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Nearly 100% of all URLs processed by Google’s copyright removal programme in January did not actually exist in its search index.
The revelation comes as part of Google’s submission to the US Copyright Office as part of the office’s ongoing study of copyright law.
Submitted on Tuesday, February 21, the letter covered the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s (DMCA) section 512 safe harbour.
“Additionally, a significant portion of the recent increases in DMCA submission volumes for Google search stem from notices that appear to be duplicative, unnecessary, or mistaken,” it said.
A substantial number of takedown requests submitted to Google are for URLs that have never been in its search index, meaning they could never have appeared in the company’s search results.
In a bid to ensure that these URLs never appear in Google’s search results in the future, the company accepts notices for URLs that are not in its search index.
Google backed the takedown provisions, adding that while the DMCA has not eliminated rogue sites, it has succeeded in “fostering collaboration and economic growth” and in “driving many rogue actors” from the marketplace.
Earlier this week, sister site WIPR reported that a coalition of music organisations criticised the DMCA as being “broken and antiquated”.
Google said: “The judicial record is clear, moreover, that rogue sites have found no shelter in the DMCA’s safe harbours.”
It claimed that this activity has successfully been driven out of the US and that the majority of rogue sites have moved offshore, so “further tinkering” with the US copyright regime is unlikely to affect their behaviour.
The letter can be viewed here.
DMCA, Digital Millennium Copyright Act, US Copyright Office, online copyright, reform, copyright, Google, safe harbours, ISPs