Google dinged over antitrust, piracy, ‘paid inclusion’

Google finds itself all over the news, but not necessarily for the right reasons:

• South Korean regulators raided Google’s Seoul offices earlier this week, seeking evidence that the tech giant is obstructing an antitrust probe. Google is being accused of unfairly hampering access to other search engines on its Android mobile operating system. All Things D reports the Korean Fair Trade Commission believed Google was deleting incriminating documents. Google reportedly denied comment, but has said it is cooperating with all government investigations. Speaking of which, CNet reports European antitrust regulators have given Google a July 2 deadline to make a settlement offer over charges it abused its dominant search-engine position. And back home, the Federal Trade Commission is still weighing its options in a possible antitrust lawsuit led by high-powered attorney Beth Wilkinson.

• The Recording Industry Association of America is accusing Google of not doing enough to prevent music piracy. In a blog post Wednesday, the RIAA claims Google throttles anti-piracy enforcement by limiting the number of complaints filed by a copyright owner and limiting the number of infringing links it will take down per day. “The constraints Google has placed on the tools they promote to deter infringement are well below what is necessary to identify and notice infringements on the Billboard top 10, much less the entire catalog of the American creative community,” RIAA executive vice president Brad Buckles wrote, and “Google’s limitations merely perpetuate the fraud wrought on copyright owners.” In a report last week, Google said it complied with 97 percent of copyright-takedown requests, with 1.3 million takedowns in the past month alone. The report also listed the number of complaints from copyright owners; the RIAA was fifth on that list, with 48,000 requests in the past month, about one-tenth the number of No. 1 Microsoft, with 491,000. That leads SearchEngineLand’s Matt McGee to ask if perhaps it’s the RIAA that isn’t doing enough to fight piracy.

• Has Google gone evil? A report by MarketingLand says a new Google “paid inclusion” program breaks the “Don’t Be Evil” policy it spelled out in 2004. It found that certain searches for hotels, flights and financial products brought up comparison boxes featuring “sponsored” results, a program in which an advertiser pays to be considered in Google’s search results. That’s a far cry from the standards Google said it would live up to in its 2004 IPO filing, when it wrote “We do not accept money for search result ranking or inclusion.” Google told MarketingLand that the changes, which apparently went into effect last month, were necessary to improve certain search results.



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  • Bryan

    Google’s motto should be “Bwah ha ha ha!”