Introduction to Copyright Law
Search result removals from Google rise annually, usually due to copyright infringement
The image below shows the growth in Google search result removals over the years. The more content Google indexes, the more search result removals grow.
What is copyright law?
Straight from the horse’s mouth (the United States government): Copyright serves as your protection against the theft of your intellectual property.
“Copyright is a form of protection grounded in the U.S. Constitution and granted by law for original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression. Copyright covers both published and unpublished works.”
For a full list of protected property, see the U.S. Copyright PDF. There are people who don’t seem to respect this protection, however, and many violations of copyright occur on the internet.
Copyright violations are common
Many violations occur without the understanding that the theft was taking place. For instance, maybe a friend of yours posts some quote that you like. Because you like it so much, you want to share it with your friends.
So, you share your friends post on your social media. If the original source of the quote was copyrighted, congratulations! You may have just infringed on someones copyright.
Removing copyrighted content from searches
Let’s imagine another scenario where your copyrights are being infringed. Say you wrote a blog post that someone posted on their blog without your permission or any attribution to you.
Maybe their blog is more searchable, and so when someone searches for the topic of the blog, their blog post is in the top results, making it look like they wrote and own the content, not you.
This is a problem for you, for obvious reasons. To get the content removed from search results, you’ll need to have the publisher remove the content, not the search engine. The search engine isn’t the owner of the content, nor are they publishing any of the content on their site.
So, you’ll need to start by discovering who the publisher of the content is. It’ not the blog author, but the host of the blog that you’ll need to contact. After finding out the publisher using a site like WhoIsHostingThis.com, you can contact them with a link to the original content that includes dates of publishing as well as proof that you are the original owner of the content.
Removing search results from Google for copyright
There are other ways of dealing with the content if the publisher of the copyrighted material won’t comply with your requests. Google works with people on a regular basis to help remove content from their search results.
Having the search results removed from Google by filing a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) complaint against the site through Google is an effective way to handle this. Google has a DMCA Dashboard that will help you file the complaint. You must have a Google account to file the complaint, and aside from the specifics of the complaint that’s all.
Another option is the legal removal request from Google in which they will assess the content’s legality and remove it from search results based on that criteria. Laws vary based on country or territory. A court order from a judge tends to carry far more weight than that of an attorney or private citizen. But
If you have questions about copyright infringement or would like to learn more about online reputation management services, let us know. We're not attornys but if you need one mwe may be able to make a recommendation or find alternative ways to deal with copyright issues. We're happy to help.
Note: Reputation X is not a law firm.