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DMCA Takedown Requests, Cutting Off Websites Fill Copyright Holders' Toolkits

Publication Date: 
June 21, 2012
Electronic Commerce And Law Report
Joyce E. Cutler

Professor Mark Lemley is quoted by Joyce E. Cutler in this Electronic Commerce and Law Report on how DMCA and what he views as the "persistent issue in the continuing battle over copyright."

Copyright holders increasingly are turning to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and proxies to shut down infringing websites, panelists said June 18 at a Stanford University Law School conference.

Google Inc. added the DMCA to its transparency report aggregating requests to remove URLs from search results, said Fred von Lohmann, Google senior copyright counsel. In the last 30 days, Google was asked to remove 1,825,442 URLs for copyright violations, von Lohman said. The count is updated daily.


A persistent issue in the continuing battle over copyright, according to Stanford Law Professor Mark Lemley, is how owners deal with infringing activity at a high enough level—including going after search engines or venture capital companies that fund the engines or websites that facilitate them—to affect piracy.

The Stop Online Piracy Act (H.R. 3261) and the Protect IP Act (S. 968) shelved earlier this year would have entirely cut off website access for infringing sites (17 ECLR 170, 1/25/12).

Even though SOPA and PIPA failed, Lemley said, “I don't think that effort to move up the stream is going to go away.”

Lemley said there has been “remarkable growth in the last six months in the use of DMCA take down notices perhaps as a proxy for an effort to cut off websites entirely.”