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On Saturday, we confirmed that www.rojadirecta.es was no longer appearing in Google’s search results. The company owner of the popular search engine had received a complaint related to the DMCA and, because of this, eliminated the homepage for rojadirecta.es from its search results. Google did not provide us with a copy of the complaint (or we simply did not receive it) so we decided to get in contact with Chilling Effects, who had processed the complaint that Google sent them very quickly. Once the complaint became available on the Chilling Effects web site, we discovered that it was made by the Major League Baseball.
Oddly enough, the complaint was not related to Google’s search engine. In fact, it was sent to Google’s advertising program, Adsense. For these reasons, it seems as though Google eliminated rojadirecta.es from its search results even though this was not what MLB had requested, since their intentions were apparently to simply eliminate Rojadirecta from the Adsense advertising program.
This apparent mistake on Google’s part was perhaps the result of the following false statements made by MLB:
“a Google Adsense partner, http://www.rojadirecta.es”;
Rojadirecta does not participate in Google’s Adsense program so it is impossible to eliminate it from that program. Moreover, Rojadirecta does not even publish banners or contextual ads.
“The Website streams live copyrighted MLB Telecasts”
Not only does Rojadirecta not transmit the aforementioned content, but it does not directly transmit any other type of audio or video content. Rojadirecta is simply an index of sporting events available on the Internet and not a provider of audio and video content.
Incidentally, we believe this is not the first error of this kind made by Google that we’ve had to deal with. In 2007 our entire rojadirecta.com domain was blocked because of a complaint regarding the specific http://www.rojadirecta.com address (something which does not coincide with Google’s instructions for DMCA-related complaints in which it asks for conflicting keywords and their corresponding list of addresses). Something similar happened to The Pirate Bay in 2009 though Google was quick to correct the error. That isn’t the case here however, seeing as this domain has been completely banned for 4 years with hundreds (actually, millions) of search results deleted (e.g. site:rojadirecta.com or, site:forum.rojadirecta.com).
Judging by the screenshot sent to Google by MLB, it seems likely that MLB was unaware of the concept of redirection through frames. Links to channels from Rojadirecta.es use the address: http://www.rojadirecta.es/goto/…, which means that the address bar continues to show our URL. For instance, http://rojadirecta.es/goto/google.com loads google.com, while http://www.rojadirecta.es/goto/twitter.com/rojadirecta loads our Twitter page. For this reason, the Google advertising that was seen by MLB probably appeared on some page linked from Rojadirecta.
In any case, as it refers to Google, it is fair to say that we do not believe that they have acted in bad faith.
Regarding MLB, we believe that the report sent to Google Adsense was not sent in bad faith either. Apparently, they do not have anything to gain from reporting a website to an advertising program when the site does not participate in it. Thus, it would seem obvious that this was only a mistake, as long as the responsible party did not know that redirection by frames was involved. Regardless, alleging that Rojadirecta transmits such contents is a very serious matter. In fact, it is a rather serious problem that a professional whose responsibility is to protect copyright on audio and video content found on the Internet cannot distinguish between sites that host and transmit content and sites that simply index other pages or streams. Furthermore, if they were aware that Rojadirecta does not transmit content but used the complaint to force Google to act in their interests, the problem is a much more serious one indeed.
Fortunately, Google’s algorithm replaced the deleted address with a Rojadirecta IP address. Therefore, it has at least always continued to appear among the first search results for “rojadirecta”.