Why have the number URL removal requests gone up so dramatically in the past year?

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Starting around June of 2012, the number of URL removal requests that were sent into Google started to go up dramatically. URL removal requests increased from about 173 thousand per week at the beginning of the year, to 1.5 Million requests per week by August 2012.  By November, Google received about 6 million requests per week to remove allegedly infringing urls from search. That’s about 34.7 times the number of request Google received in January. All of this happened during a time where Google has been actively tweaking its piracy algorithms to identify more infringing links than ever. So what gives? We’re not entirely sure.  However, it seems highly unlikely that this massive increase in takedown requests has any relationship to a corresponding increase in the actual amount of piracy on the web.  

Here at New Media Rights we’re particularly worried about the possibility of individuals using URL takedowns as a means of content bullying and censorship. There’s a question of how many of these url takedowns were in fact legitimate and non-infringing urls, but were removed from Google search results anyway without any form of due process.  To be fair, Google does disclose that they do not take down url’s if the request is blatantly bogus. But with millions of takedown requests being sent every week, we wonder how many bogus requests, that aren’t so blatant, are falling through the cracks.

Here’s where we need your help to track the problem. Have you had your entirely piracy free url been removed from Google search results? We want to hear about it! If this has happened to you please fill out our contact form and we’ll see if we can help you out.

New Media Rights is a small non-profit legal organization that runs on a shoestring budget. If you like what we’re doing and want to support us please consider donating to us here.

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