Google’s DMCA Notices Reach 345M in 2014

Copyright holders are bombarding Google with Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown notices, in an effort to remove millions of pirate links from the search results. In 2014, there were more than 1 million each day, totaling 345,169,134 for the year.

The number of pirate links has continued to skyrocket in recent years. Google received 62 DMCA notices in 2008, a number that increased to 441,300 by 2012. The main factor in the exponential increase is how much easier automation has become, according to Rodney Joffe, vice president and senior technologist at Neustar, an information services and analytics company.

“Google doesn’t have nearly enough people to keep up with 1 million links a day,” Joffe says. “There’s a lot to this and the lightning rod happens to be Google because the fact is, they dominate the search world. I’m sure the same thing is happening with [Chinese search engine] Baidu.”

Last week, TorrentFreak, a file-sharing news publication, reported that 4shared.com, rapidgator.net, and uploaded.net were the three domains subjected to the most piracy takedowns. The top reporter for 4share.com, which had more than 8.3 million requests, was BPI, the U.K. music industry’s trade association, which was also the top reporter for six of the other top 10 takedown sites.

Despite the volume, Google generally deals with these requests quickly. However, the search giant still gets backlash from entertainment industries for not doing more to prevent the piracy problem in the first place. Google has been downranking copyright-infringing websites since 2012; in October, the company changed its algorithm to make pirate links less visible.

Google maintains that services like Netflix, Spotify, and iTunes demonstrated that convenient legitimate services are the best antidote for piracy, which often stems from legitimate supply being unable to match consumer demand.

“The right combination of price, convenience, and inventory will do far more to reduce piracy than enforcement can,” Google wrote in its October piracy report.

Joffe agrees that those solutions can help, but only to an extent.

“It’s an arms race because the bad guys are just as smart as the good guys,” he says. “I think there’s going to be piracy on an almost ongoing basis and we have to find some technical solution to raise the price – not just financially, but with technical burdens or criminal sanctions – for people who try to sell [pirate links] or steal.”

Image via Shutterstock.

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