Requests for Removal of Copyrighted Work On the Rise
Google's publishing of the company's ‘Transparency Report' back in 2012 let the world see what requests were being made of Google by various organizations. For most, this report provides a way to see how many requests Google receives on a regular basis (most are concerned with government privacy requests). For others, Google's transparency report provides a way to draw attention to ongoing Internet problems.
One such problem is the issue of piracy. It's far too easy to violate copyright laws via the Internet. So many sites project words and images that have been stolen from another source without given credit where it is due. This is a problem that publishers are demanding Google pay attention to.
Requests for Removal of Copyrighted Work On the Rise: Increase for Link Removals Rises
Since January of 2013, Google has received more than 100 million links to remove copyrighted materials. This number has risen sharply over the past year or so, and it has risen intentionally.
Publishers are hoping that the public (and Google) will not the rise in requests, and take down offending links and site pages accordingly. But, that might be a hard wish to grant.
Sometimes, link removal requests are mistakes. For example, Microsoft employees have asked Google to take down copyrighted Microsoft images, words, and links that actually belong to Microsoft.
Obviously, the fact that Microsoft legally owned these pages was not known to the requester. If Google had taken down the pages, Microsoft execs would have been angry. It's a tough road for Google to map out, and some believe that it's an unfair one as well.
Requests for Removal of Copyrighted Work On the Rise: Asking Google to Play Judge and Jury
Google has a lot on its plate now. Not only will Google be joining Bing in a massive effort to remove all illegal and questionable pornographic information from the Internet, but the company will now have to pay attention to other matters, like piracy.
Granted, protecting copyrighted works is important, but what will happen to the Internet if Google starts to wipe lots of website and links from the web without making sure that those links are, in fact, pirated?
Even if Google does check out every take down request, it would require a lot of additional Google employees. Google will also have to play both judge and jury, and this could anger a lot of Internet users. Where does it stop? Or, has it even begun yet?
Publishers are now using Google's transparency report to draw attention to take-down requests, but there could be a backlash if Google responds to all of these requests by shutting down lots of websites or asking for link removal.
What do you think? Should Google have the right to censor the web? Is this where the Internet is headed?