Anti-piracy enforcement on the Internet is largely run by automated ‘bots’ which scour the websites for infringing content, firing millions of takedown notices in response. At the same time, there are also ‘machines’ that try to profit from piracy, generating dubious search results in order to lure pirates in. Is this the future of the web?
Pirate sites come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from torrent indexes, through streaming portals, to MP3 download sites.
Since it’s not always easy to get visitors, some of these sites employ some dubious tricks to draw an audience. By using machine generated pages filled with complete nonsense, for example.
Let’s take this “ShareMP3.link” page for example. At first sight, it appears to be a regular MP3 download portal, offering music from popular artists. However, it does more than that.
In fact, the site offers a result for every search term, generating pages on the fly. Whether it’s for “TorrentFreak,” “sdfasgf56u” or “Pizzagate,” there’s always an MP3 available
This results in interesting pages such as the following, offering the latest TorrentFreak music.
The Twittergate / Pizzagate page mentioned earlier was actually targeted in a recent notice sent by AudioLock for a completely unrelated artist named “é³æ¾”.
While the odd name is likely an encoding issue, the link and many others listed in the complaint have little to do with it. Unfortunately, this isn’t an isolated incident either as we can easily spot several other mistakes for “pizzagate” or “trump putin,” for example.
So why are these pages flagged as being ‘pirate’ then? Well, these type of sites generally list random links to other keyword searches on their download pages, which may at one point have linked to an infringing term. Still, the identified page itself is something entirely different.
In addition, takedowns may also be triggered because a keyword is similar to one used by the artist in question, such as the band “New Order” in the takedown notice below.
Luckily, the public is largely kept away from this battle. They are just machines fighting each other in a perpetual and utterly useless war.
Copyright holders, however, might want to reconsider whether this is how they want to target piracy on the Internet. After all, they are the ones paying the bills for these dubious practices.