11 March 2019Copyright

Google opposes Australian watchdog’s mandatory takedown scheme

Google has opposed a recommendation by an Australian watchdog that the country’s government should introduce a mandatory takedown notice scheme.

The  opposition, which was published by watchdog Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) on March 4, warned that a takedown scheme could lead to automated censorship.

The ACCC made the recommendation  in a December 2018 report. It said introducing a mandatory takedown scheme would enable timely and effective removal of infringing content.

The commission also said platforms that fail to comply could be subject to fines of $250,000.

In its opposition, Google said the scheme would be a “significant departure” from the globally accepted standards that are already in place.

It said currently, takedown procedures require digital platforms to respond “expeditiously upon notification” to disable to infringing content.

“A mandatory standard would compromise the flexibility and efficiency of existing tools, stifle innovation, and result in a system that serves neither the Australian creative industries nor the Australian public,” Google said.

The search engine also said a more rigid standard with high fines for errors could incentivise automated censorship on “an unacceptable scale” and lead to a reduction in innovation.

The ACCC also approached copyright holders for input.

In its submission,  Getty Images said it supports and applauds the proposed mandatory takedown scheme.

It said that as it stands, pursuing takedowns of copyright infringing content on digital contents is costly and time consuming because different platforms have different policies, “each offering varying degrees of success to content owners”.

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5 March 2019   Google’s senior vice president of global affairs has weighed in on the European Union’s copyright directive, describing it as “one step forward, two steps back” for Europe’s creative economy.