Google unveils new copyright plan

At the beginning of this month Google unveiled its new plan to address online copyright infringement. 

Google’s general counsel Kent Walker, announced 4 changes that Google will be implementing over the next months to address copyright infringement.  He stated that:

As the web has grown, we have seen a growing number of issues relating to infringing content.  We respond expeditiously to requests to remove such content from our services, and have been improving our procedures over time.  But as the web grows, and the number of requests grows with it, we are working to develop new ways to better address the underlying problem.

Firstly Mr Walker announced that Google will act on reliable copyright takedown requests given under the United States Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) within 24 hours.  Google is to begin by improving the tools necessary for people to submit such notices for Google products (starting with Blogger and Web Search).  Google also plans to improve its “counter-notice” tools for people who believe their content has been wrongly removed. 

Secondly, Google plans to work to ensure that terms that are closely associated with piracy do not appear with Google’s “auto-complete” tool.  Though Mr Walker acknowledged that “it’s hard to know for sure when search terms are being used to find infringing content”.  Google has also stated an intention to improve its AdSense anti-piracy review.  It plans to build on the existing DMCA takedown procedures as well as “working with rightsholders to identify, and when appropriate, expel violators from the AdSense program”.

Finally Mr Kent noted that “most users want to access legitimate content and are interested in sites that make that content available to them (even if only on a preview basis)”.  Google therefore wants to find a way to make authorised content more accessible by making it easier to index and find.       

From the information released to date, it appears that such changes, at least in relation to DCMA takedown procedures, are only applicable to the United States.

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