Popular webtoon subscription service Toomics is quite active on the anti-piracy front. Unfortunately, the Korean company is not very accurate as its takedown notices target perfectly legal content on Facebook, Amazon, Pinterest and Netflix. Even more bizarrely, Toomics has repeatedly asked Google to remove ‘infringing’ URLs on its own website.
Every other week we take a casual look at the various takedown requests companies such as Google and Twitter receive.
The vast majority of the notices are valid and point to pirated material, but mistakes are certainly not hard to find.
These errors come in different shapes and sizes. One wrongly identified URL in a list of thousands is somewhat understandable. However, there are also instances where it’s hard to find legitimate claims to begin with.
Toomics’ Takedown Mess
The latter applies to some of the DMCA notices that webtoon publisher Toomics has sent to Google. The company, which recently teamed up with other publishers to counter piracy, is building a terrible track record.
We don’t even have to dive deeply into the individual takedowns to show that’s something’s not quite right. The overview of the domains that are most targeted by the company, which includes Amazon, Facebook, Pinterest and Wikipedia, speaks for itself.
There are plenty of errors we can choose from to illustrate that something’s wrong. For example, in a notice where Toomics attempts to remove ‘pirated’ copies of the webtoon ‘Sweet Bitter Love,’ it targets a film, a BBC series, a book, and a song which happen to share the same name. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
You Have The Wrong Person…
In another takedown request, Toomics tries to go after pirated copies of the webtoon “You Have The Wrong Person”. Instead, it asks Google to remove unrelated URLs including the Wikipedia entry of The Magic Flute, various posts about being in love or married to the wrong person, and dozens of other errors.
We could go on to highlight hundreds of mistakes, but the data speak for themselves. The same can be said for Google’s response, as the company wisely refused to take any action in response to some of Toomic’s takedown notices.
Toomics Targets Its Own Site Too
There is one other thing that stands out in the notices, which we surely want to highlight. Toomics also asked Google to remove dozens of URLs from its own website, Toomics.com.
For example, in the previously mentioned “You Have The Wrong Person” notice there are 14 Toomics.com links that point to the official cartoon. As a bonus, the companies also tried to have the URLs of their own tweets removed. This pattern reappears in several notices and shows that Toomics hasn’t even whitelisted its own website.
The good news for the webtoon publisher is that Google is good at spotting mistakes. This means that most legitimate links, including the Toomics.com ones, have not been removed from Google’s search results.
However, Toomics is not always that lucky. We also spotted instances where Google did remove Toomic.com URLs. This Jeopardy webtoon, for example, was self-flagged and no longer appears in search results. But they had that one coming. Let’s hope it’s a wake-up call.
Many thanks to TorrentFreak for the breaking news.