IMDb Targeted for Copyright Infringement via 170 DMCA Notices Sent to Google

By Bill Toulas / December 31, 2018

It seems that copyright holders have been following a perplexingly confusing way to undermine the promotion of their own material, targeting IMDb with multiple DMCAs submitted to Google. The notices ask for the removal of IMDb URLs from the search engine results, and in many cases, they solely constitute the “infringing URLs” section. Google has been diligent in reviewing these notices carefully, so they have taken no action against IMDb, but the fact that copyright holders and their representatives continue to report the popular website is bewildering.

IMDb is an Amazon-owned online movie and TV series website that contains information relevant to the films and programs, including the cast, the production crew, plot summaries, critic and viewers reviews, and photographs and trailers. Counting over 83 million registered users, and containing over 5.3 million content titles, it is the largest website of this kind and a very popular one in general as it’s been around for almost three decades now. IMDb contains no other type of content that could be liable for copyright infringement allegations, and no links to piracy websites either. All that said, it’s strange that copyright owners and their representatives do not realize the actual context of their notices.

Of course, with the rate that piracy targeting and DMCA reporting has taken nowadays, most of the work is done through automated tools that scan websites and determine their potential to act as piracy platforms. With the content that is to be found on IMDb, many of these scanning tools may have trouble distinguishing what’s legit and what’s not, but still, a mere white-listing of the website would save these companies from submitting bogus reports. Following a more aggressive approach in pinpointing possibly infringing URLs to Google doesn’t work well in all scenarios, as losing presence in the world’s largest films database can have a measurable adverse effect in the promotion of their material to the audience.

Some of the copyright owners behind the DMCA notices against IMDb include Sony Pictures Entertainment, RCN TV, Home Box Office Inc., Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc., Columbia Pictures, and National Geographic. For now, Google is holding these and even more careless senders from harming themselves by rejecting the DMCA notices and taking no action against IMDb. Maybe the publication of the relevant data will finally bring some white-listing action from the copyright owner representation side.

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