Anti-Piracy Groups Want Google to Lift DMCA Takedown Cap

Google is being criticized by copyright holders for the limits it puts on the number of "pirate" links that can be removed per day. The Hollywood -funded anti-piracy organization BREIN wants to increase the daily DMCA cap from 10,000 to 40,000 and eventually remove the restrictions altogether. The RIAA further wants the ability to do more queries to find illegal content and previously said that the current limits are "miniscule."

google-bayThere’s an interesting battle going on between copyright holders and search giant Google.

Over the past months the number of removal requests has increased dramatically, up to a point where Google hinted that the massive number of takedowns could threaten freedom of speech.

Copyright holders on their turn say that they are simply protecting their business. They are going full steam ahead removing millions of links per week and pushing Google to the limits, quite literally.

As it turns out, Google is throttling the number of daily takedown requests to 10,000 URLs per copyright holder per day. Since some copyright holders are reaching this limit they want Google to lift the cap.

Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN, which represent a variety of media companies, says it is optimistic that Google will soon allow more URLs to be reported.

“We expect to go to a limit of 40,000 URLs per day soon, and eventually we hope to be able to report URLs without any limitations,” BREIN’s director Kim Kuik told Nu.nl.

However, thus far Google hasn’t changed anything and in a response the company defended its policy. Google says it can’t ‘simply’ increase the limits as this may lead to technical problems.

The daily limits are put in place “in order to prevent the system from having to deal with unexpected peaks, which can cause technical problems,” Google spokesman Mark Jansen said in a comment.

BREIN are not alone in their calls for more freedom to censor Google’s index. Their stance is corroborated by other anti-piracy groups including the RIAA.

The RIAA told TorrentFreak that it wants Google to do more, and pointed to critique the record labels gave previously. The RIAA said that with the present limits it can’t successfully defend its rights.

“Google has the resources to allow take downs that would more meaningfully address the piracy problem it recognizes, given that it likely indexes hundreds of millions of links per day. Yet this limitation remains despite requests to remove it,” RIAA noted.

In addition to unthrottling the URL limits, RIAA also says it wants to lift the cap on the number of queries they can execute per day to find infringing content.

“Google places artificial limits on the number of queries that can be made by a copyright owner to identify infringements.”

“The number of queries they allow is miniscule, especially when you consider that Google handles more than 3 billion searches per day. Yet Google has denied requests to remove this barrier to finding the infringements,” RIAA said.

Without these extra powers the copyright holders fear that they are unable to keep up with the hundreds of thousands of infringing links that are added to Google every day.

That said, it is worth nothing that despite BREIN’s calls to lift the 10,000 URL per day limit, the current submission don’t come close to the cap. The group is currently sending less than 5,000 URLs per day on average according to Google’s Transparency Report.

One thing’s for sure, this won’t be the last thing we hear about Google’s takedown policy. Aside from exercising their rights, copyright holders have found that it’s a good way to pressure Google to do more about piracy.

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