After years of anticipation, The Pirate Bay documentary TPB-AFK was finally released to the public in February.
The film, created by Simon Klose, is available for no cost and has already been watched by millions of people. The public response to this free release model has been overwhelmingly positive, but it’s now meeting resistance from Hollywood, TPB’s arch rival.
Over the past weeks several movie studios have been trying to suppress the availability of TPB-AFK by asking Google to remove links to the documentary from its search engine. The links are carefully hidden in standard DMCA takedown notices for popular movies and TV-shows.
The silent attacks come from multiple Hollywood sources including Viacom, Paramount, Fox and Lionsgate and are being sent out by multiple anti-piracy outfits.
Fox, with help from six-strikes monitoring company Dtecnet, asked Google to remove a link to TPB-AFK on Mechodownload. Paramount did the same with a link on the Warez.ag forums.
Paramount DMCA notice
Viacom sent at least two takedown requests targeting links to the Pirate Bay documentary on Mrworldpremiere and Rapidmoviez. Finally, Lionsgate jumped in by asking Google to remove a copy of TPB-AFK from a popular Pirate Bay proxy.
Lionsgate DMCA notice
While it’s entertaining to think that these takedowns are truly targeted at TBP-AFK, the more likely explanation is that they are collateral damage. Most DMCA takedown processes are fully automated and somehow the TPB-AFK links were (mistakenly) associated with infringing titles.
However, that doesn’t make it less of a problem.
The whole episode shows once again that something is seriously wrong with the current implementation of the DMCA takedown system. At the moment rightsholders get to take down whatever they want, with almost no oversight and no incentive to improve the accuracy of their systems.
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