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Any Guesses?

According to this article in Business Insider, “Google is seeing a huge surge in companies asking it to remove copyrighted material from its search results.”

The article continues:

In the last week, copyright holders have submitted more than 21 million requests, an all-time record, and up almost 3x from the same time last year, as this chart from Statista based on information from Google shows. These requests mostly come about when a site blatantly copies or steals content from another site, and the original copyright owner asks Google to remove links to the offending site

Any guesses? It seems unlikely that the Web is hosting 3x as much material allegedly infringing on copyright. It seems unlikely that copyright owners a 3x more likely to try to protect their copyright. Did Google make it easier to report a violation? Have these requests been measured more accurately now? Other ideas? For what it’s worth, the article in Business Insider has one idea:

There’s no obvious new technology or upswing in copyright violations to blame for the increase. Rather, it seems that copyright holders are simply becoming more systematic and aggressive about pursuing takedown requests under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

This seems possible, but why are copyright holders becoming more systematic and aggressive? If you are a copyright holder, have you ever made a takedown request to Google? To an other entity?

This article also refers to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).  This is long and complicated law , but the relevant part to this article is the so-called “safe harbor provision.” As this article from Wired explains, 

The provision [of the DMCA] grants immunity to so-called “intermediaries” — ISPs, for example — for any copyright infringement by their users. To earn that so-called “safe harbor,” the intermediary such as video-sharing site YouTube must promptly remove material if the copyright holder sends a takedown notice.

VCU, like all universities and ISPs, has a “DMCA Agent.”  A copyright holder that claims that a RamPage site is infringing the copyright would contact VCU’s DMCA Agent.

Thanks to Twitter user @rivercityjon for pointing out the article in Business Insider.

 

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