Google is now reporting false DMCA takedown requests


In an effort to improve transparency, Google began publishing reports on the DMCA takedown requests it receives. According to Google, removal requests are now up from 250,000 weekly in May, to 2.5 million requests weekly today. Unfortunately for copyright holders and their never-ending battle against piracy, not all these requests are legitimate ones.

According to a report on TorrentFreak, while some of the content is being flagged as false due to them no longer being on the original site, the automated systems that are being used by copyright holders include perfectly legitimate content as well. One example from Google can be quite humorous when you think about it as it is very obvious that it is a false request:

A major U.S. motion picture studio requested removal of the IMDb page for a movie released by the studio, as well as the official trailer posted on a major authorized online media service.

Google of course does not remove any links that they find to be non-infringing, and along with the false takedown requests like the one quoted above, they are included in the transparency report and marked as “no action taken.”


Among the more notable false requests, we have Microsoft requesting Google to censor¬†AMC Theatres, BBC, Buzzfeed, CNN, HuffPo, TechCrunch, RealClearPolitics, Rotten Tomatoes, ScienceDirect, Washington Post, Wikipedia and even the U.S. Government. All of which you’d be hard-pressed to ever find hosting any sort of copyright-infringing content.

Google is certainly on the right track with what its been doing lately, managing to appease companies by taking in their requests while still providing all the transparency the public could ask for in their reports. Now if only the copyright holders could help them out and get their automated systems in check. All these thousands of false requests can only be one other thing besides ridiculous at times — they’re a waste of time.

[via TorrentFreak, image via methodshop]

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  • greg

    We’re not talking about search engine requests, right, but hosted content?

  • Enrique

    @JonE: Maybe I wasn’t clear, when I said that their algorithms for checking content should be improved, I meant the copyright holders, not Google. I think I understand what you guys mean now and if you guys mean that the copyright holders shouldn’t automate in the first place, and should hire real people to come up with the requests, that totally makes much more sense. I definitely agree with that.

  • Ashraf

    @Enrique: I agree. It is near impossible to only do manual DMCAs. Now that doesn’t mean automatic DMCAs cannot be tweaked to be more intelligent…

  • JonE

    @greg: Agreed!

    @Enrique: Sorry! I can’t totally agree with you on this one. I certainly agree that any entity that owns copyrighted or otherwise protected data has a right to protect their interests. And I agree that these entities should be able to use automation to search for offenders. But with that comes a responsibility to ensure that the data they collect is proofed and accurate before take down requests are generated.

    There is no reason why Google should be having to hire people to proof their data; it’s their data, not Google. And as many problems as I have with Google, it seems Google is going the extra mile to ensure the data submitted is accurate; not their job, but they’ve obviously hired people to handle this. If Google can hire humans to proof this inordinate amount of data then the entities that generate the data should be doing it too.

    It is the responsibility of the entities that generate this data to proof, filter, and ensure it’s accuracy, not Google. I commend Google for going the extra mile, but if I were Google I would throw all generated requests in the dumper until they started taking responsibility for the data they generate.

  • Enrique

    @greg: 2.5 million requests a week? A number that will only grow as time passes? At some point it’ll become impossible, if it already isn’t. The automation probably helps the real people filter all the requests.

  • greg


    Why not. Have real people do the work. Doesn’t Google have real people vetting the requests?

  • Enrique

    @greg: I understand your concern but it wouldn’t be possible without it. Hopefully they can refine their algorithms to minimize the false requests.

  • greg

    They should not allow automatic, machine generated requests.

  • Tom

    The Microsoft requests should be obvious. They are less concerned with infringing works than they are clogging Google’s pipes with make work requests.

    Ask around, MSFT staff think this is riotous. What’s surprising is that they have limited themselves to only 3 percent nonsense. Of course, if they take their game too high, they may awaken the Google beast.