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Mach1

Rightsholders Asked Google to Remove Five Million ThePirateBay.org URLs

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Mach1

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Copyright holders have filed five million requests to delete ThePirateBay.org URLs from Google's search results over the past several years. Roughly two-thirds of these requests indeed resulted in links being removed, while the search engine took no action at all for less than one percent. The Pirate Bay's homepage remains available as well, despite repeated attempts to have it deleted.

 

The Pirate Bay is widely known for its refusal to remove content based on copyright infringement claims. Those who tried in the past found themselves mocked instead.

 

This means that copyright holders have to find other ways to minimize the site’s impact. That includes sending takedown requests to search engines, to lower the site’s presence there.

 

Most of these takedown notices are sent to Google, which receives requests to remove thousands of Pirate Bay links every day. These quickly add up and have now surpassed five million requests against Thepiratebay.org URLs alone.

 

Like many other pirate sites, The Pirate Bay has many proxy sites and previously used other domains as well. If we added all of these together, the totals would run into the dozens of millions.

 

The vast majority of thepiratebay.org URLs were reported since 2016, when the iconic torrent site returned to its original .org domain name, as can be seen in the graph below.

 

 

Targeted thepiratebay.org urls

 

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The figures reported in Google’s transparency report count all the URLs that were submitted by copyright holders. This also includes duplicate requests. In other words, it doesn’t mean that five million search results were removed.

 

Of the 5,047,397 reported URLs, nearly two-thirds (66.5%) resulted in removed links. Little over 10% are duplicates that were sent in before by other copyright holders and 22.2% of the URLs were not indexed by Google in the first place.

 

It may seem odd that copyright holders ask Google to remove content that isn’t in its search engine. However, the company previously explained that it accepts these requests, which are put on a preemptive blacklist, to ensure that they are not added in the future.

 

When all of the above is taken into account there is still 0.8% left. These are reported URLs for which Google took no action. This can happen when the takedown request has clear errors, or if the reported URL isn’t copyright infringing.

 

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As we previously reported, rightsholders have repeatedly asked Google to remove thepiratebay.org’s homepage. However, since this doesn’t link to any infringing content, Google keeps this page in its search results.

 

Google does, however, downgrade The Pirate Bay searches for some content. Because the site is repeatedly targeted, the search engine lowers its ranking in results for movies and other types of media.

 

While five million targeted URLs is significant, it is by no means a record. Several other sites including 4shared.com, Rapidgator.net, and Chomikuj.pl have been reported dozens of millions of times.

 

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