Friday, 15 July 2016 10:27

Google deletes artist's blog, email due to ToS violation Featured

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Google has done it again. An American writer, Dennis Cooper, who lives in France, has seen 14 years of artistic work disappear from Google's Blogger platform due to a violation of the company's terms of service.

Cooper has also lost his Gmail account. Unfortunately, he did not keep any backups and while some of his drawings can be seen on the Internet Archive, the complete entries are not there. His blog has also been deleted from Google's cache.

Since 27 June, visitors to his blog have been greeted with this message: "Sorry, the blog at denniscooper-theweaklings.blogspot.com has been removed. This address is not available for new blogs."

According to the Artforum website, the blog included writings, research, and photographs. Cooper also used it to engage with followers and fellow artists.



The blog also featured Cooper’s storytelling through GIFs, which inspired his recent GIF novel, Zac’s Haunted House (Kiddiepunk, 2015), reviewed by Paige K. Bradley for bookforum.com, and the 2016 short-story collection Zac’s Control Panel," the website said.

Cooper put a notice on his Facebook page on 28 June, in which he said: "Yesterday afternoon Google disabled my blog and took it offline. They did the same with my email account. Other than being shown a general 'violation of terms of service' statement, I have been given no explanation for this, and I have not received any response to my questions and complaints thus far."

iTWire has had a similar experience recently, when we were asked to change a 10-year-old innocuous story.

Cooper's Facebook entries after that tell a tale of frustration and annoyance at trying to get some redress from a company that, despite its US$21.32 billion revenue for the final quarter of 2015, has no customer service department.

Cooper has posted risque work on the blog for years but he had an 18+ warning as required. Even if that was the reason for removal, it does not explain how his email address was removed by Google.

Having contacted a French lawyer, he is thinking of suing Google but is unlikely to get much joy. The Blogger terms of service read: "Other than as expressly set out in these terms or additional terms, neither Google nor its supplier or distributors make any specific promises about the services. For example, we don't make any commitments about the content within the services, the specific functions of the services, or their reliability, availability, or ability to meet your needs. We provide the service 'as is'."

Google was contacted for comment and provided an anonymous response: "We're aware of this matter and not able to comment on specific user accounts."

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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