Google Received DMCA Takedown Notices for 4 Million Unique Domains *TorrentFreak

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Google has taken a new step. Over the past few years, copyright holders have asked the search engine to remove the URLs from four million unique domains. These include some egregious hacker sites, but the White House, FBI, and Vatican have also been reported as violators.

For many people, Google is the go-to place to start when they need to find something on the web. With just a few keystrokes, the search engine can find almost anything.

This makes life easier, but for copyright holders there is also a downside, as the web is littered with pirate sites.

Over the past decade, Google has removed more than five billion “infringing” URLs from its search results. A few days ago, the company hit another milestone after receiving DMCA notices for more than four million unique domain names.

4 million

To mark this event, we have decided to take a to look closer to submitted URLs to see who the worst offenders are. This leads to some interesting conclusions and puts the four million number into perspective.

Main recipients

The domain most reported for violation is 4shared.com. This popular file sharing service has had over 68 million of its URLs removed from Google. The majority of them were removed several years ago. More recently, 4shared has begun to actively work with rights holders to prevent piracy by deploying filtering technologies.

Second on the list with 51 million URLs removed is the relatively unknown mp3toys.xyz. This domain has been dormant for about half a decade, but previously hosted pirated MP3s. The top three is completed by rapidgator.net, of which more than 42 million URLs have been removed from Google’s search results.

best google domains

What stands out is that the majority of reported URLs are linked to a tiny fraction of the four million domain names. Just 400 domains (0.01%) are responsible for 41% of all links removed by Google over the years.

Hundreds of Pirate Bays

The Pirate Bay is ranked 66th based on the number of URLs Google had to remove. This only affects the main .org domain of the site and there are hundreds of Pirate Bay proxy domains that are also frequently targeted.

There are currently nearly 900 domain names that include the phrase “piratebay” on Google’s list of copyright infringing domain names. On top of that, there are over 5,000 that use other variations of the word ‘berry’, many of which are inspired by the famous pirate site.

pirate bays

Legit domains in the long tail

It is clear that a relatively small number of domains generate the bulk of all takedown requests. This means that there is a long queue of domains that only get reported a few times.

This long tail includes many fringe pirate sites, but there are also thousands of domain names that are not typical copyright infringers. Some of them are simply reported by mistake.

There are many examples of legitimate sites. These include the FBI (22x), the RIAA (2x), The Vatican (reported 3x), and the White House (17xx), but there are thousands more we could add to the list. The good news is that Google is usually pretty good at spotting these errors.

There are also legitimate sites that get flagged quite often. The IMDb Movies and TV Database, for example, has been flagged 5,564 times. Another popular target is Wikipedia, which was mentioned 3,492 times in takedown notices. Interestingly, Google.com was also targeted at 700,000 times.

Overall, it is safe to conclude that not all four million domain names are blatant infringers. Instead, the bulk of all hacked content is centered on just a few hundred sites.

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