Google has removed six billion alleged “pirate” links in ten years

In short: Takedown requests from copyright owners have reached an all-time high of six billion URLs. As a result, Google works with content owners to blacklist infringing websites before its algorithms can even index them. As a result, the search giant has removed billions of results pointing to pirated content.

Requests to remove content from Google search results recently hit an unprecedented milestone, surpassing the six billion mark and underscoring the company’s strong commitment to working with rightsholders. Mountain View regularly receives takedown requests for suspected pirate links from its search index. Google grants the requests after carefully checking their validity.

Google’s copyright infringement policy, as detailed on the Transparency Report page, aligns with the infamous Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and “provides a simple and efficient mechanism for copyright owners from countries/regions around the world.” A copyright owner can send Google a takedown notice about a suspected pirate link, and Google will remove the offending content from its search results if there are no problems.

Google has received 6,006,830,816 takedown requests from 326,888 rightsholders. She gave most of them. Of the more than six billion results, 4,043,339 were top-level domains. A total of 333,253 requests were made by organizations acting on behalf of their rightsholder customers.

The ten most active organizations reported nearly 2.5 billion URLs combined, more than 40 percent of all requests. Interestingly, just 400 domains account for 41 percent of Google’s total delisting activity. In other words, almost half of the takedowns occur on sites that regularly host infringing content, such as The Pirate Bay and others. Aside from dedicated piracy hosts, the delisting requests sent to Google included obvious false positives such as White House, FBI, Disney, Netflix and other websites.

Figures provided by Google show that the Internet’s most popular search engine — and one of the biggest tech companies of all time — has a positive relationship with content and copyright owners. It’s a reversal of the days when the company actively resisted all third-party efforts to restrict web indexing. Now Google is voluntarily working with these third parties and accepting deactivation requests for links that have not even been indexed by the search engine.

Google offers copyright owners a pre-emptive blacklist to prevent pirated content from being added to search results in the future. The once-important issue of free “access to information” is now just a tiny side note at the bottom of the content delisting page. The data provided there “helps global conversations about how copyright law affects access to information.” According to Google, there are still active “conversations with policymakers around the world about how best to fight online piracy and connect users to legitimate content.” Google has removed six billion alleged “pirate” links in ten years

Chris Barrese

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