Google Returns Literary Blog Data to Dennis Cooper
  Resource:Artforum   2016-08-29 09:42:41  

Nearly two months ago Google disabled writer Dennis Cooper’s literary blog—a fourteen-year-long project hosted by Blogger—and his Gmail account without warning. On Friday, Cooper announced that following negotiations between the media company and his lawyers, the content of his blog will be returned to him.

DC’s, the beloved literary platform where Cooper posted writings, research, images, as well as his GIF novels, will be relaunched in a new location on Monday, August 29. Cooper will not be able to upload all of the data from his former blog at once, since he will have to repost each item by hand, but he will gradually work on the project until the blog is completely restored.

Allegedly, Google deactivated the account on June 27 in response to an almost ten-year-old post, titled “Self-Portrait Day,” for which Cooper invited readers to send him content such as writings, images, videos, or sound files related to a specific theme. He would then curate the submissions and post an entry.

In 2006, the writer had asked people to send him things that they considered sexy. “I had forgotten all about that post until the other day,” Cooper said, “and I don't remember what was in it. I do remember that, upon assembling the post, I realized there was some rather pornographic things therein that could potentially get my blog in trouble. So I set up that ‘Self-Portrait Day’ on a separate page off the blog that could only be accessed on the blog through a link with an adult content warning.” He added, “According to Google, around the time my account was disabled, some unknown person came across this ten-year-old page, thought one of the images on it constituted child pornography, and reported it to Google who immediately disabled my account. Now let me just say that I know there are people who don’t know me or my work well and think I’m some kind of ultra-transgressive shock-creating monster, but I completely assure you that if someone had sent me an image that I thought was child pornography, I would never have uploaded it, period.”

Cooper, who has a reputation as a bold and sometimes controversial author, is best known for his queer, male protagonists and writings about sex and death. He earned international recognition from his George Miles Cycle, a series of five novels that he began writing in 1984 and which culminated in Period in 2000.

Cooper cited his complaints to the tech giant, the international press, and a petition, which was signed by over 4,500 supporters, as factors that helped facilitate a resolution. Google finally broke its silence on July 15, and Cooper’s lawyers began discussions with the company. At first Google refused to show Cooper the offending image, privately restore his blog, or reestablish his email account. Three weeks later, Cooper said, “Google suddenly announced that they were going to send me the data for DC’s blog and my email account. They did, and that’s how and when the stand-off ended.”

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