As IB Times previously reported, Warner Bros. and NBC Universal submitted requests asking Google to censor Mega, the cloud-based file locker created by Kim Dotcom, from search results. The entertainment industry argues that notifications like these -- a part of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act -- make it harder to find pirated content.
Others note the drastically increased use of DMCA notifications recently, and that studios are often using automated systems to assemble lists of thousands of potentially guilty links. Sometimes these automated lists accuse legitimate links. Mega’s homepage, for example, doesn’t contain any pirated content, and HBO once comically requested to have its own website removed from Google.
Internet freedom advocates worry that as studios send more and more DMCA notifications, it will be harder for Google to sort out legitimate complaints from false alarms. They argue that this will ultimately make it more difficult to access legitimate information and non-copyrighted material.
Which side is right? How many of these requests does Google receive, and how often do they lead to links getting removed from Google search results? Is Mega being unfairly targeted?
According to a Google transparency report, 2,200 links belonging to Mega have been named across 395 DMCA notifications. The Google report also shows NBC Universal and Warner Bros as being the top copyright owners asking for Mega URLs to be removed.
By comparison, Google has received 132,382 DMCA requests naming over 4.5 million URLs belonging to filestube.com. That is an average of 1,213 requests per week, compared to just 20 per week for Mega.
In total, Google has received nearly 15 million requests to remove URLs in the past month alone. Google says it removed 97 percent of requested URLs. As these automated DMCA requests increase, it could result in more and more legitimate information getting blocked.
Google reports when it denies a DMCA request to remove a link. It has not made an exception for Mega’s homepage after the recent requests, but Mega still appears in Google search results. Google did not comment on why this is.
All of this information, including each request made, can be found here.