Google recently introduced a new policy that allows individuals to have explicit private images removed from search results. The policy aims to stop the spread of non-consensual material, especially revenge porn. However, legitimate, commercial content will remain largely unaffected, Google has clarified.
Immediately after the release of the new guidelines, the industry was getting nervous and had many question marks surrounding how the policy would affect explicit depictions by professional performers who have signed contracts and releases with studios and producers. Google explained that for content created by third parties with proper permissions, requests for deletion will only be considered if the original publisher has barred the content from distribution.
The policy criteria, which focus on lack of consent and compensation, generally do not apply to commercial content with proper consensual agreements. However, there are exceptions to some degree. Performers could potentially have unauthorized commercial content removed if the producer has surrendered or sold the rights to a third party after creation. Situations as those with companies such as GirlsDoPorn, which misled performers about the nature of the publication of the content, could also result in a successful request for deletion.
Overall, industry observers see Google seeking a balance between nuanced problems concerning consent and privacy on the one hand, and protection of legitimately produced commercial content on the other.
Authorized explicit content will thus remain accessible in Google search in most cases and private individuals will gain better control of their depictions online.