Netflix Joins DMCA Takedown Bandwagon to Frustrate Pirates
18 March, 2016
Netflix has jumped on the DMCA takedown bandwagon. In recent weeks the company has reported tens of thousands of pirate links to Google alone, hoping to make pirated copies of their programming harder to find. Netflix’s position on piracy deviates from a few years ago, when CEO Reed Hastings highlighted its positive sides.
Netflix has upped its anti-piracy efforts recently, by taking a more aggressive stance against subscribers who use VPN services.
These changes were implemented to appease the major movie studios, but Netflix is also taking measures to limit access to pirated copies of its own original programming.
During the past several weeks the company has started to report thousands of ‘pirate’ links to Google, asking it to remove these from search results.
With help from their anti-piracy partner Vobile, Netflix has targeted 71,861 links to allegedly copyright infringing material from torrent and streaming sites, most of which have indeed been removed.
The links in question all point to content owned by Netflix, including popular series including House of Cards, Narcos, Sense8 and films such as The Ridiculous 6 and A Very Murray Christmas.
Unlike other copyright holders Netflix is a relative newcomer when it comes to sending DMCA takedown notices to Google. The first request was recorded last December, targeting over 3,000 links at once.
Netflix is targeting a wide variety of torrent, streaming and hosting sites, with uploaded.net and vodlocker.com being the prime targets.
In addition to reporting these links to Google, Netflix also appears to be reaching out to ‘pirate’ sites directly as recent listings for House of Cards and other Netflix originals are frequently removed.
While the takedown efforts are unlikely to make the piracy problem go away, Netflix likely hopes to frustrate pirates enough to convert them into paying customers. That is, if Netflix’s original programming is available in their country, which isn’t as logical as it may sound.
In any case, the takedown efforts are a notable change compared to the casual piracy attitude the company had a few years ago.
Previously, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said that the company was not really bothered too much by people who pirate content via torrent sites. In fact, Netflix admitted to using piracy data to determine what shows they should license in different regions.
“Certainly there’s some torrenting that goes on, and that’s true around the world, but some of that just creates the demand,” Hastings said at the time.
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