With millions of pageviews per day, Reddit is without doubt one of the most visited sites on the Internet.
The community-oriented platform has “subreddits” dedicated to pretty much every topic you can think of, including several dedicated to online piracy and related issues.
While the vast majority remain within the boundaries of the law, on occasion users post copyright-infringing material. This means that, like any user-generated site of its size, Reddit also has to process a steady stream of takedown requests from rightsholders.
To give the public insight into the process and volume, Reddit regularly publishes a transparency report. In the most recent report, published a few days ago, the company outlines the number of DMCA takedown notices received and how many of these were “valid.”
“For a request to be valid, it must comply with the statutory requirements outlined in the DMCA,” Reddit explains.
“Each DMCA takedown notice is reviewed carefully and, in circumstances where content is actually hosted on our servers, we assess whether the existence of the content on Reddit can fall under an exception, such as ‘fair use’ of the copyrighted material.”
If the company believes that the reported content might be covered by an exemption under copyright law, they contact the copyright holder asking for additional information. If the claim turns out to be legitimate, it is then removed.
Unlike some other sites and services, Reddit doesn’t blindly remove a posting that links to copyrighted content hosted on an external site. The company previously stated that “links do not generally infringe copyright.”
This is definitely a different approach than other companies, including Google, take, and it’s likely to be reflected in the numbers as well.
So how much content was removed in 2016?
According to the transparency report, Reddit received 3,294 copyright removal requests over the entire year. Not really an impressive number compared to a service like Google, but substantial nonetheless.
The rejection rate is without a doubt impressive. The company says that it was required to remove content from the site in 610 instances, which is 19 percent. That means that of all DMCA requests, 81 percent was rejected.
That’s quite a significant percentage. At Google, for example, more than 90 percent of all reported content is removed.
While the number of takedown requests Reddit receives pales in comparison to other Internet services, it’s good to see that the company carefully reviews all notices to prevent unwarranted censorship. It will be interesting to see how the volume of requests and the removal rate changes over time.