Researchers from Berkeley and Columbia have published a new study that claims more than 28 percent of all piracy takedown requests that Google receives are “questionable”.
Such appeals either did not target the alleged infringing content correctly or raised concerns about the validity of the request, the report says.
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At present, the precise percentage of incorrectly placed requests represents a little over four percent of all notices Google receives. According to the researchers, the majority of the remaining 24 percent of questionable requests had other issues such as improper format, potential fair use or subject matter inappropriate for DMCA takedowns.
Leaning on data Google has provided to the Lumen database, the researchers reviewed more than 108 million takedown requests to reach this conclusion.
For reference, Google receives over 20 million piracy takedown requests each week.
Unsurprisingly, there’s a considerable number of questionable requests submitted for websites that have been defunct for over a year, including popular torrent tracker Demonoid and file-sharing hub MegaUpload.
Other interesting discoveries show that the entertainment industry leads the charts with over 89 percent of the total number of all submitted complaints. Almost half of these (44 percent) come from the music industry, while adult content (28 percent) as well as movies and television (17 percent) make for the rest.
Statistics also indicate that most copyright holders target torrents (36 percent) and file search websites (34 percent).
Given that Google respects more than 97 percent of all DMCA requests it receives, the study points out the search engine giant likely takes down more content than it should in order to avert high statutory penalties.
Additionally, the researchers warn against the use of automated filtering takedown mechanisms – that copyright holders often demand – to avoid potential cases of abuse and unfair judgement with regards to the high amount of questionable requests Google registers.