We believe that openness is crucial for the prospect of the Internet. When something gets in the path of the autonomous of charge flow of data, we believe there should be transparency encircling what that block might be.
So two years ago we launched the Transparency Report, showing when and what data is accessible on Google services encircling the earth. We started off by sharing data about the administration requests we receive to remove content from our services or for data about our users. Then we started showing traffic patterns to our services, highlighting when they’ve been disrupted.
Today we’re expanding the Transparency Report with a fresh section on copyright. Specifically, we’re disclosing the number of requests we get from copyright owners (and the organizations that represent them) to remove Google Search results since they allegedly link to infringing content. We’re starting with search since we remove more results in response to copyright removal notices than for any other cause. So we’re providing data about who sends us copyright removal notices, how often, on behalf of which copyright owners and for which websites. As policymakers and Internet users encircling the earth consider the pros and cons of different proposals to domicile the difficulty of online copyright infringement, we hope this data will contribute to the analysis.
For this launch we’re disclosing data dating from July 2011, and moving forward we plot on updating the numbers each day. As you can see from the report, the number of requests has been increasing rapidly. These days it’s not unusual for us to receive more than 250,000 requests each week, which is more than what copyright owners questioned us to remove in all of 2009. In the past month alone, we received about 1.2 million requests made on behalf of more than 1,000 copyright owners to remove search results. These requests targeted some 24,000 different websites.
Fighting online piracy is very vital, and we don’t desire our search results to administer human beings to materials that violate copyright laws. So we’ve always responded to copyright removal requests that meet the standards locate outside in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). At the same age, we desire to be transparent about the action so that users and researchers alike know what kinds of materials have been removed from our search results and why. To promote that transparency, we have extended shared copies of copyright removal requests with Chilling Effects, a nonprofit organization that collects these notices from Internet users and companies. We also comprehend a notice in our search results when items have been removed in response to copyright removal requests.
We believe that the age-tested “notice-and-takedown” action for copyright strikes the fair balance between the needs of copyright owners, the interests of users, and our efforts to provide a useful Google Search familiarity. Google continues to place substantial resources into improving and streamlining this action. We already mentioned that we’re processing more copyright removal requests for Search than ever before. And we’re also processing these requests quicker than ever before; at the end week our average turnaround age was less than 11 hours.
At the same age, we try to catch erroneous or abusive removal requests. For example, we recently rejected two requests from an organization representing a major entertainment corporation, asking us to remove a search result that linked to a major newspaper’s review of a TV exhibit. The requests mistakenly claimed copyright violations of the exhibit, much 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 corporation from our search results. We try to catch these ourselves, however we also affirm webmasters in our Webmaster Tools when pages on their website have been targeted by a copyright removal request, so that they can submit a counter-notice if they believe the removal request was inaccurate.
Transparency is a crucial element to making this system employment well. We gaze forward to making more improvements to our Transparency Report—offering copyright owners, Internet users, policymakers and website owners the data they demand to see and know how removal requests from both governments and private parties affect our results in Search.
Posted by Fred von Lohmann, Senior Copyright Counsel