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Microsoft cites BBC, Wikipedia in error-filled DMCA takedown

The company told Google that several URLs infringed upon intellectual property related to Windows 8. But upon further inspection, it was plain wrong.

Craig Simms/CNET

Microsoft recently issued a takedown notice to Google, citing several sites that allegedly infringe its intellectual property. But there's just one problem: many of the URLs it cited have nothing to do with its business.

According to a document obtained by TorrentFreak, Microsoft pointed to several legitimate Web sites in its request for URL removals related to Windows 8 infringement. In addition to seemingly legitimate links featuring Windows 8 downloads, Microsoft lists a BBC URL linking to the 45th day of the Olympic torch relay. The company also asked Google to remove a Wikipedia entry on the 45th Fighter Squadron and a Real Clear Politics page showing the current Ohio presidential polls.

Not even the government could escape Microsoft's grasps, as the company asked to remove an Environmental Protection Agency page.

Microsoft is by no means a stranger to takedown notices. The company has frequently asked Google to remove URLs that it believes are infringing its intellectual property or licenses. In the past month, in fact, Microsoft has requested Google take down over 444,000 URLs.

But given TorrentFreak's findings, it's not clear how many of those URLs have actually been taken down by Google. As TorrentFreak points out and CNET has confirmed, several of the URLs listed in Microsoft's requests are still live today, since they don't actually relate to the alleged infringement cited by the software maker.

Over the summer, Microsoft took matters into its own hands when its Xbox 720 roadmap leaked onto the Web. The company's lawyers issued takedown notices to several sites that published that roadmap.

CNET has contacted Microsoft for comment on the TorrentFreak report. We will update this story when we have more information.