File hosting service 4shared says rightsholders may be choosing 'ineffective' Google take-downs over the company's own efficient take-down tool for "PR reasons"
File hosting company 4shared believes that rightsholders are choosing "quantity over quality" when it comes to copyright take-downs, possibly in a bid to present the piracy problem in a more PR friendly light.
BitTorrent news website TorrentFreak investigated the large number of Google copyright take-down requests of 4shared links filed by the BPI, the British music industry's copyright agency, and found it strange that the BPI did not choose to use 4shared's own in-house and much more effective anti-piracy take-down system.
According to Google, the BPI and associated firms have already asked the search giant to remove an astonishing 6.75 million links from 4shared. Many of the links may contain the same or similar music file, as users continue to re-upload the same files as earlier versions are removed. This link-based approach therefore becomes a very inefficient means to remove pirated files from being found on file hosting sites like 4shared.
On the other hand, 4shared has developed several tools that use a content based approach that removes all related links to a particular piece of content, and also prevents new links from being added. This means that once something has been taken down, it is taken down for good.
Despite the efficient nature of 4shared's anti-piracy tool, based on the Spotify owned Echoprint system, the BPI has so far chosen to not use this much more efficient way of removing pirated files.
When asked about why the BPI and perhaps other shareholders are shunning an effective anti-piracy solution in favor of one that doesn't appear to be working, a representative from 4shared explained that the millions of Google take-downs may simply be more headline-grabbing.
"If they are trying to increase the number of links in reports or for PR reasons, they probably use a bot to harvest and send links to Google despite the fact that such an approach may also result in false claims," 4shared told TorrentFreak.
The BPI refused to comment directly on the matter, instead explaining that their anti-piracy strategy relies on a number of tools and methods.
"We prefer to comment on our overall approach on search rather than on individual sites, which is to focus on known sources of wide scale piracy and to use a number of tools to tackle this problem," a BPI spokesperson responded to TorrentFreak.
"Notice-sending represents just one part of the measures available to us, along with site blocking and working with the Police to reducing advertising on copyright infringing sites."