Each week, hosting platforms, third-party services and search engines receive millions of requests to remove copyrighted content; according to experts in information security audits, this is how rights holders of multiple forms of content try to protect themselves from anyone who tries to distribute their property in illegitimate ways.
Some of the most important online platforms, such as Google or Twitter, try to publish online these takedown requests; however, because it is millions of data, it is difficult for ordinary users to analyze any trends in this information.
A joint investigation between Queen Mary University in London and the University of Boston in the U.S. has focused on the interpretation and analysis of all these copyright requests; the research has just been published and shows some relevant details.
Information security audits experts found that 98% of these “online complaints” are related to copyright issues. The remaining 2% consists of claims for defamation and leaks of confidential documents, such as corporate information or legal processes.
Trade associations and anti-piracy groups are the organizations that most content takedown requests send (the top ten organizations in the list sent a total of one billion requests in 2017). Among the main organizations are Rivendell, Aiplex and British Phonographic Industry (BPI).
Regarding the management of these requests, information security audits specialists concluded that search engines delete the content or website reported about three weeks after receiving the request (in the end, when attempting to enter the reported sites, a NXDOMAIN response is received). Specialists also found that domain names tend to disappear after the content deletion request is executed; however, it is difficult to know what the role of these applications in the disappearance of the web domains, in addition, the owners of the sites even can’t follow the status of the requests.
Specialists from the International Institute of Cyber Security (IICS) also report abusive behavior on the part of copyright holders. In some cases, faked URLs are reported or even duplicate reports are sent, trying to restrict the ability to publish content legitimately.