During 2019, TorrentFreak has regularly reported on the controversial DMCA-related takedown efforts of entertainment companies and their anti-piracy partners. This year several were targeted at our own site, having been filed against us with Google. We can proudly (but sadly) report that every single one of them was completely bogus.
Every year we publish around 800 articles here at TorrentFreak, all of them covering copyright, piracy, privacy and closely related issues.
Over the course of 2019, many have detailed the efforts of content companies and their anti-piracy partners who have filed lawsuits, copyright complaints, and DMCA-type takedown notices to have content removed from allegedly-infringing sites.
In many cases those legal efforts were warranted but there have been some obvious screw-ups too.
Time and again, anti-piracy companies have overstepped the mark, attempting to have legitimate content removed. And, yet again, TorrentFreak.com has also been targeted by companies, their bots, or even individuals who simply can’t tell the difference between pirated content and legitimate news and informational pieces.
In previous years we’ve received erroneous complaints from the likes of Amazon, Electronic Arts, Disney, Entertainment One, Vertigo Films, Magnolia Pictures, NBCUniversal, Paramount, and even BBC Worldwide. This year we can add more.
According to Google’s Transparency Report, in 2019 Google received a further 11 DMCA takedown notices targeting our domain, sent on behalf of Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures, and sundry others. All of them were completely bogus.
In January, we were accused of infringing the rights of Dreamworks, among others, after simply mentioning that a DVD Screener copy of the movie Green Book was the 9th most popular movie downloaded using BitTorrent during the first week of 2019.
In March, a complaint sent on behalf of Columbia Pictures told Google that an archive page referencing Boss Baby downloads (dating back to 2016) was somehow infringing their rights.
In April we were the dubious recipient of two complaints, both from the Estonian Organization for Copyright Protection. The first claimed that we were offering the CBS movie Five Feet Apart, simply because we have a content tag on the site mentioning torrent site YTS.
The second claimed we’d somehow helped to distribute the Finnish movie The Eternal Road after publishing a list of the top 10 most popular torrent sites of 2016.
After a whole month of peace, Google received yet another bogus complaint about TF in June, this time from Japanese company ‘유니콘미디어” stating that we were offering the Illumination/Universal Pictures title The Secret Life of Pets for download. We were not.
In July we received two complaints, both on behalf of Sony Pictures. The first because we referenced the movie Inferno and the second because we did the same for the movie Breathe.
The complaint filed against us in August was even more absurd than the others. Fourteen years ago, back in 2005 when TorrentFreak was in its formative years, we published a list of public domain movies that are not only free but also legal to download and share.
However, according to a complaint filed by movie company Vertigo Releasing, that article included pirate links to the 2019 movie ‘The Gangster, the Cop, the Devil’. Why? We have no idea but there were a total of five public domain movies in that list that included either the word ‘cop’ or ‘devil’ in their titles.
A DMCA notice filed with Google in October set pulses racing. According to an adult content creator called ‘LittleSubGirl’, our 2018 article explaining how Netflix was dominating Internet traffic infringed her copyrights. It’s really not the kind of dominating we had in mind when the piece was written, honest.
In November a shockingly broad notice was sent to Google targeting not only us but Facebook, Beatport, TrustPilot, RottenTomatoes and a swathe of others. It claimed that we were offering John Wick 3 for download but was immediately flagged by Google as suspect.
“We believe that an impostor or someone else abusing the process submitted this request. We report it here for the sake of completeness and to provide a view into one kind of abuse of the DMCA process,” the company advised.
Finally, December brought yet another complaint from a company that can’t tell the difference between a news report detailing the most popular titles being shared on BitTorrent and a pirate site offering links to the same.
Grand total: 11 DMCA complaints filed in 2019, all of them completely bogus.
See you next year folks….
Many thanks to TorrentFreak for the breaking news.