million removal requests per day. The new record follows an upward trend
with copyright holders reporting more and more allegedly infringing
search results in an effort to deter piracy.
the hope of steering prospective customers away from pirate sites,
copyright holders are overloading Google with DMCA takedown notices.
These requests have increased dramatically since Google began making the data public.
A few years ago the search engine received just a few dozen takedown
notices during an entire year, but today it processes millions of
allegedly infringing links per week.
Last week Google was asked to remove more than 7.8 million results,
up more than 10% compared to the previous record a week earlier. The
graph below shows the remarkable increase in requests over the past
To put these numbers in perspective, Google is currently asked to
remove an infringing search result every 8 milliseconds, compared to one
request per six days back in 2008.
massive surge in removal requests is not without controversy. It’s been
reported that some notices reference pages that contain no copyrighted
material, due to mistakes or abuse,
but are deleted nonetheless. Google has a pretty good track record of
catching these errors, but since manual review of all links is
unachievable, some URLs are removed in error.
Google says it’s doing its best to address the concerns of copyright
holders. Last year the company released a report detailing the various anti-piracy measures it uses. However, according to some industry groups the search giant can and should do more.
For the RIAA the staggering amount of takedown requests only confirms
the notion that the process isn’t very effective. Brad Buckles, RIAA
executive vice president of anti-piracy, previously suggested that
Google should 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,” Buckles
The issue has also piqued the interest of U.S. lawmakers. Earlier
this year the House Judiciary Subcommittee had a hearing on the DMCA
takedown issue, and both copyright holders, Internet service providers,
and other parties are examining what they can do to optimize the
In the meantime, the number of removal requests is expected to rise
and rise, with 10 million links per week being the next milestone.
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