Business News Digital

Takedown requests to Google leap to over 200 million in 2013

By | Published on Thursday 14 November 2013


Google has received over 200 million requests to remove links from its search engine so far this year. This is up from 50 million last year.

According to research carried out by TorrentFreak, record label trade bodies the BPI and RIAA are the most active issuers of takedown notices, issuing 31 million and 43 million respectively. The site most targeted by copyright holders with takedowns is FilesTube, with over 7.5 million notices issued against links to it in Google’s system.

Last year, Google issued its own stats for the organisations issuing the most takedowns, with the BPI then coming second after Microsoft, with just 182,805 notices. Google also made a point of discussing notices issued against legitimate links, either maliciously or in error (notably, the BPI took down links to a negative review of a Drake album). But TorrentFreak claims that around 99% of the notices issued this year have been adhered to, which either means organisations are getting more diligent or Google just can’t keep up with the phoney claims.

Of course, this rapid rise in takedowns doesn’t necessarily mean that piracy is booming, more likely that the takedown notice business is gaining momentum, and rights owners and the technology they use to monitor unlicensed use of their content is getting better.

Said rights owners are also playing catch up, ie they are issuing takedowns against pirated content that has been online for some time. And this trend seems likely to continue, because there’s still much work to be done – as previously reported, The Beatles recently topped a list of artists whose catalogue continues to be available via unlicensed (but takedown compliant) sites at high levels, seemingly with no one yet proactively issuing the takedown requests.

And as for piracy levels, Digital Music News reported this week that file-sharing now accounts for less that 10% of total web traffic in the US, while use of legal content services (in particular Netflix, which sits at number one) is rising.