German Parliament Hears Experts On Proposed Law To Limit Search Engines From Using News Content

Google Germany Yesterday, the Judiciary Committee of the German Bundestag -- Germany's national parliament -- held an expert hearing on a proposed "Leistungsschutzrecht" law for news publishers. The law, known as "ancillary copyright" in English, would require search engines and others -- perhaps even Facebook, Twitter and individual bloggers -- to pay news publishers if they link to or even briefly summarize news content. The hearing didn't result in a vote. It was the next step in a process that may lead to Leistungsschutzrecht becoming law or not. Below, some background on what happened at the hearing, [...]


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 [...]


Germany Wants To Force Google To Pay License Fees For Links

A report from GigaOm this morning discusses a ridiculous proposed "ancillary copyright" law in Germany that would compel Google -- and others online -- to pay to link to and excerpt any content from German publishers' websites (e.g., newspapers). The law currently is in draft form and being debated by stakeholders and legislators. The "fair use" doctrine would prohibit this sort of idea from becoming law in the US. But under the proposed German law, every link and/or content excerpts included in search results would be subject to licensing fees. One question is how broadly the law would [...]


Google: Many Popular Sites Will Escape Pirate Penalty, Not Just YouTube

youtube-featured Google says that YouTube isn't going to somehow solely escape its new "pirate penalty." Any popular site may be OK, as the penalty works off of more than pure copyright infringement reports. Nuances in calculating the penalty should save popular user-generated content sites, the company said. The Pirate Penalty Initially, it sounded as if sites with many copyright infringement complaints filed against them with Google -- such as those listed here in the Google Transparency Report -- would be at risk under the new pirate penalty Google will begin imposing next week. If that were the c [...]


How YouTube Will Escape Google’s New Pirate Penalty

youtube-featured Google has announced that it will soon penalize sites that are repeatedly accused of copyright infringement. But one site in particular doesn't need to worry: Google's own YouTube. It has a unique immunity against the forthcoming penalty. POSTSCRIPT: Please also be sure to read our follow-up article, Google: Many Popular Sites Will Escape Pirate Penalty, Not Just YouTube The penalty -- which we've dubbed the Emanuel Update -- impacts Google's web search results. If someone has reported a web search listing as being a copyright violation, using the DMCA takedown mechanism, that's a stri [...]


RIAA Accuses Google Of Not Doing Enough To Fight Piracy, But May Be Guilty Of Not Doing Enough Itself

piracy-cd-music-featured The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has once again come out swinging at Google, saying the company isn't doing enough to fight copyright infringement online. But it may be that the RIAA itself is guilty of that charge. In a blog post this week, RIAA Executive VP Brad Buckles shares what the organization calls "clear facts" about Google's efforts to remove infringing pages from Google's search results. A week ago, Google announced the addition of Copyright Removal Requests to its Transparency Report, but Buckles says "Google's data misleads." In a series of five "facts," [...]


Microsoft: Yes, We Do Send Takedown Requests To Bing, Too

bing-b-logo Microsoft says it does send copyright-related takedown requests to its own search engine, Bing, in addition to the multitude of requests that it sends to Google. This comes on the heels of yesterday's news that Microsoft is the number one submitter of copyright-related URL removal requests to Google. It sent more than 500,000 such requests in the past month, asking Google to remove URLs that host pirated copies of Microsoft products and other copyright-infringing material. TechDirt pointed out that some of the URLs that Microsoft asked Google to remove were still appearing in Bing's sear [...]


Google Asked To Take Down Over 1.2 Million URLs Last Month From Search Results

google-url-removal-featured Google announced they have enhanced the Google Transparency Report to include the removal requests to take down individual search results from showing up in Google. In fact, Google has told us in the past month they have received 1,246,713 removal requests from 24,129 different target domains of 1,296 copyright owners by 1,087 reporting organizations. So only just over a thousand copyright owners submitted removal requests and top five include Microsoft with over a half a million URL removal requests last month followed by British Recorded Music Industry, NBC Universal, Elegant Angel and R [...]


Google Asks Court To Dismiss Book-Scanning Lawsuits

google-books-featured As their long-running legal battle continues, Google has asked a federal judge to dismiss lawsuits brought by authors' and photographers' groups over its book-scanning service. According to Bloomberg News, Google told judge Denny Chin that The Authors Guild can't sue on behalf of the authors because the Guild doesn't own the copyrights to the books that Google has been scanning since the program was announced in 2004. Reuters reports that, in response to Google's claim, Chin said "it would take forever" to resolve individual author's lawsuits and that it "seems to make sense" to allow th [...]


Major Entertainment Groups Accuse Google, Bing Of Directing Users To Illegal Content

google-bing-piracy-featured Several major UK entertainment industry groups are accusing Google and Bing of directing searchers to illegal content, and have proposed a "Code of Practice" for how search engines can better encourage consumers to locate legal content on the web. The groups are also calling for the UK government to help oversee how well the search engines administer the recommendations listed in the Code of Practice. As The Guardian reports, the groups involved in the proposal include the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), the Motion Picture Association (MPA), the Premier League, the Publishers Associati [...]


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 Gov’t Takes Baidu Off The “Notorious Markets” Black List

China has historically been the land of copyright and trademark infringement of Western software, goods and other intellectual property -- and Chinese websites such as Baidu and Taobao its willing handmaidens. In February of this year the US trade authority named Baidu one of the world’s "notorious markets" because it was seen facilitating copyright infringement. Here's what the US Trade Representative said in February: Baidu exemplifies the problem of online services engaged in "deep linking," which provide links to online locations containing the allegedly infringing materials. The [n [...]


RIAA Scolds Google, Wants Search Algorithm Changed To Fight Online Piracy

piracy-cds Saying that Google has a "special responsibility" to fight copyright infringement, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has issued a report card that scolds Google for not following through on promises to fight piracy. In a report card issued Monday, the RIAA takes a look back at four promises that Google made last year surrounding copyright protections on the web. Overall, Google gets an "Incomplete" grade. The RIAA admits that Google has "taken some modest steps" to fight copyright infringement, but spends most of its five-page report scolding Google for coming up short: " [...]


The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) Stalls In Congress

The U.S. House Judiciary Committee abruptly adjourned today without voting on the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), a controversial measure that would impose radical new requirements on search engines, ISPs, ad networks and other key internet players. The hearings will resume "earliest practical day that Congress is in session" according to the chief sponsor of the legislation, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tex), but with the Congressional holiday recess imminent that could be weeks from now. UPDATE: Representative @DarrellIssa tweeted that the Judiciary Committee has scheduled the rest of #SOPA markup [...]


Domain Seizures, De-Indexing And Censorship: Nevada Judge Dramatically Exceeds Limits Of His Authority

Image courtesy Shutterstock.com There's a multi-pronged assault on the internet going on now. It comes from over-zealous legislators, the US executive branch and individual judges. There's an effort on multiple fronts to grant over-broad powers to copyright owners to instigate domain seizures, cut-off funds and de-index "rogue" websites if found guilty of "infringement," where that concept is very expansively defined with potentially disastrous consequences for free speech and legitimate internet operations. As you've no doubt read there are two pieces of anti-piracy legislation before the US Congress: SOPA and the P [...]


Google And Largest French Publisher Update Accord On Book Scanning

Hachette Livre, the largest book publisher in France, has reached a book-scanning agreement with Google (actually it did last year; this is an update). The New York Times reports that while other publishers in France are still suing Google for scanning their copyrighted material without permission, the Hachette deal may provide a framework for other agreements, in France and the US. The Google book-scanning class-action settlement in the US was rejected earlier this year by the presiding judge Denny Chin, who has given the parties until mid September to come up with a new settlement framewo [...]


Google Working On Opt-In Settlement Of Book Search Lawsuit

A Google attorney told a federal judge today that the two sides involved in the long-running Google Book Search lawsuit settlement are negotiating an "opt-in settlement" in an attempt to finally put the case to rest. As The Laboratorium reports, Google's attorney Michael Boni told Judge Dennis Chin that both sides "have been aiming for an opt-in settlement." That would likely please Chin, who specifically suggested when he rejected the original settlement in March that an opt-in settlement would be a good idea: As the United States and other objectors have noted, many of the concerns rai [...]


Belgian Newspapers Claim Retaliation By Google After Copyright Victory

Perhaps the lesson is: be careful what you sue for. The French and German-language Belgian newspaper consortium that successfully sued Google for copyright infringement got more than it bargained for this week. The newspapers' content has been removed not only from Google News (as desired) but the entire Google index. Now the newspapers are crying foul, saying that Google is "retaliating" against them for their legal victory. On behalf of the newspapers an organization called Copiepresse sued Google in 2006 for copyright infringement. Copiepresse claimed that links to newspaper stories i [...]


Google Fails To Sway Indian Government On Web Content Restrictions

The Indian government has enacted tough restrictions on Internet content and publishers, ignoring objections detailed by Google in a confidential memo earlier this year. According to the Wall Street Journal, the new rules in India place what appears to be a heavy burden on websites to ban users from publishing certain types of content and to remove such content within 36 hours after government notification. The WSJ says Google disagreed with the specific wording that describes objectionable material: Google's memo shows that the company sought changes aimed at limiting its potential liab [...]


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