Google was asked to remove a TorrentFreak article from its search results this week. The article in question reported that “The Mandalorian” was the most pirated TV show of 2020.
This notice claims to identify several problematic URLs that allegedly infringe the copyrights of Disney’s hit series The Mandalorian. This is not unexpected, as The Mandalorian was the most pirated TV show of last year, as we reported in late December. However, we didn’t expect to see our article as one of the targeted links in the notice. Apparently, the news that The Mandalorian is widely pirated — which was repeated by dozens of other publications — is seen as copyright infringement?
Needless to say, we wholeheartedly disagree. This is not the way.
TorrentFreak specifies that the article in question “didn’t host or link to any infringing content.” (TorrentFreak’s article was even linked to by major sites including CNET, Forbes, Variety, and even Slashdot.)
TorrentFreak also reports that it wasn’t Disney who filed the takedown request, but GFM Films… At first, we thought that the German camera company GFM could have something to do with it, as they worked on The Mandalorian. However, earlier takedown notices from the same sender protected the film “The Last Witness,” which is linked to the UK company GFM Film Sales. Since we obviously don’t want to falsely accuse anyone, we’re not pointing fingers.
So what happens next? We will certainly put up a fight if Google decides to remove the page. At the time of writing, this has yet to happen. The search engine currently lists the takedown request as ‘pending,’ which likely means that there will be a manual review. The good news is that Google is usually pretty good at catching overbroad takedown requests. This is also true for TorrentFreak articles that were targeted previously, including our coverage on the Green Book screener leak.