Google was asked to remove 345m links to copyrighted content in 2014, almost double the amount requested in 2013.
More than one in six of those requests for removal came from the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), the collective body for the British music business, which submitted more than 60m requests.
The figures come from analysis by TorrentFreak, which pieced together the weekly takedown reports issued by the search engine into one annual report.
“The majority of these requests are honored with the associated links being removed from Google’s search results,” the site reports. “However, Google sometimes takes ‘no action’ if they are seemed not to be infringing or if they have been taken down previously.”
According to the TorrentFreak report, most takedown requests were sent for the domains 4shared.com, rapidgator.net and uploaded.net, “with more than 5m targeted URLs each.”
Since 2008, when Google first reported takedowns, the site has seen an astonishing 550,000,000% increase in requests: that year, it received just 68.
“Online piracy still remains a challenge, and Google takes that challenge seriously,” the report states. “We develop and deploy anti-piracy solutions with the support of hundreds of Google employees. This regular report details those efforts, as well as how Google products and services create opportunity for creators around the world.”
The BPI similarly declined to comment on TorrentFreak’s report, and also directed the Guardian to a statement made in October by Geoff Taylor, the firm’s chief executive, after Google’s changes.
“When fans search for music or films, they should get legal results – it’s as simple as that,” said Taylor. “If these new steps help guide more consumers to services like Spotify, Deezer and iTunes, which give back to music, instead of to fraudulent torrent or hosting sites, then they would represent a step forward for artists, labels and all those trying to build a thriving music economy online.
“The BPI, together with colleagues from the film industry, will continue to meet with the search engines and government to ensure these measures make a real difference and to persuade Bing and Yahoo to take similar action … we are encouraged that Google has recognised the need to take further action and will continue to work with the search engines and government to build a stronger digital music sector.”
The Guardian understands that the industry still doesn’t feel Google goes far enough, with the search firm’s continued refusal to automatically delist sites, such as The Pirate Bay, which have been blocked by a UK court order.
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