The MPAA has repeatedly urged Google to get tougher on copyright infringement, but recently it learned that anti-piracy efforts also have a downside. Several pages from the MPAA's search engine for movies and TV-shows "WhereToWatch" have been removed from Google's search results, following inaccurate takedown requests from movie companies.
The movie industry has gone head to head with Google in recent months, demanding tougher anti-piracy measures from the search engine.
According to the MPAA and others Google makes it too easy for its users to find pirated content. Instead, they would prefer Google to remove sites such as The Pirate Bay from its search results completely.
In addition, Google should boost the rankings of legal services and sites that allow the public to find legal content. To lead the way, the movie industry group launched its own WhereToWatch search engine where visitors can find out where to watch the latest blockbusters.
Ironically, the MPAA’s very own site is now being censored by Google upon request of a movie industry outfit in Europe.
In recent weeks film distributor “Forum Film Poland” sent several DMCA takedown requests to Google listing five URLs of the MPAA’s WheretoWatch.com service. The search engine kindly complied with the request and as a result the pages are no longer listed in Google’s search results.
People who try to find the WhereToWatch page for “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2″ get the following result, linking to this DMCA notice.
The DMCA notices were sent by the reporting agency “Anti-Piracy Protection” who also sent one on behalf of another Polish media outlet, ITI Neovision, which removed the entry for “The Fault in Our Stars.”
This means that six WhereToWatch pages are no longer present in Google’s search results.
The errors illustrate how easily mistakes are made by often automated takedown processes. It appears that WhereToWatch is not whitelisted by the reporting organization and mistakenly flagged as infringing content.
Similar errors have been made in the past with other movie industry supported search engines such as FindanyFilm and JustWatch.
Yes, these type of mistakes are easily corrected with a counter-notice but then they have to be spotted first, which is usually not the case.
It will be interesting to see how quickly the MPAA files a counter-notice to have their pages restored again. At Google, the inadvertent censorship will probably be welcomed with a smile.