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Google Asked to Remove Over a Million Websites for Copyright Infringement

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Google Asked to Remove Over a Million Websites for Copyright Infringement

Google’s latest transparency report reveals the number of domains the search giant has been asked to remove has reached a new milestone of one million. In total, Google has been asked to remove over two billion individual URLs from search results.

The number of takedown requests is up significantly year-over-year, which could be due in part to the fact that anti-piracy firms are asking Google to delist dozens of URLs at a time. Google investigates the requests and regularly pushes back on those found to not actually be infringing on copyrighted work.

Here is just one of the several examples Google provides:

It’s not just sites hosting illegal content that are being targeted, Google routinely gets asked to remove content from credible websites such as the BBC, NASA, New York Times, Netflix, and The White House. Needless to say, Google rejects requests to remove content from legitimate sites.

The number of URLs approved for removal far outweigh the number of URLs that have been rejected. Within the report you can search for any domain or URL and see how many takedown requests it has received, as well as how many of the requests were approved or rejected.

For example, you can see that IMDB (Internet Movie Database) has received over 1000 takedown requests to date — all of which have been rejected.

On the other side of the coin you can see an illegal content site like Torrentz.com has received over a million takedown requests, 98% of which have been approved.

Google details the process it follows when receiving takedown requests:

  • Copyright owner sends takedown notice
  • Google reviews the takedown notice and removes the URL from search results if it truly infringes on copyrighted work
  • The administrator of the affected site is notified via Google Search Console
  • The administrator then has the opportunity to file a counter notification
  • Google reviews the counter notification and decides whether or not to reinstate the material
  • If the copyright owner is not satisfied with the final decision, they can file a lawsuit
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Matt Southern

Matt Southern

Lead News Writer at Search Engine Journal

Matt Southern has been the lead news writer at Search Engine Journal since 2013. His passion for helping people in ... [Read full bio]

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