Remember in August Google launched a new algorithm we coined the Pirate Update? It basically looked at the number of valid DMCA takedown requests processed and used that data to downgrade the rankings of sites that were found to be abusive in this area.
Since then, it appears some people have been abusing the algorithm. TorrentFreak.com reports that a company named “Yes It Is – No Piracy!” has been issuing DMCA takedown requests for perfectly legal content.
The company has been issuing these takedown requests on behalf of several movie companies including Lionsgate, 20th Century Fox, BBC Films, Summit Entertainment, Sony Pictures and Walt Disney Pictures to name a few. In all these cases, the requests were to remove content that should not have been removed. For example, TorrentFreak documented one request:
On behalf of Lionsgate a DMCA notice was sent to Google, asking the search engine to remove links to infringing copies of the movie “Cabin in the Woods”. The notice in question only lists two dozen URLs, but still manages to include perfectly legal copies of the film on Amazon, iTunes, Blockbuster and Xfinity.
There were also requests to take down pages about shows and movies hosted on Wikipedia.
In most cases Google did not remove the URLs listed in these takedown requests, which shows Google does do some research before just responding to the takedown requests. The company that issued these requests had a web site at Yesitis.org but that site has been takendown itself since TorrentFreak uncovered this mess.
What was the end game for Yesitis.org? Possibly to take down completely legitimate web pages from ranking in Google’s search results in order to bump up their own pages of content for those listings. It is not exactly clear at this point the motivation of Yesitis.org.
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