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Online copyright infringement: yes, the search engines are reacting

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When it comes to responding to the owners of copyrighted material who see their original creations pointing to pirated content or being reposted as original material online, Google aims to please.

Here's what you do if you're a copyright owner who is being ripped off on the Internet: simply fill out some details relating to your complaint on a Google-supplied site, and leave the rest to the search engine. As noted in an article discussing online copyright infringement, "It usually takes the company around six hours" to process a request.

That is a status quo that was far from being the reality even a few short years ago, when the Internet reasonably seemed to some people to spell lawless terrain supporting all types of criminal activities. Of course, that is still the case to some extent, with users needing to exercise due caution in their online habits and trust thresholds. As the above article points out, though, some things have materially changed.

One catalyst for that has certainly been the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998. The goal underlying the DMCA's implementation was to protect copyrighted content online by providing Google and other search engines with a clear incentive to police and take action against infringing activity. If they do not reasonably do so, the DMCA opens the door for financial liability.

And, thus, Google and other engines are increasingly quick on infringement, which is certainly good news for artists, entrepreneurs with creative vision and others who need to be safeguarded from the pilfering act of third parties.

And the search engines need to be on top of their game. Reportedly, Google received 76 million requests for content removal just last month, which is far more than double the number of requests it received in February of last year.

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