Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Google Reports 2.5 Million Claims of Copyright Violations Per Week

Who really cares about copyright infringement?

Royalty free image via Photo Pin - photo credit below
Well if Google's statistics are any indication, more than 2.5 million per week.

That's the number of links that Google is removing from search results every week,   according to  Google Legal Director Fred Von Lohmann.  That number has increased exponentially since Google implemented its Transparency Report in mid-2012 showing such data.

When first implemented, Google was removing "only" 250,000 search results in response to such copyright infringement complaints.  But within six month the number has grown ten-fold.

Google penalizes websites that frequently violate copyright by lowering their position in Google's search engine results. 

So what is the lesson for writers?  Hard to say.

Technology has made it far easier to track copyright violations and plagiarism.  Before current technology it would have been impossible to track 2.5 million copyright infringement claims per week.

At first glance this would seem to benefit writers in protecting their intellectual property.  But copyfraud - that is claiming copyright that exceeds legitimate intellectual property interests - may also be empowered by this same technology.  The removal of web search results may also impair the ability to research, to share knowledge, and fair use of copyrighted material.

As the Zen Master said, "We'll see."

photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/40998831@N04/7203313120/">Los Amigos Del Fuego</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/">cc</a>

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