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Google Takedown Requests in 2016

Written by Samuel O'Toole on 16 January 2017

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“An individual wrote a negative review of a business on a complaints website. After the business threatened litigation for false allegations, the individual filed a copyright complaint to delist the page containing the review”

A takedown request is a process that complies with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Under this law Google, when properly notified, may disable access to content that offends the relative copyright law.

However, whilst the takedown request above was not successful, Google did remove 916 million URLs as a result of the copyright holder submitting a takedown request.

A staggering 263 million requests were filed by BPI, a group that represents the UK’s recorded music industry, of these 93% have been removed. Meaning that between 4 January 2016 and 4 January 2017 Google was very busy, and removed 22 URLs per hour, and this is from only one copyright holder!

The process its self is relatively straightforward. It all starts when a copyright owner will send Google a takedown request for allegedly infringing material. Following the request Google will review it for completeness and try to identify any other problems.

If the takedown request is complete and no other issues can be found, Google will remove the URL form search results. The administrator of the site will be notified through Google’s Search Console. However, following this process, a webmaster may issue a counter notification. The webmaster may be the administrator or service provider of the affected site.  

After a counter notification has been received by Google, Google its self will decide whether or not to reinstate the material. Although, it should be worth mentioning that Google will not act as a mediator, if the copyright owner still believes that the content is illegal they may file a claim in court to resolve the issue.

“An individual claiming to be a candidate for political office in Egypt filed a copyright complaint to delist 2 pages on Egyptian news sites reporting on the individual’s arrest record.” Google did not remove this one either on the grounds of fraudulent copyright claims.

It pays to know your copyright when considering a takedown request, if you need any help or guidance Lawdit is more than happy to help. 

If you'd like to know more about this article please send an email to Michael Coyle quoting the article title and any questions you might have, alternatively call the office number on 02380 235 979 or send an enquiry through our contact form.

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