Is Google Censoring Links?

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Not too long ago, there was talk that the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry and the Recording Industry Association of America might sue Google, claiming that the web behemoth has used its search engine service to shape the online music market in a way trade groups do not like.

These recording industry giants reportedly pressured Google to "degrade" links to alleged "pirate" websites in search results, and that Google had profited from illegal internet file sharing by failing to do so.

New reports, however, suggest that Google is actively removing millions of links and cooperating proactively with copyright holders.

Check it out: just -released data from Google shows that the company said OK to 97 percent of these takedown requests from July 2011 to December 2011. The concern gets 250,000 requests each week -- more than the total received in all of 2009.

Google has long been publishing these transparency reports about takedown requests, but it looks like this is the first one to give a sense of which non-government entities are making these requests.

So which companies are behind the bulk of requests?

In the last month, the top copyright owners involved in requests were: Microsoft Corporation (536,716), NBC UNIVERSAL(165,662), BPI (British Recorded Music Industry) Ltd (151,087), Elegant Angel(41,803), RIAA member companies (EMI Music North America, Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group and their associated record labels) (31,922). A complete list is available here.

Google informs the owners of before removing a link from search results, and plans on sharing "all copies of removal requests to Chilling Effects -- a non profit organization working to protect lawful online activity from legal threats," notes Device Magazine. Users can also file a "counter notice" if they think the takedown request is bogus.

Wondering how these takedowns came about in the first place? Copyright holders can ask websites to prevent access to infringing content under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, TorrentFreak explains.

Follow Victoria Bekiempis @vicbekiempis.

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Staten Island Bob
Staten Island Bob

Big Brother is definitely watching. I wonder what bills are pending to squash our internet freedom. I guess we all realize it is only a matter of time until the government moves in. (They especially don't like anonymous criticism.) Imagine that, a forum for regular people to voice their discontent, without corporate media control. I know if the clampdown comes, they haven't seen anything yet, (as far as street protest goes). I can just see it now, President Romney issues an executive order and all hell breaks loose. (This is food for thought in this election year.)

kittylu
kittylu

Google just isn't what it used to be... the search results aren't relevant and it all seems like advertisement placement.

Michijo
Michijo

I never search through google. I use Ixquick.  It shields your privacy and provides many of the same results. I download a lot of pirated movies, most of the rare foreign films. I was quite pissed off originally that BTJunkie went down, though I found other places to get the same films. For instance, I am the proud owner of the entire Tony Gatlif collection. For sharing rare films, there is nothing like the internet!

Blogworld
Blogworld

Yes Google is Censoring the Internet.

Columbia University Computer Science Staff

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