Google’s piracy filter is heavily used by content owners, the search engine received more than 100 million removal requests in the first half of this year. Copyright owners usually hire companies specialized in reporting copyright infringements to Google.
Once Google receives such a report the company will remove the links to the infringing site from its index. In 2012 the search engine received about 50 million requests, in the first half of 2013 already the double of that. It removed more than 100 million links from its index.
Removing the content from Google’s index should make the content harder to find but in reality for each page gone another one pops up. As piracy is so decentralized it’s hard to battle and there are no central places to shut down.
Therefor the specialized companies try to automate the link removal requests as much as possible. Last month over 14 million requests were filed from 3,200 copyright owners. One company alone was able to request 300,000 removal requests per week and has requested 31 million URLs to be removed in total. Due to the automation some removal requests are incorrect, e.g. Microsoft recently requested to remove links om its own website, obviously an error. To counter that, Google also has an algorithm in place to check errors in piracy link removal requests.
While the reporting of piracy URLs might become more sophisticated it’s not stopping piracy. Piracy remains a cat and mouse game between anti-piracy organisations and pirates and the past has shown that new restrictions are usually countered by new ways of bypassing them and new file sharing technologies that are even harder to stop.