Google report sheds light on copyright takedown requests

Microsoft the leader in URL removal requests, transparency report shows

Google this week received a somewhat rare accolade from a privacy rights group for publishing a detailed report on all the copyright related content removal requests it has received over the past year.

The company on Thursday released its copyright Transparency Report, summarizing all requests it has received since July 2011 to remove search results that link to allegedly infringing material. The company maintains a similar list on government requests for URL removals.

The report shows that Google received a total of 1,255,402 URL removal requests via its web form in the last one month alone. The number does not include removal requests made via other channels such as faxes and written letter. It also does not include requests to remove content from other Google properties such as YouTube and Blogger.

The removal requests affected a total of more than 24,300 domains and were put in by a total of 2400 copyright owners or their representatives.

Google said it complied with 97% of the search removal requests it received between July and December last year. On average, the company complied with the takedown requests in 10 hours or less, it said.

Somewhat surprisingly, the organization associated with the most copyright removal requests was not a music label but Microsoft Corp. More than 530,000 of the URLs that were the subject of removal requests linked to Microsoft content. Between July 2011 and now, Microsoft or its representatives have asked Google to remove over 2.5 million URLs from its search engine results at a median of 48,700 URLs per week.

The second highest requester is NBCUniversal, which trails far behind Microsoft in the number of URLs it has request Google block. Between July 2011 and today, NBCUniversal asked Google to remove just more than 1 million URLs, or less than half of the number requested by Microsoft.

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