Google Removed 100 Million “Pirate” Search Results This Year

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Since January 2013 copyright holders have asked Google to remove more than 100,000,000 links to infringing webpages, which is already double the number Google processed for the whole of 2012. The search giant is currently processing an average of 15 million “infringing” links per month. This number appears to be leveling off, but copyright holders are certainly not satisfied yet.

googleGoogle has received requests to remove more than 100 million URLs from its search results this year.

While the takedown requests appear to be leveling off a little, 100+ million URLs is already double the number Google processed for the whole of 2012. The graph below shows the surge in takedown requests.

DMCA URL takedown requests per week


Looking at the websites for which Google received the most takedown notices over the past year, we see that the file-hosting search engine FilesTube tops the rankings with 5,801,661 URLs, followed by and with 2,508,595 and 2,166,977 URLs respectively.

Perhaps surprisingly, global piracy icon The Pirate Bay is not featured in the top 20. This is partly because it switched domain names on a few occasions, and also because it hosts ‘only’ two million magnet links on the site.

Moving on to the reporting groups, we see that the RIAA is one of the most active senders of DMCA takedown requests. The music group has sent takedown requests for more than 26 million URLs since Google started counting.

While Google responds swiftly, the RIAA doesn’t believe the takedowns are very effective so they are now asking Google to start banning entire domains from its search results.

“Every day produces more results and there is no end in sight. We are using a bucket to deal with an ocean of illegal downloading,” Brad Buckles, RIAA executive vice president of anti-piracy complained earlier.

Google, on the other hand, is happy with the way things are going. The company previously told TorrentFreak that it has faith in the general workings of the DMCA takedown procedure.

“We believe that the time-tested ‘notice-and-takedown’ process for copyright strikes the right balance between the needs of copyright owners, the interests of users, and our efforts to provide a useful Google Search experience,” Google said.

One of the problems with the massive number of takedowns is that there are also thousands of URLs taken down in error, as we’ve shown on several occasions. Preventing these abuse cases, intentional or not, remains high on Google’s agenda.

“We still do our best to catch errors or abuse so we don’t mistakenly disable access to non-infringing material. Google continues to put substantial resources into improving and streamlining this process, including into identifying erroneous and abusive takedowns, and deterring abuse,” Google told us.

It will be interesting to see how the tension between Google and the copyright holders develops over time, and how long it will be before we report on the billionth URL to be removed from Google’s search results.


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