Google Search Processed a Billion DMCA Takedowns in Four Months

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Google Search's takedown department is facing the busiest year ever. The all-time takedown total has just surged to nine billion, adding the latest billion in just four months. The list of most targeted sites has also welcomed some newcomers, with shadow library "Anna's Archive" entering the top ten with two domain names.

dmca-google-s1Google started keeping track of all incoming DMCA takedown notices at the beginning of the last decade.

In the spring of 2012, Google formally launched its Transparency Report, sharing details on all copyright-related removal requests, including the targeted links and their senders.

In the years that followed, the DMCA takedown volume steadily increased. When it eventually hit a plateau a few years ago, we theorized that Google’s anti-piracy measures were paying off. However, pirates turned out to be stubborn and tricky to defeat.

9 Billion

Today, many pirate sites are well aware of Google’s demotion tactics and the relentless stream of takedown notices. In response, many switched to new domains or URL structures, which triggered a cat and mouse game with Google, as a bystander, yet at the center of it all.

Initially, it took several years before Google processed its billionth DMCA takedown notice, but the resurgence we’ve seen over the past year has broken all records.

Last August, Google reached the 7 billion milestone, just nine months after it received the 6-billionth takedown. In February, after just six months, the 8 billion mark was reached and today, four months onward, the totals exceed 9 billion.

google 9 billion

New Players

It’s difficult to tell whether this increase will continue, as the figures are dominated by less than a handful of takedowns companies. This includes Link-Busters, which was averaging more than 200 million takedowns a month earlier this year.

Last year, however, adult entertainment company MG Premium, was the most prolific takedown sender. Recently, Link-Busters appears to have scaled down a bit, so a new player might have to emerge for records to be broken again.

Looking at the targeted sites, we see that some new names have appeared. This includes two domain names from shadow library search engine Anna’s Archive. These domain names are targeted by several major publishers, mainly through Link-Busters.

Most Targeted Domains

targeted domains

Subdomain Bonanza

Another new domain, currently in third place, is This site was flagged more than 100 million times in less than a year, almost exclusively by VGTRK, the Russian State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company.

The main name is inaccessible, but the Rutor mirror has hundreds of subdomains, and it can add additional ones as required.

Many subdomains seem meaningless, such as,, and Others, including and, sound more familiar.

This strategy is understandably frustrating for rightsholders. By adding new subdomains, all previous takedown notices are moot, which results in a seemingly endless whack-a-mole.

Not Everything is Taken Down

Google only reports the totals for how many ‘pirate’ URLs rightsholders report to the company. Not all of these result in content being removed, as it also includes duplicates and URLs for which Google takes no action.

In addition, hundreds of millions of reported URLs have not been indexed by Google, so these naturally can’t be removed. Google puts these on a separate ‘blacklist’, which prevents them from being added to search results later on.

Overall, it’s safe to say that at the current rate, we’re likely to see the ten billionth takedown notice before the end of the year. Many more will likely follow in the years to come.


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