Is Google Banning AdSense On Sites It Thinks Have Infringing Content?

from the oddities dept

Thomas O'Toole points us to yet another issue with Google customer service, where an author who holds the copyright on his own books published them online but was denied the ability to put AdSense on the site, after Google told him it had found "it contains copyrighted material." Of course, this makes no sense. Nearly every website "contains copyrighted material," because any new creative content placed in a fixed form -- such as a website -- is automatically covered by copyright. What I'm guessing Google meant (even though it got it wrong) was that it thought the site contained infringing or unauthorized copyrighted content -- though, if that's the case, that's what it should have said.

And, once again highlighting Google's communication problem, the rejection came from an email address called "noreply," making it difficult for the author to get clarification. He did eventually get Google to "resolve" the issue, but Google's overall policy on the matter is not explained at all. Does Google have an official policy where its AdSense team tries to determine if content on a website is infringing? If so, do they have an official dispute process? Does the AdSense team take into account fair use? Google has, generally speaking, been very good on issues of copyright and fair use, but this particular policy seems rather strange.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    Dark Helmet (profile), Dec 4th, 2009 @ 1:56pm

    C'mon

    "Does Google have an official policy where its AdSense team tries to determine if content on a website is infringing?"

    You mean you didn't contact Google's PR department to get their official company position? What kind of Pulitzer Prize winning journalist are you?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 4th, 2009 @ 1:56pm

    I must say it is somewhat amusing considering this whinefest:

    "I know that some of my site's content has been pirated by other sites and now I take steps to punish the pirates. Unfortunately, it is much easier for a pirate to steal intellectual property than to a copyright owner to punish the pirate for stealing. I think it might be the cause of this unfortunate case. I can send you scans of my contracts with publishers to prove my copyright."

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 4th, 2009 @ 2:03pm

    Actually, one question would be this: Is the material copyright to him alone, or is Google taking the view that material that has been published might be copyright to someone else as well?

     

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      KevinJ (profile), Dec 4th, 2009 @ 2:12pm

      Re:

      Did you click through to read the linked articles? If you had you would have seen this quote from the author in question:
      "I am the one and only owner of the copyright of all my books (they are in print for more than 10 years) presented on my site."
      and this one:
      "I have my books published on paper. I gave to the publishers permission to publish them on paper and to sell them during several years. Besides I gave them non-exclusive right to print my books. So this is NOT their content and never will be."

      Hopefully that helps answer your question.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Dec 4th, 2009 @ 5:35pm

        Re: Re:

        Kevin, I read the story, and it made me laugh. I am sure that Google seems claims like that all the time. They have to do what they do to protect themselves and their advertisers, and I am not surprised to see a google employee land on the safe side of things rather than let something go that they aren't able to confirm.

        We also don't know if the author's nom de plume is different from the pay out name on the checks, example, which might create some more confusion.

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 4th, 2009 @ 2:03pm

    Oh and... I have to say this:

    Another great moral outrage story Mike, just too bad it's missing so much information.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 4th, 2009 @ 2:49pm

    "Does Google have an official policy where its AdSense team tries to determine if content on a website is infringing?"

    "You mean you didn't contact Google's PR department to get their official company position? What kind of Pulitzer Prize winning journalist are you?"

    No shit, until shown otherwise, I'm going to regard this article as a means to capitalize on an honest mistake. Because we all know what an evil Corporation Google is!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 4th, 2009 @ 3:14pm

    Google have also shut off adworks for a small firm for what appears to be no reason at all. http://bit.ly/8NmHC9 for details.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 4th, 2009 @ 3:41pm

    Just an excuse

    The "copyrighted material" bit is probably just a convenient excuse. The real reason probably has something to do with one of Google's bigger advertising partners not liking the site for some reason or another and getting Google to cut them off.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 4th, 2009 @ 5:04pm

    Hilarious.

    Well, enforce copyright to ridiculous levels and it gets hard for everyone to put something on the interwebz.

    Bureaucracy will kill the joy and utility of anything.

    Can anybody imagine a company like google that must receive 100 of thousands of claims everyday. How would they review all of it? Not just that how do you even know who is saying the truth when you get a message from the author and another message from other representatives of some author that have joined multiple associations that are charged with "protecting" the author?

    Oh! the irony.

    I don't blame Google, not even if they can't attend that many people as I'm sure they will never be able to. I blame copyright law for that.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 4th, 2009 @ 5:14pm

    Google new policies.

    Google deployed a lot of things lately.

    GMail now needs an SMS to be send with a code so you can sign to an account.

    Tears fall off when I saw it. I don't own a cellphone :(

     

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    Robert Ring (profile), Dec 4th, 2009 @ 5:59pm

    Google actually kinda has a reputation for arbitrarily denying adsense (or even indexing) to sites and not responding to the site owners. I'm sort of surprised this guy was able to work it out.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 4th, 2009 @ 6:06pm

    I wonder if you could sue these copyright abusers for anti-trust issues? I mean, if Google were to be able to do its job properly and review each copyright claim that comes through their door, they'd have to hire enough employees to put the company out of business. =/

     

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    Scams, Dec 4th, 2009 @ 9:29pm

    Google's empire

    Google's plan is to dominate and control the internet.

    Step 1 - control how people locate information on the internet. Google Search

    Step 2 - Control how people communitcate. Gmail, Google voice, blogger, google docs, etc...

    step 3 Control who gets paid for advertising which products. I present google adsense and adwords.

    Step 4 - Control how computers find resources on the internet. introducing google DNS.

    Step 5 - Control how people use the information they find

    Step 6 - Control which products people can buy.

    Step 7 - control how payments are made.

    Steps .... Control what we watch ( you tube). control What books we have access to, google books.

    Just go down the list of products google has. They want to be everything to every one. The product of this is control of everything and everyone.

    Forget big brother. What google is doing is far beyond anything Orwell could have dreamed.

    And I wonder why I got blocked from adsense....

    Everyone reading this should take a good close look at the Google terms of service. It gives them the right to do what they want when they want and how they want.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Scams, Dec 4th, 2009 @ 9:31pm

    Google's empire

    Google's plan is to dominate and control the internet.

    Step 1 - control how people locate information on the internet. Google Search

    Step 2 - Control how people communitcate. Gmail, Google voice, blogger, google docs, etc...

    step 3 Control who gets paid for advertising which products. I present google adsense and adwords.

    Step 4 - Control how computers find resources on the internet. introducing google DNS.

    Step 5 - Control how people use the information they find

    Step 6 - Control which products people can buy.

    Step 7 - control how payments are made.

    Steps .... Control what we watch ( you tube). control What books we have access to, google books.

    Just go down the list of products google has. They want to be everything to every one. The product of this is control of everything and everyone.

    Forget big brother. What google is doing is far beyond anything Orwell could have dreamed.

    And I wonder why I got blocked from adsense....

    Everyone reading this should take a good close look at the Google terms of service. It gives them the right to do what they want when they want and how they want.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Scams, Dec 4th, 2009 @ 9:32pm

    Google's empire

    Google's plan is to dominate and control the internet.

    Step 1 - control how people locate information on the internet. Google Search

    Step 2 - Control how people communitcate. Gmail, Google voice, blogger, google docs, etc...

    step 3 Control who gets paid for advertising which products. I present google adsense and adwords.

    Step 4 - Control how computers find resources on the internet. introducing google DNS.

    Step 5 - Control how people use the information they find

    Step 6 - Control which products people can buy.

    Step 7 - control how payments are made.

    Steps .... Control what we watch ( you tube). control What books we have access to, google books.

    Just go down the list of products google has. They want to be everything to every one. The product of this is control of everything and everyone.

    Forget big brother. What google is doing is far beyond anything Orwell could have dreamed.

    And I wonder why I got blocked from adsense....

    Everyone reading this should take a good close look at the Google terms of service. It gives them the right to do what they want when they want and how they want.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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    PrometheeFeu (profile), Dec 5th, 2009 @ 12:54am

    I think that as sad as it is, the problem might not directly stem from Google. They are getting sued from every corner for being connected in the most vague and distant of ways to all sorts of illegal activities. I mean, when you become the information clearinghouse, you are going to get connected to a LOT of illegal activity. Now the problem is that if they deny AdSense to somebody, they are unlikely to get sued by that person. On the other hand, if they allow someone to make money off their website which is holding infringing copyrighted work, there will again be a huge scandal about Google "parasiting" someone and "destroying the world as we know it" etc... (not to mention a possible lawsuit which they might eventually win but would probably just settle to avoid the headache) It must be a PR nightmare to be linked to everything bad on the Internet. I think the solution is to start relaxing copyright laws. Until that happens, Google is probably going to try to be overly careful.

     

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    Anonymous Randy, Dec 6th, 2009 @ 8:23pm

    Google AdSense

    I not sure how they handle stopping adsense accounts. But I belive they are certianly inconsistant and certianly don't try and help anyone who has been blocked.

    I setup and account but the code on my unknown, meaning I am the only one who knows about it, site and after a week they shut me off. I don't mind this if they'd really explain why they shut it off. What did I do wrong. Their appeal just said it would be bad for advertisers. A tech forum bad for advertisers.

    Randy

     

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    TheWraith517 (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 2:37pm

    google saved youtube.. then killed it

    One of the issues with google is the "user" of google (someone who has signed up and put work into a youtube or a blog) is bottom of the rung.. even after 2/3 years..

    A creative user puts their work out their & a 3rd party "such as music publishing rights" steps up and says that's ours and google puts "their" advert on it

    Yet the youtube user who made it & uploaded it has to wait for monitization to be added to a video (meanwhile google are making money off the Initial traffic from subscribers) while the content creator makes nothing.

    By the time google finally approves a video its to late for the user & most the web traffic has already been and gone (yet these 3rd party companies get their advert on the moment they throw a claim in) and when you dispute and win, you get no apology or reimbursement of add traffic (that's clearly wrong yet that's the way it works)

    I am a music composer, ive been using youtube for years, i also enterd reverb a few months ago to test the waters and im now currently number 4 composer globally on reverbnation, im number one in my home town, im also no.1 in my home country (to google its irrelevant) i have a fully activated adsense account and have over 100 monitised videos, yet it still takes 24 to 48 hours (sometimes 3/4 days to get my video monitised) yet these publishing rights companies get their adds on MY work and i have to argue to get it removed (granted when i dispute it i do win because i can prove its mine) but the revenue i loose in the mean time is exponential (because im clearly not the only one this happens to)

    clearly its your right not to blame google for things they do, but google is a big money maker & they are making it off the backs of its users....

    whats the point of being a google partner if after 2 years everything you do still has to be checked, yet someone else can step in and claim ownership and google say fine and allow it...

    note i was arguing over a video in particular for 3 months, the piece of music was actually Amazing Grace (that's clearly public domain & was also clearly my performance of it)

    google uses a false sense of stability to earn money from its users, and when 20.000+ subscribers watch your video.. then 4 days later they approve it for monitisation, that takes the p*ss

    they have my bank details, they have my phone number, they have my home address (verified by adsense PIN sent in the mail/post) I am who i say i am... to google that's irrelevant, even still after 2/3 years. Daily motion is already stealing youtube users & it'll get worse over time, also forcing people to use their Full Name to merge G+ with youtube, which murders any web spiders you have built up with the term "Video Uploaded by User Name" rather than your full personal name

    google is heading for a massive fall.. at one point i liked google, i felt they saved youtube from the music industry closing it down, they had the legal backing to work a deal with lables & iTunes... then they moved onto their next idea, leaving illiterate foreigners in charge to tick boxes & make problems worse than they were before they were notified of the problem

    2013.. Google Now Sucks....

     

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