Those who rely on easily copied images to generate income face a stark choice; allow third-parties to illegally profit from illicit copies that may even outrank the originals in Google search, or spend time and money fighting back.
For an increasing number of OnlyFans and Instagram models, hiring companies that offer cut-price DMCA takedown services may seem like the perfect solution. The reality is that cheap can come at a cost.
Reckless takedown practices, with creators’ names necessarily associated with them, are punishing other innocent creators by demanding that all record of their work is deindexed from Google search.
[NSFW] The takedown notices below contain explicit language
Artemis: Goddess of the Moon
As the crew of Artemis 2 prepare to become the first humans to fly to the moon since 1972, the possibilities of space travel are once again igniting imaginations globally. More than 92% of internet users who want to learn more about this historic mission and the program in general are statistically likely to use Google search.
Behind the scenes, however, the ability to find relevant content is under attack. Blundering DMCA takedown notices sent by a company calling itself DMCA Piracy Prevention Inc. claim to protect the rights of an OnlyFans/Instagram model working under the name ‘Artemis’.
Instead, keyword-based systems that fail to discriminate between copyright-infringing content and that referencing the word Artemis in any other context, are flooding towards Google. They contain demands to completely deindex non-infringing, unrelated content, produced by innocent third parties all over the world.
A Typically Abusive Google Deindexing Demand
A recent deindexing demand dated December 13, 2022, lists DMCA Piracy Prevention Inc. of Canada as the sender. The name of the content owner is redacted but the notice itself states that the company represents a content creator performing under the name Artemis.
The notice demands the removal of 3,617 URLs from Google search. If successful, those URLs would be completely unfindable by more than 92% of the world’s population who use that search engine. We don’t have the resources to check every URL so let’s begin by looking at a sample of the first 20 URLs in the notice and the content they relate to.
• Artemis 1 is (probably) a go on Saturday, 3 September (link)
• Light Start: Artemis 1 delayed (link)
• Light Start: Darth Vader retires, Artemis 1 (still) grounded (link)
• LEGO puts the Artemis space program in the spotlight in its latest sets (link)
• Spazio Tutto pronto per il “primo viaggio” del razzo lunare Artemis (link)
• SLS verso la rampa di lancio, si avvicina Artemis I (link)
At least 9 of the first 20 URLs in the notice demand the removal of non-infringing articles and news reports referencing the Artemis space program. None have anything to do with the content the sender claims to protect.
From a human perspective the demand for Google to deindex the third URL in the list is almost beyond words.
Published by The Villanova Law Institute, the article reports on Project Artemis, a Microsoft AI initiative that aims to prevent the grooming and exploitation of vulnerable children.
Other Abusive Takedowns
Other publications also wrongfully targeted in this single notice include very well-known ones. Arguably, most if not all of these domains should be whitelisted; none are ever likely to publish images of an adult performer.
The BBC, Clubic, Coinmarket, AvaxGFX, Le Monde, El Pais, The Verge, The Star, The Street, La Presse, Rappler, Zeit, Globo, ORF, Astro Space, UK Government (gov.uk), YLE, Hackaday, Golem, CP24, Iowa College, Mars Society, New Atlas, and Global Fairs.
After a while, long lists of URLs can lose some of their impact so to demonstrate that real articles are being targeted for deindexing, a small visual sample of the articles published under the URLs in the takedown notice can be seen below.
Even more worrying is that the above examples were taken from the first 600 URLs in a single notice, leaving another 3,000 URLs to go in that notice alone. (Link to the notice courtesy of Lumen Database here)
DMCA Piracy Prevention Inc.
Registered at the same address is a company with remarkably similar details. BranditScan is a corporate entity operating in exactly the same market offering similar if not identical services.
BranditScan has sent DMCA takedown notices to Google under three different notifier accounts.
One account sent takedown notices that requested the removal of 33,875 URLs, across 1,452 domains, on behalf of 53 copyright holders. A second account, 30,781, 1,328, and 28 respectively. A third account requested removal of 8,153 URLs, across 662 domains, on behalf of 28 copyright holders.
DMCA Piracy Prevention Inc., on the other hand, is listed under at least 60 accounts in Google’s transparency report, with most accounts sending between 1,000 and 4,500 takedown notices each. The main account for the company has sent massively more; over 51.6 million URLs requested for removal, across 58,431 domains, on behalf of 7,179 copyright holders.
No Lessons Learned
As reported in November 2023, DMCA Piracy Prevention began sending takedown notices to Tumblr at the beginning of the year and has since submitted over 300 complaints.
Unable to differentiate between copyright-infringing images of a model using the name ‘La Sirena’ and anything else using that name, the monitoring company demanded the removal of 90 Tumblr posts that matched a keyword search of “la sirena.” All of those posts were non-infringing and completely unrelated to the original content.
Tumblr’s takedown team rejected the notices, kept all the posts online, and added DMCA Piracy Protection to its ‘Hall of Shame’ instead.
“Copyright monitoring services should not flippantly report content entirely irrelevant to their clients’ content; that is an abuse of the DMCA,” Automattic noted at the time.
Unfortunately, DMCA abuse rarely has consequences for those behind it.
From: TF, for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.