While the virtual lives for many of us revolve around a handful of websites, there are a lot more of them. In fact, it might put things into perspective for you to know that Google has removed a  ridiculous total of 1.74 Billion websites so far over copyright requests.  Yup, think about the number for a while and then think about how many more websites are actually there.

Most of these websites were taken down because the URLs were duplicate, invalid, rejected or so on. Also, of all the requests that were made, only around 40 million takedown requests were rejected — hardly 2.1 percent of the total. On the other hand, around 16 million requests were duplicates.

As per data from Google, the number of requests have spiked in recent times. However, that is also in part due to all sorts of incorrect and sometimes, downright foolish requests Google receives for taking down URLs. For example, consider the following request,

An anti-piracy enforcement firm representing a music label filed a copyright complaint asking us to delist dozens of homepages containing the word “coffee” in the title. These URLs had nothing to do with the identified copyrighted work.

However, this also means that Google has to waste massive efforts and time towards maintaining a system that can separate correct requests from incorrect ones. Removal requests made to Google have to go through a 4-stage review process, which is as follows:

  • A copyright owner sends us a takedown notice for allegedly infringing material.
  • Google reviews the request, and complies if there aren’t issues with it.
  • Following DMCA process, a webmaster may issue a counter notification.
  • Upon receiving a counter notification, we decide whether or not to reinstate the material.

The company has also made it quite clear that it does not act as a mediator. If the copyright owner or the webmaster is still unhappy with the decision– and think that the the content is illegal, or vice-versa — they can file a lawsuit and leave the matter to be decided by the courts.