Manchester United football club is demanding that Google (NSDQ: GOOG) bar all Android apps that contain its logo.
The soccer club sent an infringement notice to Google in February to request it remove from Android Market (now called Google Play) apps that contain its famous crest.
It is the latest case in which intellectual property law may be broken in arenas like Google Play before proprietors step up to complain.
In January, paidContent reported how dozens of top-tier novels had been repackaged and were available in free, ad-supported Android Market apps without authorisation. Google later removed the apps.
Google’s laissez faire Android app entry process differs from Apple’s famously stringent rules for approval to iTunes Store.
Google, Twitter and other online services are receiving a growing number of takedown requests under the U.S. DCMA law, disclosed on ChillingEffects.org. They are engaged in a continual post-publication moderation firefight.
paidContent has asked Google if it intends to remove the apps containing Manchester United’s logo.
Google executives got a rough ride from a House Of Commons committee in January, when they declined to systemically filter law-breaking web pages from search results, before takedown requests need to be lodged.
Much to the disbelief of MPs, Google’s associate general counsel Daphne Keller told the joint committee on privacy and injunctions that algorithmic filtering-out was technically feasible but not something the company wants to do.
“If a user has their privacy violated by a web page and wants that removed, we have a public-facing web form that they use to let us know. We have removed hundreds of URLs in this case so that they no longer show up in our search results.”
“I don’t dispute that someone could perhaps build something (to remove results prior to publication). My policy point is that doing so is a bad idea.”
Manchester United allows re-use of the logo for school projects but says schoolkids must seek permission from its brand protection office. That hasn’t stopped it being used all over the web.