This is gone far beyond ridiculous! The number of websites removed by Google due to alleged copyright infringements has increased 10 times only the past six months. Every single day is more that 350.000 websites closed down after so-called DMCA notice, a complaint from a copyright holder. And the whole scheme is conducted by computer robots and algorithms. Using the copyright laws is a well-known technique used by Scientologists to stop critics from referring to their own documents in their articles, It’s also a fact that some law firms in Europe have specialized in this activity on behalf of political extremist and criminals.
“By publishing online, a media organisation faces the risk of libel and defamation suits in just about every jurisdiction in the world.”
And, what’s more, Google anticipates that this number will continue to grow at similar rates, perhaps reaching as many as 30 million each month (or about one million a day) within the next year, according to the company’s Transparency Report. Think about it; does this make any sense?
The company also claims that it does the ensuing takedown in an average of just six hours — even with having someone review each and every takedown, and even rejecting a few. They reject about 2.5% of takedown notices. Again, when you think about it, this remains incredible. They’re actively reviewing 2.5 million takedowns a week, and not just reflexively removing all those results from search, but doing at least a quick reality check on them.
There are still plenty of bogus takedowns, so the effort isn’t perfect, but it is fairly incredible.
The number of DMCA copyright takedown requests that Google receive every week has increased 10 times – just over the past six months. Every week the search giant removes 2,5 million websites because of alleged copyright infringement, according to the latest addition to Google’s Transparency Report. And, what’s more, the company anticipates that this number will continue to grow at similar rates, perhaps reaching as many as 30 million each month within the next year.
Something seems to be very, very wrong here…
Back in May, Google added a section in its Transparency Report focused specifically on all of the DMCA copyright takedowns it receives. That tool has provided a bunch of interesting data and information, mainly highlighting abuses of the DMCA process. It also shows the scale of DMCA takedown activity with Google.
The latest is that Google has put out a blog post noting that when they launched that report, they were receiving approximately 250,000 DMCA takedowns a week. Today, it’s up to 2.5 million per week. That’s in just six months. It’s just insane: in just six months, the number of DMCA takedowns that Google receives has increased by a factor of 10 from 250,000 per week to 2.5 million.
Also interesting: they’re now making all of the data available for download, so perhaps we’ll start to see some interesting research come out of this. Either way, this should highlight just how ridiculous the current system is.
One could argue that the DMCA process is working as intended, in that there are these millions of infringements, and links on Google to them, and now the owners of the rights to the content have a quick and easy way to handle the problem. But that can’t possible be true, and in fact, a lot of serious mistakes are made, even by seasoned industry giants when it comes to issuing takedown notices.
The accuracy or sensibleness of these numbers aside, there’s also their timing:
People who follow tech policy will recall the late 2011-early 2012 debate surrounding the SOPA treaty. Some will recall, or may even have participated in, the January 18, 2012 service blackout.
From the perspective of SOPA’s opponents, the internet– or at least significant portions of it–mobilized itself to defeat what would have been a staggering overreach on the part of government, all in the name of international harmonization.
Further SOPA debate was postponed on January 20, 2012, and most see it as effectively dead, although alternatives have sprung up.
As TechDirt and others point out, one of the central pillars of the rightsholders’ argument in favor of SOPA was that they needed better enforcement tools against piracy, since the existing ones weren’t working. An example of this, of course, was links on Google to infringing content.
But here’s the thing: This steep increase in notices to Google looks to have started around mid-spring, 2012, after SOPA was defeated. Unless alleged copyright infringement went through the roof at the same time, the situation on the ground didn’t change, so why the increase?
- Internet providers to start policing the web July 12
- Funny How Copyright Holders Only Ramped Up Google DMCA Takedowns After SOPA Failed
Further, even if infringement did grow commensurately, it seems clear that the rightsholders have a tool they are willing to use to deal with it, the DMCA and its notice and takedown regime.
So it’s hard to see the complaints about “lack of enforcement tools” as anything other than fear-mongering in order to be granted even more power and control.
Anyway, Google has recently taken two important steps with respect to their Transparency Report.
- First, you can see who made requests with more granular takedown data , showing actions taken on notices.
- Second, the data is available for download.
Personally, I have experienced having a couple of my own outlets for background and research documents shut down. One of the service operators explained that the shut down was done by computer robots, after a third strike method. I noticed that all the documents in question all were reports produced by the financial industry, and that the same documents were to be found on several other public websites free to download for everyone.
But it’s hard to argue with a robot…
- More DMCA Abuse: Company Issues DMCA Takedown On Comment Spam, Claiming ‘URL Copyright’
- US report slams Russia’s biggest social network VKontakte over copyright infringement
- NSA refuses to disclose its links with Google
- US courts already enforcing SOPA-style shut-downs
Related by econoTwist’s:
“From press accounts and parliamentary testimony, we know that in the UK, there are even lawyers who will read the newspapers just to identify possible cases, call the people involved and suggest a suit in order to drum up business. It’s a sort of libel ambulance chasing.”
- European criminals and politicians taking “libel tourism” trips to UK
- Media Freedom Threatened In Most European Countries
Other related articles:
- Movie Studios Ask Google To Censor Their Own Films, Facebook and Wikipedia (torrentfreak.com)
- I See London, I See France: Victoria’s Secret Parody Campaign Fights Takedowns (eff.org)
- Twitter Improves Its DMCA-Takedown Policy, No Longer Hides Flagged Tweets. #transparency. (ipbrief.net)
- Did You Get a Copyright Notice from BCCI on Twitter? (deepbackwardpoint.com)
All Human Rights Reserved (h) 2012