Warner Bros ordered Google to remove several of its own webpages from search results on the grounds they infringed the media giant’s copyright.
A posting on the Lumen database of cease and desist letters revealed the bizarre requests, which were sent by monitoring company Vobile on behalf of Warner Bros.
It asked for the official pages of Batman: The Dark Knight and The Matrix films to be censored by Google under the terms of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). A few days earlier, according to TorrentFreak, Warner Bros had requested that the official webpage for the movie The Lucky One should be removed from Google’s search results in the same way.
Ars sought comment from Warner Bros, but it has yet to respond at time of publication.
The takedown demands from the company went beyond erroneously targeting itself. It also told Google to remove legit movie streaming links from Amazon, Sky, and IMDb.
“Warner is inadvertently trying to make it harder for the public to find links to legitimate content, which runs counter to their intentions,” said TorrentFreak.
Google spotted the anomalous requests to remove the Amazon, Sky, and IMDb links and decided not to take any action. However, the Warnerbros.com URLs are apparently still being investigated.
Google might point out that the huge volume of DMCA requests it now receives makes spotting such errors increasingly difficult. According to its 2016 report on how it’s fighting online piracy, Google received requests to remove 558 million webpages last year, an increase of 60 percent over the previous 12 months.
One of the problems with the DMCA takedown mechanism is that there is no real penalty …