I’m posting this because I want to do my bit to help out with a particularly sleazy issue that has just come to my attention.
The American DMCA is a piece of law designed to protect intellectual property, but its increasingly being used by slimeball companies to get a boost in Google rankings: as a search engine optimisation (SEO) technique.
Here’s what you do: do a Google search for your company, and if other companies are ranked higher than you, use the terms of the DMCA to allege a copyright infringement.
Google will de-reference the supposedly offending content for however long the DMCA process takes to run its course, and you’ll probably lose, but in the interim, your real objective will have been achieved: you’re one step higher up the Google rankings. Rinse and repeat: SEO gold.
Today I read a post on Adactio about just such a scummy attempt that is being made against The Session, a website about traditional Irish music. Now, they just happened to have a forum post where people were discussion perfect pitch – being able to detect absolute pitch with just your ears.
It’s a fairly innocuous post, with people chiming in with their own experiences, and arguing about whether perfect pitch even exists based on the fact that the tuning A=440 is pretty arbitrary when you think about it.
But because the page contains the term “perfect pitch” so many times, it’s crawled higher in search engine rankings than the web page of a company (who I will not link to) that offers a course that purports to teach everyone’s ears how to detect perfect pitch. Whether or not they are snakeoil salesmen will not be discussed here. I’m sure you don’t need perfect pitch to detect which company I’m talking about, though.
This company has launched a copyright infringement claim under the DMCA against The Session, causing the page to be dereferenced from Google for the duration … and in so doing, pushing up the company’s search engine ranking.
As an experiment, Jeremy Keith has asked that people post blogs titled “perfect pitch”, just to see what happens. Since I think any company that would genuinely use the DMCA in this way are scum, I’m doing my part.