Microsoft abusing DMCA to take down competing office solutions?

By Thursday, August 15, 2013 0 , , , Permalink 0

Microsoft, in a bid to take down pirated versions of its Office products, has been sending out DMCA notices to Google and surprisingly some of the takedown requests also contain links that point to competing legitimate office solutions like Apache’s OpenOffice.

If we look at the URLs included in the takedown notice, most of them do point to infringing content – links to pirated Office 2010. But, after digging deeper into the list we found that there were instances wherein there were references to links which were hosting OpenOffice.

The instances mentioned herein is not an isolated instance and there have been cases where Microsoft has requested takedown of links (torrent links to be specific) that were hosting OpenOffice. The open source productivity solution allows users to download a copy through torrent clients and it has been re-distributed to hundreds of other torrent sites.

There could be isolated instances wherein such ‘bogus’ takedown requests may have been sent but, having sent multiple such requests over a period of quite a few months indicates that there automated DMCA notice system is being malfunctioning and probably abused if not broken. Microsoft isn’t at the loser’s end as there is no punishment for bogus takedown requests in the legal system.

More instances of such bogus requests can be found here, here, here and here.