Automattic, the company behind the popular blogging platform WordPress, receives thousands of takedown requests from copyright holders.
For several years the volume of notices continued to increase, with a peak in 2018, after which the trend slowly went in the other direction.
This week, the company published its latest WordPress.com transparency report, revealing that it processed 2,412 takedown notices during the first six months of the year. That is a significant drop compared to a year earlier when over 3,321 notices were handled.
These data only apply to the number of DMCA notices that are directed at WordPress.com services. Each of these notices can contain multiple URLs, in some cases even dozens. In future, Automattic plans to release more granular data.
Abusive and Incomplete Takedown Requests
Aside from the continued drop in takedown volume, the high rejection rate clearly stands out. Of all notices received, only 14% result in any content removals; the vast majority are rejected for a variety of reasons.
In the reported period, 77% of all notices were rejected because they were incomplete. An additional 9% was labeled as ‘abusive’ and dismissed for that reason. The remaining 14% was processed as usual.
The number of rejections is significantly higher than in the same period last year. According to Automattic, this is mostly due to more incomplete notices, which are often sent by specialized ‘removal companies’.
“Most of these incomplete notices were submitted through seemingly automated processes that are provided by content removal companies which often charge content creators to exercise their rights,” Automattic notes.
These ‘faulty’ notices also include requests to take down content that’s cached for other hosting providers, through WordPress’ Jetpack service, for example. Since WordPress is not the original host it doesn’t take action in response to these.
The high percentage of ‘faulty’ notices is a source of frustration for Automattic, which indirectly criticizes the companies that largely rely on takedown bots and automated processes.
Automattic also owns the blogging platform Tumblr, which it purchased in 2019. For this service, it releases a separate transparency report.
The Tumblr report shows a similar decline in DMCA takedown notices. In the first half of 2023, 2,278 takedown notices were sent to the platform, a significant drop from the 3,362 requests it received a year earlier.
A detailed breakdown shows that these DMCA notices targeted 2,369 posts and 11,146 pieces of other content. The majority of these notices, 78%, were valid and processed accordingly.
“This type of careless use of the DMCA makes it harder for platforms to efficiently process valid takedown notifications. In the past, we have highlighted similar problematic trends such as the negative impact of automated takedown notices submitted by bots,” the company writes.
All in all, the transparency reports show that the major DMCA takedown surge of a few years ago has subsided. However, Automattic stresses that it’s important to remain vigilant to ensure that content isn’t needlessly removed.
“For our part, we meticulously review each takedown notice we receive so that we can identify the validity, push back on abuse, and help our users understand their rights such as Fair Use,” Automattic writes.
From: TF, for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.