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NBC Universal and others caught faking takedown links

One of the tactics that movie studios, music labels and copyright trolls use in taking down sites, having them blocked or attempting to extort money, is to find links to infringing content and either use them as court evidence, for DMCA takedowns. It turns out though that some groups manufacture links with no regard to their validity.

NBC Universal is one group that TorrentFreak caught out in its recent investigation. It discovered that the movie studio group submitted takedown notices for old links that it merely changed the URL for, even though they’re not real. When Torrentz.eu was shut down and moved over to Torrentz2.eu, it continued with the same URLs, but just added the “2.”

The links are so wrong, merely attempting to click on them will send you to a blank page. Even though you can understand NBC’s thinking in this matter, in that it feels that if the sites can merely clone themselves, then the links can be too, you cannot simply guess at links and request they be taken down. That’s a real abuse of the takedown system.

Copyright Troll
Source: Wikimedia

TorrentFreak’s investigation continued down the rabbit hole though and discovered NBC was far from the only company engaging in such practices. Indeed many companies continue to demand takedowns for URLs that no longer exist, for sites that have long since disappeared from the internet.

The question remains as to why this is happening? In some cases it may be that the companies issuing the takedowns merely believe that this is the simplest and quickest way to attack newly created sites, or revamped sites with new URLs. It could also be that lobbyist groups are trying to inflate their numbers, for reasons of having site owners charged with legal action, or simply to make themselves look more effective.

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KitGuru Says: At the core of this though, is laziness. If you can just guess at URLs and the takedown procedure considers them, then you might as well as throw as many as you can at the wall and see what sticks. No wonder Google is beset with millions of takedown requests on a regular basis.

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