Google Removes Pirate Links

April 21, 2016

A few weeks ago, YouTube was abuzz with discontent from some of its most popular YouTube stars.  Their channels had been shut down die to copyright claims by third parties, even thought the content in question fell under the Fair Use defense.  YouTube is not the only one who has to deal with copyright claims.  TorrentFreak reports that “Google Asked To Remove 100,000 ‘Pirate Links’ Every Hour.”

Google handles on average two million DMCA takedown notices from copyright holders about pirated content.  TorrentFreak discovered that the number has doubled since 2015 and quadrupled since 2014.  The amount beats down to one hundred thousand per hour.  If the rate continues it will deal with one billion DMCA notices this year, while it had previously taken a decade to reach this number.

“While not all takedown requests are accurate, the majority of the reported links are. As a result many popular pirate sites are now less visible in Google’s search results, since Google downranks sites for which it receives a high number of takedown requests.  In a submission to the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator a few months ago Google stated that the continued removal surge doesn’t influence its takedown speeds.”

Google does not take broad sweeping actions, such as removing entire domain names from search indexes, as it does not want to become a censorship board.  The copyright holders, though, are angry and want Google to promote only legal services over the hundreds of thousands of Web sites that pop up with illegal content.   The battle is compared to an endless whack-a-mole game.

Pirated content does harm the economy, but the numbers are far less than how the huge copyright holders claim.  The smaller people who launch DMCA takedowns, they are hurt more.  YouTube stars, on the other hand, are the butt of an unfunny joke and it would be wise for rules to be revised.


Whitney Grace, April 21, 2016
Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph



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