Automattic, the company behind the popular WordPress.com blogging platform, receives thousands of takedown requests from rightsholders.
A few days ago the company published its latest transparency report, showing that they processed 5,006 requests during the second half of last year.
While this is a significant amount, it pales in comparison to many other user-generated services. Google, for example, receives the same number in less than four minutes.
What’s also different is the high rejection rate WordPress has. More than 40% of all DMCA takedown notices are rejected due to inaccuracies or abuse, more than many other service providers.
Overall, however, both the number of takedown requests and the removal rate are relatively stable. As can be seen below, Automattic generally removes content for just over half of the notices it receives; the rest are rejected.
When we took a closer look at the takedown numbers, comparing them to Google’s data, something else stood out. It appears that Google receives more takedown requests for WordPress.com than Automattic, the company that operates the blogging platform.
Over the past 12 months, copyright holders asked Google to remove over 13,100 WordPress.com URLs, while Automattic received less than 10,000 last year. In other words, copyright holders are more keen to remove the search engine results than the actual content, which is not very logical.
TorrentFreak contacted Steve from Automattic, who says that the numbers suggest that rightsholders prefer to go through Google because this is the easier path.
“Those numbers aren’t entirely surprising for a few reasons. When looking to limit access to material online, complainants will naturally look for the path of least resistance,” Steve says.
“Since we manually scrutinize every single DMCA takedown notice that we receive for formal validity and fair use considerations, removal is not guaranteed, and we reject about 40% of all notices for being deficient in some way,” he adds.
The Google takedown process is highly automated which makes it relatively easy for copyright holders to target a high volume of URLs, including those of WordPress.com.
“Removing sites from top search engines is often much easier due to the automatic nature of the review process… something that is made even easier still by the various trusted partnership programs, and use of bulk electronic takedown notices,” Steve notes.
Still, it’s a strange situation. If a copyright holder is really concerned about infringing content on WordPress.com, it should be at least worth a shot to ask the company to remove it.
Finally, it appears that the thousands of notices that are sent to the search engine are pretty much useless anyway. It may be easier than reaching out to Automattic, but not very effective since Google appears to have whitelisted the blogging platform.
Of the 13,100 takedown requests Google processed over the past 12 months, only 0.3% were ultimately removed.