Microsoft (MSFT) routinely asks Google (GOOG) to remove links from its search engine for webpages that display or distribute copyrighted material. While a majority of these sites tend to be piracy sites and torrent-hosting domains, sometimes even innocent and legitimate sites get caught in the mix. The problem is that many of these copyright holders use automated systems to identify and inform Google and other sites of infringements. These automated tools are susceptible to errors, though, as Microsoft’s latest filing reveals.
The software giant this past July, in an attempt to prevent the unauthorized distribution of its Windows 8 Beta, listed 65 “infringing” websites, Torrent Freak reports. Nearly half of the sites Microsoft asked Google to remove, however, had nothing to do with Windows 8. The company’s automated software mistakenly targeted CNN, Wikipedia, Buzzfeed, BBC, The Huffington Post, TechCrunch, The Washington Post, Real Clear Politics, Rotten Tomatoes, AMC Theaters and various websites belonging to the United States government, alleging infringement of Microsoft’s copyrights.
Torrent Freak notes that this isn’t an isolated incident, and reveals that in earlier filings the company has asked Google to remove Spotify and even its own Bing search engine. Luckily, larger websites such as CNN and BBC seem to be unaffected by these claims, although the pages in question from less prominent sites such as AMC Theatres and Real Clear Politics were unavailable on Google for quite some time.