Television

Google asked to remove 100 million 'piracy' links in 2013

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MUMBAI: That is double the number it received for the whole of 2012 and a sign that publishers are stepping up their battle against internet piracy.

Copyright holders send millions of "takedown" requests to Google every week in an attempt to make pirated material harder to access online.

Many of the takedown requests made under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and other national copyright laws are generated by third parties, or reporting organisations, on behalf of copyright holders.

Google began publishing all such requests in its Transparency Report in 2012 and since then the number has risen sharply, as rights holders have made greater use of the reporting system.

In the past month alone Google received requests to take down nearly 14 million links from its search results, relating to 3,200 copyright owners.

One digital content protection specialist, Degban, makes requests for about 300,000 link removals per week on behalf of clients and has asked for nearly 31 million web pages, or URLs, to be removed from Google's results so far, reports the search firm.

The website domains concerned are almost entirely person-to-person file-sharing services, such as Fenopy.eu, extratorrent.com, torrenthound.com, filestube.com and bittorrent.com.

More than half of Degban's URL requests were made on behalf of Froytal Services, a pornography producer, giving an indication of the kind of content people are sharing online.

But other major copyright owners making the most takedown requests included the BPI (British Recorded Music Industry) and its member companies, the Recording Industry Association of America, and various film studios, such as Warner Brothers.

There are concerns that some of these takedown requests may not be accurate.

For example, Microsoft recently asked by mistake for links to its own sites to be deleted.

The embarrassing request was made on Microsoft's behalf by LeakID, an anti-piracy specialist, according to Torrentfreak.com.

A growing number of sites accused of aiding piracy are now blocked to UK web users, including the Pirate Bay, Kickass Torrents, H33T, Fenopy, Movie2K and Download4All.

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