Thursday, May 19, 2011

Take down notice due to a Google CSE

An update following the take down notice targeted at
Following is part of the Email I received this morning.

  "We are writing to inform you that we have received a complaint alleging that copyright infringement is taking place on your site
It appears that the website contains material being copied, reproduced, or otherwise displayed without the consent of the owner/copyright holder...

...In order to reactivate the site in question we will need you to provide the following information in a single email response:

  A. An electronic signature. (This can be a scanned copy of your
physical signature, or as simple as typing your full name.)
  B. Identification of the material in question.
  C. A statement, under penalty of perjury, that the material has
either been removed or promptly will be removed."

After advice, I responded by giving the required information.
Shortly afterwards the site was up and running and I again received another email from my hosting provider. That email said...

  "Thank you for your email. We have re-activated the services associated with your site.  Please keep in mind reactivations require some time to take full effect.

  The account will be reviewed within the next 72 hours to confirm the content in question has been removed, as indicated by your content removal statement. Please be sure to remove the content by that time to avoid additional action being taken."

It turns out the complaint to my hosting company came from a company acting on behalf of Microsoft.
They alleged that...

  "Microsoft has received information that the domain listed above, which appears to be on servers under your control, is offering unlicensed copies of, or is engaged in other unauthorized activities relating to copyrighted works published by Microsoft"

They provided my hosting company with three URL's from which allegedly contained the offending material.
These URL's were search results that the complainant themselves had generated by searching for specific terms.
I have again responded to my hosting provider just to add/clarify that...

  "Regarding the alleged content (links) contained on my site. Those links are generated via a Google custom search engine and are not actually contained on my site. If you do a search on, then check the source code of the results page, you will see that my site does not generate the links, Google does.

  I have added a filter to the custom search engine in question to try and remove the links that point to the three files that are hosted by (which I do not own). Please note that Mediafire themselves seem to have removed the files in question.

  However, as I have no control over what people upload to sites like Mediafire and I also have no control what URL's Google chooses to index and display in their search results, I cannot guarantee that a similar situation won't arise in the future.
All I can do is hope that instead of the complainants demanding sites like mine (that display Google's search results) be taken offline, the complainant instead contacts Google and gets the results removed from Google's index, which in turn also removes the results from any and all custom search engines on the web.

  I have raised my concerns about this situation with Google and have asked what steps I can take to prevent this occurring in the future, via Google's own "Custom search help" forum and are waiting for their official response.

The reason I am relaying this information here is that I am unsure how the review of my site will go. I hope common sense will prevail, but can't count on it.
So if the site goes back down in the next few days, you will understand why.

If anyone has any suggestions or information that could help, I'd really appreciate hearing it.