Google is seeing a huge surge in companies asking it to remove copyrighted material from its search results.
In the last week, copyright holders have submitted more than 21 million requests, an all-time record, and up almost 3x from the same time last year, as this chart from Statista based on information from Google shows. These requests mostly come about when a site blatantly copies or steals content from another site, and the original copyright owner asks Google to remove links to the offending site. (These results only include automated requests from Google’s web form, and only for its search engine, not other Google properties like YouTube.)
There’s no obvious new technology or upswing in copyright violations to blame for the increase. Rather, it seems that copyright holders are simply becoming more systematic and aggressive about pursuing takedown requests under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).