Google Boosts Copyright, Piracy Protection for Search

Google will process copyright takedown requests for content on and Blogger within 24 hours in 2011. The changes follow YouTube's Content ID protection scheme.

Google Dec. 2 said it plans to improve its copyright and piracy protection procedures, including processing copyright takedown requests for content within 24 hours.

The search engine said it is building tools to improve the submission process to make it easier for rights-holders to submit Digital Millennium Copyright Act takedown requests for Google products, beginning with Web search and Blogger.

These tools, which will roll out in 2011, will help reduce Google's response time to 24 hours or less, said Google General Counsel Kent Walker.

"We respond expeditiously to requests to remove such content from our services, and have been improving our procedures over time," Walker said in a blog post. "But as the Web grows, and the number of requests grows with it, we are working to develop new ways to better address the underlying problem."

Google will also prevent terms that are closely associated with piracy from appearing in its auto-complete search feature, which offers searches that might be similar to the ones users are typing.

Google also vowed to pare privacy for its AdSense third-party ad network, working with rights-holders to locate and jettison violators from the program.

Taking down copyrighted content from search is the big news here. Google currently removes copyrighted content on its YouTube video-sharing Website within a few hours after rights-holders use Google's takedown tools, a Google spokesperson told eWEEK.

This expediency was born out of necessity. In a long-running copyright infringement case with Viacom, Viacom sued Google and YouTube for gross copyright infringement.

Google won a summary judgment versus Viacom in the case in June from a court that claimed YouTube was protected under safe harbor provisions in the DMCA.

While YouTube has adjusted to pull content quickly thanks to a Content ID system that identifies unauthorized clips as they are uploaded and let rights-holders take them down immediately, there is currently no rapid removal process in Google search results.

Takedown requests for Google search may take days or weeks to process, if they get processed at all.

A Google spokesperson said this is because Google receives "a much larger proportion of defective and incomplete notices, which slows down the process."

"By building better tools and processes, starting with Blogger and Web search, we can make it easier for copyright owners to submit complete takedown requests that we can act on in 24 hours or less," Google said.

The timing of these copyright and piracy combating announcements is interesting. Viacom is filing an appeal Dec. 3 with the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to get the ruling against it overturned.