Out of the five million DMCA takedown requests Microsoft filed with Google last year, there are probably plenty of legitimate ones involving copyright infringement and protected content. But then there are the automated requests to censor sites like BBC, CNN, HuffPo, TechCrunch, Wikipedia and a bunch of others, including its own search engine, Bing. Whoops.
TorrentFreak points out that in many of the requests, which are issued to Google and other sites using automated systems, the number 45 seems to be the trigger. Maybe Microsoft thinks it owns that particular integer, or more likely, it just goes to show that the automatic reporting process isn’t working so great.
Claiming to prevent the unauthorized distribution of Windows 8 Beta the software company listed 65 “infringing” web pages. However, nearly half of the URLs that Google was asked to remove from its search results have nothing to do with Windows 8.
This apparent screw up in the automated filter mistakenly attempts to censor AMC Theatres, BBC, Buzzfeed, CNN, HuffPo, TechCrunch, RealClearPolitics, Rotten Tomatoes, ScienceDirect, Washington Post, Wikipedia and even the U.S. Government.
In another notice, Microsoft asks Google to remove a Spotify.com URL and makes the mistake (?) of asking Google to censor Bing on multiple occasions.
These automated notices tend to gum up the works — while the government and BBC and others are apparently whitelisted, other sites like AMC Theatres had unavailable pages for a time because of the DMCA requests. So who holds these companies responsible when unwarranted censorship occurs? Um, basically no one. Scary thought, right?