Film studios request removal of takedown notices

Game of Thrones Game of Thrones was found to be the most pirated TV series of 2012

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Two film studios have asked Google to take down links to messages sent by them requesting the removal of links connected to film piracy.

Google receives 20 million "takedown" requests, officially known as DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) notices, a month. They are all published online.

Recent submissions by Fox and Universal Studios include requests for the removal of previous takedown notices.

Google declined to comment.

The notices are requests for individual web addresses to be removed from Google's search engine results because they contain material uploaded without the permission of the copyright holders.

By making the notices available, Google is unintentionally highlighting the location of allegedly pirated material, say some experts.

"It would only take one skilled coder to index the URLs from the DMCA notices in order to create one of the largest pirate search engines available," wrote Torrent Freak editor Ernesto Van Der Sar on the site.

Similar notices have been received by the Lionsgate studio, makers of the Twilight movies and The Hunger Games, and tech giant Microsoft, according to Torrent Freak.

Mr Van Der Sar added, however, that the requests may well have been a "by-product of the automated tools that are used to find infringing URLs" and not deliberately included.

According to its transparency report, Google complied with 97% of the requests it received for links to material published outside copyright to be removed from its search engine between June and December 2011.

The website Chilling Effects, a collaboration between a number of US law schools and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, publishes the notices, and is still visible via Google Search.

David Petrarca, who directed a couple of episodes of HBO drama Game of Thrones, the most pirated TV series of 2012, was reported to have said at a literary festival in Australia that piracy gave the series a "cultural buzz" but has since denied that he is in favour of the activity.

"I am 100 per cent, completely and utterly against people illegally downloading anything," he told the Sydney Morning Herald.

"I think most people would be willing to pay for a show they love."

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