Sky has been bombarding Google with DMCA takedown requests

Sky has been sending thousands of DMCA takedown requests to Google in an attempt to get pirate IPTV content hidden on the internet.

TorrentFreak has found examples of takedown requests from the television giant that attempt to take out hundreds of illegal rivals in one go.

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One notice, sent at the beginning of last month, lists 500 pages belonging to one provider alone, but TorrentFreak links to nine more, mainly from the legal departments of Sky Italy and Sky UK, which add up to thousands of pages.

If successful, these notices don’t see the services shut down – that’s between the pirates and their ISPs. Rather, it cuts off their supply of new customers by making them invisible to Google.

Without the world’s most popular search engine, illegal services find it hard to drum up new business as the potential customers simply can’t find them.

TorrentFreak notes that many of the takedown notices sent by Sky don’t, strictly speaking, follow the procedure of a DMCA takedown notice, which should simply link to the pirate content. Rather, many of Sky’s links point to supporting pages: sales portals, information databases and FAQs which don’t host anything themselves, but support the pirate activity.

As TorrentFreak points out, that means that from a purely technical perspective, they shouldn’t be taken down under the rules, but many – though not all – have been anyway.

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But in a sense, the debate over whether Sky and Google should be following the exact rules rather than the spirit of them is besides the point: the real issue is the sheer scale of a problem that sees Sky having to target thousands of URLs every month.

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