Tech giant, Google, on Wednesday shut down the blog of celebrated blogger, Linda Ikeji, following widespread allegations of copyright infringement and plagiarism levelled against her. But in a post on her Twitter page, Linda Ikeji assured her readers that she was sorting things out with Google, adding that her blog “will be back.” She directed her readers to her mobile blog, lindaikeji.mobi, pending the time the issues would be resolved. “Linda Ikeji’s Blog will be back in a bit. Biko, bear with me. The blog is still up on lindaikeji.mobi. Please read there for now until I sort this out,” she tweeted. When contacted, Google’s Manager for Communications and Public Affairs, Anglo-Phone West Africa, Taiwo Kolade-Ogunlade, said he was not in the best position to speak on the specifics of the development. He, however, noted that Google takes the issue of copyright seriously, adding that the company belongs to a group of Internet firms that abides by the provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and other applicable copyright laws. According to Kolade-Ogunlade, to respect the rights of copyright holders, Google clearly spells out how users of its products and services can get permission to use someone else’s intellectual property such as text, songs, images and footages. The search giant, he added, was no respecter of anybody when it came to the issues of copyright infringement, adding that “copyright is a big deal.” “Google as an organisation takes issues of copyright seriously and belongs to a group of digital companies that respect copyrights
“But it is not a case of witch-hunting and has nothing to do with Linda Ikeji’s personality or anyone else because there is a process, and irrespective of who you are in the world, that process would apply to you,” Kolade-Ogunlade explained. According to the Google spokesman, it has become imperative for online entrepreneurs to respect the rights of copyright holders noting that the Internet community should be built on mutual trust and general respect. “Let’s respect other people’s rights and intellectual property. Making money off other people’s content without permission is wrong. Although the Internet is inanimate, it is the content on it that gives it life. These are the issues. “Whenever owners of online contents come after you accusing you of using their content, it is because they have families to feed and businesses to sustain. “People should also understand that copyrights does not only apply to text, but also extends to literary works, images and photographs, music files and MP3s, movies, movie trailers and videos as well as software,” Kolade-Ogunlade added. Online entrepreneurs, including Mr. Aye Dee, Editor-in-Chief of United States-based 15Past8 media group, had reported Linda Ikeji to Google, accusing her of copyright infringement. Initially, Google responded by taking down some of the controversial content on Linda Ikeji’blog before the latest crackdown. “Google just notified us that they are removing our copyrighted content from Linda Ikeji’s website. All the stories and images Linda Ikeji took from me without permission in the last few days have been removed from her site by Google,” Aye Dee had tweeted, following his complaint to Google. Stating that he employed the use of a DMCA takedown request to Google, he lamented, “Someone has to say something. It costs money to get good work done. I spend time getting information from my sources, as well as analysing and verifying the information. All that costs money. I don’t mind donating my time for Nigeria’s sake, but for someone to take my labour and use it for personal profit, no way!” But writing on her blog before it was taken down, Linda said she is a target of attacks because of her success. “The only reason this is happening to me is because I’m number one. So I am flattered. I am currently number 10 on Alexa.com. My blog is more read than all the other news sites in Nigeria, so I understand why I am the target,” she wrote days before the blog was yanked off.