Paramount Pictures Copyright Bot Falsely Accuses Forum Commenters Of Piracy

Paramount Pictures asked Google to de-list this forum thread because it idiotically thought it was infringing on the copyright for the movie Clueless.

Paramount Pictures asked Google to de-list this forum thread because it idiotically thought it was infringing on the copyright for the movie Clueless.

UPDATE 10/2: Jeremy Zweig, Vice President, Corporate Communications and Corporate Affairs for Viacom provided Consumerist with the following statement:

“Online piracy remains a concern and we undertake a variety of methods to mitigate its impact.  During a short time on September 22, a vendor that assists with our content protection efforts mistakenly identified a small number of URLs as infringing, and sent copyright notices in error. These notices represented about 0.01% of the total notices they sent on our behalf that particular day, the remainder of which were correct and accurate.

No action was actually taken on these erroneous notices, and no links were removed, but we’re disappointed by the error and apologize for any inconvenience this caused. We put a lot of time, care and effort into ensuring this complicated process works correctly, and nobody is more bothered than us when it doesn’t. The issue has since been remedied, and necessary steps have already been taken to ensure this does not happen again.”



Even though the Digital Millennium Copyright Act makes it illegal for a copyright holder to knowingly file a bogus copyright claim against someone else, that hasn’t stopped some of the biggest stakeholders in the entertainment industry from carelessly registering takedown complaints with Google for content that in no way infringes on anyone’s copyright.

The latest bunch of idiocy comes from Paramount Pictures, whose copyright bots appear to be scouring the Internet for any combination of words like “torrent” and the studio’s movie titles.

TorrentFreak noticed several instances of the movie studio demanding that Google remove links to online forum discussions simply because they may contain common words or phrases that were also titles of Paramount films.

Like this DMCA takedown request for alleged infringers of the little-seen 2009 Eddie Murphy movie Imagine That.

Paramount sought to have links to this forum discussion at removed, claiming it was infringing on the copyright of this particular film.

But there is no mention of this movie, nor any links to any sort of torrent file. Merely a discussion that includes the phrase “imagine that’s” somewhere in one of the comments.

Another discussion that had nothing to do with the Paramount movie Ghost was cited in a DMCA takedown notice as infringing on the copyright of that Patrick Swayze-starring documentary on homemade pottery. Why? Most likely because of the word “cyberghost” in the forum’s subject line.

The clueless studio also didn’t realize that someone in a utorrent forum might describe themselves as “cluless” without actually infringing on the copyright of the movie Clueless.

Thankfully, Google is better at reviewing takedown requests than the companies that file them, as these utterly unrelated discussions have not been flagged as piracy sites… because they aren’t.

We understand that piracy is a huge and valid concern for the movie industry, but it can’t just cast such a wide and careless net without regard for innocent people who might get caught in it.

A federal appeals court recently allowed the mom behind the now-famous “Dancing Baby” YouTube video to pursue her lawsuit against Universal Music. In that case, the record label ordered YouTube to remove a 29-second video of a baby dancing to a quick snippet of a Prince song.

The mom was able to convince YouTube that her video was an allowable “fair use” of the song and the clip has remained. She is now trying to prove in court that Universal violated the law by knowingly filing a false DMCA takedown notice.

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