Google, the takedown edition: nude celebrity selfies, European news excerpts

We’ve got some news about Google, and it’s all about takedowns. Of content, that is.

Let’s start with the sexy stuff. You might remember the hacked naked celebrity photos and the fallout Apple had to deal with because the photos were stolen from the celebrities’ iCloud accounts. Now more than a dozenĀ of those celebrities are threatening a $100 million lawsuit against Google, charging that the company is “facilitating” the showing of those photos by refusing to remove links to them.

The Hollywood Reporter has posted a copy of the letter dated Oct. 1 sent to Google’s top management and legal team, which reads in part: “We are writing concerning Google’s despicable, reprehensible conduct in not only failing to act expeditiously and responsibly to remove the images, but in knowingly accommodating, facilitating and perpetuating the unlawful conduct.”

Besides seeking removal of the links in Google searches, the celebrities are asking that the images be removed from YouTube, Blogspot and other Google-owned sites. THR wrote previously that Google is grappling with copyright issues related to taking down the images.

Meanwhile and elsewhere, Google announced Wednesday it will stop including snippets in news links to content from Europe’s biggest newspaper publisher, Axel Springer, and other German media entities, after they demanded to be paid. Starting next week, the search results will include only headlines and links, no excerpts or thumbnails.

The Financial Times points out that Germany last year passed a law that gave publishers the right to license their Web content. But news aggregators are still supposed to be able to show excerpts without having to pay.

We wrote earlier this year that Axel Springer CEO Mathias Dopfner said publishers “are afraid of Google,” and that he felt compelled to speak up against the dominance of its search engine.

VG Media, the group representing Axel Springer and the other publishers, slammed Google’s move Wednesday. According to the FT, the group called it “blackmail” and said the publishers had not demanded their content be removed.


Photo from AFP/Getty Images archives


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