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Who Sends Google the Most Takedown Notices? Microsoft 148

Posted by Soulskill
from the going-for-the-high-score dept.
nk497 writes "Google has released details on the copyright takedown notices it's received over the past year, and the most requests by far have been from Microsoft. Over the past year, Google has received DMCA takedown notices for 2,544,209 URLs over Microsoft-related piracy, with NBC and the RIAA ranking second and third. Many of the reports do not come directly from companies such as Microsoft, but via firms set up only to chase copyright issues. The most popular targets appear to be file-sharing sites. 'These days it's not unusual for us to receive more than 250,000 requests each week, which is more than what copyright owners asked us to remove in all of 2009,' said Fred von Lohmann, Google senior copyright counsel, adding it takes on average 11 hours for Google to take action."
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Who Sends Google the Most Takedown Notices? Microsoft

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  • potential iffyness (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MrDoh! (71235) on Friday May 25, 2012 @07:53AM (#40108239) Homepage Journal

    Must be an odd position to be in where your competitor can take down the main thing you do. Ok, infringement obviously needs to be taken down quickly, but I can see there being a huge issue here later.
    Is there something that matches this in Bing? And if there is, wonder how quickly Google will take down pirate apk sites.

    Ok, had to pause a moment there. Doing a search for;
    "free pirate android apps"
    on google/bing produces wildly different results as you'd imagine. Wonder how this will go.

    • by SJHillman (1966756) on Friday May 25, 2012 @07:58AM (#40108267)

      Google and Bing give wildly different results on many different topics, including topics that both companies are disinterested/uninterested parties. Not to say they aren't skewing the results of some hot topics, just that different results are to be expected for almost anything.

    • by dc29A (636871) * on Friday May 25, 2012 @08:02AM (#40108313)

      Strange that MS doesn't remove [techdirt.com] from Bing the same links it asks Google to take out.

      • by SgtChaireBourne (457691) on Friday May 25, 2012 @08:08AM (#40108359) Homepage
        Of course not. The goal is less about taking down the sites and more about burning Google's resources through excessive takedown requests. Google ought to queue the requests in a FIFO pipe and process a small number per day. Maybe they could require payment for the processing, which does cost Google real money, to offset the time and resources wasted.
        • by Anonymous Coward

          Payment for every request lodged per day over X perhaps - at a rate that increases as more are lodged.

          While my first thought was the same as yours - with pirated windows being microsoft's second favourite operating system, it is a little disingenuous to believe that they care more about attempting to curb piracy or even being seen to attempt to curb piracy than they do about wasting a competitor's resources in any way possible, especially given that they aren't removing those links from their own search eng

        • by atlasdropperofworlds (888683) on Friday May 25, 2012 @09:54AM (#40109083)

          It could be more insidious than that. By flooding Google with requests, Google will automate the process. In fact, I bet they already have. This means less human oversight, and a greater chance that anything can be censored.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by squiggleslash (241428)

          Or maybe Microsoft's lawyers don't bother sending the same notices to Bing because, well, who uses Bing?

          (OK, I use Bing once in a while, before going back to Google when I realize Bing is just as crappy as Google search.)

        • by Marillion (33728)
          Google should charge US$0.99 per take down for "administrative cost recovery" or some other similar reason. It's a price high enough to stop "frivolous" take downs. It's low enough that people who are actually loosing money because of a link should have no qualms about paying.
      • by Grayhand (2610049) on Friday May 25, 2012 @08:17AM (#40108415)

        Strange that MS doesn't remove [techdirt.com] from Bing the same links it asks Google to take out.

        What are you implying? Next thing you'll claim Fox News only attacks liberals? You'd think everyone had an agenda.

      • by Exitar (809068) on Friday May 25, 2012 @08:58AM (#40108669)

        The goal is to make Bing the search engine most used by people looking for copyrighted content, since they could not find it on Google anymore.

        Google should simply submit the same take down notice to Microsoft if the "illegal" link is found on Bing too.

        • Google should simply submit the same take down notice to Microsoft if the "illegal" link is found on Bing too.

          They probably can't, since they aren't the copyright owner. I would think it would be easier to make some kind of case that if one party doesn't care enough to remove content from their own engine then the cost burden of doing so on the other should be compensated.

          • by ratboy666 (104074)

            I believe you are right. But... instead of removing links to Microsoft copyright material based on a DMCA request, why not replace the search request with a Bing derived search? Even label it as such.

            Should be automatable. (If DMCA copyright holder is Microsoft, search for the specific item on Bing, from the DMCA request; if found, annotate the result w/ Bing! instead of DMCA removal).

        • by geniice (1336589)

          Depending on how you read the DMCA that would ever be perjury or straightforward fraud.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Inda (580031)
        There's nothing strange at all.

        The only reason those results are on Bing is because Microsoft scraped Google's search results.
      • Maybe MS doesn't see a lot of click-through on those links and can actually do the calculus. I wouldn't be surprised if most pirates use Google since most people use Google. Or maybe the people in charge of this (since this does take MS resources to issue the takedowns) are just too brain-dead to search Bing as well. Or maybe Bing's takedown procedure is far more arcane and costly than Google's?

        Hanlon's razor, people. Use it.

        • by 1u3hr (530656)

          I wouldn't be surprised if most pirates use Google

          I thought "pirates" were those who made the files available. Not those who download them.Anyway,it's still trivial to download any MS software. The hassle is you have to look out for malware and then find a WGA crack. Rather than go through all that crap, when I was given a used corporate laptop with a heavily passworded Vista setup and faced wiping and reinstall to get a useful system, I just said "fuck all that" and got Ubuntu. My daughter complained, but she got used to it.

          • Yes, I apparently have been brain-wormed by the media since I was using "pirates" with the media definition rather than the more accurate, geeky definition. Stupid brain worms.

        • Sigh, the SOP when trying to make a product prevail over the competition is twofold:

          A - make your product better
          B - make the competition's product worse

          And the takedown notices flood logically follows.

          If you still think it's far fetched ask yourself: did MS ever use piracy of its own products for its own advantage in term of market share? answer, yes.

          Fact is, hanlon's razor contradicts occam's razor: it gives a predetermined weight over interpretation of facts that is proven irrelevant by the very existence

      • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

        by jdev (227251)

        Strange that MS doesn't remove [techdirt.com] from Bing the same links it asks Google to take out.

        No, they just realize that nobody uses Bing :) They send the takedown to Google first since that will do more good.

    • by sideslash (1865434) on Friday May 25, 2012 @08:03AM (#40108319)

      I wouldn't expect Google to have the same interest in censoring Android app results on Bing, because the relatively few apps actually owned by Google are generally released for free anyway, whereas Microsoft has a ton of commercial software that many people consider desirable to rip off, like Windows, Office, MS Game Studios titles, etc.

      Recall that in general for Microsoft, software is something they create to sell to the public. For Google, software is something they give away free so that they can sell people's private browsing experiences to advertisers.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Pirate apk sites? Damn those rogue HOSTS files!

    • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Friday May 25, 2012 @08:34AM (#40108525)

      infringement obviously needs to be taken down quickly

      Obviously for you, maybe. Copyright infringement is supposed to be decided by courts, which is not an 11 hour process.

      • by KhabaLox (1906148)

        They are de-listing the sites in their search results, not confiscating the domain.

        • Which is a technique that is used by China as part of their censorship apparatus. Delisting search results is still an attack on free speech, even if the origin website remains accessible; if you are wondering just how important search engine results are, consider the effort spent on "search engine optimization" as well as the money Google makes displaying sponsored search results.
      • by Hillgiant (916436)

        All suspects are GUILTY. Otherwise they wouldn't be suspect.

    • by cpu6502 (1960974) on Friday May 25, 2012 @09:29AM (#40108887)

      The simple answer is that Microsoft has more copyrighted things out in the wild..... Windows of course, but also their various office products, and also games for the Xbox. - Google has less to protect and less infringement to deal with.

      I would have thought the top requester would be the government itself. They are #2 on youtube, demanding that videos be taken down.

    • by jc42 (318812)

      Ok, infringement obviously needs to be taken down quickly, but I can see there being a huge issue here later.

      Except that the topic isn't infringment; it's claimed infringement. Counts for the two could easily differ by orders of magnitude.

      I don't think it would be difficult to write a script that wanders around a target site, picking pages at random, and generating a "takedown" message. I could probably produce such a script in under a day that targets google. The most time-consuming part of the task would probably be getting the template for the message from our company's legal department.

      When google is r

  • by Grayhand (2610049) on Friday May 25, 2012 @07:55AM (#40108253)
    Who knew they were so protective of Bob and Clippy?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 25, 2012 @08:50AM (#40108625)

      Clippy: "It looks like you're writing a DMCA take-down notice..."

  • Broken. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 25, 2012 @07:57AM (#40108263)

    The DMCA seems broken. No one can possibly deal with all those notices. They'd have to use an automated system or have an inconceivable amount of manpower on their hands. To top it all off, there are bound to be mistakes.

    Copyright enforcement is just scary.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      They'd have to use an automated system

      "Works as intended".

    • by geniice (1336589)

      All the alternatives are worse. Remember we are not dealing with subtle grades of fair use of complex issues over how long certain copyrights last. You can deal with them at a rate of about 1 a minute assuming you've got everything other than Y/N/Escalate automated. Assuming a 38 hour working week that's 110 people. The other half of the budget goes to the 10 lawyers or so needed to deal with the messy stuff. For a company of google's size that's quite doable.

  • by captainpanic (1173915) on Friday May 25, 2012 @08:00AM (#40108283)

    The real business case is no longer the software. As the article says, there are now dedicated companies who chase copyright issues. If they cannot find a copyright issue, they'll go bankrupt. If they find more copyright issues than last year (and win a few lawsuits), they'll make profit.

    I guess that soon enough, we cannot change the copyright laws anymore, because the copyright-chasers would lose their revenues.

    • by tqk (413719) <s.keeling@mail.com> on Friday May 25, 2012 @08:13AM (#40108393)

      As the article says, there are now dedicated companies who chase copyright issues.

      Yes, and doesn't that strike you as just plain sick?

      It's interesting how many of these requests are received, but I couldn't easily find out how many of them were declined. Does anyone have a link to this information?

      I did not RTFA, but I did read this [techdirt.com], which seemed a good overall review of the features. It looks like a very nice thing for Google to put out.

      That said, I'll stick with Ixquick, thanks.

      • by chrismcb (983081)

        As the article says, there are now dedicated companies who chase copyright issues.

        Yes, and doesn't that strike you as just plain sick?

        Yes, it just goes to show how greedy the average public is.

  • by biodata (1981610) on Friday May 25, 2012 @08:00AM (#40108285)
    It's interesting how many of these requests are received, but I couldn't easily find out how many of them were declined. Does anyone have a link to this information? It seems a bit surprising if there are not a single false positive in all those millions of requests. Is it the case that once someone asks for something to be taken down, Google cannot decline, even if the request is wrong?
    • by biodata (1981610) on Friday May 25, 2012 @08:09AM (#40108373)
      Never mind found it in the FAQ: they removed 97% of search results specified in requests received between July and December 2011. The cases they talk about declining to remove are a laugh.
      • Never mind found it in the FAQ: they removed 97% of search results specified in requests received between July and December 2011. The cases they talk about declining to remove are a laugh.

        In case anybody is interested, I found the FAQ here [google.com].

        Here are a few examples of requests that have been submitted through our copyright removals process that were clearly invalid copyright removal requests.

        A major U.S. motion picture studio requested removal of the IMDb page for a movie released by the studio, as well as the official trailer posted on a major authorized online media service.
        A U.S. reporting organization working on behalf of a major mo

      • Can you point me to a link for the FAQ which gave you a laugh? A laugh would be good. Thanks!
        • by biodata (1981610)
          Please see poster above you. I especially like this one: A content protection organization for motion picture, record and sports programming companies requested the removal of search results that link to copyright removal requests submitted by one of their clients and other URLs that did not host infringing content.
    • by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Friday May 25, 2012 @08:14AM (#40108395)
      Under the DMCA, more-or-less. For a service provider to decline a DMCA notice means they can be potentially liable, so unless the content in question is of particually high value of the customer pays very well they have little incentive to even give the contents of the notice a glance. Take it down first, ask questions later.
    • by CastrTroy (595695)
      I'm not sure whether or not they can decline. I think not. However, the proper procedure [creativecommons.org] for a takedown notice states that the person requesting the takedown must submit

      5. A statement, under penalty of perjury, that the information in the notification is accurate and that you are authorized to act on behalf of the owner of the exclusive right that is alleged to be infringed.

      So while I'm sure that there are some false positives, there are some people that would submit things which weren't actually infringe

      • by Shagg (99693)

        It's a nice theory, but I've never heard of anyone actually being held accountable for submitting a false DMCA.

  • by ciantic (626550) on Friday May 25, 2012 @08:08AM (#40108361)
    Hey! On a related note now there is a list of all file sharing domains in one place: http://www.google.com/transparencyreport/removals/copyright/domains/?r=all-time [google.com] - neatly organized.
    • by poetmatt (793785)

      Short for: these are the websites you clearly *could* go to in order to find what you want to download. I'm surprised scrapetorrent isn't at the top of the list since it's a decent aggregator.

    • I can see right through that transparency report!
    • That's awful. I hate loopholes even more than bad laws.

  • by jez9999 (618189) on Friday May 25, 2012 @08:08AM (#40108365) Homepage Journal

    ... US-style.

  • by crazyjj (2598719) * on Friday May 25, 2012 @08:10AM (#40108383)

    These days it's not unusual for us to receive more than 250,000 requests each week, which is more than what copyright owners asked us to remove in all of 2009

    In that case, they'll win the war any day now.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 25, 2012 @08:22AM (#40108449)

    why isn't there a google alternative that is worth a damn, that isn't in the US, isn't hosted in the US and doesn't use a US-controlled TLD, and thus, not subject to this DMCA bullshit?

    • by MobyDisk (75490)

      google.cn? [google.cn]

    • by bgarcia (33222)

      why isn't there a google alternative that is worth a damn, that isn't in the US, isn't hosted in the US and doesn't use a US-controlled TLD, and thus, not subject to this DMCA bullshit?

      Here you go: Baidu [baidu.cn]

    • by westlake (615356)

      why isn't there a google alternative that is worth a damn, that isn't in the US, isn't hosted in the US and doesn't use a US-controlled TLD, and thus, not subject to this DMCA bullshit?

      The Gross Domestic Product of the U.S. [google.com] is 15 trillion dollars and the Population of the U.S. [google.com] is 312 million.

      Only the EU as a whole produces wealth on anything like this scale.

      The geek may fret and fume and claim otherwise.

      But, realistically, your people and operations based in the states will be quite safe from mob violence, religious persecution, political and economic upheavels of every sort.

      The search provider is, of course, only a half step away from becoming a content provider, with its own IP and

    • You could try Yandex, it is pretty decent, and is not subject to DMCA.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 25, 2012 @08:28AM (#40108477)

    ..to just not index any page containing the term Microsoft? Just add it to the stopword list already.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      And then Google finds itself facing both an anti-trust suit and millions of customers leaving it.

      Thanks for the idea, but the lawyers say no, and the beancounters say HELL NO FYOU!

  • Can I get some best guesses as to what year the first shooting war between two modern corporations will take place?

    It has to be a) an actual declaration of hostilities, with a competing facility being destroyed and b) there has to be human casualties (preferably employees of one of the corporations).

    I'm setting the over/under at 2020. Winner gets paid in Bitcoin.

    2001 only counts if you're a ronpaulie.

    • by geniice (1336589)

      Define modern because the East India company got up to some interesting stuff. Otherwise you would be looking at the activities of various mining companies in the DRC in the 90s.

    • A corporation with power sufficiently unrestricted to wage open war is indistinguishable from an authoritarian government.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      No guesses like that but I'm guessing it will be between Coca-Cola and Nestle.

  • As apple has shown us over and over again, if you can't outdo your competition, go through legal channels to remove it.
    I guess Microsoft thought it'd try it as well.
  • by thue (121682) on Friday May 25, 2012 @09:33AM (#40108915) Homepage

    Computers nowadays don't come with a Windows CD. So if a virus messes up my computer, what am I to do?

    I have always downloaded a Windows ISO off the Pirate Bay, which I do with an entirely clean conscience, since I own a valid Windows Key, which Microsoft also checks when I actually install windows. Websites like the Pirate Bay is what makes it actually a tiny bit user-friendly to use Windows, in spite of Microsoft.

    • Computers nowadays don't come with a Windows CD.

      I've bought two this year both came with a Win7 OEM DVD and a key, I had to 'remind' one sales guy that I was entiled to the half price OEM copy that comes with just about every motherboard, he wanted to sell me the retail version. I reminded him after we negotiate a price of course :)

      Personally I wouldn't stick a cracked .iso on my machine. Now you can call me a shill if you like but you'd be wrong, I do my banking and work from home 2 days a week, my computers are my tools of trade and I simply don't t

      • by vux984 (928602)

        Personally I wouldn't stick a cracked .iso on my machine.

        Even if the torrent hash matches the official file from technet?

        I was getting dismal download speeds on a 4GB iso the other day, so i hit pirate bay to get it. Same hash, same file, 1.8MB/s instead of 18kb/s...

        • Yes you can validate .iso files with a lot less than $150 worth of your time and if this wasn't slashdot that would be informative :)

          I'm a 50+ corporate data plumber and have made a good living at it for 20yrs. I don't like the current IP laws, they are the proverbial dog's breakfast. I think the *IAA's should be prosecuted under racketering laws in the US for bankrupting avaerage Joe's, thankfully they can't pull that shit here in Oz and pretend it's not extortion.

          Having said that, for at least the l
    • If you're genuinely interested.

      Computers nowadays don't come with a Windows CD. So if a virus messes up my computer, what am I to do?

      1. All major manufacturers provide a way to burn "recovery disks".
      2. If you don't create recovery disks, you call the OEM and they'll ship you the appropriate disks. More details here [microsoft.com].
      3. P.S. - you should've installed MSE/not clicked on that unknown attachment, then, shouldn't you (snark off).

      I have always downloaded a Windows ISO off the Pirate Bay, which I do with an entirely clean conscience, since I own a valid Windows Key, which Microsoft also checks when I actually install windows.

      4. You can call Microsoft direct if you have a key. On their web site [microsoft.com], they provide this contact information:

      • United States: (800) 360-7561, Monday through Friday, 5:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M.
      • by thue (121682)

        > 1. 2. 3.

        I have needed it to restore some old inherited laptops with Windows. And once for my home computer, which I assembled from scratch, reusing a Windows key from a laptop, so no OEM to call.

        > 4. You can call Microsoft direct if you have a key.

        Last time I called them (in Denmark), asking for a link to an iso, their supporter told me I couldn't get one. He suggested I download one off the pirate bay.

    • Computers nowadays don't come with a Windows CD. So if a virus messes up my computer, what am I to do?

      Install MyCleanPC [xubuntu.org], which doesn't get Windows viruses.

      Clean, precise, pangolin-powered. MyCleanPC [xubuntu.org].

  • 2,544,209 URLs that Microsoft has checked and confirmed in order to meet the good faith requirement of the DMCA.
    Imagine the incredible number of jobs the copyright-infringement industry has created.

  • Google is just a search engine. Shouldn't the take-down notices be sent to the website host instead? Let search engines just do what they are intended to do, which is locate content.
    • by jc42 (318812)

      Google is just a search engine. Shouldn't the take-down notices be sent to the website host instead? Let search engines just do what they are intended to do, which is locate content.

      Yeah, I've been wondering this myself. What laws actually require removing a link to something on a different site?

      Also, what's the sense in trying to shut down links to your material? If I found a link to something for which I'm the copyright owner, I'd follow the link, and send the takedown notice to the infringing site. Then I'd send a thank-you message to the linking site to thank them for tipping me off about the infringement. (This isn't hypothetical; I've actually done it. I've also thanked pe

      • by russotto (537200)

        Yeah, I've been wondering this myself. What laws actually require removing a link to something on a different site?

        The DMCA. See the 2600 case, which the EFF conceded after losing at the appeals level. Search engines in particular are covered under 17 USC 512(d)

        • by jc42 (318812)

          ... Search engines in particular are covered under 17 USC 512(d)

          Well, with the usual IANAL qualification, I'd have to observe that that section (d) seems to fairly clearly say when a "service provider shall not be liable ...". It doesn't seem to actually state when a service provider shall be liable for anything. Presumably that's stated elsewhere, but I haven't seen it yet.

          Section (d) does say "except as provided in subsection (j)", but that section turns out to deal with situations where a court injunction exists, and I haven't read of such an injunction being d

          • by russotto (537200)

            Well, with the usual IANAL qualification, I'd have to observe that that section (d) seems to fairly clearly say when a "service provider shall not be liable ...". It doesn't seem to actually state when a service provider shall be liable for anything. Presumably that's stated elsewhere, but I haven't seen it yet.

            It doesn't. That's the evil genius of the DMCA. It provides a safe harbor from liability whether or not that liability existed in the first place. In fact, it explictly says (in 512(l)): "The fail

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