Like many copyright holders, Microsoft routinely asks Google to remove links from its search engine that contain copyrighted material. But last week, the software corporation mistakenly asked Google to remove its own web pages from search results.
Microsoft recently filed a Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA)
takedown request against Microsoft.com, accusing its own website
of copyright infringement, TorrentFreak first reported.
LeakID, a company working on behalf of Microsoft, submitted the
request, which asked to remove links to Microsoft’s store,
support pages and product descriptions from search results.
Despite the two companies’ long-standing rivalry, Google noticed
the mistake and kept the pages up.
But Microsoft has made mistakes in its takedown requests before,
accusing credible and original websites of copyright
infringement. TorrentFreak previously reported that Microsoft
submitted nearly 5 million takedown requests in a one-year
Since these requests are often automated and are not always
checked for accuracy, erroneous submissions often go through,
potentially harming less prominent websites that rely on Google
to garner page views.
Last year, the software giant’s automated software mistakenly
targeted CNN, Wikipedia, Buzzfeed, TechCrunch, The Huffington
Post, BBC, The Washington Post, Rotten Tomatoes, Real Clear
Politics, AMC Theaters and numerous federal government websites.
The National Institutes of Health, the Environmental Protection
Agency, and the Department of Health and Human Services were
among those targeted by the software corporation. Microsoft
claimed that these sites had distributed its Windows 8 Beta
Prior to that incident, Microsoft asked Google to remove Spotify
and Bing from its search results. Although most of these websites
were prominent enough to remain unaffected by the requests, AMC
Theaters and Real Clear Politics temporarily disappeared from
Google in mid-2012.
Websites that are not whitelisted are more likely to disappear as
a result of takedown notices. In the past month alone, Google has
received 13,829,857 DMCA requests from 1,924 reporting
organizations. Microsoft is among the top five copyright owners
that have made requests, reporting 769,470 URLs over the past
“As soon as you take down one page another pops up in its
place,” Mark Mulligan, a technology analyst at Midia
Consulting, told BBC. “It’s like playing Whac-A-Mole.”
Between January and July, Google deleted more than 100 million
links from its search results, which is double the number of
links that the search engine erased last year. Only 3 percent of
takedown requests are rejected.
In May 2012, TorrentFreak reported that some of the world’s
largest music and movie companies mistakenly reported content
that promoted their latest works. Warner Bros. asked Google to
delist an official trailer to the movie “Wrath of the Titans,” as
well as all content that referenced it, such as news articles, an
IMDb page and a listing that helps people find theaters to watch
It is unclear if Warner Bros. suffered financial consequences
from the mistake, but companies who mistakenly file a DCMA
request against themselves or are the victim of one can file a
counter-notice to ask Google to reinstate the website in search
Google has also blacklisted and
banned more than 11 million websites that were registered through
the co.cc subdomain, which it classified as a “freehost”. The
subdomain belonged to a Korean company that provided free or
cheap domains and had a high percentage of malware-hosting
Although the removal of co.cc from Google search results may have
eliminated some phishers and spammers from search results, it
also eliminated bloggers who had done no wrong, but were simply
looking for the cheapest platform to acquire a domain.
“Some blog owners who wish to continue to offer their blogs to
the mainstream public have conveyed their frustration at not
being given a just opportunity to cater to potential new readers
who would now have great difficulty locating their blogs,”
Tech Hamlet wrote in 2011. “To remedy this, many blog owners
are expected to try to continue their efforts using different
Bloggers and small business owners who purchase their domains
from more reputable providers will not likely see their websites
banned, but could easily be at the end of a DMCA takedown
Although Google noticed Microsoft’s mistake and kept the rival
company’s links in its search results, less prominent websites
might not be so lucky, and could quickly disappear from the web
in the daily flood of DMCA requests.
Republished from: RT