American writer and artist Dennis Cooper has seen 14-years of his work wiped from existence by Google after he claims his blog, as well as his Gmail address, was deleted without warning or explanation.
Cooper first reported the issue on 28 June, announcing on Facebook that his blog had been taken offline due to a violation of the company's terms of service. The blog, hosted on Google's Blogger platform, contained years' worth of experimental writing, photos, visual art and personal updates by the novelist, much of which can't be found elsewhere. This is said to include an unfinished novel comprised of animated GIFs.
Cooper told Fusion.net that his Blogger account had been entirely disabled, meaning he can't access the Gmail account he used for most of his correspondence and which contained a list of contacts he had built up for more than a decade.
Clicking on the link to Cooper's blog now throws up an error message reading: "Sorry, the blog at denniscooper-theweaklings.blogspot.com has been removed. This address is not available for new blogs." While the author was given a "generation violation of terms of service statement", Cooper claims that Google has "stonewalled" him on his multiple attempts to get a proper explanation.
One hypothesis behind the blogs removal is that some of Cooper's published content was sexual in nature, although this doesn't explain why his entire Blogger account was erased. The blog was also behind an 18+ age gate in line with Google's terms.
Cooper, who currently lives in France, is now said to have hired lawyers to help force a response out of Google and is reportedly prepared to sue the company if necessary.
Yet the fact remains that much of his work appears to have been lost forever. According to Artforum.com, Cooper's latest GIF novel, Zac's Freight Elevator, which was meant to be published this autumn, was stored on the blog.
"Of all the things about this that concern and worry me, losing that novel is my greatest fear," he told the website.
Cooper is by no means the first – or likely last – artist to fall victim to the sudden, casual removal of work by tech giants. In May, composer James Pinkstone claimed that Apple stripped his computer of 20 years of music without warning, including his own compositions.
When approached by the Guardian, Google said it was not able to comment on specific user accounts. IBTimes has contacted Google but not received a response at the time of publication.