Is this transparency, or is the pressure in Washington heating to a boil?
The Official Google Blog today announces that – as they phrase it – their commitment to transparency, they will now be publishing all content that has been removed from their search results as a result of a copyright infringement challenge. They further report that they get an average of 250,000 such requests per week:
We’re starting with search because we remove more results in response to copyright removal notices than for any other reason. So we’re providing information about who sends us copyright removal notices, how often, on behalf of which copyright owners and for which websites. As policymakers and Internet users around the world consider the pros and cons of different proposals to address the problem of online copyright infringement, we hope this data will contribute to the discussion.
“Proposals” include PIPA, SOPA and a suite of other draconian policies laid out by greedy entertainment industry lawyers and their toadies in the various halls of power around the globe. A website that centralizes all data on just how abusive one company or another might be in pursuing copyright “infringement” cases would be illuminating indeed. Significantly, Google says they plan on starting their data dumps with July 2011 data, just a few months prior to the introduction of SOPA in the US House of Representatives.
But then, what Google accepts and does not accept as copyright infringement is itself subject to scrutiny. Do they really publish everything, or do they vet the released data? Time will tell.