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Google is removing results based on DMCA complaints

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  • User profile image
    ScanIAm

    I was looking for some info on how to duplicate the value from an identity column and noticed this at the bottom of page 6 of the results:

    In response to a complaint we received under the US Digital Millennium Copyright
    Act
    , we have removed 1 result(s) from this page. If you wish, you may read the DMCA
    complaint
    that caused the removal(s) at ChillingEffects.org.

     

    I went to the site and could not find the actual complaint, but I did find this complaint from microsoft:

    http://www.chillingeffects.org/dmca512c/notice.cgi?NoticeID=71478

     

    This is a bit weird.  I understand the reasoning for the request and I'm no google fanboi, but this seems a bit draconian.  Is this some kind of schoolyard tit-for-tat response to Google claiming that Bing stole search results? 

    Either way, we all lose.  The act of checking for a result to be excluded will only make searches slower...

  • User profile image
    blowdart

    I don't see a problem in asking google to remove links to copyrighted materials to be honest, be it ripped off pages from books, software, other people's blogs, music etc.

  • User profile image
    Bass

    I mean, these sites are obviously hosting pirated Microsoft software. It's very difficult to go after most file sharing sites directly because of jurisdictional and attribution issues.

    No such problem with sending a DMCA notice to Google however, to delist them. What do you suggest Microsoft do? Ignore these pirate websites?

  • User profile image
    cbae

    @ScanIAm:

    SET IDENTITY_INSERT TheTableName ON
    --insert rows here
    SET IDENTITY_INSERT TheTableName OFF

    Smiley

  • User profile image
    ScanIAm

    , Bass wrote

    I mean, these sites are obviously hosting pirated Microsoft software. It's very difficult to go after most file sharing sites directly because of jurisdictional and attribution issues.

    No such problem with sending a DMCA notice to Google however, to delist them. What do you suggest Microsoft do? Ignore these pirate websites?

    I certainly don't expect MSFT to ignore these sites, but asking Google to fix it helps MSFT and hurts Google.  Google has to take extra effort to block these specific sites which costs them development time and money.  Not to mention the overhead involved in displaying these results (or the fact that they are amongst the blocked list).  For one person to search, it's insignificant, but given the number of searches that occur, this overhead adds up.

    What would keep MSFT (or anyone with a claim) from sending the same letters to various ISPs and expect the links to be blocked?

    I guess I'm not a big fan of censorship.

     

    @cbae: Yeah.  Thanks for that.

    The issue was that due to some questionable design, I need the primary key from a newly inserted row to be placed into another column.  Currently, this requires 2 calls, the Insert and then an update to put the new identity value into the other column.  I was looking to find a way to do this in 1 call. 

    The DMCA claim that blocked one or more of the google results was apparently from the fine folks at ExpertSexChange.com...or is that ExpertsExchange.com.  I always get those confused.

  • User profile image
    C9Matt



    *snip*, but asking Google to fix it helps MSFT and hurts Google. Google has to take extra effort to block these specific sites which costs them development time and money. Not to mention the overhead involved in displaying these results (or the fact that they are amongst the blocked list).



    So sucks to be them. You can't optimise out complying with the law. If the law says you need to take a condition branch to check that it's not one of these URLs then so be it. I suspect Google either just removes and bans the URLs from its database at the crawl stage rather than to do the conditional at search time though.



    What would keep MSFT (or anyone with a claim) from sending the same letters to various ISPs and expect the links to be blocked?



    Sending it to the ISP of the downloader is already done in a fairly well publicised and widely disliked way, and doing it to the ISP of the person hosting the download tends not to work when the ISP is in a country like Sweeden or Romania.

  • User profile image
    cbae

    @ScanIAm:

    SET ANSI_NULLS ON
    GO
    
    SET QUOTED_IDENTIFIER ON
    GO
    
    SET ANSI_PADDING ON
    GO
    
    CREATE TABLE [dbo].[test](
        [id] [int] IDENTITY(1,1) NOT NULL,
        [copyid] [int] NOT NULL,
        [sometextfield] [varchar](50) NULL,
    CONSTRAINT [PK_test] PRIMARY KEY CLUSTERED 
    (
        [id] ASC
    )WITH (PAD_INDEX  = OFF, STATISTICS_NORECOMPUTE  = OFF, IGNORE_DUP_KEY = OFF, ALLOW_ROW_LOCKS  = ON, ALLOW_PAGE_LOCKS  = ON) ON [PRIMARY]
    ) ON [PRIMARY]
    
    GO
    
    SET ANSI_PADDING OFF
    GO
    
    ALTER TABLE [dbo].[test] ADD  CONSTRAINT [DF_test_copyid]  DEFAULT (ident_current('test')) FOR [copyid]
    GO
    
    insert into test (sometextfield) values ('fred1');
    insert into test (sometextfield) values ('fred2');
    insert into test (sometextfield) values ('fred3');
    select * from test;

  • User profile image
    ScanIAm

    @C9Matt: OK, so you seem to imply that you are well versed in the law.  Perhaps you can help me locate the exact law that is being broken by displaying an URL to a questionable site.

    Can I print out the URL on a t-shirt?  Can you force all t-shirt printers to specifically avoid printing out the URL? 

    Not the content, but the URL that contains the content.

  • User profile image
    C9Matt

    @ScanIAm: In the United States it's the Digital Millenium Copyright Act 1998. The clause in question is in the second title about limiting the liability of copyright infringement to ISPs who harbor copyright infringers so long as they comply with certain guidelines, such as providing a mechanism for people whose copyright has been violated to request that the ISP removes it (usually refered to as a DMCA takedown notice).

    So the simple fact is that no law is being broken by showing or displaying that URL. Indeed no law is being broken by not taking the URL down even after a DMCA takedown notice has been issued, however the ISP (in this case Google) would then be at risk of the copyright holder (in this case Microsoft) successfully suing them for having copyrighted material accessable via their online service.

    So Microsoft arn't demanding that Google remove the URL - they're politely telling them that unless they do remove the URL then Google won't have the DMCA OCILLA protection to indemnify themselves against the claim.

    In regards to your last point, since you and your T-shirt are not an ISP, the DMCA does not apply to you, so you can print anything you like on your T-shirt.

    As with all advice you are ever given on the Internet, though, this is only my opinion on the legal matter and is not legal advice. If you have a specific query relating to your personal circumstances you should consult your attorney.

     

  • User profile image
    Bass

    As C9Matt said, how it works is that ISPs (and maybe a search engine qualifies as an ISP, I'm not sure it's been tested in court but Google probably doesn't care to), must remove any content in a DMCA notice to retain their ISP immunity.

    If they don't they are liable for copyright infringement themselves. However, the people who get their sites delisted from Google can challenge the DMCA notice directly with Google. In that case Google can put the sites back up and still retain ISP immunity. At the point, Microsoft would have to seek legal recourse against the copyright infringement directly because the DMCA takedown no longer works.

    The system is such that making it easy for content owners to enforce their copyright (most people won't challenge a DMCA notice), but ultimately the accused has more power and is firstly assumed innocent in the case of a dispute. (As it should be, innocent until proven guilty and such).

    It's also worth noting that a DMCA notice filed in error or especially in negligence or malice is a legal offense in it's own right. If it happens that these sites can prove they aren't involved in the piracy of Microsoft software, they can sue Microsoft for sending a DMCA notice in the first place. So there is some incentive to file DMCA notices that are not frivolous.

  • User profile image
    ScanIAm

    @cbae: yep, that was what I found, as well.

    @C9MattMadBass: My read of Title II, just now, doesn't seem to implicate any search engine...it seems more like MSFT hassling Google and Google not standing up for itself.  I'd say the same thing if Google tried this...I have no hatred for either, but I do think the DMCA is a crock of crapo.la.

    That said, I can see this playing out much worse that I suspected.   One purpose of protecting your copyright is to get paid fairly for it.  What is to keep Bing or Google from paying for exclusive searchability rights?  For now, the 'search wars' seem to be waged over who has the most relevant hits (Bing) and who's faster (Google).  If we end up having to search multiple sites in order to get a better result, then searching takes even longer.

    And sites like DogPile (or its modern day equivalent) would be limited in what they could do since the links would essentially be 'owned' by one or the other search engines, so you couldn't work around the problem.  Google could send you a C&D for using a link from their site.

    I'll admit that this is tinfoil hat extrapolation, but nothing good can come from this development.

  • User profile image
    C9Matt

    My read of Title II, just now, doesn't seem to implicate any search engine...

    Why do you think that Google search isn't an online service provider?

    What is to keep Bing or Google from paying for exclusive searchability rights? 

    Nothing. And if a Universal Studios (for instance) says that Google can index it's data but Microsoft can't then it sucks to be Microsoft, but you have to remember than Universal Studios would then get fewer hits because people searching via Microsoft for "awesome movies" would be directed towards Universal's rivals rather than any pages containing information about any of Universal's products - so in practise the amount of money Google would have to pay to get exclusivity is way too big for the benefit it would give the search company.

    Actually you can already do this on your website via the robots.txt file to delist yourself from specific search engines, although nobody does it because it's self defeating.

    The DMCA problem is for searches that Universal doesn't like, such as "download pirated movies". Universal doesn't really want people to search, find and download their movies without paying, so they will engage third party companies to help them stop this behaviour. This is done by asking search providers to delink the naughty sites (via a DMCA OCILLA takedown), asking the naughty website hosting the pirated content to stop (via a DMCA CD takedown) and then using famously unpopular companies such as A&C Law to sue the crap out of anyone they find actually downloading the data as well.

    Google could send you a C&D for using a link from their site.

    Actually Google can never send a DMCA request to remove copyright material they don't own. They either need to be the copyright holder, or be the acting representative of the copyright holder.

    Before the DMCA, the Copyright Act said that nobody, no matter how big they are, can undermine your right to invent new things and then make profit from it. If someone wants to crawl the Internet and take your stuff and then make money by putting it on their website next to their adverts and steal all of your customers, then that is a violation of your right to do what you please with stuff that you have invented, and you can sue them for lots of money.

    The DMCA actually waters down copyright holder's rights by saying that if some user or automated spider picks up stuff that you own and puts it on their website next to adverts (e.g. uploading pirated movies to youtube) then the owner of the website has some defence under the law to avoid them having to employ an army of people to check all content uploaded to their servers. Under the DMCA the requirement to discover copyright infringing stuff on other people's servers now falls on the copyright holder, who must inform the website administrator who has to remove it.

  • User profile image
    ScanIAm

    , C9Matt wrote

    *snip*

    Why do you think that Google search isn't an online service provider?

    They may well be, however the limitations listed seem to exclude them, from what I interpreted.  And, again, I'll try to be as clear as possible since it seems that my original point is being missed:

    These are URLs, not content.  The URL has nothing to do with the content, and in fact, if the content was moved, the URL would become useless even though it remained unchanged.

    I completely understand the point of the DMCA and I'm sympathetic to the plight of companies who wish that piracy didn't exist, however this is a severe overreach of the intent, if not the letter of the DMCA.  This practice benefits nobody save for the lawyers who draft these complaints and makes both Google and MSFT look like d-bags.

    But that's just my opinion, you've got every right to be wrong :]

  • User profile image
    blowdart

    , ScanIAm wrote

    *snip*

    They may well be, however the limitations listed seem to exclude them, from what I interpreted.  And, again, I'll try to be as clear as possible since it seems that my original point is being missed:

    These are URLs, not content.  The URL has nothing to do with the content, and in fact, if the content was moved, the URL would become useless even though it remained unchanged.

    I completely understand the point of the DMCA and I'm sympathetic to the plight of companies who wish that piracy didn't exist, however this is a severe overreach of the intent, if not the letter of the DMCA.  This practice benefits nobody save for the lawyers who draft these complaints and makes both Google and MSFT look like d-bags.

    But that's just my opinion, you've got every right to be wrong :]

    Except google also hosts segments from the pages, which, for example, may hold a Windows serial number. Which they then display ...

    I have a google alert set up on my book title. Over the last 3 months 99% of the alerts have come from torrent site listings Sad

  • User profile image
    ScanIAm

    , blowdart wrote

    *snip*

    Except google also hosts segments from the pages, which, for example, may hold a Windows serial number. Which they then display ...

    I have a google alert set up on my book title. Over the last 3 months 99% of the alerts have come from torrent site listings Sad

    Google has had 'cached' versions of pages for ages.  If they are hosting protected content, then it would make sense to ask them to quit doing so.  Lately, they've had a visual image of the page that can appear on the right side of the list of links, but it's unclear if that is also a cached version or if they go to the actual site itself to bring back a temporary 'image' of the page that is not stored.

    I'm still not hearing how the link should be censored.  It almost sounds like protecting a copyright is difficult...Shouldn't it be?

    How did your book end up in torrent format?  Did you release it electronically in order to make distribution easier or did someone scan in every page?

  • User profile image
    kettch

    @ScanIAm:Any more just about every book is released in an electronic format so that it can be distributed via Kindle or Nook. Most likely the torrent versions are pdfs that somebody got from their Safari account. Also, like movies, there is often some low level nobody within the publisher who gets kicks by uploading to torrent sites.

  • User profile image
    ScanIAm

    , kettch wrote

    @ScanIAm:Any more just about every book is released in an electronic format so that it can be distributed via Kindle or Nook. Most likely the torrent versions are pdfs that somebody got from their Safari account. Also, like movies, there is often some low level nobody within the publisher who gets kicks by uploading to torrent sites.

    So, the distribution of the product is made cheaper and more available through technology.  That certainly seems to benefit the producer.  What, I wonder, does the consumer benefit from this technology?  Does it cost less?  If some low-level nobody stole a few books from the stockroom, how would that affect sales vs. posting a pdf on a torrent site?

    In 100 years, will users pay extra money for a 1st edition Kindle?  Will they be able to read it?

    Why am I asking all these questions? 

    I appear to be vigorously flogging a decease equine.

  • User profile image
    kettch

    @ScanIAm:In most cases it's not that much cheaper. At least, it doesn't seem like the cost of an ebook has a very favorable production cost vs sale price ratio.

    In the case of fiction, the ebook will very often be priced within a few dollars of the hardback version.

    As far as the sentimentality of having physical objects that have real value, that's a difficult issue. I guess it's just another facet to the divide between each successive generation.

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