Google: Targeting Downloaders Not The Best Solution to Fight Piracy

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A few days ago it was revealed that Google is forwarding controversial settlement demands from copyright holders to its subscribers. Responding to the news, Google says the notices are forwarded in an effort to be as transparent as possible. However, the company adds that targeting individual downloaders isn't the best way to solve piracy.

google-bayIn recent years it has become more common for copyright holders to include settlement offers in the takedown notices that are sent to Internet providers.

While most large ISPs prefer not to forward these demands, Google Fiber decided it would.

A few days ago we highlighted the issue in an article. Before publication we reached out to Google for a comment, but initially the company didn’t reply. Now, a week after our first inquiry Google has sent a response.

Google explains that it’s forwarding the entire takedown notice including the settlement offers in an effort to be as transparent as it can be.

“When Google Fiber receives a copyright complaint about an account, we pass along all of the information we receive to the account holder so that they’re aware of it and can determine the response that’s best for their situation,” a Google spokesperson tells TF.

This suggests that the transparency is seen by Google as more important than protecting customers against threatening and sometimes inaccurate notices. Overall, however, Google notes that targeting pirates directly is not the best solution to deal with the issue.

“Although we think there are better solutions to fighting piracy than targeting individual downloaders, we want to be transparent with our customers,” Google’s spokesperson adds.

Google doesn’t say what these better options are, but previously the company noted that piracy is mainly a pricing and availability problem.

While transparency is often a good thing, in this case it doesn’t necessarily help Google Fiber customers. After receiving the notice they can either pay up or ignore it. If they choose the latter generally nothing happens, but recent history shows that there’s a legal risk involved.

Last week the news broke that Rotten Records, one of the companies which sends settlement requests to ISPs, sued Comcast subscribers for ignoring these infringement notices.

With the possibility of false accusations, it would probably be in the customers’ best interest if ISPs ignored the notices entirely, which some do.


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