Columbia Pictures Targets ‘Spider-Man’ Leak Coverage With DMCA Notice *TorrentFreak

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An anti-piracy team, acting on behalf of Columbia Pictures, has asked Google to remove our news article about the “Spider-Man: No Way Home” leak. And that’s not the only mistake. The same notice targets several other news sites and even competitor Sony Pictures’ website is flagged as a pirate operation.

It’s perfectly understandable that copyright owners don’t want pirated copies of their work circulating online.

Most companies address this issue by sending DMCA Takedown Requests. These notices are often sent to sites and services that host content, but linking sites and search engines also receive them.

Google search, for example, has processed takedown notices for over 5 billion URLs in the past few years. Most of the reported links are indeed problematic, but copyright holders also continue to make egregious mistakes.

Leaked Spider-Man

This week, we spotted a problematic takedown request sent by anti-piracy group 3ANTS on behalf of Columbia Pictures. The notice is meant to flag pirated copies of “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” but it also targets our recent media coverage of the film in question.

spider disassembly

If we wanted to stir up controversy, we could say that the Hollywood studio is suppressing news articles to make sure people don’t know the movie has leaked. However, we’re pretty sure it’s “just” a mistake.

Turns out we’re not the only targeted news site. The takedown notice also lists articles from Syfy, RollingStone, Radio Times, Collider, and The Free Press Journal, among others. None of these items even remotely infringe.

Sony Pictures

And things get even weirder. The takedown notice also lists the “Spider-Man: No Way Home” page of Sony Pictures’ official Spanish website. Needless to say, Sony does not host any pirated content.

We fully understand that people can make mistakes, but that might not be the issue here. If someone sent these notices, it would have been easy to spot the errors. It wouldn’t surprise us if the errors above were actually made by automated scripts.

It often takes humans to spot these errors and hold senders accountable and that’s exactly what we’re doing here. If another human could then adjust the automated removal tools to prevent this from happening again in the future, you would be fine.

Good and bad news

This isn’t the first time we’ve been targeted by an inaccurate withdrawal request, it’s happened over a hundred times now. Luckily, there’s a silver lining, as Google is pretty good at spotting them.

The same goes for the “Spider-Man” errors we’ve highlighted in this article. Most news articles are still in Google’s index and the same goes for the Sony Pictures site.

However, not all sites were so lucky. The Free Press Journal article about the cryptocurrency miner that was found in some illegal downloads no longer appears in Google search results, and the same goes for an article published by the Peruvian news site Depor.

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