Fraudulent DMCA Requests Spike After The Google “Pirate Update” Algorithm

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. 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 but that site has been takendown itself since TorrentFreak uncovered this mess.

What was the end game for 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

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Related Topics: Channel: SEO | Google: Pirate Update | Google: SEO | Google: Web Search | Top News


About The Author: is Search Engine Land's News Editor and owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry's personal blog is named Cartoon Barry and he can be followed on Twitter here. For more background information on Barry, see his full bio over here.

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  • Oleg Korneitchouk

    It’s probably all automated and legitimate websites just get caught in their queries.

  • Steve Labinski

    I still have yet to detect any evidence that the “pirate update” has changed search results.

  • Simon Barrett

    I enjoyed the story, but there is a huge hole in it. I can find no trace of It might have been a good idea to get a screen grab. As I said, great story, but where is the data?

  • JadedTLC

    Go to Google and type in this: then you can see the cached versions by clicking on the arrows to expand each search result.

  • BL Healthcare

    A lot of these companies are misusing minifreelance to send takedown notice. All they do it is pay workers like $0.25 to send a takedown notice.

  • Jose Miguel Vera

    I wonder if they would punish their very own blogger for this hmmmm

  • Justin Meats

    There is legal action that could be taken against A valid DMCA Takedown Notice includes a statement that the complaining party has a good faith belief
    that use of the material in the manner complained of is not authorized
    by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law. Another
    statement states that the information in the notification is accurate, and
    under penalty of perjury, that the complaining party is authorized to
    act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly

  • Randy Guzman

    This is something
    really interesting.Thanks for sharing.

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