Google Obliges Website Copyright Takedown Requests 97% of the Time


Google is getting high marks for its May 2012 Transparency Report that when copyright owners complain about website infringement, that Google takes down those website urls (universal resource locators) 97% of the time. Google claims the other 3% are not taken down because of inaccurate or incomplete information.

In April 2012 1,255,402 url removal requests were made to Google search alone, not YouTube or Blogger. Top request for April 2012 were: Microsoft made 466,732 requests, NBCUniversal made 180,564 requests, BPI (British Recorded Music Industry) Ltd made 147,977 requests, Elegant Angel made 43,828, and RIAA members made 25,540 requests. Computerworld added the following observation:

...the organization associated with the most copyright removal requests was not a music label but Microsoft Corp. More than 530,000 of the URLs that were the subject of removal requests linked to Microsoft content. Between July 2011 and now, Microsoft or its representatives have asked Google to remove over 2.5 million URLs from its search engine results at a median of 48,700 URLs per week.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has praised Google for the Transparency Report that 97% of url takedowns were complied with however the EFF went on to say:

This transparency report gives Google a chance to highlight some of its good citizenship as an online service provider. Although the burden of liability is supposed to be on the organization that sends the takedown notice — it is required to claim under penalty of perjury to have a good-faith belief of copyright infringement — in practice many groups are willing to skirt those rules, sending takedown notices to silence unfavorable speech or even without human review.

Google’s Transparency Report provides interesting insight about who makes url takedown requests, and given Microsoft competitive search engine Bing it would be interesting to see what transparency reports Microsoft issues.

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