If the number of complaints sent to Google is any indication, downloading copyrighting material for free over the search engine should be getting tougher by the day. In the last week of September alone, the Internet giant received requests to take down about 5.9 million specific URLs, according to its latest transparency report. That's more than eight per second, as the Guardian figures.
The amount of takedown requests Google receives has climbed sharply in the past year. For the week ended October 1, 2012, Google was asked to remove fewer than 1.6 million URLs. In other words, takedown requests from copyright holders have more than tripled — and almost quadrupled — in about a year.
The British Recording Industry (BPI), was the leading filer, accounting for 5.7 million of the 21.9 million URLs requested to be removed in September. In third place, behind copyright enforcer Degban, was the Recording Industry Association of America, with 2.2 million URLs requested for takedown.
The RIAA might not be the biggest filer, but it has significantly upped its pace when it comes to Google takedown requests. From May 2011 through January 2013, the U.S. recording industry group asked Google to remove almost 10 million URLs. That total has now climbed to more than 32 million.
In the meantime, it's still up in the air whether takedown requests actually help music sales. As FACT points out, a recent paper from the London School of Economics indicates that file-sharing may in fact boost the music industry, while illegal download rates have fallen in South Korea and Japan, coutries with harsh penalties for pirates. Better download that Napster documentary while you still can.