Google: Copyright removal requests spike to 2.5 million per week

When asked about the spike in take-down requests, a Google spokesperson said they believe some of the increase is from Google streamlining the process to submit requests, and also due in part to copyright owners using more sophisticated tools to identify piracy and send notices to Google.

Von Lohmann added that the search company will start releasing more granular data about the number of Web links it removes from its search results due to copyright removal requests.

The search company will now disclose how many Web links to certain websites, such as the Pirate Bay and isoHunt, it removed from its search results because of take-down notices. It will also provide data for how many Web links it removed for each copyright removal request, as well as the percentage of Web links it decided not to remove from its search results.

Von Lohmann said Google has removed 97.5 percent of all Web links included in copyright removal requests. The company processes these requests within six hours, on average, he said.

People will also now be able to download spreadsheets filled with all the copyright removal data included in its "Transparency Report."

The entertainment industry has criticized Google for not doing enough to crack down on websites that offer pirated copies of movies, music, TV shows and other infringing content. The recording and film industries say their bottom lines have been battered by the rise of infringing sites.

Google was among the most vocal corporate opponents against SOPA this year and launched an online advocacy campaign against the measure, arguing that it threatened free speech and would stunt innovation. The company has been wary of legislative efforts to enact stringent anti-piracy rules, cautioning that it could hamper new technology.

"We’ll continue to fine tune our removals process to fight online piracy while providing information that gives everyone a better picture of how it works," von Lohmann said. "By making our copyright data available in detail, we hope policymakers will be able to see whether or not laws are serving their intended purpose and being enforced in the public interest." 

Kate Bedingfield, a spokeswoman with the Motion Picture Association of America, lauded Google's move to disclose more data about its copyright removal rates, but argued that the data also revealed how difficult it is for content creators to protect their work from online piracy.

"There is a staggering amount of copyright infringement taking place every day online and much of it is facilitated by Google, as their own data shows – data which does not even include YouTube, where an enormous amount of infringement takes place," Bedingfield said in a statement. "This data only further confirms the important role that Google has to play in helping curb the theft of creative works while protecting an Internet that works for everyone.”

This post was updated at 2:22 p.m.