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When and How Does Google Delist Content that Infringe Copyrights?

by | Apr 21, 2021 | Digital | 0 comments

When does Google decide to delist infringed content? Google receives millions of requests every day to delist infringed content from its search results, but does Google honor every request? Read on to find out.

Google takes copyright infringement very seriously and it is embedded in Google’s policy to respond to any clear and specific notices of alleged copyright infringement.

Content delistings due to copyright

When does google delist infringed content from its search results?

The process of delisting is initiated when a content owner sends Google a takedown notice when (s)he believes a URL points to infringed content. Content owners from around the world can send this notice by filling up Google’s web form that is consistent with the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act).

Upon receiving a valid takedown notice, a dedicated team at Google reviews the form and if it passes their scrutiny, Google delists the URL from the search results.

How does google delist infringed content from its search results?

  • When Google receives a valid takedown notice, it first notifies the administrator of the alleged website via Google Search Console.
  • As per DMCA’s process, a webmaster may issue a counter notification if they believe the content does not infringe/violate copyrights.
  • Google evaluates the counter notification and decides whether or not to reinstate the content.
  • In case the content is reinstated, and the copyright owner strongly believes the content is infringed, (s)he can file a lawsuit.

Reasons that Google Doesn’t Delist Content

There are instances where Google does not delist content despite receiving a takedown notice. Some of the instances are mentioned below.

  • When the URLs mentioned in the notice do not infringe copyrights.
  • When there is lack of information on why the URL is allegedly infringing copyrights.
  • When the allegedly infringed content mentioned in the takedown notice is absent in the URL.
  • When inaccurate and unjustified takedown requests are made.
  • When the alleged content is inline with fair use policy.

Here are few more examples to help you better understand when Google decides whether or not to delist an alleged content. [Source: google transparency report].

Google Transparency Report
  • An individual from Egypt claiming to be a candidate for a political office, filed a takedown notice to delist 2 pages on an Egyptian news site. The notice mentioned that the site reported the individual’s arrest record. Google did not delist the URLs on the grounds of fraudulent copyright claims.
  • A member of an indie-pop band filed a takedown notice against Vimeo’s URLs. The complainant alleged that the URLs featured unauthorized music video. Google verified the URLs and delisted the content as it found that the video uploader had no authorization to post the copyrighted song.

Copyright infringement is just one of the many content removal guidelines of Google. Google is actively in talks with policy makers across the world to fight online piracy and connect users with authorized content.

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