What links Ancient Egyptian literature, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, author William Gibson and nootropic drug SB-357134?
They’re all subjects that Harry Potter has tried to have censored from Google.
Pottermore — the official “Harry Potter” website and digital publisher — has filed a number of surreal copyright takedown demands to Google alleging a number of websites contained its intellectual property.
But the takedown requests, which were first seen by copyright news site TorrentFreak, are clearly mistaken — targeting Wikipedia pages about ancient Egyptian history, discontinued political journals, and even “Harry Potter” itself.
DCMA takedown requests are a type of notice rights-holders can file with websites when they link to allegedly infringing material. If Marvel found a pirate copy of the “Avengers: Age of Ultron” in Google’s search results when it searches for “avengers” it would file a DMCA request with Google, for example.
But Pottermore’s complaints, which were filed on its behalf by copyright tech company Digimarc in March, have gone very far wide of the mark.
They targeted multiple Wikipedia pages, including: Deceased US conscientious objector and divinity student Joshua Casteel; Ethnic groups in Central America; Drapier’s Letters, a series of pamphlets written by Jonathan Swift in the Eighteenth Century; 1996 novel “Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood;” Lectionary 228, a Fifteenth century manuscript of the New Testament written in Greek; an article about the disputed Authorship of the Pauline epistles, a series of books in the Bible’s New Testament; the NATO phonetic alphabet, and more.
Even articles on “Harry Potter” itself were targeted, including “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” (video game), and Magical creatures in Harry Potter.
But what is probably the weirdest of Pottermore’s targets is not a Wikipedia page. It’s a copy of “The Letter the 9/11 Terrorists Left Behind,” hosted on right-wing blog Creeping Sharia.
It’s not immediately clear what went wrong here — whether Pottermore incorrectly gave the URLs to Digimarc which then filed them without checking, or if Digimarc accidentally submitted the complaint without Pottermore’s involvement. Neither company immediately responded to a request for comment.
Luckily, TorrentFreak reports, Google rejected these takedown requests.