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Videos taken down from Vimeo for using the word 'Pixels'

A DMCA takedown request has targeted short films older than and completely unrelated to the recently released Adam Sandler film "Pixels."

pixels1.jpg
Promo poster for the 2015 Columbia Pictures film. Columbia Pictures

Update April 11, 9.35 a.m. AEST: Vimeo has now restored the videos. Vimeo representative Kevin Turner said in an email, "Late last week, Vimeo removed certain videos pursuant to a DMCA takedown notice filed by Entura International claiming that the videos contained copyrighted content from the film "Pixels." After users informed us that their videos did not contain any "Pixels" content, we reached out to Entura. Entura has since withdrawn its takedown notice. As a result, we have now restored the affected videos."

Columbia Pictures, the studio behind the recent Adam Sandler film "Pixels," has gone on the warpath, targeting independent films on Vimeo that use the word "pixels" in the title, TorrentFreak reports.

According to a DMCA complaint lodged with Vimeo by anti-piracy organisation Entura International on behalf of Columbia Pictures, with which Vimeo has complied, 10 videos were targeted by the production company.

These include: "Pixels -- Life Buoy," filmmaker Dragos Bardac's project for his degree at the National University of Arts in Bucharest, Romania, uploaded in 2010; a dance music video called "Detuned Pixels -- Choco" uploaded in 2014; a short film called Pantone Pixels, uploaded in 2011; a video by graphic designer Franz Jeitz, announcing that he'll be speaking at the 2015 Pixels Festival; and, ironically, the award-winning short film "Pixels" by Patrick Jean which served as the inspiration for the Sandler film.

While Jean's film has been removed from his own account, it remains untouched on the account of One More Productions, which produced it.

The sweep also caught two unofficially uploaded copies of the Columbia Pictures film's trailer. A search for the word "pixels" on Vimeo reveals that some targeting may have been applied, returning some 9,050 results still live on the site at time of writing.

According to a complaint by NGO NeMe, which uploaded a video called "Pixels" in 2006, video creators are also being issued "strikes" along with the takedown. When a content creator receives three of these strikes, their channel will be suspended from the site.

Mark Cersosimo of Vimeo told NeMe, "I'd suggest filling a counter notice. This is in the hands of our trust and safety team and we unfortunately our support team cannot help you with this issue."

Turner said in an email that the website would not be reconsidering its approach to DMCA takedown requests.

"We handle DMCA notices on a case-by-case basis," he said. "It's our policy to inform users of their rights and give them the ability to file a counter-notice or reach out to the complaining party to request that a notice be withdrawn. In this case, it appeared that the complaining party had made a mistake, so we reached out."

Unlike the Patrick Jean film on which it was based, Sandler's film, in which invading aliens take the form of giant, 8-bit video-game characters, has been reviewed poorly.