While search engines are extremely helpful for the average Internet user, copyright holders also see a massive downside.
For years entertainment industry groups have been frustrated by the fact that “infringing sites” show up in search results. In fact, they see engines as a potential breeding ground for new pirates.
With Google the dominant player, a lot of reporting on the topic has focused on the company whose name has become synonymous with search. Rightfully so, perhaps, as the sheer number of takedown requests it receives surpasses that of all competitors. However, Bing is not that far behind.
When we first queried Microsoft on the issue five years ago, the company didn’t publish its numbers yet. Instead, we were informed that Bing was asked to delete hundreds of thousands of URLs per month.
Today, this number has increased significantly. Microsoft recently published its latest DMCA takedown figures which allow us to take a look at the total number of links the company removed in 2017, adding up to nearly a quarter billion.
In the first half of the year, 16.2 million notices came in, asking Bing to remove over 121 million links. Nearly all of these requests were honored.
In the second half, the number of notices grew to 19.1 million, and the reported URLs slightly increased to 127 million. Again, more than 99 percent of all reported links were removed.
Interestingly, Microsoft itself actively uses DMCA takedown requests to remove links to infringing content. The company previously informed us that it sends notices to its own search engine as well.
In the latest transparency report, Microsoft stresses that, as a copyright holder, it respects copyrights. However, it adds that its users’ freedom of expression is kept in mind as well.
“As an intellectual property company itself, Microsoft encourages respect for intellectual property, including copyrights. We also are committed to freedom of expression and the rights of users to engage in uses that may be permissible under applicable copyright laws.”
The 248 million-plus links Bing receives is significant, but Google easily tops this figure. Last year the leading search engine removed roughly a billion URLs, suggesting that it’s a higher priority for copyright holders.