Go home, HBO
, you're drunk. That's the message we hope Google
sends HBO in response to the media company including a link to a copy of the popular VLC media player as part of a DMCA takedown request. Judging by the other links in the request, HBO is primarily trying to remove illegal copies of Game of Thrones from the web, and in all likelihood, the inclusion of VLC was a lazy error.
Sorry, but HBO doesn't get a free pass for its simple mistake. In just the past month, companies like HBO and other copyright holders have asked Google to remove nearly 15 million URLs from its search results. It's a daunting task to sift through that many URLs, even for a company as resource-heavy as Google, but it's also necessary to make sure legitimate websites aren't removed, lest you end up with programs like VLC ending up a casualty of a copyright fight big media can't possibly win.
There's also the possibility that the listing for VLC wasn't a mistake on HBO's part, but an intentional inclusion. The URL in question belongs to TorrentPortal, and though it's for a legitimate program, the site also hosts torrents for copyrighted content, including HBO's Game of Thrones.
So, either HBO made a careless mistake, or it's targeting a legitimate program as part of its copyright crusade. Either way, this is concerning. It's also a bit ironic given that just a few months ago, HBO programming president Michael Lombardo went on record
saying that piracy "certainly didn't negatively impact the DVD sales" of Game of Thrones.
"I probably shouldn't be saying this, but it is a compliment of sorts," Lombardo said.