Two years ago, when Google started off its Transparency Report project, it was clear that the search giant was only taking a step forward in the direction of maintaining transparency on its widely used service. Today, two years on, in an official post, Fred von Lohmann, Senior Copyright Counsel at Google announces another step ahead in that direction. Adding a new section to their comprehensive Transparency Report, Google will now be specifically making public information on the number of requests that they receive on a regular basis from copyright owners and the organizations that represent them, asking the search giant to remove web pages that reportedly infringe on their copyrights. The post adds that the requests that Google receives state that the web pages that appear on their search feed link to content that infringe on their copyright, and they have started with the ‘search’ side of things to convey that if at all any search has been omitted from the feed, it is because of this than anything else. 

What does it include?

The post further goes on to reveal that Google’s Transparency Report on copyright will contain details like – who sends copyright removal notices, how often, on behalf of which copyright owners and for which websites. By doing so, Google’s hoping that the data will come to aid in discussions pertaining to the pros and cons of different proposals to tackle the issue of online copyright infringement. For this particular release, Google will disclose data starting from July 2011, and from here on will continue to update the numbers each day. In its detailed, graphical report, Google highlighted that last month alone, they received as many as 1.2 million requests that were made on behalf of more than 1,000 copyright owners to remove search results. 

Stats on the Google Transparency Report

Stats on the Google Transparency Report

Google has highlighted the important aspect of their fight against online piracy. They say that they do not want their search results to take people to content that violate copyright laws. The post further adds, “..we’ve always responded to copyright removal requests that meet the standards set out in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). At the same time, we want to be transparent about the process so that users and researchers alike understand what kinds of materials have been removed from our search results and why. To promote that transparency, we have long shared copies of copyright removal requests with Chilling Effects, a nonprofit organization that collects these notices from Internet users and companies.

The post also highlights instances, wherein erroneous and abusive removal requests were made, and cited a recent example, when they had to reject two requests from an organization representing a major entertainment company, asking the search giant to remove a particular search result that directed users to a popular newspaper's review of a TV show. Google had to reject the request because they found that 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. We try to catch these ourselves, but we also notify 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,” it added. 

Microsoft tops the list

In a list that was a part of the report, Google mentioned that Microsoft Corporation made the maximum number of content removal requests among other copyright owners. When we checked a while ago, Microsoft still topped that list (Look below), but when we checked back again after a couple of minutes, Microsoft Corp. was replaced on that list by Marketly LLC. Quoting from the Marketly LLC website, “The innovative solutions we develop are grounded by years of practical experience helping invent, build and deliver key technology solutions for leading companies, large and small, including Microsoft, Expedia and Amazon.” Further, highlighting the top targeted domains, the report revealed that torrent websites, file hosting websites, like todoroms.com, kat.ph, torrentz.eu, among others, occupy the top most slots.

Microsoft featuring on the list

Microsoft featuring on the list

Marketly LLC shows up

Marketly LLC shows up

Over the course of two years that Google has been presenting their Transparency Report, several crucial issues were addressed. It started off with a report that shared data about the government requests received to remove content from Google's services, or information about their users. Google's Transparency Report also revealed traffic patterns, bringing to light instances when they were disrupted.

Publish date: May 25, 2012 3:53 pm| Modified date: December 18, 2013 10:21 pm

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