[A2k] Check it out: Google on Copyright Takedowns: Reveals Detailed Data On Who Requests Link Removals

Manon Ress manon.ress at keionline.org
Sat May 26 04:15:35 PDT 2012

Google Lifts The Veil On Copyright Takedowns: Reveals Detailed Data On
Who Requests Link Removals


from the data-data-data dept

As part of Google's ongoing Transparency Report efforts, today the
company has released a whole new section on copyright takedowns,
containing a huge amount of information on the many takedown requests
Google receives. It focuses specifically on the takedowns for search
links, but I wouldn't be surprised to see them add other areas later.
As you may recall, we were among those who were victimized by a bogus
takedown, and a key post about SOPA that we had written was missing
from Google search for about a month.

The new transparency platform lets you dig in and see quite a few
details about exactly who is issuing takedowns and what they're
removing from search. It's using data since last July (when Google set
up an organized web-form, so the data is consistent). It may be a bit
surprising, but at the top of the list? Microsoft, who has apparently
taken down over 2.5 million URLs from Google's search results. Most of
the the others in the top 10 aren't too surprising. There's NBC
Universal at number two. The RIAA at number three (representing all
its member companies). BPI at number five. Universal Music at number
seven. Sony Music at number eight. Warner Music doesn't clock in until
number 12.

Perhaps more important, however, is that Google is also revealing the
incredible deluge of takedown requests it receives in search, each of
which it tries to check to make sure they're legitimate. As it stands
now, Google is processing over 250,000 such requests per week -- which
is more than they got in the entire year of 2009. For all of 2011,
Google receive 3.3 million copyright takedowns for search... and here
we are in just May of 2012, and they're already processing over 1.2
million per month. And while we've heard reports from the usual Google
haters that Google is slow to respond to takedowns, it says that its
average turnaround time last week was 11 hours. Think about that for a
second. It's reviewing each one of these takedowns, getting 250,000
per week... and can still process them in less than 12 hours. That's
pretty impressive.

It's also interesting to hear that these reviews catch some pretty
flagrant bogus takedown requests:
    At the same time, we try to catch erroneous or abusive removal
requests. For example, we recently rejected two requests from an
organization representing a major entertainment company, asking us to
remove a search result that linked to a major newspaper’s review of a
TV show. The requests mistakenly claimed copyright violations of the
show, even though there was no infringing content. We’ve also seen
baseless copyright removal requests being used for anticompetitive
purposes, or to remove content unfavorable to a particular person or
company from our search results.

It's good to see Google catch these, as plenty of other sites would
automatically take such content down, just to avoid any question of
liability. Of course, it doesn't catch them all. Some get through --
as we ourselves discovered a few months ago. That led us to wonder if
this tool could drill down and find the details about takedowns
targeting Techdirt, but unfortunately at the moment there doesn't seem
to be any way to actually search the list. Hopefully that will change
soon. Update: The search function is not currently advertised
anywhere, but you can access it by using a URL:

Of course, this is also a good reminder -- as they note in the Google
blog post -- that if you run a website, you should absolutely sign up
to use Google's Webmaster tools, which will quickly inform you when
one of your URLs are targeted by such a takedown, allowing you to
easily file a counternotice.

Either way, this is really fascinating data and an interesting
platform, shedding some significant light on just how often copyright
holders are trying to take links out of Google, who's doing it and who
they're targeting.
End of quote


quote: Google regularly receives requests from copyright owners and
reporting organizations that represent them to remove search results
that link to material that allegedly infringes copyrights. Each
request names specific URLs to be removed, and we list the domain
portions of URLs requested to be removed under targeted domains.
Copyright removal requests received for Search in the past month
1,294,762 URLs Requested to be Removed
24,268 	Targeted Domains
1,325 	Copyright Owners
1,109 	Reporting Organizations

Notice by gov:

Manon Anne Ress
Knowledge Ecology International
1621 Connecticut Ave, NW, Suite 500
Washington, DC 20009 USA
manon.ress at keionline.org

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