I have been doing more research about Google’s update it its Image Search and have come across a few things that I find of interest. I will be providing links and telling my viewers which paragraphs to look for and adding a short quote from the pages which I believe falls under “Fair Use” since I will not be grabbing the entire content of a page or making screen shots which might be in violation of copyright laws.
Let’s discuss the first question in my title: Is Google’s New Image Search Violating Their Own Policies?
I believe they are, take a look at Google’s Terms of Service for people who have Blogger Blogs on a page called Blogger Content Policy: http://draft.blogger.com/content.g?hl=en
One paragraph on that page; outlining what Google expects from the users of their free blogging platform, stands out in clearly written language.
Copyright: It is our policy to respond to clear notices of alleged copyright infringement. More information about our copyright procedures can be found here. Also, please don’t provide links to sites where your readers can obtain unauthorized downloads of other people’s content.
I made that one sentence red so it would also stand out clearly. So; let me get this straight, according to Google’s terms of service for the people who publish blogs on their Blogger platform tell those users to not provide links where other people can download our content without our authorization.
But Google is providing links to our content and facilitating unauthorized downloads of that content.
Does Google apply or follow the same terms of service to themselves as they do to their users? It sure looks like they don’t, doesn’t it?
I recently discovered one of my juvenile Red-tailed Hawks in flight on a Google Blogger blog, the image was “hot linked” to my web site galleries and I sent in a DMCA Copyright Infringement Notification to Google to have the image hot link removed. This is their reply and response to my notification:
Thanks for reaching out to us.
In accordance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, we have completed processing your infringement notice. We are in the process of disabling access to the content in question at the following URL(s):
The content will be removed shortly.
Please let us know if we can assist you further. If you would like to file additional requests, we ask that you contact us by using the online forms at: www.google.com/support/go/legal as we do not accept add-on requests.Regards,
The Google Team
Not only did they remove the hot link to my image they removed all of the content on that blogger’s post.
But wait; isn’t Google doing the exact same thing this blogger was doing by hot linking to my image files on Google’s new Image Search engine?
Yeah, they are, they are infringing in the SAME manner as the owner of this Google blog had been.
Shame on Google for not following their own terms of service in regards to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, shame, shame, shame.
Next question: Is Google’s New Image Search Violating The Law?
It sure looks that way to me.
Let’s visit the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s pages on Intellectual Property theft and read the statements on their Anti-piracy Warning Seal page: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/investigate/white_collar/ipr/download-the-fbis-anti-piracy-warning-seal#unauthorized
Warning language specifying current penalties
FBI Anti-Piracy Warning: The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of a copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to five years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000.
Okay, see the word “distribution” in the FBI’s warning language? Google’s update to their Image Search pages DOES distribute our works without our authorization. Is hot linking considered “reproduction” when our images show up full size on their Image Search pages? Well, I sure didn’t authorize them to have my image “reproduced” on their pages. Did you?
This page on the FBI’s website about Intellectual Property Theft is a VERY interesting read regarding Google’s update to their Image Search: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/investigate/white_collar/ipr/anti-piracy
Additionally The FBI has a partnership page about Intellectual Property Rights which is also very informative: http://www.iprcenter.gov/
It appears to me that artists, photographers and other content providers whose works show up on Google’s Image Search results have the option of reporting Google to the FBI through their partners at the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center for Copyright Infringement. http://www.iprcenter.gov/referral
I am seriously considering taking that action, Google isn’t listening to the artists, photographers and other content owner’s feelings on how wrong the changes are to Google’s Image Search, they think they are bigger than we are, but are they bigger and stronger than the FBI and its partners?
I wonder how many complaints through the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center for Copyright Infringement against Google it would take before the hot linking to our original files would be removed from Google’s update to their Image Search and that “View Original File” button would be removed?
Isn’t what Google is doing Criminal? Sure feels that way to me.
What Google has done isn’t “Fair Use”. If in accordance to the DMCA they have to remove our content that is hot linked on their Blogger blogs then in accordance with the DMCA Google needs to remove the hotlinks on Image Search to our files immediately, remove the “View Original File” button and stop facilitating the unauthorized distribution of our Copyrighted work.
Anything less is criminal.
See my previous post about this Google issue: Google has become the biggest image scraper of the Millennium
Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer and none of the content above is to be considered legal advice, the opinions are my own and nothing more.