The National Football League (NFL) reportedly sent Google several takedown notices pointing to VPN-related URLs.
As the League prepares for the biggest U.S. football day of the year, Super Bowl LIV 2020, the sites promote the use of VPN services to illegally stream NFL games, according to one media outlet, which reported the URLs can be found in Google’s search results in the United Kingdom.
VPNs can bypass geographical restrictions. They are often used by people searching online in China to access content restricted by the Chinese government.
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act complaint to Google, dated November 2019, does not list any pirated companies, but asks for the removal of VPN-related URLs.
The notice provides the original URL and several infringing URLs, stating that the “unauthorised, pirated copies of NFL content - these links are for VPN sites which promote the use of their software to illegally stream NFL games.”
British digital support firm Netresult made the complaint on behalf of the NFL, It details more than one dozen web pages promoting the use of VPNs to illegally stream the league’s live content in the United Kingdom.
Some of the sites include vpnspblog.com, vpnmentor.com, vpnfan.com, tomsguide.com, and howtogeek.com.
Pirated content also has been a challenge for the NFL. A group on Reddit was shut down late last year based on ongoing claims of copyright infringement. The group, r/nflstreams, still exists, but has moved its illegal streams to a new website after being hit by a stern warning, according to Monsters & Critics, a sports media news site.