The New Zealand Herald has reported an interesting story that sheds light on the ongoing modern struggle that established copyright and intellectual property laws have with the Internet and the digital distribution of content that may affect you. Do you use the wonderful free media player VLC? I certainly do - it's installed on all four of the computers I regularly use and it is (IMHO) the best video player available. If VLC can't play that file, nothing will. But US media giant HBO has sent a takedown notice to Google, listing VLC amongst other infringing content they want the search giant to remove from its search results.
This seems bizarre, VLC isn't infringing anyone's copyright or intellectual property, moreover as open source software nobody could be profiting even if it were. It's as if some lawyer wanted to confiscate your spectacles or contact lens to stop you watching a pirated movie. Has HBO gone mad? Apparently not, it appears that VLC is guilty by association since it often turns up mentioned online around pirated content. HBO's robo-lawyers automatically issue take-down notices and Google is supposed to automatically respond. Fortunately in this case Google has ignored HBO's request. VLC has been tainted by the company it keeps; pirates use VLC therefore VLC must be stopped. VLC runs on computers, perhaps that should be their next target!