Google Says They’re Passing the Industry’s Anti-Piracy Tests ‘With Flying Colors’

Report Cover: How Google Fights Piracy
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Google’s doing a bang-up job fighting piracy — according to their own recent self-assessment.

The music and broader entertainment industries have been in a decade-plus battle with Google over infringing content.  Now, governments are stepping up their involvement, and it looks like Google is stepping up its game accordingly.

Just recently, Google published a detailed report on the state of piracy across its various properties.  That principally includes Google Search and YouTube, where the company pointed to demonstrable gains in brushing back piracy and working cooperatively with both the entertainment industries and legislators.

In a just-released report titled How Google Fights Piracy, the search and video giant stressed that the company is driving billions in revenue towards various entertainment industries.  More importantly, Google also pointed to aggressive de-ranking of piracy sites.

“Google does not want to include links to infringing material in our search results, and we make significant efforts to prevent infringing webpages from appearing,” the report notes.  “The heart of those efforts is cooperation with creators and rightsholders to identify and remove results that link to infringing content and to present legitimate alternatives.”

In terms of total takedowns, Google noted that last year, the company received notices involving 882 million urls in total.  Of that, Google noted that 95% were removed, with 65,000 sites demoted in results.

The company also noted that more than 10 million ads suspected of containing infringing content were rejected.

We’ve previously covered Google’s claims of enforcement on YouTube, many of which are also contained within this report.

Specifically, Google noted that 98% of copyright issues are handled via its ContentID system, with more than 90% resulting in monetization.

“98% of copyright claims on YouTube in 2017 were made through Content ID, which gives creators a way to manage and control their works without having to send takedown notices,” the report states.  “More than 90% of all Content ID claims result in monetization, generating significant revenue for YouTube partners.”

That statement offers a sharp response to complaints by the recording and music publishing industries, which frequently assail YouTube for underpaying on streaming royalties.  YouTube frequently responds by pointing to its effective ContentID system, which it claims gives content owners complete choice.

Google’s subtext is pretty clear: if you don’t want your content on YouTube, then pull it off.  Otherwise, stop complaining.

(You can read more coverage about Google’s YouTube monetization and copyright protection claims here).

The report follows some prodding by regulators, particularly in the UK.

Earlier, the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) issued thresholds of acceptable piracy in results, based on consultation with UK rights owners and Microsoft.  Google, obviously hoping to avoid increased legislative scrutiny, is now reporting that its results are solidly within those levels.

“In February 2017, Google joined a Voluntary Code of Practice along with the Motion Picture Association, British Phonographic Industries Ltd, Microsoft Bing, and other representatives of creative industries,” the report notes.

“In cooperation with the U.K. Intellectual Property Office, the Code assesses the effectiveness of search engines’ voluntary efforts to combat piracy while also providing a forum to strengthen industry cooperation. Both search engines have passed all quarterly independent effectiveness tests to date.”

Actually, Google isn’t just passing the tests.  According to the company’s own self-assessment, it’s passing with flying colors.

“Thanks to the demotion signal and our other efforts to surface legitimate results in response to media-related queries, Google Search has passed the test every time with flying colors — scoring considerably under the thresholds agreed with the IPO,” Google proclaims.

Incidentally, Google pointed to numerous discussions with regulators on both sides of the Atlantic, not to mention various industries (see page 16 of the report, ‘Working With Government and Industry’).

But despite all the solid policing, Google is refusing to budge on the DMCA and site-wide filtering.

Those issues remain non-starters for Google, and this report reiterates that stance.  Removing sites en-masse would also remove legitimate content, Google maintains in the report.

The same goes for filtering, Google states.  “It is a myth that Google could create a tool to filter the web for allegedly infringing material and remove images, video, and text from our search results proactively,” the search giant asserts.

“Such a system is both infeasible and unnecessary.”

The complete report is here.

One Response

  1. Versus

    ““Google does not want to include links to infringing material in our search results, and we make significant efforts to prevent infringing webpages from appearing,”

    Really? So why are the top search results for a song typically infringing YouTube videos?

    More generally, why are the top search results for a song YouTube videos at all? Isn’t this a conflict of interest, or problematically monopolistic behavior? The first search results should be links to that song at legitimate MUSIC purchase or streaming sites , or the artist site, not YouTube.