Google Restores Links

from the pressure dept

I mentioned this as a comment in the Google story about them removing the Xenu links – but since that story has been pushed off the front page, I might as well mention that following a zillion or so blogs and news organizations posting the story of Google removing the links, they’ve put them back. The article also mentions the little “activist” gathering that headed over to Google today to confront them on this. I received a few emails telling me about that gathering and I have to admit that I don’t agree with it. If they wanted to protest anyone it should have been either the folks who forced Google to take down the pages in the first place (Scientology’s legal team) or the government for dumping the DMCA on us. I still think this isn’t Google’s battle to fight. By the way, if you now do a search on Google for scientology, not only do you get the links to Xenu, but it appears a number of people have taken out text ads linking to the Xenu site as well. Update: Someone has pointed out to me in an email that Google hasn’t really put back the pages. They just put back the front page of the site, which was not accused of breaking the DMCA (and was taken down by mistake). However, the rest of the pages still do not show up at Google.

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Comments on “Google Restores Links”

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Robert Loch (user link) says:

It was not taken down by mistake

The main criticisms of Google over this was that they simply followed legal orders without any consideration of merit whatsoever. The removal of the front page was a classic example. From my understanding it was not taken down by ‘mistake’ but was rather taken down because it was listed in the complaint. The issue from start to present is discussed in detailed here. As Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Watch points out home page doesn’t appear to have any infringing material. He goes on to explain why this is important – ‘ It’s the home page that was probably ranked most highly by Google,” Sullivan explains. “Google may have overstepped its bounds here by just shutting down Xenu’s home page.’ Clearly, this was the Scientologists intentions.

My only real complaint against Google, is that they acted without what appears to be any form of consideration. Although maybe you are right, perhaps it should not be their responsibility in any respect to judge the veracity of a claim. Regardless, something needs to be done to discourage deliberate baseless complaints.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: It was not taken down by mistake

The law makes it pretty clear that they need to remove it right away with no consideration for the merits. Legally (due to the ridiculousness that is the DMCA) they simply have to act “without any form of consideration”. We had pointed this out a long time ago.

I can’t believe that everyone’s getting on Google for this. Yell at the government for the way they wrote the DMCA. Yell at Scientology for forcing Xenu down.

The fact is that Google has to act this way to avoid a lawsuit that has nothing to do with them.

Whether or not the site actually is infringing, the way the DMCA is written, if someone complains, then it has to be taken down. I realize how incredibly stupid this is. But that doesn’t change the fact that it’s the law right now.

I agree that something needs to be done to discourage baseless complaints. But, I think it’s unfair that everyone is suddenly saying that this is entirely Google’s fault. All they did was abide by the law.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: It was not taken down by mistake

We complain to Google because “the people” have been stripped of all power in this country. Only when a *corporate* entity complains does the government listen. If we complain to Google, perhaps Google will complain to the government and something will actually change.
“All they did was abide by the law”… but if they just sit back and abide by the law without raising a stink, nothing will change.
Google should fight the good fight instead of accepting B.S. like this. And if *they* don’t fight the fight, nothing will change. Laws don’t change because people complain. Laws change because *corporations* complain. To deny this is to deny the plain truth sitting in front of your face.
That’s why we are complaining to Google.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: It was not taken down by mistake

Fine. Then it’s understandable to suggest to Google that they take on this burden. However, it is not, in any way, their responsibility to do this. It’s a choice they have to make.

My complaint is that everyone immediately is blaming Google as if they’ve done something wrong. They haven’t done anything wrong at all.

A lot of things were done wrong that created this mess – but none of them (in my opinion) were done by Google.

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