Google eliminates 200 million search results due to piracy claims

Search giant Google had to remove nearly 200 million search results due to piracy claims in 2013.

Published Date
15 - Nov - 2013
| Last Updated
15 - Nov - 2013
Google eliminates 200 million search results due to piracy claims

Copyright holders demanded Google remove nearly 200 Million search results this year -- the number has increased nearly four times since last year. In 2012, Google removed 10 million links, in 2012 the number increased to 50 million and now its reached 200 million.

Mitch Stoltz, a staff attorney focussing on intellectual property at the digital rights advocacy group the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) stated that the increase in the number has been attributed to stricter action from entertainment lobbies to ramp up their takedown notices. The entertainment industry lobby groups include companies like The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the British Recorded Music Industry (BPI). Currently. "It's totally under their control how many notices they send in a year," he said in an interview.

He added, that currently, under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Internet companies can avoid being sued, if they remove the content that rights holders say infringes on their copyrights. So when RIAA asks Google to remove a link to a site that's allegedly shares copyrighted content without authorization, Google is incentivized to remove it. RIAA has been responsible for nearly 31 million take down requests in 2013.

"The reason why there are so many more notices is so that the entertainment industries can point to them as evidence that there is this terrible public policy problem that either Congress or Google basically need to fix," he said. "I don't think it reflects a huge change in what people are doing on the Internet."

He added that, "There's huge potential for abuse because it's so easy [...] With one email you can make something disappear from Google," he said. "When you're sending 200 million, some of them are going to be wrong and that's a cost that shouldn't be considered acceptable."

In September, the MPAA commissioned a report that tried to assess the role that search engines played in leading people to pirated content online. The report only found that "search engines influenced 20% of the sessions in which consumers accessed infringing TV or film content online between 2010 and 2012."

Source: Mashable