Friday 1 June 2012

Google's antipiracy action is not enough, says RIAA

A few days ago Google published its Transparency Report, which contains various data on content removal requests submitted by copyright owners during the period July 2011-May 2012 (see earlier 1709 Blog post here).
Google senior copyright counsel Fred von Lohmann acknowledged that "Fighting online piracy is very important". In particular, Google does not want its search results to direct people to materials that violate copyright laws. To this end, it has "always responded to copyright removal requests that meet the standards set out in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)." Indeed, "the time-tested “notice-and-takedown” process for copyright strikes the right balance between the needs of copyright owners, the interests of users".
This blogger thought that the data included in the Google Report was pretty impressive.
Contrary to her belief, in a post published the day before yesterday on the RIAA Blog, Executive Vice President Brad Buckles wrote that the data published by Google is somewhat inaccurate. 
Apparently, what Google does to tackle piracy is not enough: 
"It is good to see that Google ... continues to take steps to deter infringement. Transparency is also important -- knowing which infringing sites receive the most notices presents an important red flag regarding those sites.
Directing (online) traffic is
a nice task ...
But even more transparency is needed to fully understand the scope of the problem. Knowing the total number of links to infringing material available and the limitations Google imposes on rights owners to search for infringements reveals how meager the number of notices is relative to the vast number of infringement. After all, as recently highlighted here, search for any major recording artist's track and the term "mp3", and you'll find that most of the very first results offered by Google direct people to infringing material. Unfortunately, one sees similar results when one searches for any popular creative content followed by the words "free download."
On the one hand, Google states that it processes an overwhelming number of notices. On the other hand, Google's data misleads by calculating that the DMCA notice requests represent a tiny fraction of the pages on even the most recidivist sites."
...  which may become slightly challenging
during traffic jam hours
Buckles concluded by saying: 
"Clearly the current process is not working. Google is routinely directing people to unlawful sources of content, which is clearly at odds with data that suggests most people rely on search engines to identify trusted websites at the top of search results. If Google truly doesn't want its search results directing people to materials that violate copyright laws, more should be done to address this problem."
In any case [unavoidably, a cynic might suggest], RIAA look[s] forward to continuing to work with Google and other intermediaries to find better solutions to this problem, and to gain more transparency into the information flows and search rankings."

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