Google received just over 75 million DMCA-related takedown requests in the month of March, representing a new high as content owners seek to keep pirate websites out of search results and invisible to people searching for leaked album downloads, movies, and other media. The rate at which the requests have grown is truly staggering; TorrentFreak says Google is effectively processing over 100,000 URLs per hour. Compare that to 2014, when Google handled 345 million requests for the entire year.
Requests must include a specific URL with infringing content, as Google has steadfastly refused to vanish entire domains from search results. "Whole site removal would simply drive piracy to new domains, legitimate sites, and social networks," the company wrote in an October filing. Still, Google is likely to hit the billion marker by the end of 2016 if this upward trajectory continues.
The majority of takedown notices are indeed legitimate (two sites with "mp3" in the URL are in this month's top five), but we've seen some instances where non-infringing pages are swept into the URL lists sent to Google by film studios, record labels, and the companies that represent them for this specific purpose. Google's own search algorithms already make domains less visible when they're regularly hit with takedown notices, but the ballooning number of requests shows that copyright holders are still very eager to leverage the DMCA at every opportunity.