Networks Go After Piracy by Sending Google 345 Million DMCA Notices

It's reasonable for media companies to protect their investment against piracy, but sending millions of takedown requests every year seems like a losing strategy.


Online media piracy is held up by larger media companies as one of the biggest sources of lost revenue in the industry. To that end, many companies have aggressively pursued DMCA takedown notices and according to TorrentFreak, Google received 345 million requests in 2014.

While Google doesn’t issue a yearly DMCA report, TorrentFreak analyzed the weekly reports, and found that the number of offending URLs submitted by copyright holders was 345,169,134. There has reportedly been a huge surge in takedown notices in recent years, which may have something to do with project Goliath.

Indeed, leaked documents from the recent Sony hack have shown that traditional media companies consider ‘Goliath’ to be their “most powerful and politically relevant adversary in the fight against online piracy.” The obvious implication is that Google is Goliath.

The approach to Goliath was apparently multi-pronged, and this deluge of takedown notices may be fair defense of copyright, an attempt to make Google waste resources. However, when there were as many as 12 million requests submitted in one week it’s hard to say which resources were being wasted.

As noted previously by Social Times, torrenting and media piracy are ingrained in the culture of the internet, and it doesn’t matter if one source gets shut down, because there will be plenty left. Piracy does cost studios potential revenue, if The Interview is any example.

Torrent users are users that pay for media. Keith Nelson Jr, music journalist for Digital Trends writes:

Research firm Ipsos MediaCT revealed BitTorrent users were 170 percent more likely to purchase a digital music download than the average Internet user. They’re also not against putting their money where their clicks are as the average BitTorrent user spending $48 a year on music.

It sounds reasonable that media companies would protect their investment against piracy, but when Google alone received over 345 million takedown requests in one year, the strategy doesn’t look like it has a reasonable return on its cost. Maybe they should just treat the piracy as free marketing.

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