August 17, 2012

Google Algorithm Update Penalizes Websites Accused of Multiple Copyright Infringement

Google has announced that it will begin penalizing websites that receive a number of valid copyright DMCA notices. For those who are unaware, the DMCA is the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which says that a website provider that registers an interim designation of agent with the U.S. Copyright Office can, upon the receipt of a valid copyright infringement notice, remove the identified copyright infringing material, and, if it does remove that material expeditiously, will avoid a lawsuit for a direct copyright infringement, vicarious copyright infringement or contributory copyright infringement.

Welcome to Copyright Law Radio. We bring you the best in copyright news, legal advice and information.  From copyright infringement claims and defenses to threat letter issues, DMCA takedown notice letters, copyright licensing, and legal analysis of the latest copyright law cases, we have a copyright attorney who can answer your copyright questions.


Hello, my name is John Di Giacomo, and this is a Traverse Legal Radio broadcast.  I’d like to talk to you today about a recent Google Algorithm change which is intended to penalize websites accused of copyright infringement within the Google search engine rankings. 

Recently, Google has announced that it will begin penalizing websites that receive a number of valid copyright DMCA notices.  For those who are unaware, the DMCA is the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which says that a website provider that registers an interim designation of agent with the U.S. Copyright Office can, upon the receipt of a valid copyright infringement notice, remove the identified copyright infringing material, and, if it does remove that material expeditiously, will avoid a lawsuit for a direct copyright infringement, vicarious copyright infringement or contributory copyright infringement. 

So, now that this algorithm has changed, it remains to be seen what will constitute a valid copyright removal notice.  It’s unclear whether or not the numerous copyright removal notices that are sent to YouTube will count as a valid, and as such, reduce YouTube’s ranking in the search engine results.  But it is clear, however, that other websites that typically accept user-generated content will receive a loss in search engine rankings if, in fact, a high number of valid copyright removal notices are issued to those websites. 

In light of this, it’s extremely important that website owners and content producers fight invalid copyright infringement notices, and there are a number of ways to that.  One is by filing a counter-notification under the DMCA.  The counter-notification is simply a notification that the work identified as infringing does not, in fact, infringe. 

The other way is to file a declaratory judgment lawsuit to obtain a judgment of non-infringement.  This is typically  out of the price range of most individuals, but it is an option.  And effectively, its purpose is to ensure that the court rules that the action complained of is not actually copyright infringing. 

In light of the fact that Google will now penalize you for receiving these types of notices in bulk, it’s important that copyright owners, content provider, or website providers, contact an attorney that is well-versed in this area to fight invalid copyright removal notices upon receipt of the them. 

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact one of our expert copyright attorneys at Traverse Legal.  And again, this is a Traverse Legal Radio broadcast.  My name is John Di Giacomo. Have a great day!

 

You’ve been listening to Copyright Law Radio, where copyright infringement, licensing, litigation, and news are always the topic of the day.  Whether you are a copyright attorney or a client, we are the number one resource for all your copyright questions.

COMMENTS

Hey John:

Does someone have to provide notice to Google? How does Google know there have been copyright violations on a website?

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