Between December 2011 and November 2012, Google, the search engine used by most Florida residents, complied with 97.5 percent of requests it received to remove URLs linked to material that allegedly infringes on copyrights, according to a recent blog post by Google’s legal director.
The Internet has a whole has been a battleground for copyright as artists, web developers, lawmakers and industry leaders struggle to adapt the concept to the web. Google understands that it is a market leader, legal director Fred Von Lohmann wrote, and about a year ago, decided it had a responsibility to help copyrights “work better” on the Internet.
At the beginning of its initiative to investigate allegedly infringing material, Google received about 250,000 requests per week, Lohmann wrote. It now receives about 2.5 million such requests per week and processes each request in approximately six hours.
The Recording Industry Association of America, which represents most major music labels, appears to be one the largest filers of requests to remove allegedly infringing URLs.
Although we approve of efforts to prevent copyright infringement, we also observe that not everyone is happy about this program. Some have accused Google of taking too much of a police officer role; others say strict interpretation of copyright rules as applied to the internet infringes on artistic innovation and discourages expression.
In the end, we come down in favor of efforts, like Google’s, that respect our intellectual property regime. We also commend the search engine for being open and providing clarity about its work in this area.
- Bloomberg, “Google Receiving 2.5 million Takedown Requests a Week,” Victoria Slind-Flor, Dec. 14, 2012
- Policy By The Numbers, “More data about copyright removals in Transparency Report,” Fred Von Lohmann, Dec. 11, 2012