Google is busier than ever putting the kibosh on search results that link to material that allegedly infringes copyright.
The company reported Monday that over the past month it received more than 76 million requests to remove from search results URLs that point to such content. That's more than double the number of requests it received in the same period last year, or around 34 million, according to the search giant's updated transparency report.
Google is the way most people find things on the Internet from other websites, whether it's searching for specific products or information in general. Many of the sites that turn up in search results are legitimate, but a sizable percentage are pirate sites, which copy material from other websites and present it as their own. Such sites can result in lost revenue and a diminished reputation for the actual site owned by the copyright holder. Pirate sites can be a source of malware as well.
The Mountain View, California-based company also fights pirate sites by "downranking" them in its search results. This means sites that are the target of a lot of takedown requests will show up lower in Google's search results.
Such takedown requests fall under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Established in 1998, the DMCA helps protect companies like Google from financial liability over claims of copyright violation. The stipulation is that the company must remove access to the content that allegedly infringes on a copyright once it receives a request to do so.
Owners of online information who believe their copyright has been violated can turn to Google's Content Removal site to fill out a form requesting that any questionable links in Google's search results be removed. The average processing time for all removal requests submitted via the form is around six hours, according to Google.