The Top 20 DMCA Cease and Desist Senders of 2010

DMCA takedown notices are sent in large numbers to dozens of organizations on the Internet every month. The ChillingEffects clearing house has been receiving copies of these from some of the Internet's biggest players including Google, Yahoo, Digg and more recently Twitter. It will come as no surprise that the music and movie industries are some of the biggest complainers, but there are also some unexpected entrants.

Thanks to the folks maintaining the ChillingEffects database, issues surrounding many DMCA takedown requests can be properly researched in what can otherwise be a black hole of copyright complaints.

Earlier this year, the homepage of BitTorrent meta search engine BTJunkie suddenly disappeared from Google searches, but since the search giant submits the DMCA takedown requests it receives to ChillingEffects, we were able to discover at least some background to the complaint.

But this was just one URL in a single complaint out of the many thousands sent to ChillingEffects by the likes of Google, Yahoo, Digg and Twitter in the last 12 months.

In total, the clearing house received copies of more than 12,000 cease and desist notices, some containing a single URL and some (such as those relating to The Pirate Bay) containing hundreds. So who made the biggest noise with DMCA takedown notices in 2010?

It will come as no surprise that according to ChillingEffects stats, the international music industry, represented by IFPI, issued the most DMCA takedown notices to submitters during the last 12 months, 1272 in total. This may not sound like a huge number, but many of them contain lists of URLs which take a considerable time to simply scroll through.

In second place one might expect to find other representatives from the entertainment industry, but this position is taken with 303 complaints by Clube do Hardware, the largest site in South America to publish tutorials, articles and news on computer hardware.

Twentieth Century Fox secures the third spot with 299 cease and desists. Magnolia Pictures, a holding of the Mark Cuban owned 2929 Entertainment, takes fourth spot with 257 complaints. Porn aside, no further movie companies make the top 20.

Brazil’s Associação Anti Pirataria de Cinema e Musica, the anti-piracy group which caused so much trouble for popular fansubbing sites such as Legendas.TV, also makes a significant appearance in the ChillingEffects chart. APCM, which represents the interests of companies such as Universal, Warner, SonyBMG, Disney, Paramount, and Fox, was hacked in 2009 but made its comeback to take 5th position.

Operating in the adult entertainment market, RemoveYourContent came in 6th with 221 DMCA takedowns. With claims of a 99.3% success rate for removal of infringing content, the company has made enemies even within its own community, as demonstrated by various ‘hate‘ sites and critics. In 2009, RemoveYourContent was even blamed for having The Pirate Bay’s homepage delisted by Google.

The RIAA has to settle for a lowly 7th place with 203 DMCA takedowns. Sony/Epic/Estate of Michael Jackson slide in at 11th spot, followed by Stones Throw Records at 12th and Chappell & Co at 13th. There are no more music companies listed in the top 20.

Folkert Knieper, a producer of recipe photographs, is one of the more unusual entries at 9th position with 158 takedowns followed at 17th by Deckers Outdoor Corporation, the rightsholder for pictures of UGG boots.

Adult video company Vivid Entertainment Group sits at 18th position with 82 DMCA takedown requests.

Interestingly, some of the biggest copyright litigators of 2010, such as the United States Copyright Group and ACS:Law, appear nowhere in the top 20 list which perhaps suggests that having content removed is not their biggest concern, but generating profit from its existence is.

So which industry makes the most noise overall when it comes to DMCA complaints?

“While the mix changes over time, the most frequent senders of DMCA takedown notices remain the music industry, whose institutional members have sent a combined total averaging roughly 5 takedowns a day,” says ChillingEffects’ Wendy Seltzer.

The full list, which also lists famous copyright ‘agents’ such as the Web Sheriff, can be found here.

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