This is a lengthy update to my Open letter to the Hollywood studios censoring TPB AFK-rant.
Despite the fact that Google claims to do its “best to catch errors or abuse so we don’t mistakenly disable access to non-infringing material” I haven’t been able to get any response about the filtering of TPB AFK from Google in the past two months.
When I learned that Viacom, Fox, Paramount and Lionsgate have been asking Google to remove links that point to TPB AFK (wondering why our Swedish film was affected by US copyright law in the first place) I contacted lawyers and the online rights organisation Chilling Effects.
The lawyers saw no use suing the movie studios for filing false DMCA claims and seek damages, unless I could prove subjective intent and bad faith. (Rossi v. MPAA, 91 F.3d 1000 (9th Cir. 2004) – “errors aren’t actionable”). Instead they advised me to file a counter-notice once I had found out whether Google had actually taken down the links or not.
Can bots act in good or bad faith? I wondered, and wrote to Google’s Nordic Policy counsel David Mothander.
I explained that our distribution-strategy was to share the film as much as possible and that it had been harmed regardless if the take down notices were intentional or not. I asked if Google could help me find out whether they had actually taken down the specific cases. I also wondered – as a copyright holder trying to develop new revenue models – what Google thinks about the fact that their automated DMCA-process hurts our business model.
On June 5th, Mothander replied that he hadn’t “forgotten about me” and that he was “working on giving (me) an answer as soon as possible” (my translation). Two months and two email reminders later it seems he has forgotten about TPB AFK after all.
To me it’s a depressive lesson that Google rather acts as a private proxy for dinosaur copyright enforcement than helping indie filmmakers experiment with sustainable distribution models. That sucks dude!
Then again, with the current explosion of “infringement” search removals and secret NSA-spying I guess it’s naive to expect Google to act anywhere close to their motto. A reply to my questions would be cool though.