Google asked to remove record number of links in 2014

In 2014, Google was asked to remove links to copyrighted material from its search index 345 million times.

Back in 2008, the company only had a total of 68 requests to do so.

The biggest number of these requests comes from the UK’s music industry trade body, The British Phonographic Industry (BPI), which asked for the removal of more than 60 million links, Sky News reports.

Other than BPI, just three sites hosted more than five million disputable links and all are file sharing sites: 4shared.com, rapidgator.net and uploaded.net.

Most of these requests are fulfilled, Sky reports, adding that these figures were compiled by Torrent Freak.

"Google doesn’t report yearly figures, but at TF we processed all the weekly reports and found that the number of URLs submitted by copyright holders last year surpassed the 345 million mark - 345,169,134 to be exact", TF writes.

Even though Google started aggressively downranking sites that lead to pirated material, the company says that without legal options it’s hard to beat unauthorised copying.

"Piracy often arises when consumer demand goes unmet by legitimate supply. As services ranging from Netflix to Spotify to iTunes have demonstrated, the best way to combat piracy is with better and more convenient legitimate services.

"The right combination of price, convenience, and inventory will do far more to reduce piracy than enforcement can", says Google in a report.

The battle against piracy has been raging on the web for years, and recently a site hosting links to illegal torrents, The Pirate Bay, was raided and shut down and its founders arrested.