Pirate links on Google
Copyright-holders request Google to remove millions of pirate links Reuters

Google received requests from copyright owners to remove as many as 558 million links to material, which allegedly infringed on copyrights, from its search engine in 2015. The latest figure shows a surge of 60% compared to 2014.

Google was flooded with Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown notices. The notices are issued to search engines or web hosts to remove links to copyright-infringing material. The majority of the requests came from the music and movie industries.

Torrent Freak recently found that the URLs submitted by copyright-holders numbered 558,860,089 compared to 2014 when Google processed 345 million pirate links. The majority of the links were removed though Google sometimes takes "no action" if the links do not infringe on copyright material or if they had already been taken down earlier.

In 2015, most of the requests pertained to domains including chomikuj.pl, rapidgator.net and upload.net with each having more than seven million URLs. Besides, 329,469 domains were targeted by 27,035 copyright-holders. The British Recorded Music Industry (BPI) tops the list of copyright-holders in 2015 for reporting more than 65 million links.

In October 2015, Google told the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator that it had taken several measures to help copyright-owners. "We process more takedown notices, and faster, than any other search engine. We receive notices for a tiny fraction of everything we host and index, which nonetheless amounts to millions of copyright removal requests per week that are processed, on average, in under six hours."

While Google rejects requests for removal of entire domains as that could lead to overboard censorship, copyright-holders such as the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) assert that sites infringing on copyrights should be barred from the search engine.