Digimarc Fighting Piracy By Submitting Incomplete DMCA Notices Targeting Tons Of Non-Infringing URLs (Including Techdirt’s)

There are bogus DMCA takedown requests — something we’ve covered frequently here — that try to use a copyright tool to make unflattering content disappear. Then there’s this form of bogus, the kind being engaged in by Digimarc. It appears to be the result of inadequate automation handling everything terribly.

A July 3rd DMCA notice issued by Digimarc on behalf of AVID Center makes five copyright claims. For whatever reason, only two of the claims have allegedly infringing URLs appended. Where bare minimum competence should be, there’s only white space.

The third claim lists an AVID tutorial and asks Google to delist:

So, for the sake of one misidentified tutorial, Digimarc is asking for two complete websites to be delisted.

The fifth copyright claim, for something identified only as “Critical Reading 1,” Digimarc demands Google delist something else that doesn’t belong to AVID and a 2012 Techdirt post about Google’s “shill list.”

That’s not the only time Techdirt is targeted by Digimarc’s sudden burst of stupid DMCA takedowns. This one, sent on behalf of the American Psychological Association, demands the takedown of a completely unrelated webpage and every post Techdirt has published about Sci-Hub.

Digimarc has dumped hundreds of DMCA notices into Google’s lap over the last few weeks, many of which are loaded with unvetted garbage.

These are being made on behalf of dozens of top-tier publishers and scientific organizations who apparently are paying Digimarc to perform reputational damage by association. This one, on behalf of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, makes a couple of dozen copyright claims, only bothers to list infringing URLs for a few of those claims, and demands the delisting all of Crunchyroll.com, a Discogs listing for singer Robbie Williams, a Wired story about a Kickass Torrents piracy prosecution, and a tourist’s guide to Kensington. These are all supposedly infringing on the AIAA’s “Introduction to Aeronautics.”

The hits misses just keep on coming. Pretty much any DMCA notice issued by Digimarc over the last month is a comedy of errors. Here’s one that can’t even be bothered to spell the protected work’s title correctly (“The Cather in the Rye“) which demands the removal of UK press outlet the Independent’s website.

Here’s a Simon & Schuster takedown from Digimarc targeting a 2009 Techdirt post on ebooks, the entirety of DailyMotion’s website (Dailymotion.com), Rapidshare.com, Kickass.to, and the “create an account” page at WordPress. Here’s one for Houghton Mifflin, which provides a long list of copyright claims without infringing URLs listed and the demand for a delisting of a “best short stories” list published at the Huffington Post.

Not every DMCA notice issued by Digimarc recently has these problems. Some appear to be targeting possible infringement. But a majority of these requests either target non-infringing URLs or don’t even have URLs listed under the copyrighted works these are being issued to “protect.” It’s incredibly shoddy work from a company that claims to deliver “actionable intelligence to help support robust antipiracy strategies.”

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