manaWarner Brothers has been in the news recently after contacting Google to report websites which had broken copyright laws.

Companies contact Google every day with copyright concerns following misuse of multimedia content online where the user does not have usage rights. This content can remain online until it is flagged and reported.

In WB’s case, the company was trying to clamp down on video content which was infringing copyright laws – essentially, pirate copies and illegal streaming of their movies without its consent. The company is evidently clamping down on this in order to push people towards its own channels – and rightly so because their footage is their product and the brand has a right to protect it.

Silly mistake

The intentions were clear and correct however in error Warner Brothers also managed to report their own website1 amongst those as breaking the copyright regulations. was also listed – a site which legitimately sells copies of the WB-owned The Dark Knight.

Copyright protection company Vobile was behind the DMCA takedown request, and it is thought that the sites probably made it through the net by mistake from the automated process. Google receives millions of requests every day, and this isn’t the first time this has happened – Microsoft made the same mistake in 20132.

Right approach

There are various benefits in a company contacting Google when finding content which breaks regulations. In this case, the content being reported (aside from WB’s own site) was reportedly in breach of copyright rules.

Not only was the obvious error embarrassing for WB and Vobile, but the cover has also been blown on their attempt to clamp down on rival sites and illegal movie streamers. This could result in further creation of illegal content, and the brand now faces a game of catch-up with others who have access to the content.

The reputation of WB’s brand is now, for the short term at least, a little clumsy – and WB may be targeted in the future by trolls.

A lesson learnt

When making a legal request, it goes without saying that the facts should be 100% accurate. You really need to get the request right first time around, as you may not get a second chance with your request.

Copyright infringement is an increasing problem online and many people break the law when publishing other’s content on a regular basis without realising. There is still some work to be done by governing bodies in order to catch up and educate people, as well as clamp down on illegal behaviour online. In the meantime, it is up to the companies and individuals in question to monitor online activity and ensure that content which can’t legally be displayed is flagged and removed.