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Microsoft’s automated DMCA bot strikes again, sends takedown notice for OpenOffice

Apache Open Office

For those that didn’t know, Microsoft routinely issues Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown requests to Google to remove particular links in question. When links are known to contain pirated or infringing material, these notices help in taking them down from the search engine giant. These requests are automated and sometimes can be faulty as in this new case reported recently in which Microsoft issued a takedown notice for links containing the word “OpenOffice.”

“While most of the submitted URLs do indeed link to infringing content, not all requests sent by Microsoft and other copyright holders are correct. Their often automated anti-piracy systems regularly trigger notices that include links to perfectly legitimate content, sometimes from direct competitors,” the report states.

Microsoft recently sent notices to Google to remove references to pirated copies of Microsoft Office and that request also contains links to Apache’s open source office suite called OpenOffice. This automated mistake simply picked up the word “Office” in the name “OpenOffice.”

While some of these requests can be mistakes, they are far from harmless. Google will down rank a website based on the number of DMCA notices it receives.

“Microsoft is committed to ensuring copyright is respected online and enforcement measures are appropriate and accurate. We apologize when a notice is mistakenly directed to non-infringing content and take immediate action. We are committed to fixing the process that led to this result,” Microsoft stated in response to the OpenOffice takedown request.

Microsoft recently 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.

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