The battle between Google and the movie studios over responsibility for online piracy has turned meta, with 20th Century Fox and NBC Universal sending the search giant DMCA take down notices for their original DMCA take down notices.
It's not actually as confusing as it sounds. The studios send Google take down notices - almost 20 million a month now - and Google removes the links from their results pages.
But in an effort to maintain transparency, Google also publishes all its takedown requests from the studios.
While the removal of the links in the first place does make it slightly harder to find copyrighted material online (although some companies see piracy as a compliment), the subsequent linking of the takedown notices creates a pretty good index of sites pirates can access their material from.
This fact obviously hasn't gone down well with the movie studios, who have now sent takedown requests for Google's takedown notice links.
Automation gone mad?
As TorrentFreak suggests, this is likely a case of automatic tools used to find copyright infringement online, but the downside is that it ends up with the studios and Google in a never-ending loop of takedown notices.
With Google improving its takedown approach for YouTube last year, it's unlikely the search giant will be content to sit back and wait for the entertainment industry to crack that 20 million take down notices a month barrier.
So far, Google has refused to take down the take down notices. But until the search giant and entertainment companies work out a more elegant solution, this kind of ridiculous situation isn't going anywhere.
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