In an effort to be more transparent about copyright removals in search, Google this week expanded its Transparency Report with a new section that discloses precisely how many requests the sultan of search receives from copyright owners, including organizations, to remove allegedly infringing search links. That number now stands at over 1.2 million requests per month, or over 250,000 per week, which is more than it received in all of 2009.
"Fighting online piracy is very important, and we don’t want our search results to direct people to materials that violate copyright laws," Google explains in a blog post. "So we’ve always responded to copyright removal requests that meet the standards set out in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). At the same time, we want to be transparent about the process so that users and researchers alike understand what kinds of materials have been removed from our search results and why. To promote that transparency, we have long shared copies of copyright removal requests with Chilling Effects, a nonprofit organization that collects these notices from Internet users and companies."
Despite the massive number of removal requests submitted to Google on a daily basis, the search giant claims its average turnaround time is less 11 hours, which is pretty remarkable considering the man power required to look into well over a million links each month.
"At the same time, we try to catch erroneous or abusive removal requests," Google elaborates. "For example, we recently rejected two requests from an organization representing a major entertainment company, asking us to remove a search result that linked to a major newspaper’s review of a TV show. The requests mistakenly claimed copyright violations of the show, even though there was no infringing content. We’ve also seen baseless copyright removal requests being used for anticompetitive purposes, or to remove content unfavorable to a particular person or company from our search results."
For those of you who are curious about copyright removal requests, you can view that portion of Google's Transparency Report here, which also lists the top reporting organizations and owners in the past month, along with the top targeted domains.