Last month, Google removed the blog of Dennis Cooper, a prominent author, poet and artist, along with his email account, and all other associated Google services. This coming Monday will mark a month since it was deleted.
Cooper had been given no warning, he told The Guardian this month.
As an author whose topics include sexual fantasy, he knew some of his works would be close to breaching Google’s terms and conditions, so hid any potentially controversial works behind an age warning. In part, that’s probably why it was so confusing to have his entire Blogger account wiped, and replaced with a notice saying that the domain can’t be re-registered.
The blog had previously hosted the work of other artists and authors, as well as his own unfinished GIF novel.
He’s widely credited as an influence by writers like Travis Jeppesen and Noah Cicero, as well as also providing lyrical influence to Deerhunter and other bands. His poems have appeared in films, and he has a huge back catalog of work that includes hugely successful artistic collaborations and volumes of novels. It’s safe to say, removing his blog without warning was always going to draw some attention.
Making a noise
Shortly after the removal, a Change.org petition was set up calling for Google to re-instate the blog. It currently has 2,854 signatures.
Writing on Facebook, Cooper says that in the past month no-one has been given a more explanatory reason for removal of his account, beyond the cookie-cutter ‘breach of terms’ response. He’s also bracing for the possibility of being sued.
“One knowledgeable person I spoke to has speculated, not without logic, that I should prepare myself for the possibility that Google will respond in such a way as to paint me as the bad guy, possibly to the point of even launching legal proceedings against me. I can’t imagine what basis there could possibly be to justify an action like that on their part, and no one really knows what’s going on, but that’s a disturbing idea, obviously. I guess Google will have to respond one way or another at some point, and I just hope it’s very soon.”
We’ve contacted Google and haven’t yet heard back.
Update, July 25: A Google spokesperson got in touch with the following statement:
“We are aware of this matter, but the specific terms of service violations are ones we cannot discuss further due to legal considerations.”