The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has claimed that Google's transparency report detailing take-down requests of copyright material is misleading, because the search giant limits the number of notices a company can make.
Google's statistics, since July 2011, show that Microsoft made the largest total number of take-down requests of any company, asking for a total of 2,544,209 URLs to be removed from Google's search results, which contained files or links to BitTorrent files that the company believed to be infringing on its copyright.
The RIAA fell third on the list, with 439,546 URLs targeted, behind NBC Universal at 1,054,843.
However, the RIAA believes that this score is misleading. The organisation's executive vice president of anti-piracy Brad Buckles wrote in a blog yesterday that the data doesn't represent the total number of infringing websites found in Google's search results, because Google imposes an "artificial limit" on the amount of requests a copyright owner can make.
"In order to notify Google of an infringement, you first need to find the infringement. But Google places artificial limits on the number of queries that can be made by a copyright owner to identify infringements. These limits significantly decrease the utility of Google's take down tool, given the vast nature of the piracy problem today and the number of titles we are trying to protect," he said.
The limits are set well below the actual number of links infringing copyright, according to Buckles.
"Google says it received requests to remove 1.2 million links from 1000 copyright owners in one month. But consider that Google has identified nearly 5 million new links, posted in just the last month, in searches for free mp3 downloads of just the top 10 Billboard tracks," he said. "The constraints Google has placed on the tools they promote to deter infringement, are well below what is necessary to identify and notice infringements on the Billboard top 10, much less the entire catalogue of the American creative community."
Google could easily do more to fight piracy, according to Buckles.
"Google has the resources to allow take downs that would more meaningfully address the piracy problem it recognises, given that it likely indexes hundreds of millions of links, per day. Yet, this limitation remains, despite requests to remove it."
Buckle said that Google should lift the restriction, and instead of targeting individual URLs, Google should aim to remove all results for websites that have an infringement of a particular song, when requested by the RIAA.
"In order to truly address this problem, Google needs to take its commitment to fight piracy more seriously by removing the limits on queries and take downs, by taking down multiple files of the same recording, instead of just one, when a 'representative sample' of infringing files is provided to them, and by establishing meaningful repeat infringer policies."
Google said it now gets around 250,000 take-down requests every week, and last month processed more than 1.2 million requests, while the average turnaround time on a take-down request was approximately 11 hours.