The recently released TPB AFK: The Pirate Bay – Away from Keyboard, a documentary that sympathizes with the founders of the infamous file sharing website The Pirate Bay, has become the target of fraudulent link takedown requests from major Hollywood Studios, including Viacom, Paramount, Fox and Lionsgate.
After its February release on The Pirate Bay website under a Creative Commons license making it free to download, Google has received multiple DMCA takedown requests asking that links to the film be removed from search results.
The requests came through anti-piracy firms representing the studios, as well as the studios themselves. Dtecnet, an anti-piracy monitoring company for Fox, requested Google remove links on Mechodownload, as did Paramount.
Viacom made requests that links to the documentary be removed from Mrworldpremiere and Rapidmoviez. Google also received a request from Lionsgate to remove a copy of the film from a Pirate Bay proxy.
While TorrentFreak claims the requests are most likely a result of an automated process, some wonder if this isn’t a direct attack from Hollywood against a website known for pirating copyrighted material. According to TorrentFreak, “…the more likely explanation is that they [DMCA takedown requests] are collateral damage. Most DMCA takedown processes are fully automated and, somehow, the TPB-AFK links were (mistakenly) associated with infringing titles.”
If the invalid takedown requests were automated, and not part of a targeted campaign to discredit the documentary, then the real issue is that the process for DMCA takedowns is flawed. As TorrentFreak points out with the current system, “At the moment, rights-holders get to take down whatever they want, with almost no oversight and no incentive to improve the accuracy of their systems.”
According to IMDB.com, TPB AFK: The Pirate Bay Away from Keyboard is a documentary covering intellectual freedoms and, “…the interpersonal triumphs, and defeats of the three main characters against the largest industry in the known universe. The media industry.”
Postscript: The title of this article was edited after publication.