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EU compares ‘right to be forgotten’ to copyright enforcement

European commissioner tells Google it can handle ‘right to be forgotten’ requests the same way it handles copyright takedown requests

Thanks to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), search engine providers like Google had to learn to deal with takedown notices related to alleged copyright infringement. While the task of sifting through thousands of these requests might have seemed daunting at first, Google and others have put in place a system to deal with these types of requests. 

If search engines can handle copyright takedown requests, it can handle a new batch of requests, “right to be forgotten” requests from citizens of the European Union, at least according to Viviane Reding, European commissioner for justice, fundamental rights and citizenship.

Recent European Union legislation has empowered citizens there to request search engines remove links to content about them, when it’s false, misleading or incomplete. Google claims that it received over 12,000 takedown requests on the first day the law went into effect, a number which Reding compares this volume to the approximately 787,000 copyright infringement requests Google receives per day, noting that the small number personal data requests should be well within the means of the company.

"This is a small thing as compared to the copyright things. It is possible to handle the copyright question, so it should also be possible to handle the takedown requests on personal data questions,” Reding told the BBC.

According to the law, EU citizens can request takedowns when data is considered inaccurate, inadequate, irrelevant or excessive. This makes the decision somewhat subjective, but Reding believes this should not be a problem. She did point out, however, that the law applies to all companies – not just European companies – that do business in the EU, noting that American companies were the only ones who gave pushback against the law.


For more on copyright and trademark news, check out the following:


DOJ to review ‘competitive concerns’ with music-fee licensing system

Is copyright infringement a Stairway to Hell?

Big Hunk A' Love? Not from the King

Is it possible to trademark the symbol Pi, followed by a period?





Senior Editor and Community Manager

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Rich Steeves

Richard P. Steeves is Senior Editor and Community Manager of InsideCounsel magazine, where he covers the intellectual property and compliance beats. Rich earned a B.A....

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