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @06:41PM (#42185693)

    I'm responsible for maintaining a marketing site owned by a sister-company of big Hollywoood movie studio. We market the DVD/BluRay/Online releases of major blockbuster movies. As part of a limitation of our CMS, we couldn't host trailers ourselves, so the marketing team was using a YouTube account.

    The YouTube trailer for the DVD/BluRay release of a major summer blockbuster was taken down via a DMCA request. As a result, the trailer was broken on our marketing page for that release. Luckily, this was right around the time that we got our own video hosting resolved so we were able to solve it. But it was beautiful that for a couple days, the page running on OurCompanySite.com displayed a video with the message, "This content removed from YouTube at the request of Our Company"

  • Should read something like "Movie studios using legal loop holes to manipulate search engine results to direct searches for movies to their official websites and nowhere else."
  • If the studios are going to send Google thousands of automatically generated URLs without checking them and claim it was a "good faith" attempt, Google should just stop processing the list at the first invalid URL requested as an "exception case, resubmission required" and claim it was an automated "good faith response".

    Otherwise, it's just absurd that they can spam Google with automated DCMA scanning tools which Google then has to take seriously and respond to individually...

  • Tell you what, come back with a court order and the takedown will proceed. Until such time, welcome to the rule of law.

  • Bots? or it is a left hand / right hand thing where people who deal with the blocking don't know about the places that are legally in place?

  • This NEEDS to happen. I'm certain this idea was thought up by some marketing drone.

    Marketing Ass 1: "I got a great idea! Let's force google to take down links to our movies! That will TOTALLY make people want to see and buy our movies!"
    Marketing Ass 2: "But how will they know about it...?"
    Marketing Ass 1: "Fuck you, we're doing it anyway."

    The less I hear/see about these asinine movies, the better. (Even though it's a rarity these days that the movie studios actually release a NEW movie, instead of som
  • Fuck You.
  • by utkonos (2104836) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @01:15AM (#42188569)
    I think it's high time for Google to issue an internet death sentence for a day or two to each movie studio that participated in this. They will see what happens when their internet presence disappears from Google.
  • I can't wait to hear the next story about MPAA studios suing their own marketing departments.

  • by l3v1 (787564) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @04:15AM (#42189377)
    "have asked Google to take down legitimate pages related to their own films, including sites legally hosting, promoting, or discussing them"

    Over the years there have been similar wishes over and over again, which would make Google basically a police mandate over content hosted by 3rd parties, making them un-findable in searches. Which, in my view is crazy a** stupid. If they have problems with content out there, they should kick those in their behinds who actually host the content they want to "protect", and not try to get a search engine block access. The very purpose of a search engine is to answer your queries, independent of those queries' perceived legality (and searching for the title of a movie is most certainly not illegal). If someone puts up illegal content for others to see, that person/entity should be policed over, and leave the freaking search engines alone. I don't want to get to a point where a search engine can't be trusted to actually search for what you seek because some companies force it to censor results.
  • Never link to their stuff, never discuss it, never link to their sites, never mention them by name, and, of course, never buy from them.

    It's not as if they have anything you need.

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