Google is being bombarded with what appear to be bogus DMCA notices which target the URLs of adult sites, including their main domains and in some cases, their entire web structure. The operator of one of the victim sites says he can’t get Google to respond to his counter-notices so is now seeking to step up the pressure.
Back in June we reported on massive waves of what appeared to be bogus DMCA notices targeting various adult-focused sites.
Some of the sites hit hard in these earlier waves were so-called ‘hentai’ sites which focus on adult-orientated comics and cartoons.
They complained that a ‘company’ called Copyright Legal Services Inc. (there’s no obvious record of such an entity online) was the author of many notices which attempted to delist thousands of URLs and in some cases homepages and even entire sites from Google. It claimed to be working on behalf of DLSite.com, a platform operated by Japan’s EYSIS, Inc.
Since the initial reports, the same kind of activity has continued, with force. However, notices similar to the ones originally sent by Copyright Legal Services are now being sent by a new entity, Right Protection Corporation, which not only target the main domain pages of various sites but also their entire web structures.
In common with Copyright Legal Services before them, Right Protection Corporation (RPC) doesn’t appear to exist on the web, even though their notices claim they have bases in at least three countries – United States, Japan and China. They are sending volume requests to delete countless thousands of URLs from Google, even though they appear to have no right to do so.
One takedown notice pointed out to TF reveals a notice that has been sent in the form of a PDF, meaning that it can’t easily be searched for using the tools offered by DMCA transparency portal Lumen Database.
However, looking inside proved useful as it reveals that the ‘RPC’ is attempting to have thousands of URLs delisted from a single site – rule34.paheal.net – including its main page which displays nothing but a warning that it carries adult material and a note about cookies. There are many other examples, such as this one, which attempt to do the same thing.
TorrentFreak is informed that some operators of the affected sites, including the operator of Konachan.com, have filed counter-notices with Google and have achieved some success in having their URLs reinstated.
However, the operator of Gelbooru.com, which was hit hard in the first wave, says he’s had huge difficulties in getting touch with Google’s legal team for them to take restorative action, as required when a proper DMCA counter-notice is filed.
“Their [Standard Operating Procedure] is ignore until sued, so we are moving forward with trying to get anyone who runs a website that was affected by this whole situation to contact us directly if they’d be interested in joining a class action that will be filed,” he informs TF.
“We require at least three others to be a class action, and Google must have ignored or denied any counter DMCA notices sent to them to be able to join. Message me, ‘lozertuser’, directly on our Discord.”
The overall aim appears to have Google either respond to the counter-notices or preferably get in touch with Gelbooru’s lawyers, in order to sort out the issue without either company having to waste any more time on the problem. Hopefully, no class action will be required but it remains a possibility.
In the meantime, it’s worth highlighting that DLSite.com, the platform which the notices claim to protect, has categorically denied it is behind the mass notices sent in its name.
A statement sent to the OneAngryGamer site, which covered our earlier report, has the company stating that it had reviewed our article and noted that “EISYS, Inc. / DLsite is not involved in this matter. When we send a DMCA request it will be via: Eisys, Inc. We do not know anything about the company: ‘Copyright Legal Services INC’.”
Them and everyone else, then…
Many thanks to TorrentFreak for the breaking news.