Google Got Over A Billion Take Down Requests Last Year
Samuel Wan / 4 years ago
The DMCA is one of the most important pieces of legislation governing digital copyrights. Under the DMCA, online entities can be shielded from litigation under safe harbour provisions, provided they take down allegedly infringing content. Despite dredging all kinds of links, Google has not been readily sued to their takedown process which allows copyright holders to request a link be delisted from the search engine. According to a new analysis done by TorrentFreak, the company has processed over 1 billion takedown requests in the past 12 months.
From Google’s transparency report, 1,007,741,143 infringing links were reported to the company and takedowns requested. Of those, more than 90%, or 908,237,861 links were removed from the Google index. Only a fraction of those requests were rejected either as non-infringing, invalid or duplicate requests. The massive amount of requests is due to the increasing volume of notices, with the previous billion delistings taking several years to build up.
Given these statistics, there are two ways to look at it. From the content owners perspective, it seems like the whole process is just a whack a mole as more and more domains pop up and new URLs generated. For instance, the infringing URLs come from about 1 million different domains which allows ample room for copyright infringers to hop around when their old links get delisted. Delisting also doesn’t mean that the content is taken down as that is a whole other issue.
On the other hand, the number of notices being sent in gives the sense that copyright holders feel that the process does help curb piracy. If it didn’t why would they even bother sending these requests. It’s also important to note that many links can point to the same infringing content so the number of infringing materials is almost certainly lower than the number of links taken down. Another unspoken concern is that some of the content might not be infringing at all but get targeted and taken down anyway. A perfect example would be the broken YouTube copyright strike system.