Google updates copyright infringement initiatives

Following its December announcement of four initiatives to tackle the problem of copyright infringement online, Google has issued an update on its ongoing efforts.

In a Public Policy blog post, Kent Walker, Senior Vice President and General Counsel, reported that the company had made considerable progress on each front, and would continue to evolve its efforts in all four areas in the months to come.

In terms of the four areas, Walker revealed the following progress:

– Acting on reliable copyright takedown requests within 24 hours. “We promised to build tools to make it easier for rightsholders to submit DMCA takedown requests for Google products (starting with Blogger and Web Search), and to reduce our average response time to 24 hours or less for submissions using these new tools. We built the tools earlier this year, and they are now being successfully used by more than a dozen content industry partners who together account for more than 75 per cent of all URLs submitted in DMCA takedowns for Web Search. Our response time for these partners is now well below the 24 hour target. In the coming months, we will be making these tools available more broadly to those who have established a track record of submitting valid takedown requests.”

– Preventing terms that are closely associated with piracy from appearing in Autocomplete. “Beginning in January, we started filtering terms closely associated with infringement from Google Autocomplete, our feature that predicts search queries based on popular searches from other users.”

– Improving our AdSense anti-piracy review. “We have always prohibited the use of our AdSense program on web pages that provide infringing materials, and we routinely terminate publishers who violate our policies. In recent months, we have worked hard to improve our internal enforcement procedures. In April, we were among the first companies to certify compliance in the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s (IAB’s) Quality Assurance Certification program, through which participating advertising companies will take steps to enhance buyer control over the placement and context of advertising and build brand safety. In addition, we have invited rightsholder associations to identify their top priority sites for immediate review, and have acted on those tips when we have received them.”

– Improving visibility of authorised preview content in search results. “We have launched Music Rich Snippets, which allow legitimate music sites to highlight content in the snippets that appear in Google’s Web Search results. Rhapsody and MySpace are among the first to implement this feature, which has been developed using open web markup standards, and we are looking forward to more sites and search engines marking up their pages. We hope that authorised music sites will take advantage of Music Rich Snippets to make their preview content stand out in search results.”

Walker said that the four initiatives had been an important part of Google’s work combating piracy in recent months, but revealed that the company had been pursuing other avenues as well. “We continue to believe that making high-value content available in authorised forms is a crucial part of the battle against online infringement. We have expanded our movie rental services on YouTube and launched the Google eBookstore, featuring a wide array of books from authors and publishers. We also continue to improve YouTube’s Content ID system to help more copyright owners (including song-writers and music publishers) to monetise their works and are working with WIPO on a rights registry that will help African musicians license their works.”

He acknowledged that there was “plenty more to be done” and looked forward to further refining and improving Google’s processes in ways that help both rightsholders and users.

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