Bing and the DMCA

bing-logo

When Microsoft announced Bing at the All Things Digital Conference last week and soft launched the preview of it yesterday, they were doing more than launching a new search engine, they were, according to many, finding a whole new direction for the company on the Web.

Though most seem to think that Bing is a vast improvement over Microsoft’s Live search, it seems the preview has not sufficiently wowed most to believe it better than Google. Still, when a major search provider revamps its offering, it causes many to take a fresh look.

Over the next few days, I’m going to be taking a closer look at Bing and what it may mean for content creators and copyright holders. Today, we’re going to take a look at Bing’s DMCA policy and how it stacks up against Google and Yahoo!

Bing’s DMCA Approach

Unsurprisingly, since Bing is owned by Microsoft, its approach to the DMCA is no different than it was on Live.com or other Microsoft sites. If you pull up Bing’s home page and look at the footer, you will see a “Legal” link.

bing-legal

On that page (which is still hosted on the live.com domain), under item 29 in their terms of use, you’ll find the “Notices and Procedure for Making Claims of Copyright Infringement” along with a link to this page that provides the necessary contact information as well as the information required for a correct notice.

Microsoft also has a filing with the U.S. Copyright Office (PDF), though the filing has not yet been updated to add the Bing name to it (this is not a shock as it takes months for the USCO to add a notice once it has been submitted).

Largely, the policy is the same one I reviewed in 2007, the only difference being that Microsoft is making it a bit easier to find the information by making the link clickable. It is a small change, but an important one in that it opens up the actual DMCA policy to the search engines.

Comparisons To Google/Yahoo!

The same as the Microsoft policy has not changed a great deal, neither has the Google’s or Yahoo!’s.

Yahoo! still has a very efficient and easy policy that provides a clear link at the footer of each page and a good explanation of the rules. Also, from personal experience, Yahoo! is very fast in dealing with infringements and is also very good about being fair to its customers and doing what it can to give them a chance to respond should the notice be erroneous.

Google, despite strides with its Blogger product, has made almost no changes to its search one. It still has the bizarre policy that forces copyright holders to fax or mail in a DMCA notice (unless one is willing to use my work around) . Google also submits all DMCA notices to Chilling Effects, something I support, so they are available (minus private information) for public viewing.

In the end, Yahoo! still has the best policy in terms of clarity and efficiency but Microsoft has made subtle changes to make it less obstructionist and at least comparable. Google still is clinging on to an outdated policy that is both hindering the filing of notices and making Chilling Effect’s work more difficult.

Unfortunately, I have not had a reason to file with Microsoft for some time so I am unaware if they are still having an issue with notices disappearing.

Bottom Line

Bing may be a new search engine, but its DMCA policy is the same as the last one. Microsoft hasn’t even bothered to move its TOS information to the Bing.com domain.

Fortunately, that is not necessarily a bad thing. Microsoft’s policy, though never particularly great, has always met the minimum requirements. They’ve done their part and, despite some filing issues over the years, they do seem to respond to notices eventually.

The question now is when and if Bing will become big enough to warrant it becoming a major target for takedown notices. Currently, many people ignore Live.com and even Yahoo! in favor of just filing notices with Google to save both time and money.

I don’t know what the magical threshold is on this matter, but it appears that, for most, that it hasn’t been met yet.

Tomorrow

Tomorrow we’ll take a look at how useful Bing is for detecting plagiarism and we’ll see if it is capable of matching Google or Yahoo in terms of returning valid results when searching for duplicated content.

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