Google Drive is blocking files that macOS automatically generates for “copyright infringement”

Google Drive has been seen to flag ‘.DS__Store’_ files generated by the macOS file systems as a violation of its copyright infringement policy. Remember that ‘.DS_Store’ is a metadata file that Apple users often see when they transfer their folders and files from macOS to a non-Apple operating system, such as Windows.

A user has reported on a Reddit that he has seen a “.DS__Store” file _ on his Google Drive that has been flagged for violating Google’s “copyright infringement” policy. With this post, many other people have said they experienced a similar issue last month, specifically with ‘.DS_Store’ files.

Google will delete your files from Drive (or even ban you) if it scans its content and finds it “inappropriate” (not illegal).

In January, moreover, Dr. Emily Dolson, an assistant professor at the University of Michigan, alerted the company that one of its files containing a single line of text with the number ‘0’ was detected by Google Drive as a copyright infringement. However, this was not an isolated case. And from the Hacker News forum they also claimed that it was an error on the part of the Google service.

Automatically generated by Finder

‘.DS_Store’ files are automatically generated by the macOS Finder application to store custom attributes and metadata, such as icon information and background image location. This information helps Finder render the layout according to the user’s preferences.

On macOS systems, .DS_Store files are often hidden within Finder. In fact, the file is analogous to the hidden desktop.ini and thumbs.db files occasionally seen by Windows users (if your Explorer settings allow showing “hidden” files). It is not yet known what causes this behavior.

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However, when uploading files and folders to a third-party cloud service, such as Google Drive or Dropbox, the storage provider’s file manager may still show “.DS_Store”, ” desktop.ini” and other such files, which would otherwise remain hidden on the user’s personal computer.

Throughout the thread, other people are complaining about other documents also being flagged as infringing copyright. A user says that “a Google document with the planning of a group project was flagged a few days ago for violating the terms of service… despite being an artistic work and having nothing illicit”.