The fight against piracy continues as Google removes over half a billion...

The fight against piracy continues as Google removes over half a billion pirate URL’s.


Like cops are always chasing criminals, it is nothing new for copyright holders to be after pirates. For giants like Google, this is a constant fight and with annual reporting on headway made regarding this battle; it was recently reported that this year alone Google Search URL’s of approximately 523 million have been removed thus far and these removals can be expected to increase.

This annual report released by google is focussed on the fight against piracy. The strategies, initiative and headway made on the fight against piracy are usually summarized in this report, but clearly describe the operations conducted to obtain positive results.

When considering piracy, it is shocking to realise that link removal requests currently made per week are more than all removal requests received by Google between the periods of 1998 to 2010. This is due to the increase in awareness of copyright holders that pirated content availability on the internet have escalated tremendously and therefore, decreasing revenue potentially meant for the copyright holder.

TorrentFreak stated that the number of link removal requests received by Google, last year, reached about 558 million in appeals, and of those requests Google reportedly acted upon 98 percent of the total requests made to remove URL’s. At present, it was also estimated that Google has already received over 500 million removal requests for 2016 and furthermore calculated that it is a staggering 60 percent increase from requests received in 2015. Thus, the number of appeals for URL removal have been increasing very fast and with these high numbers, requests are expected to skyrocket in months to come.

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A platform that specifically deals with these removal requests have been set up- referred to DMCA- and this online platform is dedicated to requests regarding URL removal only. The entire process, as prescribed for the DMCA, takes Google about six hours; however, misuse should also be paid attention to; as there may be some misusing this dedicated URL removal platform. The report released by Google this year substantiated this misuse by making use of examples related to misuse of this platform.

It should also be highlighted that the URL’s removed, amounting to approximately 523 million has only been removed on Google Search and not from other Google platforms such as YouTube. These platforms have their own systems in place, for example YouTube’s Content ID system.