Transparency? Ridiculous, according to the volley of words now coming from the major labels. Just days after Google opened its books on copyright takedowns and DMCA compliance, the RIAA is roundly calling BS on the exercise. “Knowing the total number of links to infringing material available – and the limitations Google imposes on rights owners to search for infringements – reveals how meager the number of notices is relative to the vast amount of infringement.,” blogged RIAA anti-piracy czar Brad Buckles.
“After all… search for any major recording artist’s track and the term ‘mp3,’ and you’ll find that most of the very first results offered by Google direct people to infringing material. Unfortunately, one sees similar results when one searches for any popular creative content followed by the words ‘free download.'”
That’s just the beginning of the lengthy complaint. In fact, Buckles rattled through a fairly detailed set of ‘facts’ to discredit Google’s copyright-friendly representations. And they are (in his words, trimmed a little)…
“1. In order to notify Google of an infringement, you first need to find the infringement. But Google places artificial limits on the number of queries that can be made by a copyright owner to identify infringements.
2. You can’t notify Google about the scope of the problem if it limits the notices it will accept and process through its automated tool. And that is what Google does. On top of the query limitation, Google also limits the number of links we can ask them to remove per day.
3. One needs to consider these numbers and Google’s activities in context. Google says it received requests to remove 1.2 million links from 1,000 copyright owners in one month. But consider that Google has identified nearly 5 million new links posted in just the last month in searches for free mp3 downloads of just the top 10 Billboard tracks.
4. Google’s ‘transparency report’ calculates the percentage of a site that is infringing – but this data is flawed and of little value on its own. Specifically, Google claims that the DMCA notices it has received for a site represent less than .1% of the links it had indexed for the domains at the top of this list.
But this number is misleading given the constraints imposed by Google on a copyright owner’s ability to find infringements and send notices to Google.
5. Google’s data shows why its interpretation of the DMCA makes it. Let’s take a step back for a moment. Everyone – including Google – knows that the worst sites are repopulated with links to infringing files of the same content as quickly as links are taken down. For example, in a recent one month period, we sent Google, and the site in question, multiple DMCA notices concerning over 300 separate unauthorized copies of the same musical recording owned by one of our member companies. Yet that song is still available on that site today, and we reached it via a search result link indexed by Google.”
“This highlights the futility of the exercise: if “take down” does not mean “keep down,” then Google’s limitations merely perpetuate the fraud wrought on copyright owners by those who game the system under the DMCA.”
“Clearly the current process is not working.”
The complete blog post is here.