Pornhub Owner Sends Millions of Takedown Notices a Year

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A few weeks ago, Pornhub revealed that it received more than 500,000 DMCA takedown requests last year. However, Pornhub and owner Mindgeek are rightsholders too and are also using the DMCA to their advantage. The companies told us that they sent notices targeting 4.5 million infringing URLs over the past year. But that's just the tip of the iceberg.

mindgeek official logoThe adult industry is rather diverse but Mindgeek has a particularly large footprint

The company, formerly known as Manwin, owns one of the most visited adult websites, Pornhub, and is also the driving force behind YouPorn, Redtube, Tube8, Xtube, and dozens of other sites.

Many of these tube sites became big by offering access to a wide variety of content, some of it posted without permission. However, that doesn’t mean that Mindgeek is turning a blind eye to pirates. On the contrary.

Receiving Takedown Notices

Earlier this month, Pornhub’s transparency report revealed that the site removed 544,021 pieces of content following DMCA takedown requests. In addition, the site’s automatic upload filter blocked more than 100,000 videos before they were published.

Those are interesting stats, showing that there is plenty of copyright-infringing material posted on the site. However, Pornhub and Manwin have a double role when it comes to copyright. In fact, they are also major rightsholders in the entertainment adult world.

As highlighted previously, adult creators can sign a deal with Pornhub to become exclusive to the site. To help protect this content, the site will then send DMCA takedown notices to other services where their content appears.

Unfortunately, PornHub’s transparency report didn’t mention how many DMCA notices the company sends each year. To find out more, we reached out to the site, whose copyright issues are handled centrally by Mindgeek.

Mindgeek Sent 4.5 Million Takedowns to Sites

After first speaking with Mindgeek’s Anti-Piracy Strategy Manager, our questions were forwarded to the PR department, which was willing to share some details, but not too many.

“MindGeek sent notices for 4.5 million infringing URLs over the past 12 months,” a Mindgeek spokesperson informed us.

The volume of takedown requests that are sent well exceeds the number of DMCA notices Pornhub receives. However, these are for all Mindgeek content, not just for exclusive Pornhub models.

We requested a more detailed breakdown, but Mindgeek said it couldn’t provide that. Also, it is worth noting that the 4.5 million URLs only reference sites that host or display infringing content directly.

Mindgeek didn’t include the takedown notices that are sent to search engines, which are much higher in number.

Mindgeek Sends Over a Million Takedowns to Google Every Week

Looking at Google’s transparency report we see that last month alone, Mindgeek asked the search engine to remove eight million allegedly infringing links. This adds up to hundreds of millions of URLs over the past several years, making Mindgeek one of the top takedown senders.

mindgeek mg premium

Since US lawmakers are currently considering options to improve the DMCA legislation, we also asked Mindgeek and Pornhub if they had any suggestions. As they’re both a content platform and copyright holder, they can evaluate the current law from both sides. However, Mindgeek declined to make any recommendations.

Fingerprinting and Manual Checks

Mindgeek and Pornhub did stress their commitment to the anti-piracy side of the business, however. Their takedown processes involve some manual verification but also rely on automated processes and fingerprinting technology.

“We use industry-leading tools both internally and via external vendors including digital fingerprinting technologies to ensure accurate and valid identification of our protected content at scale,” Mindgeek’s spokesperson told us.

In fact, the company has developed its own “SafeGuard” fingerprinting tool, which it will make freely available to other sites in the future. Perhaps that can ultimately help to lower the number of takedown notices the company has to send.


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