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violation email
miracle

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3569153 posted 12:30 am on Feb 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

I run a popular forum, today I noticed an email sent from Google saying that one of the threads contained copyrighted material. I inspected it and the rapidshare links posted were just personal recordings of songs by a member. They said ads will not be served on my site until I remove it. They probably think it's links to the original recordings.

Since it's all user generated content, I don't feel safe at all. It's not possible for me to check every single post. So, a member could cause my account to be potentially suspended/terminated, that's so sad! :( I never had any complaints about copyrights from google in the 3 years the forum was up.

 

tim222

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3569153 posted 12:47 am on Feb 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

There's not a lot you can do, except remove the copyrighted material. Also, I would make sure your TOS states that copyrighted material will be removed without prior notice. Then reply to Google to let them know that you complied with their request. Further, you can point to your TOS to show them that your website doesn't allow copyrighted material.

Realistically, it's going to happen, anyway. As you said, the content is user-generated and you couldn't possibly know if any of their posts are infringing on a copyright. But hopefully there won't be very many complaints to Google.

If you want to minimize Google's involvement, you could also offer a form that sends you a message to let people report copyright violations to you directly.

MyNewPC

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3569153 posted 12:48 am on Feb 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

Sounds like maybe there's been a misunderstanding. Why don't you reply to the email with what you've said here?

miracle

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3569153 posted 12:58 am on Feb 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

I contacted google minutes afterwards telling them that the links were just personal recordings from a member and that I've already deleted the thread. I also said there's no way I could check every single message posted by members and that if it happens again, it was not in my intention to do so. I hope they remove this "strike" from my account.

miracle

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3569153 posted 1:09 am on Feb 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

Just checked those rapidshare links, they are all dead. The topic was from more than 1 year ago, if Google would've simply checked the links, they would know.. but they had to jump into conclusions so quick.

ronburk

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3569153 posted 2:06 am on Feb 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

email sent from Google saying that one of the threads contained copyrighted material

It would seem puzzling for Google to voluntarily go into the copyright enforcement business. Could you infer from their email whether this was generated by someone sending them a DCMA takedown notice?

miracle

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3569153 posted 2:24 am on Feb 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

I cannot infer anything from their email, here is part of the email:

<email quote removed>

I see google ads placed on many sites with links to copyrighted material, so does that mean the thousands (possibly millions) of sites will be suspended now...why do they care about copyright so much, most of the copyright owners themselves don't give a crap and yet Google wants to stick their nose in. *shrug*

On the program policies, they also mention the ads can't be placed on pages which contain copyrighted images, well there are literally millions of celebrity fan, blog sites which contain copyrighted images used without permission. Come on, do you seriously think the makers actually contacted the owners for permission? How do you even make a site without using copyrighted images, even the owners don't care much.

[edited by: encyclo at 2:53 am (utc) on Feb. 8, 2008]
[edit reason] no email quotes please, see terms of service [/edit]

MyNewPC

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3569153 posted 2:42 am on Feb 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

Not sure why you didn't check the links yourself before you responded to their email or before you removed the posts. That said, it is not a violation to simply post links to material protected by copyright. I still maintain there has been some sort of misunderstanding.

[edited by: MyNewPC at 2:43 am (utc) on Feb. 8, 2008]

jomaxx

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jomaxx us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3569153 posted 3:24 am on Feb 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

Not sure why you didn't check the links yourself before you responded to their email or before you removed the posts.

Completely agree.

That said, it is not a violation to simply post links to material protected by copyright.

Depends. If you're linking to music or warez then you are almost certainly going to get into trouble. Linking to pages that contain copyrighted text or images, there's probably a lot more leeway.

Note that even if it was a recording the poster had made themselves, unless they also WROTE the song themselves it could still be a copyright violation. I would simply write back and make the best case you can, and forget about the idea that it's a "strike" against you. I'm not aware of any evidence that Google thinks in those terms.

miracle

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3569153 posted 3:37 am on Feb 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

Not sure why you didn't check the links yourself before you responded to their email or before you removed the posts.

Because the member made a topic and said those were her recordings and wanted other's opinions. Anyway, it's still in the trash bin. I can recover it if needed.

Note that even if it was a recording the poster had made themselves, unless they also WROTE the song themselves it could still be a copyright violation.

So all those sites (many well known) that link to personal recordings on YouTube are violating google's terms. eeeeek! I can't imagine how many sites will be suspended if they decide to go down that route.

I would simply write back and make the best case you can, and forget about the idea that it's a "strike" against you. I'm not aware of any evidence that Google thinks in those terms.

I already emailed them before making this topic so maybe it's best if I wait for their reply before sending another email? Well, they did say that future violations may lead to a suspension, that's why I thought it may be another "strike" on my account.

potentialgeek

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3569153 posted 4:20 am on Feb 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

FYI: Google reads this board.

There aren't that many staff at Google Adsense and your situation is unique enough for them to know your id.

Not that I think you've necessarily said anything bad here; it's just a word of caution. Be careful.

Also, they are extremely busy and understaffed there, so it's not entirely difficult to see how an occasional misunderstanding could happen.

Forums are tricky. You just have to stay alert.

Google is relaxing its policy. Before it was very heavy-handed. Nowadays it suspends sites instead of terminating accounts. You don't have to walk on eggshells like you used to.

p/g

"The price of freedom is eternal vigilance."

thegreatpretender

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3569153 posted 6:01 am on Feb 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

I also received a warning from google 2 weeks ago, and it's about a matured content posted by my site's member, I immediately removed the content and informed google about it. I also assured them that I comply with their policies all the time. They wrote back thanking me for my prompt action.

My point is, these people are busy, arguing with them about this and that would just annoy them. I am imagining that the staffs want to finish one case immediately and move into the next one.

Sunflux

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3569153 posted 12:14 pm on Feb 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

They have bots that scan pages for specific text.

I once had a warning email on a many-year-old forum post, that had someone asking where to buy a widget, and another poster responded to click the ad at the top of the page. At that time, a single widget supplier had an exclusive on ads in that location. This all predated AdSense by quite some time, but their bot still ferrited it out. (And even years later the text wouldn't have affected AdSense, since it wasn't shown in the top position.)

All you can do make their bot happy by deleting the offending content. I am somewhat surprised that they cut you off and THEN told you about it; on mine I was given a certain number of days to comply and ads continued to be served.

swa66

WebmasterWorld Senior Member swa66 us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3569153 posted 1:41 pm on Feb 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

It's simple: if you want adsense, you play by their rules.

User generated content always needs policing, there are too many people trying to trick you not to need constant monitoring.

I'd not mind a warning about inappropriate content, just as they don't mind me warning them they are carrying inappropriate ads. It's called working together to a common goal.

My forum often has adult content that get's removed as soon as one of the moderators spots it. Same for the occasional link to copyright violations (material is by default copyrighted, that's not the problem, the use without permission is the problem): If I spot it, it'll be removed. Should I miss it, I'll thank them for telling me.

Juan_G

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3569153 posted 7:28 pm on Feb 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

copyrighted material (...) rapidshare links (...) It's not possible for me to check every single post.

I think you should try, at least a quick read.

Also, forum software usually includes something like "word censor", or "censorship options", or "profanity checker", etc. You can do a simple test to verify if those filters, in your specific software, can be used to prevent links to rapidshare, megaupload, warez sites, etc.

jbayabas

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3569153 posted 8:27 pm on Feb 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

Are you aware that google has a script that reads your site if you are posting copyright materials? The staff may not be checking your site themselves, it's the robot script. If your site is usually posting videos or links to download copyright materials, then the robot will detect it and send an alert to Google's AS team.

Crystal Pegasus

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3569153 posted 5:24 pm on Feb 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

If it's a very busy forum I guess this may not be practical for you... but for us (we don't have a forum, but get various visitor input and content), any user comments or material has to be approved by us before it goes live. We're just not willing to take the risk of content against Adsense TOS appearing unknown to us. But, as I said, it's probably not practical for some sites.

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