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Google Businesses The Internet Censorship Your Rights Online

Is Google Silently Removing Posts? 153

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the communication-prevents-most-conspiracy-theories dept.
mrbill writes to tell us that several music bloggers believe that Google may be silently removing posts. Those especially prone to conspiracy theories think this may be a part of some greater nefarious action in cooperation with the RIAA. The LA Weekly story cites several sites and email/chat room discussion that points to the only common ground being Google's Blogger platform for sites that have had content mysteriously disappear. This still resides firmly in the wildly speculative realm of unfounded rumor but raises the question, should Google be required to notify a content creator when their IP has been deleted/removed?
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Is Google Silently Removing Posts?

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  • by cmprsdchse (656291) on Monday February 09, 2009 @06:27PM (#26791855)
    but it would certainly go a long way towards the perception of their actions as, "good form".
    • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohnNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday February 09, 2009 @06:32PM (#26791891) Journal

      but it would certainly go a long way towards the perception of their actions as, "good form".

      Actually, when they say this about content [blogger.com]

      We respect our users' ownership of and responsibility for the content they choose to share.

      (Emphasis mine) One would hope that entailed at least a notice about why your posting was deleted.

      Although I'm certain the RIAA has a trick for every day of the week to get content deleted instantly. Ex: Quotation of one line from a song without proper fair use attribution listed, DMCA notice sent.

      • by Wrath0fb0b (302444) on Monday February 09, 2009 @06:39PM (#26791951)

        Actually, when they say this about content

        We respect our users' ownership of and responsibility for the content they choose to share.

        (Emphasis mine) One would hope that entailed at least a notice about why your posting was deleted.

        I don't see how failure to provide notice about why your content was deleted can, in any way, be construed to disparage users' ownership of that content. I can think of many different cases in which a service provider could respect that a user owns some creative content and concurrently removes it from their service consistent with their terms.

        The question of who owns some content and whether it is appropriate to be posted on some service are entirely different.

        • Well... they'll just have to start backing-up their blogs to their c: drives, and that way when some get removed off the net, the blogger can instantly restore the censored post (with a note that it was censored). And keep doing it. Until Google bans them completely. And then the blogger can sue for breach of contract.

          Or just shoot the RIAA CEO in the head, which is probably easier and faster.

          • I'd like to second that motion with the addendum that we make it pay-per-view with the proceeds funding anti-*AA lobbyists.

        • by skaet (841938)

          The question of who owns some content and whether it is appropriate to be posted on some service are entirely different.

          I agree. Since this is all firmly in the Rumour Camp there's no evidence of what content was actually removed. What's to say the content was not blatantly infringing on copyrighted material? Let's say the user was providing links to torrents or explaining how/where to obtain illegal copies of music/movies. Who's right in that case? Is Google necessarily "evil" for protecting it's own arse and enforcing the studios and artists legal rights?

          Certainly proper attrition is required but if they can remove content

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by jafiwam (310805)

            Last time I cruised around Blogger (I have one there) it was about 100 to 1 ratio of bots and spammers sites, porn ads, and you name it to real user content.

            Very very little actual user updating a blog-type content.

            It's about time they started deleting stuff out of there.

            When an actual, real live blogger says their content was removed I'll be concerned. Otherwise this is probably just a case of "cleaning up a shithole".

          • by mackyrae (999347)
            I've had at least one post go missing on my blog. I posted about a belt I'd made that has commands like lspci, lsmod, cat, grep, dd, and others on it. It no longer exists anywhere on my blog, and I don't know why.
      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        Although I'm certain the RIAA has a trick for every day of the week to get content deleted instantly. Ex: Quotation of one line from a song without proper fair use attribution listed, DMCA notice sent.

        Well, this journal [slashdot.org] (my abandoned account) has been posted at slashdot since Feb 25 of last year and I'd guess it will stay there.

        I would imagine since slashdot has never been kind to the Reckless Idiots After Anybody, if they were going to demand that posts be removed we'd have heard about it.

    • by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Monday February 09, 2009 @07:44PM (#26792559)

      Repeat after me: If you use a free service, you are entitled to exactly what you paid for.

      Repeat after that: If I don't back up my work, one day I may lose it all.

      It's not like either of these things is news, and if it really is a freebie blogging service that Google provides where this is allegedly happening, then of course Google are perfectly within their rights to do anything up to and including shutting down the whole service without notice if they want to.

      It also amazes me that people still trust so much stuff they'd want to keep to free on-line e-mail services, Google's or otherwise. These things do go wrong or get closed down, and you have absolutely no comeback if that happens.

      • by gfxguy (98788)

        Well... nobody has complained the posts were removed (from the fine summary). The problem was that they didn't even notify people they were removing the content.

        Now, what you say is absolutely true; it's a free service and you get what you pay for.

        As someone quoted above, the terms state: "We respect our users' ownership of and responsibility for the content they choose to share."

        Deleting is OK, deleting without notification is well within their rights, but deleting without notification is hardly "respectf

    • by Z00L00K (682162)

      What about the freedom of speech?

      If it isn't illegal - is it permitted to remove it?

      OK - it's the internet, laws have a different meaning and different consequences.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Google is not a government entity. Freedom of speech doesn't apply.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Tuoqui (1091447)

          No but if these were removed via DMCA take down notices then they are legally obligated to inform the person in question.

          If they were not taken down via DMCA take down notice and were infact just someone like the RIAA asking them nicely then they're 'Do No Evil' motto is starting to fall by the wayside again.

          • ...they're[sic] 'Do No Evil' motto is starting to fall by the wayside again.

            Again? It had it's funeral on 2004-08-19

    • They shouldn't be required, but...?

      Wow, you might have set the record for the most terse combination of talking out of both sides of the mouth, mixed with some pretty neat self-canceling logic. Nice one. That's not easy to do. Unless you're a politician or a banker. In which case one can apparently do it in their sleep.

      I'm glad that laws like assault, murder, etc., weren't "composed" with the same, um, cyclical logic, house of mirrors, razzle dazzle. It's kind of like an intellect's version of an Escher dra

      • Failure flame fails.

        For good study on the difference between "doing good as required" and "doing good as a conscious choice", I refer you to "A Clockwork Orange", A. Burgess, ISBN-13: 978-0393312836

        • by ultranova (717540)

          For good study on the difference between "doing good as required" and "doing good as a conscious choice", I refer you to "A Clockwork Orange", A. Burgess, ISBN-13: 978-0393312836

          Fascinating debate as that might be, this story (and the book you referred to) is not about doing good but about not doing evil. There's a huge difference between being forced to do good and being forced to not do evil.

          • For good study on the difference between "doing good as required" and "doing good as a conscious choice", I refer you to "A Clockwork Orange", A. Burgess, ISBN-13: 978-0393312836

            Fascinating debate as that might be, this story (and the book you referred to) is not about doing good but about not doing evil. There's a huge difference between being forced to do good and being forced to not do evil.

            I have to disagree with you on there being a "huge difference." A difference, sure, but the biggest part is what they have in common: being forced one way or the other.

            Two sides of the same coin. It boils down to the concept of "free will" or, if you prefer as I do, the more secular "self-determination".

  • by sstpm (1463079) on Monday February 09, 2009 @06:28PM (#26791859)
    The Google tin foil hat is about to be launched. This is a ruse to drum up demand.
  • by winkydink (650484) * <sv.dude@gmail.com> on Monday February 09, 2009 @06:28PM (#26791861) Homepage Journal

    There should be something in there about what Google can and cannot do wrt unsubstantiated rumors and pure speculation. It think it's after the Indemnification clause.

  • by Wrath0fb0b (302444) on Monday February 09, 2009 @06:35PM (#26791921)

    This still resides firmly in the wildly speculative realm of unfounded rumor but raises the question, should Google be required to notify a content creator when their IP has been deleted/removed?

    Is there any requirement in the agreement between Google and the creator to so do? I highly doubt it. In the absence of such a requirement I don't see any reason to think that they have any such obligation. I searched their web-site and I see no indication that have made any representations to the contrary.

    Now, if the current agreement between Blogger and the content creators is satisfactory, they can take their content elsewhere. Perhaps a competing blog service can offer more agreeable terms and attract more content creators, or perhaps content creators prefer Blogger's service, even with onerous TOS, over the competitor's service for whatever reason (after all, IP policies are the not the end-all here).

    In short, I don't see any reason for people to become histrionic when a service provider doesn't deliver goods that they never promised.

  • by SterlingSylver (1122973) on Monday February 09, 2009 @06:36PM (#26791931)
    Slashdot: Wildly Speculative Realms of Unfounded Rumor for Nerds. Stuff that Could Conceivably Matter if in Fact True.
    • by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Monday February 09, 2009 @06:40PM (#26791967) Homepage Journal

      No, I think that one's already taken by Macrumors.com.

      • That could also apply to the Inquirer (www.theinquirer.net). My comment about speculation on rumors: Let's face it, it can be entertaining.

      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        The vast majority of Mac users are NOT nerds. The vast majority of slashdotters are.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by spun (1352)

      Now look, everybody knows that the Rand Corporation, in conjunction with the reverse vampires, has been secretly monitoring the meaningless babble of music nerds in order to develop non lethal weaponry capable of putting just about anyone to sleep.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        California attacks to control the Secret Masters of Fandom with the assistance of The Gnomes of Zurich. Take that!

      • in order to develop non lethal weaponry capable of putting just about anyone to sleep.

        And they've acquired commercial music radio stations to perform experiments with their progress. It's quite effective.

    • "Slashdot: Wildly Speculative Realms of Unfounded Rumor for Nerds. Stuff that Could Conceivably Matter if in Fact True."

      "..., And Ponies!"

    • by Nimey (114278)

      "New"? That's been the invisible tagline for a while now, especially when Zonk used to post or when kdawson currently posts stories.

  • WTF? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Al Al Cool J (234559) on Monday February 09, 2009 @06:36PM (#26791935)

    I had first post, and now it's gone!

  • by NonUniqueNickname (1459477) on Monday February 09, 2009 @06:38PM (#26791941)
    FTA:

    on everything from Abba to Zappa

    So posts on ZZ Top are safe? Good.

    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      ZZ comes before Za in some sort orders.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        ZZ comes before Za in some sort orders.

        And Aa comes after Za in some sort orders.

        Your point?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by the phantom (107624)
      Maybe ZZ Top is sorted as "Top, ZZ."
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 09, 2009 @06:42PM (#26791977)

    This blog had some of it's posts removed without warning or explanation.
     
    "Without warning, Google removed three old posts from the blog, and offered no explanation. They then followed by removing Remix Sunday 131, and 132- and offered a brief explanation."
     
    http://palmsout.blogspot.com/search/label/Remix%20Sunday

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dcollins (135727)

      That's actually a pretty informative example. Google is complying with the legalities of a DMCA takedown notice, and clearly informing the blog owner. The blog owner is responding by saying that they can't narrow down what part of the blog post in question is objectionable, and therefore picking up and moving their blog to another site.

      In this particular case I don't that Google could have done anything one whit better.

  • Web Sheriff (Score:4, Informative)

    by hack slash (1064002) on Monday February 09, 2009 @06:43PM (#26791995)
    Oh FFS, not those bloody clowns again...

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/10/27/canada_rocker/ [theregister.co.uk]
    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/11/14/prince_b3ta_dmca/ [theregister.co.uk]
    http://torrentfreak.com/village-people-hire-web-sheriff-080215/ [torrentfreak.com]
    http://stereogum.com/archives/web-sheriff-to-mp3-bloggers-happy-easter-thanks-fo_008539.html [stereogum.com]
    etc.
    etc.

    But I've figured out a way to defeat them: someone should take Bob Marley's lyrics literally.
    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      But I've figured out a way to defeat them: someone should take Bob Marley's lyrics literally.

      "No woman, no cry." I think we at slashdot have that one covered!

  • Free Ride (Score:2, Insightful)

    by retech (1228598)
    In the end, this is like a hitchhiker bitching when their ride only takes them part way. If it's free, you don't have much to complain about. If you'd like complete freedom, host your own blog, but do it on your own server... with your own lines... etc etc...
    • Re:Free Ride (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) * on Monday February 09, 2009 @07:43PM (#26792549) Homepage Journal

      It's like if you're hitchhiking from St. Louis to Denver, and someone picks you up and tells you they'll take you all the way to Denver, then kicks you out of the car somewhere in Kansas. What, you haven't seen a building or another car for an hour? Tough shit, pal, get out and walk.

      Free or not, it doesn't matter. If you say you're offering a service to someone, you need to offer it. If you're not willing to live up to the offer, don't make it.

      • by retech (1228598)
        Or don't ever use something free, in the end there are NO guarantees and since you paid NOTHING you have no loss.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by interkin3tic (1469267)

          Or don't ever use something free

          EVER? Uh... where can I buy some bottled air then?

          • by retech (1228598)
            At scuba shops, airgas suppliers and industrial suppliers. And, oddly enough, since they do sell bottled air it comes with a certain set of guarantees. Not entirely sure what your point was, since this is a prime example of getting what you pay for.
          • where can I buy some bottled air then?

            http://www.oxygenpod.com/index.php [oxygenpod.com]

            P.S. They also sell it on planet Spaceball

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          So in your mind, there's no obligation unless money changes hands? If you say you'll do someone a favor, do you feel free not to do it unless they pay you?

          How much do they have to pay you to create a sense of obligation in your mind? A penny? A dollar? A thousand dollars? What's your price for keeping your word?

          If you tell someone upfront that you'll only do something for a certain amount of money, then fine; you're under no obligation to do anything unless they meet your price. But once you commit, s

          • With favours, there is an implied social contract. There are even laws covering it, see promisory estoppel.

      • Re:Free Ride (Score:5, Interesting)

        by interkin3tic (1469267) on Monday February 09, 2009 @08:46PM (#26793073)

        It's like if you're hitchhiking from St. Louis to Denver, and someone picks you up and tells you they'll take you all the way to Denver, then kicks you out of the car somewhere in Kansas. What, you haven't seen a building or another car for an hour? Tough shit, pal, get out and walk.

        I think a better metaphor would be that a neighbor invites you to a party at his house, you're enjoying yourself. Then suddenly he turns off the lights for a minute, complete dark. It's fair, they're his lights and he's paying the bill, but it is annoying, pointless, and he did invite you there in the first place.

    • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

      Absolutely.

      Though, it is common courtesy to inform a hitchhiker of your nefarious plan to sodomise them, prior to entering into an agreement.

      This is generally discouraged in the "Little Book of Highway Rape" handbook, though.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by 1u3hr (530656)
      In the end, this is like a hitchhiker bitching

      Like all car analogies here, it's quite inappropriate and misleading.

      Google is getting FREE CONTENT from bloggers, and SELLING ADS on the pages. It's not a charity.

  • Impossible (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    google is not evil. you don't believe me. just ask them! better yet google it ...post removed my google!!

  • It's no suprise really. Hell, artists (the people who actually come up with the material) might get the impression that they would get better results and be better off financially going it alone and using blogs and other forums as promotion than they would being protected by the RIAA from all those nasty pirates and copyright violators. The excutives need to be kept in nice suits, BMWs and have enough left over to snort coke off the arses of strippers wearing clear heels. It has little to do with any concre
  • Please stop. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Monday February 09, 2009 @06:53PM (#26792075)

    Every week now it seems there is a new target of our collective paranoia. So let's set the record straight for this and all future stories like this. First, the internet is global. The wires, routers, satellites, cables, and equipment are collectively owned by hundreds of companies, scattered throughout every country in the world. Each of those countries feels they have a right to censor or control, to varying degrees, what their citizens say and do. In each of those countries, there are states, counties, municipalities, cities, corporations, organizations, groups, and individuals, all of whom believe they are also entitled to the same thing. Their ideologies are varied, as are their methods, their targets, and their success.

    People have been trying to shut other people up and control them since time began. And people have fought back. Whether Google is censoring or not is irrelevant. What matters is whether anyone fights back. All any of us can do is support anyone who does, and continue to provide the tools to ensure that anyone who wants to listen, can. So if you are one of those being censored by google, step forward, give us your message, and we will do our best to put it everywhere there is an audience for it. Otherwise, can it about the conspiracy theories. They have their laws, and we have ours.

    • Re:Please stop. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by try_anything (880404) on Monday February 09, 2009 @07:24PM (#26792355)

      Whether Google is censoring or not is irrelevant. What matters is whether anyone fights back.

      I'm confused. Fighting back, supporting those who fight back, and bypassing censorship require knowing when censorship happens and who is responsible for it. By that reasoning, it's hard to see how it's irrelevant whether Google is censoring or not.

      "Please stop." Please stop sharing information and doing collective investigation about censorship? Just fight back randomly against... everybody? Even those who don't censor? Work hard to find alternative means of distribution for... all speech? Even the stuff that hasn't been censored?

      It seems more constructive to focus efforts on actual censors and instances of actual censorship. Hence, discussions like this are important and relevant. The facts have to be established before anyone knows what action to take. Whether this particular discussion should have made the front page of Slashdot before the facts were better established is another question (and IMHO the answer is "no.")

      • By that reasoning, it's hard to see how it's irrelevant whether Google is censoring or not.

        Whether google is censoring or not is irrelevant because it is difficult to prove censorship. And the determination of whether censorship is (or is not) occurring is immaterial to our response. And our response should be to copy and disseminate the allegedly censored information.

        "Please stop." Please stop sharing information and doing collective investigation about censorship? Just fight back randomly against... everybody? Even those who don't censor? Work hard to find alternative means of distribution for... all speech? Even the stuff that hasn't been censored?

        I was referring to the wasting of time and energy on guessing whether google is censoring or not absent hard evidence, not everything else you just mentioned. And as an aside, do you find it difficult to connect people's individual

        • I'm not sure if I'm getting trolled or not, but....

          And the determination of whether censorship is (or is not) occurring is immaterial to our response. And our response should be to copy and disseminate the allegedly censored information.

          This is a recipe for abuse. Crying censorship is a regular tactic in art (where being comfortably tolerated by the establishment is the ultimate embarrassment,) commerce (get the new super cure that the pharmaceutical industry doesn't want you to know about!) and politics. Think of how often conservatives lament the liberal media that keeps them down, and how the liberals went on and on about Fox News hosts who shout over everything their guests say. Bei

      • by Kamineko (851857)
        > Just fight back randomly against... everybody?

        No, silly! Fight back against 'The Man', of course!

    • Re:Please stop. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by LWATCDR (28044) on Monday February 09, 2009 @07:39PM (#26792519) Homepage Journal

      I must say that I find it odd. Someone posts a link to a pirated MP3 and that link gets taken down. People define that as censorship?
      Then they wrap it in the flag of free speech and fighting for freedom...

      I would think that posting a recording of someone else as their speech is at best plagiarism. Hey I can see saying that piracy is at worst a civil issue and not criminal. Or that suing your customers is a bad plan. However taking down posts to copyrighted MP3s just doesn't infringe on people's liberties.

      • by 1u3hr (530656)
        Someone posts a link to a pirated MP3 and that link gets taken down.

        RTFA. These cases are about music released by record companies (their "right hand") to promote their albums. The blogs in question were giving them free advertising. Then the lawyers, (the "left hand") discovers these same promotional tracks online and complains about it.

        • by LWATCDR (28044)

          No they are not. If they gave a link to the site that was giving away the tracks then it would be free advertising.
          My wife does digital scrapbooking. A lot of designers will give away kits of artwork on their sites.
          They ask that people link to their sites but not right to the kits.
          They want people to see the other stuff on the sites and maybe buy something.
          Same thing here.
          And it also doesn't matter if it is a mistake by the lawyers. They are within their rights even if it is counter productive.
          The key part

          • by 1u3hr (530656)
            The key part of my post is simply posting other people's works without their permission is not an example of free speech!

            Who said the argument was "free speech"? Straw man.

    • by russotto (537200)

      Every week now it seems there is a new target of our collective paranoia.

      Yeah, we're all paranoid. There's no way we actually have enemies. The idea that large organizations would take it upon themselves to sue thousands of individuals based on the flimsiest of claims is ludicrous. The thought that a company might be selling our information to marketing firms -- or out-and-out criminals -- is insane. And certainly one large company would never co-operate with a large organization to avoid being sued ov

  • Terms of Use (Score:3, Informative)

    by chicago_scott (458445) on Monday February 09, 2009 @06:57PM (#26792117) Journal

    What entity should require Google to inform the IP holder? If the answer is the government through legislation then my answer is no, Google shouldn't be required to notify the IP holder.

    If the answer is that the users of Blogger should be able to hold Google accountable for deleted or lost IP through a Terms of Use agreement enforceable by the Courts, then my answer is yes.

    But the first step would be for the IP holder to not agree to the Terms of Use set forth by Google/Blogger and pressure then to change the terms of service, which state in part:

    o Google also reserves the right to modify, suspend or discontinue the Service with or without notice at any time and without any liability to you.

    o You agree that Google has no responsibility or liability for the deletion of, or the failure to store or to transmit, any Content and other communications maintained by the Service. Google retains the right to create limits on use and storage at our sole discretion at any time with or without notice.

  • no conspiracy is complete without Microsoft!!!

    and the bizzare thing is, most of us will think it's plausile no matter how much it contradicts itself.

  • I just posted something that was sure to be modded insightful +5, but it has vanished! Seriously!
  • Post deleted by google due to copyright violation.

  • well maybe we can see if it's true.
    http://riaatoday.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com]
    http://riaatoday.com/ [riaatoday.com]
    If you want to be able to post here, send me your e-mail address. ramjet at sfdj.net
  • Dude, don't use google software for your blog. Wordpress: they'll host it for you, or you can set it up in 10 minutes yourself.
    • by mackyrae (999347)
      Blogger can take Slashdot or Digg. Wordpress.com cannot. Blogger lets you have complete control over the site's style. Wordpress.com does not.
  • It's a free service (Score:2, Informative)

    by jalefkowit (101585)
    ... and you get what you pay for.
  • should Google be required to notify a content creator when their IP has been deleted/removed?

    No, they shouldn't. And if you don't like it, quit being a pansy who wants everything for free and start hosting your own blog on an account that you paid for. Then the only person you can blame for "censorship" is yourself.

  • How about notify their users.

    Yes, i know they are a private company, not held to constitutional standards, bla bla bla, but what they are doing is wrong.

  • Those especially prone to conspiracy theories...

    should have more important conspiracies to be theorizing than RIAA teaming up with google.

  • Slashdot posts article about Google silently erasing posts.

    Slashdot goes down (I got all sorts of page errors first time I tried to read this thread).

    Coincidence?

  • I thought they said they wouldn't be evil? Google... they said that...

  • This is a free site, to post freely anything you want, without paying anything, so if anything happens, you can not blame anyone. If you pay 30/month for a website, that has a posting blog forum on it, and you have backups, and something goes wrong, then you can call and say, please restore the backup.

    If its free, then you can't complain, same as having a hotmail account without a backup system for your emails...what do you expect? You are not in control.

  • Have you read 1984? They didn't only change/hide the news, but they rewrote history to back the fake news context.

    Now, think of that... Think that Google hosts a big share of information and that share grows every year. Extrapolate that to 10 or 20 years. It doesn't seem so ridiculous, doesn't it?

Statistics are no substitute for judgement. -- Henry Clay

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