Google to Speed Up Removal of Infringing Content

Google to Speed Up Removal of Infringing Content

Announces four part plan for “Making Copyright Work Better Online” in order to “better address” the “bad apples who use the Internet to infringe copyright.”

As the world’s largest search engine Google has long been the target of complaints from copyright holder frustrated that it hasn’t done more to filter results that include links to copyright infringing material. In the hopes of addressing their concerns Google has announced that four major changes will be implemented over the next several months that will make it much harder for pirates to find them.

Google lauds the “fantastic stuff” on the Internet that has been made possible by traditional and emerging creators who have been able to “profit from and share their work with the world,” but says that unfortunately “along with this new wave of creators come some bad apples who use the Internet to infringe copyright.”

“As the web has grown, we have seen a growing number of issues relating to infringing content,” it says on its official blog. “We respond expeditiously to requests to remove such content from our services, and have been improving our procedures over time. But as the web grows, and the number of requests grows with it, we are working to develop new ways to better address the underlying problem.”

To address the problem it plans four major changes:

  • We’ll act on reliable copyright takedown requests within 24 hours. We will build tools to improve the submission process to make it easier for rightsholders to submit DMCA takedown requests for Google products (starting with Blogger and web Search). And for copyright owners who use the tools responsibly, we’ll reduce our average response time to 24 hours or less. At the same time, we’ll improve our “counter-notice” tools for those who believe their content was wrongly removed and enable public searching of takedown requests.
  • We will prevent terms that are closely associated with piracy from appearing in Autocomplete. While it’s hard to know for sure when search terms are being used to find infringing content, we’ll do our best to prevent Autocomplete from displaying the terms most frequently used for that purpose.
  • We will improve our AdSense anti-piracy review. We have always prohibited the use of our AdSense program on web pages that provide infringing materials. Building on our existing DMCA takedown procedures, we will be working with rightsholders to identify, and, when appropriate, expel violators from the AdSense program.
  • We will experiment to make authorised preview content more readily accessible in search results. Not surprisingly, we’re big fans of making authorised content more accessible on the Internet. Most users want to access legitimate content and are interested in sites that make that content available to them (even if only on a preview basis). We’ll be looking at ways to make this content easier to index and find.

It’s an interesting move for Google to make, but seems only logical with copyright holders so heavily lobbying elected officials for mechanisms to hold sites accountable for infringing material.

In fact, just the other day was seized by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement as part of “Operation In Our Sites.” It was an important development because the site is merely a search engine much like Google. It hosts no copyrighted material and merely indexes links to other sites that in turn hosted torrent trackers which could reasonably be considered a “facilitation” of infringement.

However, Google insists that it will not alter search results and that copyright infringing sites “won’t be removed.”

“The search results will stay the same,” it said in a conference call to discuss the announcement.

Let’s hope it stays that way.

Stay tuned.

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