Google improves DMCA/copyright compliance

Is Google not being evil by trying to protect copyright holders or are they just cozying up with media companies? Perhaps it's a bit of both.
Written by Christopher Dawson, Contributor

Google announced on Thursday that, as it has recently with YouTube, it would begin improving its responses to DMCA takedown notices. It will also begin working to prevent piracy-related sites from profiting through its advertising networks and services.

According to a blog post on Google's Public Policy site,

...we’re announcing four changes that we’ll be implementing over the next several months:

  • We’ll act on reliable copyright takedown requests within 24 hours. We will build tools to improve the submission process to make it easier for rightsholders to submit DMCA takedown requests for Google products (starting with Blogger and web Search). And for copyright owners who use the tools responsibly, we’ll reduce our average response time to 24 hours or less. At the same time, we’ll improve our “counter-notice” tools for those who believe their content was wrongly removed and enable public searching of takedown requests.
  • We will prevent terms that are closely associated with piracy from appearing in Autocomplete. While it’s hard to know for sure when search terms are being used to find infringing content, we’ll do our best to prevent Autocomplete from displaying the terms most frequently used for that purpose.
  • We will improve our AdSense anti-piracy review. We have always prohibited the use of our AdSense program on web pages that provide infringing materials. Building on our existing DMCA takedown procedures, we will be working with rightsholders to identify, and, when appropriate, expel violators from the AdSense program.
  • We will experiment to make authorised preview content more readily accessible in search results.

These changes build on our continuing efforts, such as Content ID, to give rightsholders choice and control over the use of their content

Sounds good, right? In principle, of course it sounds good. In practice, this now puts Google to work as piracy police. While automated tools for identifying copyrighted and infringing content are great, one has to wonder how effective enhanced reviews of their millions of Adsense customers will be.

Perhaps I've grown cynical, but I have to say that I also think the Register has it right in terms of motivation for these moves, despite some potentially high costs and shaky ground acting as the Internet's piracy ninjas:

Google...licenses some copyrighted content for use on YouTube. But it's hoping to further improve relations with the music, TV, and movie giants. Mountain View is working to license tunes from the labels for its own online music service, and it's negotiating with TV and movie types to stop them from blocking access to online content on its fledging television platform, Google TV.

Makes sense they'd want to take steps to "make nice with the big name record labels, TV networks, and movie studios" as they become content providers in their own right, instead of just a search tool to find content, regardless of its copyright status.

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