Google Inc. is promising to do a better job of weeding out copyright violations on the Internet.
As part of a crackdown announced Thursday, the Internet search leader said it will respond to complaints about pirated material posted on its YouTube video site and other services within 24 hours. Google didn’t specify what its average response time is now, but many copyright holders have griped in the past about the company taking too long to remove videos or other content posted illegally.
Under federal laws, websites aren’t held liable for hosting unauthorized copyright content, as long as they remove the pirated material after being notified of the problem. That can be a daunting task given that Google’s search engine indexes more than 1 trillion unique Web links and about 35 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube per minute. YouTube was swamped with pirated video in its early days, outraging television broadcasters and movie studios. The rampant violations prompted Viacom Inc. to sue Google and YouTube for $1 billion in damages, but a federal judge concluded Google and YouTube had followed the law in a ruling earlier this year. Viacom plans to appeal that decision Friday.
Google has tried to prevent pirated video and music from appearing on YouTube by introducing technology that automatically detects unauthorized content. Without providing specifics, Google said it will be introducing more tools to make it easier and quicker to flag copyright violations. The changes that will be rolled out during the next month will include countermeasures to allow people to challenge copyright complaints.
Google also plans to police the websites in its online advertising network more closely. Sites that repeatedly try to make money by improperly hosting copyrighted content will be banned from the Internet’s largest ad network more quickly. The increased vigilance, in theory, could encourage more websites to avoid becoming piracy havens.
Publishers, broadcasters and movie studios contend they would have made far more money from online advertising and licensing during the past year if not for rampant copyright abuses. Google frequently is a focal point of the copyright complaints because its search engine serves as the springboard for so much Internet traffic.