The well-publicized six-strikes anti-piracy scheme is just around the corner.
The MPAA, RIAA and several large Internet service providers in the United States will work together to monitor file-sharers and send them warnings in the hope that they will start spending small fortunes on CDs, DVDs and digital downloads.
While the monitoring and warning-sending while be fairly widespread, there are limitations as to who can be reached. There is a distinct possibility that once they receive a warning, file-sharers will either take steps to hide their online identities through the use of anonymity technologies like VPNs, or will shift to cyberlocker type services that cannot be monitored.
So, to make things as difficult as possible for both sets of users, rightsholders have been sending ever-increasing volumes of DMCA takedown notices, not just to torrent, cyberlocker and other linking sites, but also to Google. They hope that when Internet users can’t find what they want through a Google search they will grow increasingly tired of looking and turn to official outlets instead.
Google has been receiving huge numbers of these takedowns. To date, anti-piracy company Degban has sent the most – a staggering 8.2 million in total. Microsoft has sent 5.5 million followed by Froytal who deal with the porn industry. Listed twice (once as copyright holders and once as reporting organizations) bed-fellows the BPI and RIAA have also been sending huge numbers of takedowns, but this month have broken all records.
To give an idea of the scale, back in June this year the RIAA was sending takedown requests to Google at the rate of around 100,000 per week, with the BPI sending around 70,000. At the end of the July the BPI suddenly started sending around 150,000, with the RIAA reaching a steady 200,000 per week.
As can be seen from the diagram above, early September the BPI boosted their volumes significantly, to around 244,000 takedowns a week, increasing to between 300,000 and 330,000 in the weeks that followed.
The RIAA maintained 200,000 to 230,000 steadily until the first week of November and then, pretty much out of nowhere, they massively turned up the heat.
In the week commencing November 5, the RIAA sent 463,000 URL takedown requests to Google, doubling their busiest week ever. Then the following week (last week), the recording industry group sent a mind-boggling 666,000 takedown requests to Google in just 7 days.
So who are they targeting with all these takedowns? Of course, the usual suspects are all there including the major torrent sites, but perhaps what is most surprising is that the most-targeted sites aren’t the ones the RIAA chooses to report to the USTR in its ‘notorious markets‘ review.
In the “non-P2P linking sites” section of the review, only the FileTube.com search engine is given a mention by the RIAA. However, although it is heavily targeted by rightsholders (and RIAA members individually), the site doesn’t appear in the RIAA’s top five most-targeted domains on Google.
The most DMCA’d sites are Downloads.nl (396,094), MP3s.pl (275,035), MP3Searchy.com (253,942), WebLagu.com (225,471) and Audiko.net (189,224).
Will the RIAA break one million URL takedowns a week by the end of the year? There’s only six weeks left to find out.