Copyright news website TorrentFreak has discovered a new trend where rival piracy sites are pretending to be rights-holders and using Google's DMCA take-down mechanism to target piracy rivals.
In a further blow to the credibility of Google's take-down system, the latest incident sees a potential pirate pretend to be the MPAA, Hollywood's anti-piracy lobby. The impostor requested Google to remove almost thousands of links, mostly targetting a small collection of piracy sites, or sometimes just a single site.
Taking down selected piracy sites from Google's search results could benefit sites further down the rankings, including other piracy sites or even sites trying to scam unsuspecting downloaders. It is theorized that this could be the main motivation behind these fake take-down notices.
Worryingly though is the fact that despite some of these notices being clumsily formed (where the "Original URLs" and "Infringing URLs" are filled in each other's spots on the submissions), Google has complied with several notices and removed the "infringing" URLs without verifying the real identity of the submitter.
However, some submissions have been labelled as fake by Google, suggesting that the search engine may be aware of this problem and is working on a solution.