One small victory against Google Blogspot movie piracy, yet many more battles remain

victory-against-Blogspot-pirateFinally, after weeks–actually months–of repeatedly reporting (and waiting) the pirate movie website videolez.blogspot.com,  a site featuring more than 100 pirated movies streamed via Google Drive-hosted embeds of stolen movies), finally bit the dust.

voxindieblogger_dmca_circus1Why after all this time and repeated violations did Google finally remove this site?

I think what finally turned a lightbulb on in the Google Team’s HQ was my response to a lame email they sent me as follow up to DMCA notices I’d issued (on behalf of myself and film distributors/producers I do anti-piracy work for).  This is the email the Google Team sent to me in response to one (of many) DMCA notices sent via their online form:

Hello,

Thanks for reaching out to us.
With regard to the following URLs:http://video.google.com/ThumbnailServer2?app=blogger&contentid=203c30c4ab876b5d&offsetms=5000&itag=w160&sigh=CMMGsL_L7KLW3DTX4DFofZnJ5cY
In order for us to investigate the appropriate content and take further action, please provide us with the specific URLs of the posts where the infringing content is located.

 

You can obtain the post URL by clicking on the title of the post or the timestamp found at the bottom of the allegedly infringing post(s).

 

Regards,
The Google Team

The reason the Google Team’s email was ridiculous was because it was WRONG.  It’s painfully clear that those employed by Google to respond to DMCA notices don’t truly understand their own products and just how pirates use them.  This was my response:

Hello,
Actually we cannot determine the URL by clicking as you suggest….this requires going into the actual source code for an embedded stream.

 

I’ve attached a PDF highlighting the issue with one of the films we reported.  The URLS are not easily available.  Right click on the video embed and get “report abuse” and you are taken to Google web takedown form with NO information about the offending URL.

 

Please review the attached PDF and explain exactly how one can determine the correct URL to report on this page: http://videolez.blogspot.com.br/2013/04/atcl1123894.html or this page: http://videolez.blogspot.com.br/2012/07/eu575539.html or this page: http://videolez.blogspot.com.br/2013/03/km1859522.html

 

PS-There are many more pages…in fact this entire blog is dedicated to pirating indie films and Google does zilch!
Here’s the PDF I attached with my email sent to the Team in an effort to explain  just what was going on with this particular Blospot.com pirate.  Below are the graphics included in the PDF.  They demonstrates, step-by-step, how Google could (and should) better understand its own products and respond appropriately upon receipt of DMCA notices rather than send out erroneous emails asking for more information; information that’s actually neither available nor relevant.
voxindieImpr_DMCA_Google Blogger_Drive.001
voxindieImpr_DMCA_Google Blogger_Drive.002
voxindieImpr_DMCA_Google Blogger_Drive.003
voxindieImpr_DMCA_Google Blogger_Drive.004
voxindieImpr_DMCA_Google Blogger_Drive.005
voxindieImpr_DMCA_Google Blogger_Drive.006

Unfortunately, this small victory is but a blip in the sea of Google-sponsored pirate sites. Moments after I discovered the VideoLez site had been removed, I checked another, similar pirate site that I’ve also reported multiple times. It remains alive and well.  The countdown clock can be seen here.  

voxindieblogger_dmca_circus7

I’ve asked it before, but I’ll ask it again.  Why can’t Google clean up its act?  Does it really deserve protection from liability under the DMCA “safe harbor” provision if it routinely fails to remove content and sites, despite repeated (and clear) requests?  Title 17 › Chapter 5 › § 512 states outlines one aspect of Safe Harbor as follows:

(c) Information Residing on Systems or Networks At Direction of Users.—

(1) In general.— A service provider shall not be liable for monetary relief, or, except as provided in subsection (j), for injunctive or other equitable relief, for infringement of copyright by reason of the storage at the direction of a user of material that resides on a system or network controlled or operated by or for the service provider, if the service provider—

(A)

(i) does not have actual knowledge that the material or an activity using the material on the system or network is infringing;
(ii) in the absence of such actual knowledge, is not aware of facts or circumstances from which infringing activity is apparent; or
(iii) upon obtaining such knowledge or awareness, acts expeditiously to remove, or disable access to, the material;
(B) does not receive a financial benefit directly attributable to the infringing activity, in a case in which the service provider has the right and ability to control such activity; and
(C) upon notification of claimed infringement as described in paragraph (3), responds expeditiously to remove, or disable access to, the material that is claimed to be infringing or to be the subject of infringing activity. [underline added]

 

6 Easy Steps the Google Team could take to fix their DMCA takedown process

To allow Google’s web crawlers to find read my list of suggestions ;-) here it is again in text form:
  1. Companies (like Google) that host websites where user-generated content is uploaded should create templates that include easy-to-find, direct buttons/links to site-specific (i.e. Blogger) DMCA takedown forms/contacts.

  2. URL of infringing content (page) or (embedded) video stream should be obvious and easy-to-find.

  3. Most efficient way to accomplish would be for “report abuse” button in page template and/or embed window to link users directly to web form with requisite URL pre-filled.

  4. If content is found to be infringing, removal should be done in a timely manner and reporting party notified via email that appropriate action has been taken. 

  5. If content is found to be infringing, removal should be done in a timely manner and reporting party notified via email that appropriate action has been taken. 

  6. Users (sites) that repeatedly violate copyright should be removed.

Next “expeditious” move is Google’s…I’ll be waiting.

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