Earlier this week I broke the news that Google had a rampant piracy problem in Google Play Books, and today Google has finally responded.
Far more so than most ebookstores, Google is a safe haven where pirates can operate with impunity. Pirates can upload copy after copy of a pirated ebook, secure in the knowledge that Google won’t delete their account. This leaves authors and publishers with little recourse but to play a never-ending game of whack-a-mole.
Luckily that game is coming to an end. Google told me today that they feel authors’ pain:
Google Play takes copyright seriously. We take swift action when we receive a DMCA complaint, which the copyright holder can complete here. Additionally, we’re constantly improving our systems to provide a better experience.
Yes, they take this issue very seriously – just not seriously enough to actually do anything.
When I asked what Google was doing to fight piracy in Google Play Books, they were unable to name a single activity. When I asked what it would take to get a commercial ebook pirate banned from Google Play Books, the Google rep was unable to even confirm that they would even ban a pirate after dozens of valid DMCA notices. When I asked what improvements they planned to make, none came to mind.
But that should not worry you; Google Play takes copyright seriously. It says so right there in their statement.
Folks, when I first covered this issue on Monday morning I suggested that it would take either a lawsuit filed by publishers or lots of pressure+publicity before Google would take an interest in fighting piracy in Google Play Books.
Viacom sued Youtube, and we got ContentID. The RIAA and MPAA spent years beating up Google over search results, and Google started deranking pirate site from its search results.
Unless and until the Big Five decide to pursue one path or the other, Google simply won’t give a damn.