In recent years copyright holders have overloaded Google with DMCA takedown notices, targeting links to pirated content.
The number of requests has increased dramatically, from only a few dozen takedown notices during the entire year in 2008, to millions per day nowadays.
To give the public insight into this process Google launched a Copyright Transparency Report for search in 2012. In addition to showing the rapid increase in volume, shown below, it has helped us to report on various types of DMCA takedown abuse over the years.
A few days ago Google released a revamped version of its Copyright Transparency Report. In addition to a new look, it also now reports additional data to better show what’s going on.
Previously we have been keeping track of the total number of submitted URLs by hand, but Google now prominently includes this number in its report. The latest data show that over 1.75 billion allegedly infringing URLs have been reported since they started counting.
What’s also new is an overview of how many URLs were not removed from the search index, and the reasons for that.
For example, over the past year over 10% of all submitted URLs were not removed from the search index. Roughly half of these, 50 million (5.5%), are duplicate links that had already been reported previously.
15 million (1.6%) were “invalid URLs,” such as typos and other non-existing content, and another 31 million were rejected for another reason.
The latter group, which is 3.4% of the total, also includes various types of abuse and other errors. The revamped transparency report lists various examples of abuse, such as an anti-piracy group’s coffee hatred that TorrentFreak first reported on.
“An anti-piracy enforcement firm representing a music label filed a copyright complaint asking us to delist dozens of homepages containing the word ‘coffee’ in the title. These URLs had nothing to do with the identified copyrighted work,” Google writes.
Another abuse case highlighted by Google shows that people sometimes impersonate anti-piracy outfits to remove links without the proper authorization.
“An individual impersonating a prominent anti-piracy enforcement firm filed a copyright complaint targeting several URLs from an adult film website. We occasionally receive requests from individuals who impersonate major anti-piracy firms.”
Google hopes that the new transparency report will help people to better understand what content is targeted and how the company responds. Going forward, the company says it will continue to add new examples and new data.