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MPAA has a go at getting file-sharing site homepages de-listed on Google

By | Published on Monday 24 November 2014


Hollywood trade body the Motion Picture Association Of America recently had a sneaky go at having the homepages of a plethora of file-sharing websites de-listed from Google. Though, somewhat unsurprisingly, the web giant knocked back the majority of the requests.

As much previously reported, under US copyright law Google is obliged to remove from its search engine any links to copyright infringing content if alerted to said links by a copyright owner. Though the web giant generally insists on specific URLs being stated on a takedown notice.

The rights owners reckon that if a website prolifically infringes – and especially if that has been proven in court via a web-block injunction – then Google should de-list all and any URLs linked to the offending site, including its home page. Google does not concur.

Nevertheless, the MPAA – which is not so prolific a takedown issuer as its record industry counterparts – recently had a go at having the home pages of a bunch of film-based file-sharing sites taken out of Google search. Torrentfreak noted the takedown this weekend.

It’s interesting to speculate why the MPAA had a go at de-listing so many home pages, given it was unlikely to be successful. Were they hoping that there was always on off-chance a handful would be blocked, or were they getting the paperwork to prove Google’s policy on home-page takedowns ahead of some lobbying of American law-makers?

The music and movie industries would like the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act amended to force Google to be more proactive in this domain. What the latest home page takedown attempt proves is that Google ain’t going to start doing that voluntarily.