Google sues 22 people who used 65 Google accounts to abuse the DMCA and applied for deletion requests to approximately 620,000 URLs and deleted them from search results

Google has filed a lawsuit against a total of 22 people in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, alleging that they abused the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) to remove rival websites from Google's search results. The defendants created at least 65 Google accounts and requested deletion of more than 117,000 website URLs in violation of the DMCA.

2023.11.13 Google complaint for filing
(PDF file)

Google sues people who “weaponized” DMCA to remove rivals' search results | Ars Technica

Google filed the lawsuit against Nguyen Van Duc and Pham Van Tien, residents of Vietnam, as well as 20 unidentified people. The defendants are affiliated with a site that sells printed T-shirts, and they are said to have issued a large number of deletion requests with the aim of excluding websites of rival T-shirt companies from Google's search results.

Based on the ``safe harbor clause'' established in the DMCA, an American copyright law, Google uses a semi-automated process to remove or disable content that infringes copyright. The defendants filed a large number of requests to Google for deletion based on this DMCA violation.

According to Google, the defendant targeted over 117,000 third-party website URLs with fraudulent deletion requests. Furthermore, preliminary investigation suggests that the defendants are responsible for requesting deletion of more than 500,000 URLs. Defendants Duc and Tien have instructed 20 people to repeatedly make fraudulent deletion requests in a systematic manner, and from August to December 2022 alone, they filed fraudulent deletion requests for more than 35,000 websites. It is said that it was.

Google said, ``As a result of the defendants' fraudulent deletion requests, the website traffic of customers who pay billions of yen annually for search ads will plummet during the 2022 holiday season, resulting in a loss of 5 million customers. We suffered a revenue loss of more than US$ (about 750 million yen).Google also suffered a loss of between 2 million dollars (about 300 million yen) and 3 million dollars (about 450 million yen).'' doing.

Furthermore, the defendants requested deletions using the names of large companies such as Amazon and Twitter, sports teams such as the Los Angeles Lakers and San Diego Padres, and celebrities such as Elon Musk and Taylor Swift. In addition, Nguyen, who is believed to be a leader, has uploaded a movie on YouTube called ``How to get to the top of Google's test results in 3 minutes with fake deletion requests based on DMCA'', which is a malicious SEO using deletion requests ( It seems that he explained search engine optimization in detail.

'Defendants weaponized the DMCA process and used false claims to force the removal of legitimate content from competitors, rather than its original purpose of expediting the removal of infringing content,' Google said. 'Defendants' illegal and fraudulent schemes harm consumers, third-party companies, and Google, harm competition, and threaten to tarnish Google's trusted brand.'

'As an online service provider that receives millions of takedown requests for more than 600 million URLs each year, we cannot verify the accuracy of statements submitted by copyright claimants,' Google said in the complaint. 'We have no choice but to rely on it,' he said, calling for the allegations to be made in a written statement that would be subject to perjury if lied.

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