Google has expanded its Transparency Report to include the number of requests it receives from copyright owners and their representatives to remove Google Search results because they allegedly link to infringing content.

The latest report shows how rapidly the number of requests has been increasing since July 2011. Google often receives more than 250,000 such requests a week, more than the total number it received during the entire year of 2009.

During the past month, Google received about 1.2 million requests on behalf of more than 1,000 copyright owners to remove search results from roughly 24,000 different websites. It averages 11 hours to review and take any necessary action for each request, the company said.

“We believe that the time-tested “notice-and-takedown” process for copyright strikes the right balance between the needs of copyright owners, the interests of users, and our efforts to provide a useful Google Search experience,” wrote Fred von Lohmann, senior copyright counsel. “At the same time, we try to catch erroneous or abusive removal requests. For example, we recently rejected two requests from an organization representing a major entertainment company, asking us to remove a search result that linked to a major newspaper’s review of a TV show. The requests mistakenly claimed copyright violations of the show, even though there was no infringing content. We’ve also seen baseless copyright removal requests being used for anticompetitive purposes, or to remove content unfavorable to a particular person or company from our search results.”

Related links:

Google blog – Transparency for copyright removals in search

Google – Transparency Report

Photo by Flickr user Jeff Kubina, used under Creative Commons license