HBO asked Google to take down VLC media player because of “copyright infringement”

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Copyright holders might want to take a good luck at the technology that automatically flags infringing content. HBO has reportedly sent a takedown request to Google asking to remove a link that leads to… VLC, the open-source media player.

Companies like HBO and other copyright holders send many, many DMCA takedown notices to Google. According to TorrentFreak, Google has been asked to remove 14,855,269 URLs in the past month alone. Many of the links HBO asks to be taken down probably lead to pirated copies of Game of Thrones. But for some reason, they’ve also included a link to a torrent of VLC:


While you could definitely argue that VLC does enable many pirates to enjoy their illegally downloaded content (like HBO shows), this just doesn’t make sense. It’s open-source software that’s free for anyone to download. Maybe if we mention the fact that HBO flagged for pirating HBO content, it might make a little bit of sense — the technology is flawed and the system is vulnerable to abuse.

At the end of the day, both the copyright holders and Google have some work to do. It’s understandable that with so many requests, some illegitimate requests can bypass the filters. But while it may be harmless now, the fact that the system can still be abused isn’t a good sign.

Gotta love the comment by “potat4o” on the VLC torrent download page though:

“aw yeah pirating me some vlc”


[via TorrentFreak, image via Hammad Ali]

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