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Google’s Chilling Effects
A recent search on Google produced an intriguing result at the bottom of the page, a notice from Google stating “In response to a complaint we received under the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act, we have removed 1 result(s) from this page. If you wish, you may read the DMCA complaint that caused the removal(s) at”.

The Chilling Effects Clearinghouse is an intellectual property rights watchdog supported by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and several universities which “encourages respect for intellectual property law, while frowning on its misuse to ‘chill’ legitimate activity.”

What is most interesting about the Google notice is the company’s use of their search engine to steer users to a Google-preferred public policy website – an innovative grassroots lobbying technique that could be applied to many issues.

Google is currently lobbying on several controversial issues including antitrust policy, communications spectrum allocation and net neutrality. Winston has two questions; on which issues will Google choose to leverage their search engine’s dominance, and will it end up having a chilling effect on other viewpoints?


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