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May 24, 2012
Google Extends Its Transparency Report to Copyright
Today Google posted on its blog an update to how it talks about transparency
. For about two years it has published its Transparency Report in an effort to give people some insight on issues such as search availability, removal of content due to government requests, and even Google's own traffic analyses that indicate when IP packet flow to its servers may be under deliberate disruption. Such disruption can be prima facie
evidence that a government or other entity is trying to prohibit people from reaching Google sites or searching Google content.
The new news is that the Transparency Report will now extend to copyright-related issues. They've added a new section on copyright-related removal requests that shows day-by-day removal requests, as well as the reporting organizations and targeted domains. You can drill down to see more detail - particularly full lists of Owners, Reporting Organizations, and Targeted Domains. And if you have the stomach for it you can scan the hundreds of thousands of individual removal requests.
Sadly, it does not appear to be searchable (yet?) so I cannot search to see if someone has requested that, say, material owned by me be removed from any domain. This is important because in the past organizations that didn't actually own copyrights sent takedown notices. Only a copyright holder should be entitled to do that. Like any other 'big data' source the uses to which these data could be put are varied, but lack of search will hamper most efforts.
Google's FAQ on the new section doesn't discuss the searchability issue, but does provide more definition on which takedown requests are included in this report, accuracy estimates, and process steps. They also link to Chilling Effects, the joint project of EFF, Berkman and others, to track copyright takedown activity.
(h/t +Lauren Weinstein for the original pointer)
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