I’m Google’s Legal Director. And Maybe It’s Time We Reconsidered the DMCA

Google seems like the last company to complain about DMCA takedown requests, though a pace of nearly 3.5 million pulldowns a week may be causing some reflection.

That is more than ten times the volume of just six months ago, and part of an attack from media companies intent on breaking a broken system.

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Earlier this week, Google legal director Fred Von Lohmann posted this on Google’s Transparency Report blog.  It’s the first time we’ve heard Google even suggest ‘uncle,’ much less hint at DMCA overhaul.

(Reposted under Creative Commons BY-ND license.)

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More data about copyright removals in Transparency Report

We believe that data should play an important role in figuring out how to make copyright work better online. Six months ago, we launched a feature in our Transparency Report that discloses how many copyright removal requests we receive to remove Google Search results to help inform ongoing policy conversations.

Starting today, anyone interested in studying the data can download all the data shown for copyright removals in the Transparency Report. The data will be updated every day.

We are also providing information about how often we remove search results that link to allegedly infringing material. Specifically, we are disclosing how many URLs we removed for each request and specified website, the overall removal rate for each request and the specific URLs we did not act on. Between December 2011 and November 2012, we removed 97.5% of all URLs specified in copyright removal requests.

As policymakers evaluate how effective copyright laws are, they need to consider the collateral impact copyright regulation has on the flow of information online.

When we launched the copyright removals feature, we received more than 250,000 requests per week. That number has increased tenfold in just six months to more than 2.5 million requests per week today. While we’re now receiving and processing more requests more quickly than ever (on average, within approximately six hours), we still do our best to catch errors or abuse so we don’t mistakenly disable access to non-infringing material.

We’ll continue to fine tune our removals process to fight online piracy while providing information that gives everyone a better

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 picture of how it works. By making our copyright data available in detail, we hope policymakers will be able to see whether or not laws are serving their intended purpose and being enforced in the public interest.