Copyright holders are getting ever more frustrated and hopeless with the increase in online piracy. In 2011, Google removed less than ten million links which increased to fifty million in 2012 and this year, based on reports from ‘TorrentFreak’ more than two hundred million illegal links have been removed by the search engine giant. The British Phonographic Industry and Recording Industry Association of America have been leading the charge by requesting Google to remove more than seventy million links so far.
Despite the record-breaking number of link removals, with Google removing more than eight links every second this year, copyright holders have complained that the search engine giant is not doing enough to prevent people from finding pirated content. In the words of Chris Dodd, search engines are like the gatekeepers of the internet and should play an important role in educating the audiences about piracy and find new and innovative ways to prevent it.
FilesTube, a polish-based online file sharing and uploading services has seen more than seven million of its links being deleted and Google has been approached by close to thirty thousand copyright holders to removed illegal links from hundreds and thousands of domains. The surge in demand to takedown websites may not necessarily be connected to an increase in piracy online. Entertainment platforms could have also decided to bolster the number of notices they send each year and are now more eager than ever to put an end to piracy.
Google has not been passive to the concerns of copyright holders and has recently released a report stating the various anti-piracy measures it has adopted. However, the significance of legal offerings has also been highlighted by the company and it argues that it is tough to beat unauthorized copying without legal options in place.
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) was supposed to pave the way forward for technology firms and content creators alike. Sadly, internet providers have acknowledged that some of the aspects of the Act no longer work. As the Congressional review gets underway, there should be a focus on what notice and takedown was supposed to accomplish. A lot of website owners share the view that it is time to revise and introduce amendments to the DMCA.
One of the factors contributing to piracy is the failure to meet the consumer demand online. Service providers need to be more organized and come up with better and appropriate services. In the long run, the right combination of inventory, price and convenience will surely be more effective in reducing piracy. There also needs to be cooperation among the service providers in their goal of reducing copyright theft online. New and innovative means to combat piracy needs to be shared in technical forums to ensure that everyone connected with online safety are moving in the right direction. In this way, a lot of opportunities are created for search engines to collaborate with other service providers and progress is assured.
As of now, one can only argue that takedown notices are doing nothing to stop the same files from being reposted again and again. People have knowingly benefitted from using someone else’s property. The measures implemented so far are just like a bucket being used to remove an ocean of pirated data. Though it may be unfair to criticize search engines as they have no way of detecting whether a particular link is a fake, the humungous increases in the number of complaints to remove illegal links surely points out the need from some stringent action henceforth.