Millions Upon Millions Of 'Takedown' Notices To Google... For Links That Aren't Even In Google

from the meaningless-fodder dept

For years, the RIAA and MPAA have pointed to the millions upon millions of takedown notices sent to Google as "evidence" that the DMCA notice-and-takedown process doesn't work. You can find lots of examples of this, but here's an MPAA VP making this exact point:

“The large volume of removal requests cited in Google’s Transparency Report clearly illustrates the magnitude of the piracy problem and the ineffectiveness of the ‘notice and take down’ system,” said Chris Ortman, MPAA VP of corporate communications. “If this system were working, the numbers would be going down — not up.”

But here's the thing about that quote: it's almost entirely bullshit. First off, the numbers have started going down, but you don't suddenly hear Chris Ortman and the MPAA saying "look, the notice and takedown system is now working!" Because Ortman wasn't being honest when he made the original statement.

But, the larger point, is that takedown requests, by themselves, don't mean a damn thing about how much infringement there actually is. The requests may be bogus. Indeed, millions of the requests to Google turn out to... not even be in Google's index. Torrentfreak had a recent story pointing out that the top 3 copyright owners alone sent Google over a billion takedown requests. That article further shows just how top heavy the requests are, with the top 16 copyright owners reporting more than 50% of all the takedown requests to Google. In other words, a very small group of organizations very much have their fingers on the scales of how many takedown requests Google receives. So, for those very same organizations to whine that more takedown requests proves anything... is questionable, at best.

And back to that point about many requests not even being in Google's index. As Google's Transparency Report shows, many of those top removal requesters keep requesting links that Google doesn't even have. The 2nd largest requester, for example, is APDIF Mexico. It submitted over a quarter of a billion takedowns. But do those mean anything? Well, let's take a look at its most recent batch of requests:

So... look at that last column. A huge percentage of the URLs were not even in the index. Then look at the column to the left of that. Google removed none of the links requested. Obviously, it can't remove the non-indexed ones, but it appears that even when they were in Google's index, they were deemed non-infringing or, in some cases, duplicates to URLs that had already been received in earlier takedowns. In other words, counting up the number of requests is meaningless when organizations can and do submit URLs that aren't even in Google and when they simply repeat URLs that had already been requested. Anyone could simply re-request the same URL a billion times and it wouldn't say a damn thing about whether the notice-and-takedown system is working.

Or, if you think it's unfair to pick on APDIF Mexico -- an organization many of you have never heard of -- why not look at the RIAA? Of all of the latest requests from the RIAA, I noticed that, once again, it shows no removals by Google. Why? Because the RIAA is submitting duplicates of URLs already removed. This is literally the result of their latest request from earlier today according to Google:

If you can't see that, it shows that 99% of the URLs submitted are duplicates, and the other 1% is still "pending" meaning they might also be duplicates. When the RIAA is submitting links that have already been removed, it kinda makes you wonder if the RIAA and groups like it are simply padding their own numbers to later try to make a bullshit point about how many "takedown requests" Google receives. It certainly highlights the fact that the RIAA does not actually check to see if what they're submitting to Google is actually in Google.

Anyway, the next time you hear the likes of the RIAA or MPAA claiming that the DMCA notice-and-takedown safe harbors aren't working because of the number of takedowns, you can safely note that they are being dishonest.

Filed Under: copyright, dmca, dmca 512, piracy, takedowns
Companies: apdif, apdif mexico, google, mpaa, riaa

Reader Comments

The First Word

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  1. icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), 27 Dec 2018 @ 5:44pm


    There, you just said it again! THERE ARE NO OTHER EFFECTIVE "MODELS" THAN DIRECTLY PAID. (Which can by "dinosaurs" or Spotify or Youtube collecting money indirectly through advertising: the key point is artists DIRECTLY paid.)

    The vast majority of the methods I advocate for is getting artists directly paid. Remember the whole "connect with fans/reason to buy" thing? That's about getting paid directly. It has nothing to do with copyright, of course.

    Promoting unrealistic unworkable academic notions is SAME as "Fuck musicians" -- that's why all the actual musicians have long since abandoned Techdirt.

    Unworkable? More musicians are making more money than ever before, much of it based on models I advocated for. I still talk to musicians all the time (had a long conversation with two super successful musicians just today). Not sure what you mean that they "abandoned" Techdirt. What does that even mean?

    Masnick, you have literally advocated that artists give away their product and sell T-shirts. Don't bother to claim you haven't or that can work too, as industry needs a NON-anomaly, NON-labor-intensive (not constantly "connecting with fans" to BEG) way of collecting and DIRECTLY paying artists.

    I have advocated for anything that works over the long run -- and that's by aligning interests, not attacking your biggest fans as pirates. ONE suggestion OF MANY was selling physical merchandise for some artists if (and only if) that made sense for that artist and that artist's fans. It is extraordinarily misleading to suggest I ever said that all artists should "just sell t-shirts." I specifically advocated for looking for multiple scarcities that artists can sell. T-shirts was merely one example -- and one that some artists have actually found to be quite successful (not to mention that t-shirt sales have been fairly profitable for us at Techdirt as well...).

    There is NO other model that works than the ones that have been around since, oh, the 1930s: either advertising-supported radio or direct sales

    Huh? I'm not even sure what you're saying here.

    What you've actually done for 20 years is assert that piracy is inevitable (tacitly, despite explicit denials, you've okayed it), and excuse yourself by repeating that "new business models" must be found, without ever showing any new.

    Yes, I have said that piracy is inevitable, because it is. No one has shown otherwise. My point is that if it's inevitable, why not find a business model that takes advantage of that inevitability. And many have done exactly that. And, it's bullshit to say I've never shown what that business model might be. I discussed crowdfunding before Kickstarter even existed. I discussed patronage before Patreon existed. I've talked about all sorts of other scarcities as well, many of which are now regularly used by artists -- including things like special live shows.

    I remind you that independents have existed for a hundred years and that Hank Williams "connected with fans" by selling records out of his Cadillac's trunk. That is therefore NOT a "new business model", just obvious.)

    Um. I'm not sure why you think this argument proves your side and not mine. Hank Williams connecting with fans is a great example. Again, your focus is on the wrong word. I never said that the business models themselves need to be wholly "new." I've said that they need to be different than what won't work in an age of widespread piracy. For some that's something "new" for others it's a reinvention of the old. But the key is connecting with fans. And tons of musicians now do that THANKS TO THE INTERNET.

    I'm sure you don't / won't see yourself as advocating piracy, but I think it's a fair charge when you've wrongly predicted court cases since Napster, explicitly said that there's no money in piracy, and supported, among others, Kim Dotcom's "business model" which relies on ILLEGALLY getting valuable products for free, and money directly for faster downloads besides indirectly from advertising.

    I've gotten many cases right and many cases wrong -- as have you. Copyright is a crapshoot in the courts -- which actually supports my position that copyright infringement is not nearly as "obvious" as some think it is. Including you. As for Kim Dotcom, remember that he actually had build a really great business model for musicians, in which he'd pay them to distribute their own works for free to users. But, you know, that got killed. Too bad. Could have been a real winner, which is why so many musicians were on his side and had signed up.

    SO, at this relective time of year, THINK on whether you might be misleading / evading / simply wrong / beating your head against reality / and far from reducing the grifting of middle-men, you're simply promoting a new herd of them in Kim Dotcom, Spotify, and Youtube!

    I'm always thinking about my views and carefully considering points in contrast. The problem is you are not arguing honestly here. You have spent many years on this site repeatedly lying about me and my positions and purposely misrepresenting them. If you hope that inspires me to rethink anything, you've got some self-exploration to do.

    [And just to show that I have thought on latter: the only non-violent way to deal with grifters getting too rich is steeply progressive income tax rates on all UNEARNED income.]

    And here's where we point out that your knowledge of economics is basically non-existent. But, hey, no surprise there.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter

Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: I Invented Email
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.