Pat Pilcher: Hollywood asks Google to drop Mega

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Mega founder Kim Dotcom with chief exec Vikram Kumar.  Photo / Duncan Brown
Mega founder Kim Dotcom with chief exec Vikram Kumar. Photo / Duncan Brown

Warner Bros and NBC Universal have approached Google, asking them to remove Mega from search results. Both studios claim copyrighted content is being stored on Mega.

NBC Universal's takedown states that Mega's homepage links to a copy of the movie Mama while Warners says that a pirated copy of Gangster Squad is available via Mega.

The move by the studios is most likely driven by the massive volumes of automated "take down notices" served on Google, with the aim being to make pirated movies and music more difficult to discover.

This may sound logical in principle, but the reality is that the sheer volume of automated take down notices means that copyright holders can only check a few of the notices, with invalid take down requests sometimes issued.

Sadly the lack of penalties for incorrect take down notices provides little incentive for copyright owners to check the veracity of notices before issuing them.

This is a significant issue with sometimes sizeable consequences according to Mega CEO, Vikram Kumar.

"This does show the weaknesses of the DMCA in the US where "false positives" can cause great harm but there is no disincentive or penalty for copyright owners and their agents to get it right. Automated take down requests invariably leads to these kinds of situations," said Kumar.

While current wisdom has it that the move by both studios was motivated by a genuine mistake, Kumar was less than amused and issued this warning:

"There is some who believe that the action by Warner Bros and NBC Universal is not a genuine mistake but deliberate, malicious action against Mega. I'd like to give them and their agents the benefit of doubt but Mega is unlikely to remain silent if this sort of behaviour is repeated."

According to Mega Google has not been touch. Searching Google search also still displays a link to Mega so it appears that Google has not acted on the notices not removed Mega's home page from search results.

What makes an already bizarre situation even more perplexing is the studios insistence that Mega's home page has links to copyright infringing content. A quick check of Mega revealed this isn't the case and that there were no links to any stored content. A quick check with Mega also revealed that Mega's homepage does not allow for the indexing of files.

- NZ Herald

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