(SEO This Week) - DMCAs have long been a tool by copyright holders to get their works removed from websites that are not authorized to share them. They've been used by everyone from photographers, artists, and even video production agencies.
Google has a system to report URL's that are violating your copyright which if approved, will result in the removal of the offending web page from Google search.
Oftentimes, if you search, you'll see this notice at the bottom of the search results page
And if you click the "read the DMCA complaint" you'll be taken to a page like this
You'll note that reddit.com is at the top of the list, however, the (43) indicates that there are 43 URLs with copyright material on them that the "Principal" requested to be removed.
SEO Mystery:— Cyrus (@CyrusShepard) January 3, 2022
Why isn't https://t.co/njNTKQQJPu ranking for "reddit" - one of the highest volume keywords on the entire internet?
(instead ranking https://t.co/nJkMvgfd3x - which typically ranks #2 - and is NOT what most people are searching for) pic.twitter.com/TerYXry1j0
You can see those URLs by scrolling to the bottom of the complaint and requesting access to the full URL list. All you have to provide is an email list that opens a link you can only click on one time.
This is the result
You'll note that the principal put the homepage in their list, and these lists are considered "valid" complaints.
So now, https://www.reddit.com/ is deindexed from Google
Google claims that they have systems in place to keep malicious DMCA's in check, and I'm not saying this one is malicious, but removing Reddit's homepage without a manual review by at least two people with some common sense could have prevented this fiasco.
That said, this is certainly something that could happen to any small business at any time, so be careful when using images and videos that you don't have explicit documentation of license rights.
Update Jan 5 - Reddit's homepage is now back in the index.