This time it’s film industry body the MPAA, reacting waspishly to a blog post last week by Google’s legal director Fred Von Lohmann about the number of copyright removal requests it’s processing – and its decision to publish more details about the URLs it does and doesn’t remove as a result.
“As policymakers evaluate how effective copyright laws are, they need to consider the collateral impact copyright regulation has on the flow of information online,” wrote Lohmann.
“When we launched the copyright removals feature, we received more than 250,000 requests per week. That number has increased tenfold in just six months to more than 2.5 million requests per week today… By making our copyright data available in detail, we hope policymakers will be able to see whether or not laws are serving their intended purpose and being enforced in the public interest.”
The MPAA’s SVP Content Protection, Internet, Marc Miller, took to the organisation’s blog to hit back. “Google’s reading of the data in the blog post accompanying the announcement is missing some critical perspective: if the process is cumbersome for Google, it is even more cumbersome for the creators and makers who must constantly be on the lookout to protect their work from theft,” he wrote.
“There is a staggering amount of copyright infringement taking place every day online and much of it is facilitated by Google, as their own data shows.”
The arguments will be familiar to the music industry, where the BPI has regularly made similar criticisms, most recently over the speed at which Google is introducing its promised downgrading of piracy sites in its search rankings.
And so 2012 ends as it began. Google is an important partner for the entertainment industries through YouTube, Android and its music services. Yet it’s also a villain in the eyes of industry bodies, not least because it has more cloud with the “policymakers” referred to by Von Lohmann than they do.