File this under the “LOL” category. Apparently, Microsoft has issued a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown request against itself, requesting that Google remove links to particular Microsoft websites. However, these requests to remove URLs that allegedly link to infringing content are not always legitimate. Thankfully, Google caught on to this and was there for the rescue.
Basically, an automated system used by many copyright holders will accidentally flag their own content as a violation, issuing a DMCA takedown request. Unfortunately, this just happened to Microsoft. In a recent DMCA takedown request send by LeakID on behalf of Microsoft, several URLs that point to Microsoft’s Store, support pages, and product descriptions were flagged and were requested to be removed from Google’s search results.
While this mishap may be embarrassing for Microsoft, good thing that Google set aside their rivalry with the
software devices and services giant and actually ignored this request. Google could have easily complied to the request and removed Microsoft links from Google search results, creating a bigger mess between the two companies who are already going at it.
This mishap also brings to light the unnecessary flagging of legit content by these automated systems. For example, just recently HBO apparently asked Google to remove a legal copy of the open source video player VLC from search results. While the request was submitted by error due to automation, the link has already been removed from search results. Google gets millions of these requests and sometimes these requests fly under the radar.
Either way, this story is pretty funny. Microsoft actually Scroogled itself on this one. Microsoft has not offered a statement on the matter just yet.
Further reading: DMCA, Google, Microsoft