Google Inc., owner of the world’s most popular Internet search engine, said a new report shows that Microsoft Corp. makes the most requests among copyright owners to remove content from Google’s search service.
Microsoft, or others on its behalf, has requested more than 2.5 million Web pages, or URLs, be removed because of copyright infringement, while Comcast Corp.’s NBCUniversal was No. 2 with almost 1 million, according to data released by Google that measured all requests going back to 2011. Member companies of the Recording Industry Association of America, including EMI Music North America, was No. 3 with more than 400,000 requests.
“We’re providing information about who sends us copyright removal notices, how often, on behalf of which copyright owners and for which websites,” said Fred von Lohmann, Google’s senior copyright counsel, in a blog post. “As policy makers and Internet users around the world consider the pros and cons of different proposals to address the problem of online copyright infringement, we hope this data will contribute to the discussion.”
Google is under scrutiny from companies and governments around the world over what type of content it shows on its services. The new data is a now part of Google’s Transparency Report, which tracks traffic on its services, general user-data requests and removal queries.
While evaluating copyright requests, the company also is trying to improve the efficiency of the process. Last week, the average turnaround time for a request was less than 11 hours. Google said it has received 1.2 million requests on behalf of more than 1,000 copyright owners to remove search results in the past month.
The Mountain View, California-based company does reject some requests. For example, sometimes they’re used for “anticompetitive purposes,” or to remove content that is unfavorable toward a particular person or company yet doesn’t infringe any copyrights.
Microsoft is the world’s largest software maker and competes with Google in the market for Web search with its Bing service.
“As a search engine and copyright owner, Microsoft appreciates the need for responsible enforcement online,” said Mark Lamb, senior manager of anti-piracy communications at Microsoft, in an e-mailed statement. “So each month, Microsoft requests the removal of links to Web pages that infringe Microsoft’s copyrights so that customers are not deceived into purchasing or downloading counterfeit software.”