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Report: Microsoft Wrongly Targeted Sites With Takedown Requests To Google

     
11:15 am on Oct 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Microsoft wrongly made automated requests for pages on the BBC website to be removed from Google due to "copyright infringements".

The system also mistakenly requested the removal of content created by CNN, Wikipedia and the US government.

The sites were wrongly identified by software which crawls the web for attempts to illegally share Microsoft content.Report: Microsoft Wrongly Targeting Sites With Takedown Requests To Google [bbc.co.uk]
The request, sent in July, contained hundreds of addresses, and appeared to pinpoint articles and pages containing the number 45.

For example, a BBC page following Day 45 of the Olympic Torch Relay was on the takedown list, as was a Wikipedia article on Caesar's Civil War, which ended in 45BC.
11:32 am on Oct 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Irrespective of the flaws, Microsoft has concerns on Google's contribution in spreading copyright infringemented content :p

This is in a way validation from their part.

- lalit kumar
12:22 pm on Oct 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

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If MSFT filed proper DMCA claims to Google, that becomes _very_ interesting as DMCA claims are under penalty of perjury. Any of their victims should sue the crap out of MSFT.

Automating such complaints without any human review is just plain stupid.It's not like MSFT doesn't have enough staff to do it properly.
12:47 pm on Oct 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

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No mention is made if ALL the wrongly removed pages were re-instated.

45BC is mentioned on several of our high traffic pages.
1:56 pm on Oct 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

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No wonder Google is receiving so many take down requests. It's getting out of hand, how are they being verified, or is it guilty until proven otherwise.

Google should not be receiving automated requests of this type from anyone. What happened to the open Internet? How many other companies are sending huge lists of take down notices. And I would love to see the lists governments are requesting google to take down.
2:05 pm on Oct 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Copyright
[google.com...]

Governments
[google.com...]
2:30 pm on Oct 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

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DMCA is setup so that the one making the complaint does get heard, but he's submitting it as a sworn statement - criminalising him/herself if untrue.

The provider (Google) in this case has but the option to act unless they get a counter notice (also under penalty of perjury) if they want to keep their "mere conduit" status (something all service providers need or they become liable for the content they pass on).

The absurd part is that the notices are sent automated and unread - and those sending it are hiding behind "errors" - well if you make "errors" in a sworn statement that you sign under penalty of perjury, you're a criminal and you belong in jail.

So when is Steve Ballmer going to wear an orange jumper and have to watch out for dropping the soap for the crimes he authorised ?
4:05 pm on Oct 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

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It's not criminal to make an error in sworn testimoney. Not sticking up for Microsoft. Just sayin'.
10:10 pm on Oct 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

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An error is different form automating the stuff and not even bothering to verify the results at all.
10:47 pm on Oct 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Do you really think a court is going to find that Microsoft was committing perjury by not checking all those DMCAs? I don't.
3:38 am on Oct 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Thanks Leo, very interesting. 647 take downs from the UK classed under national security! Wondering if the US is using the UK as proxy for these.
7:53 am on Oct 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Whenever someone puts something online that shocks people at the expense of a party or government it is used as a lesson to make sure it never happens again and they build tools to ensure it can't. Sounds to me like the MSFT bot was such a project though I do wonder why MSFT is reporting things to Google in the first place. /shrug

It also makes me wonder just how many more bots than people visit my site every day and how much bandwidth is wasted on a global scale.
11:37 am on Oct 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

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@swa66 true but I bet recklessly repating the same error 100's of times might not be looked on kindly by a judge
6:07 am on Oct 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

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The problem is that no one is ever punished for fake or incorrect DMCA notifications. If you chucked a few people in prison (even just a few of the more egregious fake ones) everyone would suddenly start being a lot more careful.

@HRoth, I am not sure about that in these circumstances. If you are simply signing the output of an automated checker, without verification, knowing that it is fairly common for the output to be wrong, do you have the "good faith" belief you are claiming to have? If not, its perjury. Also, is it criminal to be negligent in making a sworn statement? There must be something to deter people from simply swearing to opinions and guesses as fact!
 

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