Gary Boucherle, the owner of the website and product PerfectPitch, sent us an explanation of why he got Google to remove links to mentions of his product on another person’s blog.
The short version: Jeremy Keith’s blog was accidentally lumped into a list of blogs being reported to Google for mentioning pirate copies of PerfectPitch, and Boucherle apologizes for the mistake.
Here’s what he sent us (I’ve added the links):
Official Statement from PerfectPitch.com
Re: Google DMCA Removal of a Blog Page
To All Readers:
Here at PerfectPitch.com we made a big mistake.
We instructed Google to block a blog site managed by Jeremy Keith, citing that they were in violation of the Digital Millennium Copyrights Act (DMCA). As per our request, Google did indeed remove this page from their search listings.
We wish to formally apologize to Mr. Keith and his bloggers for this mistake, for which we are deeply regretful.
Please understand that we had no intention whatsoever to suppress the speech on Mr. Keith’s page. Please know that we are ardent supporters and advocates of free speech for everyone.
We recognize this was a careless error, and there is really no excuse for this. Nevertheless, please permit us a moment to explain.
Here’s what happened:
We were actually submitting to Google a list of sites that were illegally distributing copies of our copyrighted intellectual property. We of course have every right to request that Google have these sites removed from their search engine results because we believe these sites violate the DMCA, which prohibits the illegal distribution of copyrighted materials over the internet.
To our shock and horror, an employee of ours mistakenly included Mr. Keith’s site in our list, merely because it made a reference to illegal copies of our course. Naturally, this is not grounds for removal of this page at Google. Our intention was only to remove actual pages where the course is being illegally distributed, and not any pages of free speech, such as Mr. Keith’s blog. This was a misjudgment and error on our employee’s side, and on behalf of our company, we sincerely apologize.
This event has never happened to us before when reporting illegal distribution of our materials. Please rest assured that we will redouble our efforts to ensure this never happens again.
We have requested that Google immediately reinstate this page in their search results, along with our apology to Google as well.
Again, please accept our sincere regrets for this goof.
Happy blogging, everyone.
Keith over at Adactio has posted a follow-up report, which includes part of another email from Boucherle that explains what happened in greater detail
Periodically we’ve contacted Google to submit the following complaint:
We believe our copyrighted works have been illegally copied and made available for free download at the web sites listed below
The following URL was one of hundreds of URLS (mostly torrent sites) found with the Google search terms Burge+Pitch+Torrent:
While we try to check every URL to make sure it either contains torrents, or is a torrent file sharing site (not the case with this site), it was included with our complaint inadvertently.
Keith says he then had a phone call with Boucherle where they discussed things like takedown notices and using the DMCA to protect your copyright, and how it can blow up in the aggressor’s face if used incorrectly:
I subsequently had a phone conversation with Gary and he was quite contrite about his actions—although he did try to claim that the mere mention of torrents in an online discussion might be justification for a take down (a completely indefensible attitude).
The more I talked to him, the more I realised that he simply had no idea about the DMCA. He was completely oblivious to the potential consequences of his actions were he to lose a counter-claim in court.
Gary Bourcherle abused a piece of extremely poor legislation in a scattergun approach without even understanding what he was doing.
About that counter-claim example: Diebold was found to have violated section 512(f) of the DMCA, and ordered to pay $125,000 in damages and fees—which is something you may want to point out to anyone who misuses the DMCA against your own online content in the future.
“Burge Pitch Torrent “ [Adactio]