You Can Now See All The Erroneous DMCA Takedown Requests Google Gets

December 13, 2012
You Can Now See All The Erroneous DMCA Takedown Requests Google Gets
Google does a lot of work for copyright holders in the US. Under the DMCA, Google has to delete infringing links from its search results. It used to be not such a bad job, but now the search giant is receiving over 12 million requests per month. All of those requests can’t be legitimate, right? A new tool from Google proves that to be the case.
TorrentFreak reports that Google has quietly rolled out a new feature in its transparency reports that details how many false DMCA takedown requests it receives from copyright holders. Google details these false requests in a newly updated FAQ:

From time to time, we may receive inaccurate or unjustified copyright removal requests for search results that clearly do not link to infringing content. An independent, third-party analysis of how frequently improper and abusive removal requests are submitted was conducted in 2006.

Google then lists a number of examples of where copyright holders submitted false DMCA takedown requests. Here’s some of the better ones:

A U.S. reporting organization working on behalf of a major movie studio requested removal of a movie review on a major newspaper website twice.

An individual in the U.S. requested the removal of search results that link to court proceedings referencing her first and last name on the ground that her name was copyrightable.
A driving school in the U.K. requested the removal of a competitor’s homepage from Search, on the grounds that the competitor had copied an alphabetized list of cities and regions where instruction was offered.

None of these scenarios fell under DMCA regulations, and therefore Google did not remove them. These are just examples, but Google still receives erroneous DMCA takedown requests. Our own Web site, WebProNews.com, was subject to two false takedown requests at the hands of AMC over our coverage of The Walking Dead season 3 premier. Of course, the link was non-infringing as it linked to AMC’s own stream of the premier.
DMCA takedown requests
The takedown request levied at our site, and others, was most likely fueled by AMC looking for links that mentioned “The Walking Dead” and “free.” There’s no thought put into the suggestion that there may be legitimate free sources to watch these episodes. Strangely enough, none of the links were removed despite some links offering illegitimate copies of The Walking Dead.
This latest offering from Google serves to make the DMCA takedown process more transparent, but it probably won’t have any effect on the amount of takedown requests sent by rightsholders. Current laws don’t enforce repercussions for those who send false takedown requests so there’s no reason for rightsholders to use caution. If laws ever do change, it’s almost guaranteed that the amount of takedown requests would drop to the few hundred thousand a month it was at in 2011.


10,000 Muslims protest outside the offices of Google in London demanding limitations on free speech and calling for censorship.

November 11, 2012
(Telegraph)A protest by 10,000 Muslims outside the offices of Google in London today is just the first in an orchestrated attempt to force the company to remove an anti-Islamic film from website YouTube in Britain. Thousands had travelled from as far afield as Glasgow to take part in the demonstration, ahead of a planned million-strong march in Hyde Park in coming weeks. Anger over ‘The Innocence of Muslims’, an American-produced film which insults the Prophet Mohammad and demeans Muslims, according to protesters, remains available to watch on the website YouTube, a subsidiary of Google. Organiser Masoud Alam said: “Our next protest will be at the offices of Google and YouTube across the world. We are looking to ban this film. “This is not freedom of expression, there is a limit for that. This insult of the Prophet will not be allowed. The group’s next action was a march Mr Alam hoped would be “a million strong” would take place in Hyde Park “in the next few weeks”, he said. “Until it is banned we will keep protesting,” he added. Today’s demonstration was the third organised in a month, and took place on the central London street where the website search giant has its UK headquarters. A demonstration outside the American Embassy in London last month drew little attention as protests in Libya, Tunisia and Yemen dominated headlines, including the storming of embassy in Benghazi, Libya, that led to the death of the US Ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens. Barricades were erected in front of Google’s headquarters and a crowd bearing placards with the words “We love our prophet more than our lives” and “Prophet Muhammad is the founder of freedom of speech” had amassed by lunchtime. Speeches by more than a dozen imams in a mixture of Arabic, Urdu, and English urged Muslims to honour the name of the Prophet and not to back down in the face of Google’s continuing reluctance to act, and were met with passionate cries of “God is Great” and “Mohammad is the Prophet of God” in Arabic. One of the speakers, Sheikh Faiz Al-Aqtab Siddiqui, told The Daily Telegraph: “Terrorism is not just people who kill human bodies, but who kill human feelings as well. The makers of this film have terrorised 1.6 billion people. “Organisations like Google are key players and have to take responsibility for civility. You can’t just say it doesn’t matter that it’s freedom of speech. It’s anarchy.” Sheikh Siddiqui, a barrister from Nuneaton, said he wanted to form a coalition with the Church of England, Catholics, Jewish groups, Trade Unions and even Conservatives to encourage their ranks to join his “campaign for civility”. “We want everyone in society to recognise these people are wrecking our fragile global society. We want the Church, the Synod, Jewish groups and establishment figures involved,” he said. As many as 800 imams in mosques across Britain helped to organise today’s protest, which lasted four hours and blocked roads almost up to the Queen’s doorstep on Buckingham Palace Road. Muslims from Blackburn, Birmingham, Glasgow, Luton, Manchester and Peterborough were in attendance. When asked where where the women attending the protest were, one protester replied: “Right at the back”. Self-employed businessman Ahmed Nasar said he was worried the video could lead to violence in Britain in the same way as it had abroad. “If you push people too far,” he said, “You will turn the peaceful elements into violence.” A YouTube spokesperson said: “We work hard to create a community everyone can enjoy and which also enables people to express different opinions. “This can be a challenge because what’s OK in one country can be offensive elsewhere. This video – which is widely available on the Web – is clearly within our guidelines and so will stay on YouTube.”

Arab campaign to boycott YouTube, Google kicks off over anti-Islam film.

September 24, 2012


Arab campaign to boycott YouTube, Google kicks off over anti-Islam film.(other)(AA).Anger over an anti-Islam film reached new peaks on Monday as a call for a mass boycott of the Google search website and video-sharing website YouTube was quick to ripple across the online Muslim world. Arab activists launched a series of campaigns on Facebook, claiming that Google still makes some links to the U.S.-made anti-Islam film, which mocks the Prophet Mohammed, accessible in Arab countries. The low-budget film “Innocence of Muslims,” incited a wave of deadly anti-American violence in cities across the Muslim world targeting symbols of U.S. influence, from embassies and schools to fast food chains. The call for a mass boycott included a change to the profile pictures of Facebook users supporting the cause. The most popular picture appearing on Facebook profiles on Monday displayed a slogan, written in Arabic, which read: “This person is boycotting YouTube and Google throughout Sept. 24 and 25. In support of our beloved Prophet.” In response to the boycott, a Google spokesperson told Al Arabiya English on Monday: “We believe in everyone’s right to express themselves freely, but at the same time, we know that users are aware of the role Google plays giving them universal access to information.” Activists calling for the move claim that the website is still providing access to the film, according to social media users, despite Google initially blocking access to several countries in the past week. The spokesperson said that the method of denying access to the film has varied from country to country, where in some places the film was only temporarily restricted in accordance with state guidelines. ““The video is widely available on the web. Where we have launched YouTube locally and we are notified that a video is illegal in that country such as in Saudi Arabia and Jordan, we have restricted access to the video.In the case of Egypt and Libya, we have only temporarily restricted the original trailer and exact duplicates,” she added.
Last week, Google, the parent company of YouTube, said the film would be restricted “in countries where it is considered illegal by local authorities” such as India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and most recently in Jordan following requests by their governments. YouTube last week restricted access to the film in Egypt and Libya after unrest in those countries, and has been adding countries to the list. Some others, including Pakistan and Sudan, have blocked access themselves. Organizers planning the boycott have urged internet users to use other search engines, other than Google, providing them with an alternative list of sites including Bing, Yahoo, Lycos and Excite. They also urged Internet users to stop using Google Chrome and use other browsers such as Firefox and Internet Explorer. 
Organizers of these campaigns, who are believed to have grouped together from across the Arab world, said they expect Google will lose about $210 million in revenues and that its stock price will drop if internet users across Arab countries boycott the search engine, according to the Jordan Times. The number of boycotters could stretch across the entire Muslim world however, with Muslims in Western and Asian countries also taking part, according to social media users angered by the film. Arabs and Muslims account for about 8 percent of internet users in the world, an IT expert who spoke to the Jordan Times said on Monday. Perhaps putting a dampener on the boycott, the analyst forecasted that the planned move “will not have an impact on Google,” adding that less than 0.5 percent of Google’s profits are generated from the Arab and Muslim world.Read the full story here.


Google deliberately stole information but executives ‘covered it up’ for years

May 28, 2012
Google, pictured street-mapping in Bristol, has always claimed that it didn't know its software would collect the private information

(dailymail.co.uk) Google, pictured street-mapping in Bristol, has always claimed that it didn’t know its software would collect the private information

Google is facing an inquiry into claims that it deliberately harvested information from millions of UK home computers.
The Information Commissioner data protection watchdog is expected to examine the work of the internet giant’s Street View cars.
They downloaded emails, text messages, photographs and documents from wi-fi networks as they photographed virtually every British road.
It is two years since Google first admitted stealing fragments of personal data, but claimed it was a ‘mistake’.
Now the full scale of its activities has emerged amid accusations of a cover-up after US regulators found a senior manager was warned as early as 2007 that the information was being captured as its cars trawled the country but did nothing.
Around one in four home networks in the UK is thought to be unsecured – lacking password protection – allowing personal data to be collected. Technology websites and bloggers have suggested that Google harvested the information simply because it was able to do so and would later work out a way to use it to make money.
The slow reaction of the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) to deal with the data theft is in direct contrast to the vigorous efforts of watchdogs in Germany, France and even the Czech Republic.
The fact that the Government was at the same time courting executives at Google opens up uncomfortable questions about its relationship with the company.

Last month a report by the US media regulator the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) revealed that the Google programmer who wrote the Street View software repeatedly warned that it collected personal data, and called for a legal and privacy review.
Yesterday he was named as Marius Milner, 41, a British software engineer from Hove, East Sussex, who now lives in California. He has pleaded the fifth amendment against self-incrimination and refused to answer investigators’ questions.

how data was stolen.jpg

CLAIMS OF INNOCENCE THAT SLOWLY UNRAVELLED

OCTOBER 2006: Computer engineer Marius Milner devises software for Google Street View vans which captures private information from personal computers. He warns there are privacy implications and the company should consult lawyers.
MAY 2007: Google Street View launched in the US.

2008: Milner again warns two colleagues – including a senior manager – that personal data is being collected.

MARCH 2009: Street View launches in the UK.

EARLY 2010: UK data protection watchdog, the Information Commissioner (ICO) launches inquiry into Street View.

APRIL 27 2010: Google denies collecting information, only to admit a few days later: ‘We have been mistakenly collecting samples of data from open Wi-Fi networks … Quite simply, it was a mistake’.

OCTOBER 22 2010: Google admits: ‘In some instances entire emails were captured … as well as passwords.’

NOVEMBER 2010: ICO secures formal undertaking that Google will improve data protection compliance but concludes any collection of personal data was ‘inadvertent’.

JANUARY to SEPT 2011: Google refuses four times to co-operate with US Federal Communications Commission, before finally giving some key information such as names of employees who created Street View software.

APRIL 16 2012: Google fined £15,000 by FCC after it found the company ‘wilfully and repeatedly’ failed to help with its investigation.

APRIL 30 2012: FCC report finds that rather than being ‘a mistake’ Google’s software was ‘intended’ to harvest information from networks.

MAY 27 2012: ICO indicates inquiry into Street View’s harvested data.

Yesterday at the family home, his stepmother said: ‘He has always had a love of computers, even from an early age I think. He is a brilliant mind.
‘He got a degree from Trinity College, Cambridge. My husband is an elderly man. He is nearly 90 and he is rather distressed by this. We really don’t want to say any more.’
The report by the FCC attacked Google for inadequate oversight of Street View, and claimed it was planning to use the data collected for other internal projects.
A spokesman for the Information Commissioner’s Office said it would examine what Google knew at the time and whether it breached the Data Protection Act.
But critics said the ICO was doing ‘too little, too late’, and pointed to its earlier report into Street View which concluded that any collection of personal data was ‘inadvertent’.
As Britain’s privacy watchdog was accused of being lily-livered in its handling of Google, regulators in the US and continental Europe confronted it head on.
In Germany Google was forced to stop filming for Street View owing to privacy concerns by Hamburg prosecutors, who opened a criminal investigation.
In France Google was fined £87,000 by the privacy regulator CNIL, the largest it had ever handed out.
In the Czech Republic Street View was banned in September 2010 after negotiations between Google and the authorities over privacy concerns failed.
A Tory MP said he would raise the issue of Google’s information gathering when Parliament reconvenes.
Robert Halfon said: ‘The FCC report seems to indicate that there is far more to it than an innocent mistake. Clearly what happened is unacceptable.
‘Google created the privatised surveillance society by hoovering up our emails and wifi data. Google has some serious questions to answer.’
Concern about links between the internet giant and the Government have emerged in recent weeks, with the Daily Mail revealing that Tory ministers have met Google executives an average of once every month since the General Election.

Google Street View swivels around Parliament Square looking towards Big Ben. The bank of personal data collected could have been used by Google to develop new products

Google Street View swivels around Parliament Square looking towards Big Ben. The bank of personal data collected could have been used by Google to develop new products
Earlier this month Google was fined £15,000 by the FCC after it found the company ¿wilfully and repeatedly¿ violated orders to hand over information it requested while investigating Street View.

Earlier this month Google was fined £15,000 by the FCC after it found the company ‘wilfully and repeatedly’ violated orders to hand over information it requested while investigating Street View

This week Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt will face the Leveson Inquiry to face questions about his links to another multi-national company, News International.
His special adviser Adam Smith was forced to quit after text messages were published by the inquiry showing his closeness to a News International lobbyist. Mr Hunt has also faced repeated calls to quit.
Nick Pickles, director of Big Brother Watch said: ‘It appears Google deliberately and without remorse spied on people’s wi-fi networks and has now been caught trying to cover it up.
‘The continued thirst of big-data companies for personal information is a serious threat to privacy and all too often consumers find themselves without redress when their rights are compromised.’

Cameron and Hunt attend Google executive's wedding
Cameron and Hunt attend Google executive's wedding
Guests of the Google bride: Close links between Google and the Conservative Party were on display this weekend at the society wedding of senior Google executive Naomi Gummer. Miss Gummer, a former political secretary to Jeremy Hunt, married Henry Allsopp, 38, in an Oxfordshire ceremony attended by Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife Samantha, as well as the embattled Culture Secretary, who came with his wife and their two young children
Big day: Bride Naomi Gummer, 27, with her husband Henry Allsopp, who married in Chadlington, Oxfordshire this weekend

Big day: Bride Naomi Gummer, 27, with her husband Henry Allsopp, who married in Chadlington, Oxfordshire this weekend

A spokesman for the Information Commissioner said: ‘We are currently studying the FCC report to consider what further action, if any, needs to be taken.
Google provided our office with a formal undertaking in November 2010 about their future conduct, following their failure in relation to the collection of wi-fi data by their Street View cars.
‘This included a provision for the ICO to audit Google’s privacy practices. The audit was published in August 2011 and we will be following up on it later this year, to ensure our recommendations have been put in place.’
Google spokesman Anthony House said: ‘We have always been clear that the leaders of this project did not want or intend to use this payload data. Indeed Google never used it in any of our products or services.
‘Both the Department of Justice and the FCC have looked into this closely – including reviewing the internal correspondence – and both found no violation of law.’

yeah… but try to download a movie illegally and these guys get pissed


Is Google Maps Blocking Judea and Samaria?And if so why?

May 22, 2012

Is Google Maps Blocking Judea and Samaria?And if so why?(INN).Arutz Sheva has received several complaints over the past few weeks from residents of Judea and Samaria (Shomron) who use Google Maps to receive driving directions before setting out on the roads. The residents complained that in recent weeks, when they looked for directions between two points in Judea and Samaria, they received an error message which said that no information is available on the points in question.
One of the complainants, Joe from Havat Gilad (Gilad Farm) in the Shomron, told Arutz Sheva on Monday that the problem goes beyond trips from one point to another within Judea and Samaria, and also extends to trips from within Judea and Samaria to points outside of the area.
It should be noted that those who wish to see driving directions from a point outside of Judea and Samaria to a point within the area have no problems accessing the site and receive no error messages. However, they must be sure to use discretion and not attempt to go through Arab villages and towns, even if that is the shortest route.
(Ed. note: Those using a GPS in Israel must be sure it is programmed especially for Israel, as GPS gives the shortest route between two places – and that may easily be a very dangerous one. IDF soldiers stopped unwary tourists with GPS as they were about to make a turn into an Arab city, leading to reprogramming for Israeli GPS.)
Joe, who has used Google Maps himself for a long time, said he tried to turn to Google and ask for clarifications on this issue but was unsuccessful. He noted, however, that perhaps the company decided not to include Judea and Samaria due to its fear that of lawsuits from users who might use the service and mistakenly end up in danger by entering areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority.
Arutz Sheva asked Google Israel to comment on the matter but did not hear back from the company. When the company responds, its statement will be published in full.Read the full story here.


Vanity Searcher Can Proceed With Lawsuit Against Google

March 31, 2012
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(media post)Gaos alleged in her lawsuit that she conducted searches for her own name, as well as her family members’ names, and clicked on links on the Google search results. Therefore, she argued, Google disclosed her “sensitive personal information” to third parties by transmitting her queries in the referrer headers…Tim Berners-Lee warned as far back as 1999 that referrer headers could leak information about Web users. But lawsuits about referrer headers didn’t reach the courts until 2010, shortly after computer scientists from AT&T and Worcester Polytechnic Institute released the report “On the Leakage of Personally Identifiable Information Via Online Social Networks.” They alleged that Facebook and other social-networking sites leak personally identifiable information by including users’ unique identifiers in the HTTP header information that is automatically sent to ad networks.

and they said social media use was dominated by narcissism… now you can sue for that


Supreme Court Backs Copyrights for Older Foreign Works

January 19, 2012
B1SKY1
Keystone Pictures/Zuma Press

Picasso is among the foreign artists, writers and composers whose works get U.S. copyright protection
under a law upheld Wednesday.

how in the hell do you take works out of the public domain when they are already used fairly and then prosecute people for it?

(WSJ By BRENT KENDALL And JESS BRAVIN) WASHINGTON—The Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld a 1994 law granting copyright protection to a large number of foreign works that had been freely available in the public domain. The ruling was a victory for the movie, music and publishing industries, which argued that granting copyright protections for the foreign works was an important step in securing reciprocal overseas rights for U.S. works. The decision means some musicians and other artists will have to keep paying to use the now-copyrighted foreign works.

Congress enacted the measure to bring the U.S. in compliance with the Berne Convention, an 1886 treaty providing for international recognition of copyrights. The court, by a 6-2 vote, said Congress acted within its powers in granting the protections.
“Congress determined that U.S. interests were best served by our full participation in the dominant system of international copyright protection,” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote for the court.
The ruling defeated a challenge by a group of orchestra conductors, performers, educators and others who argued that Congress exceeded its powers by restricting their ability to perform, share and build upon foreign works that once had been free for use.
The Constitution authorizes Congress to grant copyrights “for limited times.” Challengers argued that authority didn’t include the power to take works out of the public domain. They also said the law violated the First Amendment because removal of the works interfered with their freedom of expression.

Google Inc. was the leading company challenging the law, in an echo of the separate battle in Washington over an Internet piracy bill that pits Google against movie studios. The search company, which didn’t respond to a request for comment, said in court papers that the restored copyrights could affect more than a million books it has scanned through its Google Books Library Project.
The ruling followed others in recent years giving Congress broad discretion over the shape of copyright. In 1998, Congress bowed to entertainment industry wishes by extending existing copyrights by 20 years, so they would last 70 years after the author’s death—to 2036, for instance, for Walt Disney. In a 2003 opinion, also by Justice Ginsburg, the court upheld that extension.
[TODO]“Today’s ruling demonstrates that the United States fulfills its international copyright obligations and will remain a world leader in protecting creative works,” Fritz Attaway, chief policy adviser for the Motion Picture Association of America, said.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Among the foreign works removed from the public domain were symphonies by Russian composers Sergei Prokofiev and Dmitri Shostakovich, writings by J.R.R. Tolkien and George Orwell, and paintings by Pablo Picasso.
The number of works that qualified for copyright restoration probably numbered in the millions, the U.S. Copyright Office has estimated.
Justice Stephen Breyer, joined by Justice Samuel Alito, dissented from the court’s ruling, saying the law “inhibits an important pre-existing flow of information” and is at odds with the purpose of granting copyrights: to provide incentives for creators to produce new works. Instead, the law “bestows monetary rewards only on owners of old works,” wrote Justice Breyer.
Orchestra conductor Lawrence Golan, the lead plaintiff in the case, said the law has limited the ability of smaller-budget orchestras to perform some popular foreign pieces, such as “Peter and the Wolf,” that used to be free.
Now orchestras, on average, must pay about $800 per performance of Prokofiev’s children’s classic, Mr. Golan said in an interview. “The price of the licensing fees or rental fees for playing these pieces will be cost-prohibitive,” he said.
The 1994 law granted copyrights to foreign works that never received American protection because they were published in countries that previously lacked copyright relations with the U.S. It also restored protections for foreign works that were in the public domain because they hadn’t complied with technical requirements of U.S. copyright law.
Some foreign works were denied U.S. rights for 50 or 60 years, said Eric Schwartz, a former government copyright attorney who negotiated international copyright agreements. “Some of the families of the creators are trying to get back some of the money they were denied,” he said.
Another copyright attorney, Lloyd Jassin, said that taking “a work out of the public domain in the U.S.—in this case a book published abroad between 1923 and 1989—will have an impact. It’s in effect a tax for independent publishers who might have been seeking to publish a work formerly in the public domain. A rich public domain allows for greater access to older works—and at a much lower cost.”
Justice Elena Kagan, who was a Justice Department official during earlier stages of the litigation, did not take part in the case.
The case is Golan v. Holder, 10-545.
—Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg contributed to this article.
Write to Brent Kendall at brent.kendall@dowjones.com and Jess Bravin at jess.bravin@wsj.com