In a move that shouldn’t be a surprise at this point, several major movie studios have asked Google to remove Kim Dotcom’s Mega site from its search engines, claiming that the file locker is hosting copyright protected content without permission.
However, it’s not individual file links that the studios want removed (those don’t feature in Google search results anyway) but the Mega homepage. This is particularly odd – and seemingly unfounded – since the homepage of Mega doesn’t link to any copyright protected content – it simply allows you to sign up for an account so you can host your own files. According to the DMCA takedown requests from NBC Universal and Warner Bros. the site links to copies of Mama and Gangster Squad, which it simply does not.
Those files may be hosted by someone on Mega, but they aren’t linked to or accessible from the Mega homepage.
Understandably, Kim Dotcom has taken a swing at the companies responsible for these requests, likening it to the shutdown of his Megaupload website early in 2012 and other bogus takedown requests from studios, often made by automated tools that are incredibly fallible.
“The Warner Bros. and NBC Universal requests to Google are censoring our entire homepage. This is in line with the unreasonable content industry behavior we have experienced for years,” Dotcom said while speaking with TorrentFreak. “During the Megaupload days over 20% of all takedown notices were bogus. We analysed big samples of notices and most were automated keyword based takedowns that affected a lot of legitimate files. The abuse of the takedown system is so severe that no service provider can rely on takedown notices for a fair repeat infringer policy.”
Fortunately in this instance, Google has refused to take down the Mega homepage, finding little merit in the claims of copyright infringement. Unfortunately this doesn’t mean that all illegitimate takedown requests are caught, often times with the result being that perfectly legal content, or material owned by people/companies other than the own requesting the takedown, is removed without warning.
KitGuru Says: It’s good that Google is naming and shaming companies that do this as it highlights how ridiculous a lot of the claims are, but this is still an imperfect system and could do with a real revamp to bring it in line with protecting legitimate copyrights, while giving freedom to those that want to distribute via new and emerging platforms.