Google Refuses Hollywood Studio Requests To De-List File Storage Site Mega

dmca-google In recent weeks, Hollywood studios NBC Universal and Warner Bros both submitted DMCA takedown requests asking Google to de-list the file storage website Mega from its search index. According to a report on TorrentFreak, NBC Universal claimed Mega's homepage  linked to the NBC-owned film Mama, while Warner Bros alleged Mega made pirated copies of its film Gangster Squad available from its website. Since Mega's homepage doesn't link to any files, Google did not remove the website from its search index. Launched in January of this year, Mega is the successor site of Megaupload, a fil [...]


Hollywood Asks Google To Stop Listing Piracy Documentary, Claiming It’s Piracy Too

dmca-google The recently released TPB AFK: The Pirate Bay - Away from Keyboard, a documentary that sympathizes with the founders of the infamous file sharing website The Pirate Bay, has become the target of fraudulent link takedown requests from major Hollywood Studios, including Viacom, Paramount, Fox and Lionsgate. After its February release on The Pirate Bay website under a Creative Commons license making it free to download, Google has received multiple DMCA takedown requests asking that links to the film be removed from search results. The requests came through anti-piracy firms representing th [...]


Governments Across The Globe Are Making More Requests To Remove Content From Google Services

google-transparency-report According to a new Transparency Report released today, Google received 4,096 government requests to remove 42,249 pieces of content during 2012. The purpose of Google's Transparency Reports is to record the number of worldwide government requests to censor content on Google services, and offer insight into the amount of censorship happening across the globe. The latest report demonstrates an uptick in the number of requests to remove political content, as well as the number of areas where the requests originate. According to Google's announcement, "In this particular time period, we [...]


Privacy Vs Censorship: Google, Spanish Government Face Off In European Courts

google-eu-featured In a test case that could have significant implications for Google throughout Europe the company faced off against the Spanish data protection authority in the Court of Justice of the European Union in Luxembourg. One could frame the case as "privacy vs. censorship." From the Spanish government's point of view its data protection authority is simply vindicating the recently articulated right (of individuals) "to be forgotten" -- to have content or data about them removed from the search index upon request. From Google's perspective, if the court agrees with Spain, the outcome would be tanta [...]


Google Transparency Report Now Showing False Takedown Requests

dmca-google TorrentFreak reports that Google updated their transparency report to now show the number and specific details on the false takedown requests attempted. You can see this level of detail by going to a specific takedown request. For example, looking at takedown request ID 266534 shows that of the 886 URLs reported for DMCA violations, 3% of them, or 24 URLs, Google decided not to take down. It is listed in the "no action taken" section. If you scroll down a bit, you can sort by that column and then click on the details to see specifically which URLs no action was taken against. Here [...]


Google Fined $208,000 In Australian Defamation Case, May Appeal

google-australia-200px Google has been told to pay the equivalent of $208,000 (USD) after recently losing a defamation case in Australia involving how it showed a 62-year-old man's name in search results. Google is examining the original jury verdict and may file an appeal. A judge in the supreme court of the Australian state Victoria issued the fine today and, according to Phys.org, compared Google's search results to that of an online publisher: Google Inc is like the newsagent that sells a newspaper containing a defamatory article," Beach said in his judgement. "While there might be no specific intention to [...]


China Blocks Google Search, Gmail, Google+, Maps & More

google-china-featured TheNextWeb reports China has decided to block Google services. Currently, Google search, Gmail, Google Maps, Google Docs, Google Analytics, Google Drive, and other Google products are currently not working when trying to access them within China. TheNextWeb received confirmation from Google that China is indeed blocking their services. This is happening during the 18th Party Congress of the Communist Party of China. It is unclear if the block is temporary for the 18th Party Congress or if this is something that is more long term. GreatFire.org has more details on the block, show [...]


Google Loses Australian Defamation Case, Awaiting Decision On Damages

google-australia-200px Google is awaiting a judge's decision on damages before it decides what to do after losing a defamation case over its search results in Australia. A jury in the supreme court of the Australian state Victoria, ruled Tuesday that Google is liable for defamation because its search results connected the plaintiff, 62-year-old Milorad Trkulja, to phrases such as "Melbourne crime" and showed his photo near images of suspected members of Melbourne's organized crime scene. It's a complicated and strange case that the BBC details well. In short, my summary would go like this: the plaintiff wa [...]


Google Faces Autocomplete Lawsuit From Former First Lady Of Germany

bettina-wulff Google may be in trouble again over the automated suggestions that its Autocomplete feature provides to searchers. According to the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung (and also reported by TechCrunch), Bettina Wulff -- wife of the country's former president, Christian Wulff -- is suing Google because Autocomplete suggests prostitution-related terms when a searcher types her name into Google's search box. (The couple are shown in the photo above.) Indeed, searches this afternoon on both Google.de and Google.com reference terms like "escort" and "prostitute" in the Autocomplete suggesti [...]


Google Bans Weapon-Related Listings From Google Shopping

google-weapons-ban-featured Google has begun notifying merchants that it won't allow them to continue to listing weapons-related items for sale in Google Shopping. Searches in Google Shopping for things like "pistol grip shotgun" (above), "gun scopes," "shotgun shells" and many other terms are leading to a results page that says the term "did not match any shopping results." Outdoor Hub broke the news late last week, and linked to an online petition that includes a copy of the letter that Google has sent to affected merchants. The letter says that Google will "begin to enforce a set of new policies for Goog [...]


Google To Chinese Searchers: Your Search Interruptions Are Not Our Fault

Google announced on their blog that they have noticed an increase in complaints from searchers in mainland China. The issues they are reporting is that Google.com and searchers are not coming up, as if Google.com is down. So Google investigated their servers and operations and noticed no issues with anything on Google's side. So they ran some tests and were able to confirm that many queries lead to Google acting as if Google is unreachable. They produced a video showing this in action, where one query would work but then another query would lead to a response of either "This webpage [...]


Under Threat Of Being Blocked Google, Facebook Comply With India’s New Internet Censorship Rules

After China and the US, India is the third largest internet market in the world. But India has philosophically aligned itself more with China in pursuing a policy of censorship toward publication of content deemed "offensive" or "objectionable" by individuals, groups or the government. A recently enacted law seeks to remove all such content from the internet in India. Facebook, Google, Yahoo and Microsoft were sued under the law and had been arguing in Indian court that it was all but impossible for them to comply as a practical matter. The law makes online publishers potentially liable for [...]


Google Blackens Its Logo To Protest SOPA/PIPA, While Bing & Yahoo Carry On As Usual

google-yahoo-bing-sopa-featured As promised earlier, Google has voiced its opposition to two bills currently being discussed in Congress that the company says -- and countless critics around the world agree -- would censor the web and hurt U.S. businesses. While some sites like Wikipedia are going black for the day on Wednesday, Google has instead chosen to cover its logo in black and add a short message on its home page: Tell Congress: Please don't censor the web! The message links to a new End Piracy, Not Liberty page where Google is encouraging visitors to sign a petition against the legislation and sharing this [...]


Google To Join Anti-SOPA “Blackout Day” With Home Page Protest

Screen shot 2012-01-17 at 1.26.52 PM Google has confirmed to several media outlets (initially CNET) that it will join other prominent websites tomorrow, including Wikipedia, in protesting the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA) bills. While Wikipedia has said it will go dark, Google will link to anti-SOPA information on its homepage. Still, that information will be seen by millions who otherwise might not know about the legislation. SOPA and PIPA are supported by a range of corporate entities and media companies that elicited these draconian bills from Congress to address global IP piracy, copyright violati [...]


Free Speech Battle In India: Google, Facebook Summoned By Court Over “Inflammatory Images”

According to a report from Chinese news agency Xinhua, a judge in India has ordered a broad range of online companies, including Google, Facebook and Yahoo, to "delete 'inflammatory' images of religious figures" from their sites. Though not identified in news reports the images were deemed offensive or blasphemous under a sweeping law enacted earlier this year aimed at blocking or removing "offensive" or "objectionable" content from the internet in India. In case the problem with implementation of a law against "objectionable" content isn't self-evident its provisions are vague and scope [...]


US Government Makes Most Content Removal Requests To Google So Far in 2011

google-us-flag The US government sent Google 5,950 content removal requests in the first half of 2011, more than triple the number of requests that 2nd-place India sent in during the same period. The numbers come from Google's latest semi-annual update to the Government Requests section of its Transparency Report. The Government Requests data represents government inquiries to Google for information about users and/or content removal requests. Newly added in this latest release is data about the number of Google users or accounts that are specified in the government requests. For example, those 5,950 U [...]


Google Beefs Up Government Requests Report For Latest Info Release

Google has added key pieces of information to its Government Requests Transparency report. The semi-annual release of data chronicles the search engine's interactions with government officials around the world, in which those officials request that information be removed from Google's index, or ask for data about its users. It also tracks user traffic from countries around the globe, highlighting cases in which it appears traffic was blocked to its servers. The company just released data that covers the period from July to December 2010. It first launched the report in 2010, covering data f [...]


Irish Hotel Sues Google For Defamation Over Autocomplete Suggestion

google-g-logo A popular Irish hotel has sued Google for defamation because Google's autocomplete feature suggests to searchers that the hotel is in receivership. Searchers looking for the Ballymascanlon Hotel -- a four-star property that's reportedly one of the most popular wedding venues in northeast Ireland and is not in financial trouble -- see "ballymascanlon hotel receivership" as an autocomplete suggestion as soon as they've typed only eight letters of the hotel name. According to a recent Sunday Times article (quoted here by TJ McIntyre), some brides have contacted the hotel "in tears" after [...]


How Google Instant’s Autocomplete Suggestions Work

google-autocomplete-featured It's a well known feature of Google. Start typing in a search, and Google offers suggestions before you've even finished typing. But how does Google come up with those suggestions? When does Google remove some suggestions? When does Google decide not to interfere? Come along for some answers. Google & Search Suggestions Google was not the first search engine to offer search suggestions, nor it is the only one. But being the most popular search engine has caused many to look at Google's suggestions more closely. Google has been offering "Google Suggest" or "Autocomplete" on the Google [...]


Google Sends Mixed Signals On China: Hiring But Future “Uncertain”

Ross LaJeunesse, Google's Asia government affairs chief told an audience in Hong Kong that Google remains "committed to China and to our Chinese users" but added that its future in Mainland China is "uncertain." At the same time, Google has reportedly been hiring people to protect its shrinking share in the world's largest internet market. Google had hoped to circumvent Chinese government control by redirecting Google.cn users to the uncensored Google.com.hk. But the Chinese have blocked that site on occasion as well. While some have speculated that Google will return to China proper, that' [...]


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